In the lull between Milan and the frenzy of New York design week, it’s easy to become a bit myopic about what’s going on elsewhere in the design world. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out an exhibition happening right now with one of most fascinating concepts we’ve ever come across: At Chicago’s Volume Gallery last week, the Detroit ceramicist Anders Ruhwald opened “The Charred Room,” an exhibition that explores “the aftermath of a fire – objects as they should be, recognizable to an extent in shape and position in relation to one another – but charred. Slumped, melted and morphed the objects lose their direct references that create comfort, leaving the viewer with renderings of domestic detritus vaguely familiar.” We had the pleasure of speaking with Ruhwald about the lead-up and the process behind that exhibition earlier this year, on assignment for PIN-UP, and with the magazine’s permission, we’re excerpting that story here today.
Next week marks the start of New York design week, which is jam-packed with events like Sight Unseen OFFSITE, Collective Design, Wanted, ICFF, and more. Add to that the fact that Frieze NY has backed its show up to the same week, with NADA and all the other art fairs following suit, and you’re looking at one of the most insanely hectic cultural schedules this city has ever seen. But there is one place you’ll be able to find a moment of respite from all the madness: inside the Dynamic Sanctuary, a 5′ x 9′ responsive light chamber created by Brooklyn studio the Principals for Sight Unseen OFFSITE, which is meant to bring the design thinking behind the 2015 Ford Edge to life. The lead sponsor for this year’s show, Ford — under the design leadership of Moray Callum — has spent years researching user responses to build a car that’s sleek and fast-looking on the outside but calming and open on the inside (despite being packed with potentially intimidating levels of technology), and we figured there couldn’t be a more perfect metaphor around which to build OFFSITE’s signature installation. We’ll be giving you a behind-the-scenes peek into the creation of the Dynamic Sanctuary next week, but first we wanted to start by talking to Callum, who’s been with Ford since 1988, about the company’s approach to design in general — and where that approach is headed.
We first came across the work of UK photographer Kate Jackling through a collaboration with COS that was endlessly re-pinned a few months back. That campaign — with its clothes draped over pink, yellow, and blue geometric forms — was so good that we had to know more about the photographer responsible for styling such a fun and playful set. Once we came across her website, we knew we’d hit the jackpot. Jackling’s photos are clean, playing with shadows and reflections to elevate product photography into something more artistic — photos that sell the product, yet also sell Jackling herself as someone who clearly understands her craft.
A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: A look way back at — what else? — 1970s-era Italian design; a dip into the recent past in Milan; and a forecast of things to come at our OFFSITE event, debuting in just two weeks! Plus, the amazing risograph talents of Glasgow-based artist Gabriella Marcella, above.
When we first met Brooklyn artist Alex P. White, it was in his role as a co-conspirator with interior designer Kelly Behun, with whom he’d created one of the most genius furniture collections in recent memory. But we’ve since gotten to know him as much, much more — as an interior designer and artist in his own right (whose playful project names include Playshroom and Wytchbytchru); as a designer whose latest furniture collection will debut in two weeks at Sight Unseen OFFSITE; and as the proprietor of a wonderfully specific Instagram feed, where we first stumbled upon this book in his rather extensive printed archive. When we asked him to write about Underground Interiors for our recurring From the Library column, we had no idea we’d get such a fun, deeply personal romp through its pages. If you’re into conversation pits, wall-to-ceiling carpeting, elephant side tables, geometric travertine, or tubular steel, we suggest you read on in full.
When we were first introduced to the multi-talented photographer Charlie Schuck, a good three years ago, he was running the heart-stoppingly chic concept store Object in Seattle, at which he paired things like Masanori Oji trivets with pieces he commissioned from local studios like Iacoli & McAllister and Grain. It was the first, most beautifully executed sign that a larger narrative was galvanizing around Pacific Northwest designers — one that reaches its apex this month with a museum show Schuck has curated for the Bellevue Arts Museum in Bellevue, Washington. In 2013, the museum’s former curator approached him about putting such an exhibition together, and since then he’s worked with current curator Jennifer Navva Milliken to cull representative pieces from the portfolios of some 30 designers and studios for “The New Frontier: Young Designer-Makers in the Pacific Northwest,” on view now through August 16. We asked Schuck to choose 10 compelling designers or works from the show to showcase on Sight Unseen today, posted after the jump.
It was a couple of years ago that Chicago-based artist Samantha Bittman first captivated us with her intricate, meticulous paintings on woven textiles. We’ve been transfixed by her work ever since, so when we had the chance recently to visit her studio and delve into her process, we jumped. Bittman creates dazzling surfaces of optically challenging patterns that draw you in to reveal greater depths, dimensionality, and unsteadying shifts in perspective. There’s an objective, mathematical precision to her pieces but there’s also a remarkably human warmth — the result, perhaps, of giving in to the parameters created by the loom while also resisting them.
A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: Three particularly timely design objects that launched in Milan, one peculiar woven-glass lamp that didn’t, and a show by the design world’s most beloved artist, Carol Bove, pictured above.