Tag Archives: architecture

  1. 12.15.14
    Excerpt: Book
    Down the Long Driveway, You’ll See It

    There’s nothing we love better than when our very talented, creative friends introduce us to their very talented, creative friends, and this week didn’t disappoint: In our inboxes arrived the most beautiful submission from Mary Gaudin, a New Zealand photographer living in Montpellier, France, who was introduced to us through Brian Ferry, one of Sight Unseen’s contributors and a wonderful photographer in his own right. Gaudin recently published a book on modernist New Zealand homes in collaboration Matthew Arnold of Sons & Co called Down the Long Driveway, You’ll See It; the title is a quote from one of the book’s subjects, upon giving directions to his home. The book documents 14 homes built between 1950 and 1974, and it’s a revelation not only for the beautiful way in which it’s photographed but for the peek it gives into New Zealand’s architectural history.

  2. 11.05.14
    From the Library Of
    Sight Unseen: Jewelry By Architects

    Until about six months ago, there was only one Munari we idolized: Bruno, one of our favorite 20th century designers and design theorists. (If you haven’t read Design As Art, we suggest you hop to it!) But then, one fateful day this past spring, we were wandering aimlessly around the internet when we stumbled on what is perhaps the biggest editorial coup we’ve scored in years, and thus began our love affair with Cleto Munari — the Italian designer, who as far as we can tell is unrelated to Bruno, commissioned a dream-team of architects like Ettore Sottsass and Peter Eisenman in the early ’80s to create a jewelry collection for his eponymous company, and the project had almost no coverage anywhere on the web. We immediately snapped up a copy of the incredible out-of-print book that documented it, which we’re excerpting just a small portion of here.

  3. 10.20.14
    Eye Candy
    Michele Reginaldi, architect

    Michele Reginaldi is an established Italian architect and visual artist. Born in Teramo in 1958, he has been a partner at Gregotti Associati since 1998. He began working on a series of form studies — what he refers to as constructions — in the late 1980s that have grown to include more than 120 individual pieces. These constructions range in size and shape, but all are made from the same material — brass. Reginaldi classifies his constructions into four categories: studies around the circle, studies in verticality, light structures, and constructions for architecture. These pieces are crucial to his success as an architect; on their own the constructions are beautiful sculptural works, but when put into the context of architecture they become important explorations in scale and proportion. Knowing this, his constructions’ influence is clearly evident when browsing the architectural projects of his practice.

  4. 10.14.14
    Q+A
    Jonathan Nesci in Conversation With Matt Olson of RO/LU

    When it comes to design, it’s easy to forget about Indiana. Easy, but unfair — just ask anyone familiar with the legacy of Columbus natives Irwin and Xenia Miller, whose Eero Saarinen house is one of many architectural landmarks the pair commissioned in and around their hometown. Or ask the editors of Sight Unseen, who included not one but two Indiana-based talents in our American Design Hot List last week. One of them, Jonathan Nesci, debuted a project over the weekend that underscored both arguments: Invited by curator Christopher West to create a site-specific installation on the grounds of Eliel Saarinen’s First Christian Church — also a Miller commission — Nesci conceived the stunning project 100 Variations, consisting of 100 unique, mirror-polished tables aligned in a grid in the church’s courtyard. He developed the tables using the Golden Ratio, an ongoing preoccupation in his work that similarly informed Saarinen’s. We snagged the first photos of the installation, which was on view for only three days, then invited Matt Olson of the Minneapolis studio RO/LU to discuss the project — and its oft-overlooked setting — with Nesci. Read their conversation after the jump.

  5. 10.01.14
    What We Saw
    In Venice, for the Bugaboo x Diesel launch

    As we understand it, this is the dream, right? To turn your art-school thesis project into a multimillion dollar corporation and a brand that’s coveted the world over? That’s essentially what happened to Dutch designer Max Barenburg, who devised the origins of the Bugaboo stroller back in his days as a student at Design Academy Eindhoven in the early ’90s. The original design did not survive intact — Barenburg at first envisioned the now iconic stroller as an all-terrain vehicle that could turn into a two-wheeler and hook up to a mountain bike for a bit of baby off-roading — but its essential DNA was there: the telescoping handle meant to accommodate tall Dutch dads, the central joint that would allow the stroller to fold up using a single hand. Barenburg could never have foreseen Bugaboo’s massive popularity in part because he never could have guessed the collaborations the stroller would inspire. To date, the brand has worked with Pendleton, Missoni, Viktor & Rolf, the Andy Warhol Foundation (we particularly like the stroller covered in a giant Velvet Underground banana), and, as of next month, Diesel.

  6. 08.18.14
    Eye Candy
    Erin O’Keefe, Artist

    Erin O’Keefe is an artist and architect based in New York and New Brunswick, Canada. Having studied architecture at Columbia’s grad program, O’Keefe took her interest in spatial perception back to her art career, in which she creates sculptures and models and landscapes out of paper, plywood, and foil, which she then photographs. As she describes it: “I’m interested in the layer of distortion and misapprehension introduced by the camera as it translates three-dimensional form and space into a two-dimensional image. In architecture, there is a similar dissonance … The representation of the building and the building itself are two radically different things, as is the photograph and its subject. This inevitable and often fruitful misalignment is the central issue in my practice.” Check out our favorite examples of her work after the jump.

  7. 06.24.14
    What We Saw
    In Norway

    If anyone needed proof this year that Scandinavia had quietly usurped London’s status as the world’s hottest contemporary design scene, it could be found at the Salone del Mobile in April, where the presentation that Danish brand Hay put on, complete with a pop-up shop and an utter madhouse of a cocktail party, was pretty much the talk of the town. It’s entirely thanks to the rise, in the past few years, of not just Hay but brands like Menu, Ferm Living, One Nordic, Muuto, Gubi, and Design House Stockholm, all of whom are working with emerging talents across the region. As we’ve watched the Nordic scene grow, we’ve managed to pay visits to Sweden (three times), Denmark (twice), and Finland (once, in the dead of winter, natch) — even to Iceland, for its DesignMarch festival three years ago. That left Norway as our personal holy grail, made doubly intimidating because of its famed reputation for being outrageously expensive. Two weeks ago, as you may have noticed on Instagram, we finally took the plunge.

  8. 05.16.14
    Studio Visit
    Terri Chiao and Adam Frezza, Art and Design Duo

    This week, we’re featuring a series of designers, brands, and exhibitors participating in Sight Unseen OFFSITE, our brand new design fair taking place in New York City this weekend, May 16-20. Click here for more information.

    Partners in both life and work, Terri Chiao and Adam Frezza share a studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn, where they run an art practice together as well as a design company called Chiaozza. Yet the first two things they ever collaborated on belonged to neither of those disciplines: One was a stew they made for dinner soon after they began dating — which took so long to cook that joking about it inspired their eventual website name, eternitystew.com — and the other was the pancakes they made the next morning. “We were fascinated by their topography, so we took some printmaking ink, inked up a pancake, and started making monoprints with them,” Frezza recalls. “That was when it began, this idea of turning our everyday life and domestic play into some kind of product or work.” Two and a half years later, it’s still the motivation underlying many of their colorful projects, which they characterize as existing at the “intersection of imagination and the natural world.”

  9. 02.14.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    François Halard at Demisch Danant

    When we think of the legendary Chelsea gallery Demisch Danant, we picture insanely luxurious fur-covered daybeds by Maria Pergay, or foofy round Pumpkin chairs by Pierre Paulin. We think of furniture — not photography. And yet somehow the exhibition on view there now through March 1 makes a perfect kind of sense. The French-born, New York–based photographer François Halard is showing a series of portraits he’s made over the last 20 years of architecture and interiors created by some of the last century’s most significant artists and designers — the Palm Springs house by Albert Frey (top image), the Italian studio of Cy Twombly, the Villa-Noialles by Robert Mallet-Stevens, and, one of our favorites, the Captiva Island home of Robert Rauschenberg.

  10. 12.21.13
    Saturday Selects
    Week of December 16, 2013

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, and events from the past seven or so days. This week: the best patterns of 2013, a new stationery set by one of our favorite fashion designers (pictured above), Design Prom, and more.

  11. 11.08.13
    Studio Visit
    Jake Longstreth, artist

    If you’re familiar with the work of Jake Longstreth (which we weren’t until it was brought to our attention by our newest contributor, Laure Joliet!) you probably know him from a series of paintings that made the blog rounds a few years back. Hyper-realistic depictions of empty suburban landscapes and architecture — think tennis courts, drive-thru pharmacies, and red-roofed Pizza Huts — the paintings were unsettling, both in their flat anonymity and in their technique, which rendered them eerily photographic. But a few years ago, Longstreth’s focus shifted.

  12. 10.04.13
    Excerpt: Book
    PIN-UP Interviews

    It’s quite nice to write, as we do here at Sight Unseen, for ourselves, but it’s equally — if not sometimes more — fun to write for PIN-UP. When you’re a writer assigned to conduct a Q+A in the “magazine for architectural entertainment,” as I was earlier this year, you take one look at past examples and breathe a huge sigh of relief. Because PIN-UP has always encouraged both writer and subject to be absolutely themselves, and its founder and editor-in-chief Felix Burrichter has always allowed transcripts into the magazine complete with exclamation points, interjected giggles, and tangents about things like Beyonce’s hair, Philippe Malouin’s “lustrous beard” or what kind of stationery is Shigeru Ban’s favorite — in other words, all of the fun, non-jargony things that often make an interview entertaining to conduct but that usually get edited out. This week, PIN-UP Interviews — a book filled with seven years’ worth of those conversations — was published by PowerHouse Books.

  13. 06.17.13
    What We Saw
    At DMY 2013

    One half of Sight Unseen may currently be stationed in Berlin, but when it came to covering DMY last week — the 10-year-old fair for young designers that takes place here annually at the decommissioned Tempelhof airport — we passed the torch to our longtime friend and sometime SU contributor, Thorsten van Elten of the online shop Theo, while we jetted off to Basel. In Berlin from London for a few days on a whim, partly to check out the fair’s offerings and partly as a tax-deductible excuse to revisit one of his favorite cities, van Elten documented for us his personal DMY selections, but also key moments from his romp through town — all couched in his crazy sense of humor. Scroll through his DMY travel diary below, then head over to Theo to check out what he does for a living.

  14. 03.29.13
    Studio Visit
    Nick Van Woert, Artist

    Visit Nick van Woert’s massive studio in Greenpoint, and in all likelihood you’ll find a cluster of white people standing in a corner, naked and clutching each others’ butts — these artificial neo-classical statues have been a recurring theme in the Nevada-born artist’s work since shortly after he began his career in earnest in 2006. Many of them get tipped over and enveloped in a cascade of colored resin that hardens in mid-drip; in one series, he hollowed out their midsections and let the wind give them garbage guts. “It was like a little trap, and the wind would blow weird shit in there that accumulated outside my studio,” van Woert says. “Anything from Doritos bags to Monster Energy drink cans. The DNA of the world outside.” It was his most literal manifestation of the mantra that drives most of his practice: You are what you eat.

  15. 03.14.13
    Q+A
    Kevin Appel, artist

    In the long list of ways that New York differs from Los Angeles, we’ve always been particularly fascinated by one: New York can be a very physically demanding place to live, but it is not a difficult city to understand on a psychological level. In Los Angeles, the living is easier, but there seems to be — especially among artists — a constant grappling to define and understand LA as a place. L.A. artist Kevin Appel explains it this way: “Los Angeles has always had a bit of an identity crisis partially due to the external view of LA as having this superficial mentality tied to the film industry. It doesn’t have a long lineage of a canonical or intellectual history, as opposed to New York.” He should know: Appel is a native Angeleno who has called the city home for almost his entire life — save for a brief stint at Parsons for his BFA — and he’s been steeped in the city’s history and vocabulary since birth. His father was an architect and his mother an interior designer, so it makes sense that the city’s structures and surroundings would eventually become his subject matter.

  16. 03.12.13
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    5 Platonic Objects by Christian Wassmann at R 20th Century

    Swiss architect Christian Wassmann is quite the chameleon: Not only does he seem to float effortlessly between every important New York fashion party, design talk, and art opening, equally at home in every crowd, his work also spans myriad scenes and disciplines — from the interior of a scrappy East Village radio station, to a massive installation with fashion darlings threeASFOUR at the Arnhem Mode Biennale, to his latest project, a suite of transformable furniture for the high-end Tribeca design gallery R20th Century. While we’re not sure how to explain his social gifts, his professional versatility comes down to something we here at Sight Unseen can certainly appreciate: Wassmann’s longtime appreciation for geometric forms permeates everything he does, and those shapes by their very nature happen to work just as well on a small scale as they do on a larger one. In honor of his first small-scale effort, we did a little interview with him, which we’ve posted after the jump.

  17. 01.16.13
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Le Corbusier’s Secret Laboratory

    They had us at the title: “Le Corbusier’s Secret Laboratory,” aka the painting studio where the architect took a pause from buildings and furniture to create expressive artworks like the sculpture above, many of which will be on view at Stockholm’s Moderna Museet starting this Saturday. Though his work has been under the microscope for so long now, obviously, that it would be silly to consider any part of his oeuvre truly a secret, the museum claims to have some rarely shown pieces up its sleeve, and a thesis that puts his career in something of a new perspective: “A central theme of this exhibition is Le Corbusier’s oscillation between two seemingly disparate pursuits — his celebration of mechanical objects and his search for poetic forms,” its curators write.

  18. 01.07.13
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Phantom: Mies as Rendered Society by Andrés Jaque

    Considering Mies van der Rohe designed the 1929 Barcelona Pavilion to emphasize transparency and freedom of movement, you’ve got to hand it to the Spanish architect Andrés Jaque for his genius new exhibition “Phantom: Mies as Rendered Society,” which plumbs the one part of the building that’s always been both hidden and completely off limits to the public: its basement. When we spotted these images of the show on Dezeen last week, complete with broken window panes in the reflecting pool and an industrial vacuum on the patio, we kind of lost it — talk about sights unseen! Jaque’s installation, the latest in a series of Barcelona Pavilion interventions by designers like SANAA and Ai Weiwei, takes what’s basically an overlooked yet significant refuse pile and transforms it into something unmistakably gorgeous.

  19. 10.04.12
    An Afternoon With
    Sight Unseen and HTC, New York Design Tour

    As you may have noticed, Sight Unseen isn’t just a web magazine: Considering all the time we’ve spent getting up close and personal with designers, we’ve become intimately involved in the design scene over the years — particularly on our home turf. Three years ago, we created the Noho Design District, an offsite event during New York Design Week, as a way to help promote the work of some of our local talents. And we’re frequently asked to bring the Sight Unseen experience to life for other brands and institutions as well, like with the pop-up shop we curated for Creatures of Comfort, the book launch we hosted with Rizzoli, and the panels we’ve led for the likes of DWR and the Museum of Arts & Design. Last month, we were approached by the London tour agency Urban Gentry with a new kind of proposal: to craft an insider’s journey through the New York design world for a group of international journalists, in town for the launch of HTC’s new 8X and 8S phones. After a bit of brainstorming and a flurry of phone calls, we managed to line up a two-day itinerary that would make any design lover swoon. Read on to follow our trek from the now-private Johnson Trading Gallery showroom in Queens to the Noho headquarters of Roman & Williams, and beyond.

  20. 09.07.12
    Up and Coming
    The Fundamental Group, Architects and Furniture Designers

    The Fundamental Group’s designs may be inspired by geometric principles, but the burgeoning Berlin studio owes its existence, at least in an abstract sense, to another realm entirely: physics, ie, the field in which opposites attract. As architecture students at Berlin’s University of the Arts back in 2003, Gunnar Rönsch and Stephen Molloy worked as assistants to rival department chairs, which in the world of academia, meant that they were automatically rivals, too. “If you sign up with one, you hate the other,” Rönsch explains. “Mine was building construction and detail design, while Stephen’s was based on a programmatic approach to structure — my chair basically had to solve all the problems created by his.” In time, however, the pair realized the inevitable — that by joining forces, they’d be stronger. First they became roommates, noticing how smoothly their collaboration on the apartment went, and then they began working together professionally, on projects like a friend’s house remodel. Their only other major conflict came when it was time, in 2010, to choose a name for their new company: Rönsch & Molloy, or Molloy & Rönsch? “A mathematician friend of ours was sitting in our kitchen talking about the fundamental group — a term from algebraic topology that describes very complicated 3-D surfaces,” says Molloy. “It was the perfect compromise.”

  21. 03.16.12
    Where They've Been
    Adam Štěch of Okolo’s Italian Architecture Tour

    When Adam Štěch goes on location for Okolo, the Prague-based design blog and magazine he founded with his brother Jakub and graphic designer Matěj Činčera three years ago, he likes to picture himself as a National Geographic reporter. Okolo’s recent Vienna Only issue, for example, became a kind of urban hunting expedition through the wilds of the Austrian capital, while legitimate business trips — like attending the Milan Furniture Fair as an editor for the Prague interiors magazine Dolce Vita — are rife with opportunities for fieldwork. After “cruising around crowded Zona Tortona in the center of design hell,” as the 25-year-old puts it, he’ll often spend a day or two searching out amazing examples of indigenous architecture to document. One such recent excursion to Lake Como entailed a curious encounter with the locals: “We were looking for an Ico Parisi house, for which I knew the district but not the exact address, and there was a single old man walking nearby,” recalls Štěch. “I approached him on a whim, explaining who Parisi was and asking if he knew the house. He picked us up with his car and dropped us off directly in front of it. I love those kinds of stories.” We love them too, which is why we asked Štěch to put together this slideshow sharing some of his favorite moments from his travels in the past few years.

  22. 01.27.12
    Sighted
    Furniture Inspired By Architecture

    Does it seem strange to think of furniture, which has such an intimate relationship with the human body, as architecture in miniature? Not, at least, if you count the number of legendary architects who employed their craft in the making of chairs and tables — Eames, van der Rohe, Gray, Corbu, Saarinen, Sottsass — plus all the contemporary ones, like David Adjaye, who aspire to work fluidly across all scales. Way before there was design-art, there was no more permeable disciplinary boundary than the one between buildings and the objects that occupied them. Which, of course, has made the overlap a longtime topic of interest among Sight Unseen’s editors. But what’s really piqued our curiosity lately is how the relationship works in the other direction, when designers trained to make furniture and objects try to harness larger architectural ideas and shrink them down to a more familiar level — one on which they can be lived with, rather than in. Sometimes you end up with baby skyscrapers or re-appropriated I-beams, other times it’s a single detail used to evoke a disproportionate sense of the monumental. We decided to put together a small roundup of recent furniture by designers who take inspiration from various aspects of a profession that Philip Johnson once called “the art of wasting space.”

  23. 12.21.11
    Sighted
    Okolo Visits Tobias Rehberger’s Studio

    For the team behind the Czech curatorial studio and blog Okolo — Adam Štěch, Jakub Štěch, and Matěj Činčera — their work is informed as much by the fact that they’re based in Prague, with a front-seat view of all things fascinating in Eastern European design, as it is by the fact that they love to travel. Adam Štěch has toured the region documenting amazing modernist homes, one of which he covered for Wallpaper this fall and more of which you’ll see on Sight Unseen in 2012, and the trio recently produced a print magazine devoted entirely to the city of Vienna. They also traveled to Frankfurt in November, visiting a succession of designers’ studios and photographing them for the Okolo website, slotting them in between posts about new work by Tomáš Král and the deconstruction of a Phillips auction catalog. One of our favorites was the studio of artist Tobias Rehberger, known for his striking graphical sensibility and his affinity for design and architecture, recently witnessed in the award-winning series of spaces he created in partnership with Artek; we’ve reposted it here with additional images and text that Adam prepared exclusively for Sight Unseen. Meanwhile, look out for a more extensive collaboration we’re preparing with Okolo for later this winter.

  24. 09.02.11
    Studio Visit
    Uglycute, Furniture and Interior Designers

    For Uglycute, it all began with a Bruno Matthson knockoff. It was 1999 and Swedish design was having a moment, but not, it seemed to the group’s four fledgling members, for the kinds of edgy experimental crafts and artistic hybrids being made by the emerging scene at the time — Wallpaper magazine and its ilk were still peering into the long shadows of Sweden’s old modernist icons. And so architecture grad Fredrik Stenberg and artists Jonas Nobel, Andreas Nobel, and Markus Degerman vented their frustration in the only way they knew how: by mounting a show around a sarcastic simulacrum of Matthson’s Eva chair made from a clunky particle-board box and cheap nylon straps. Complemented by a set of primitive clay pinch pots and a crude plywood table, the installation served as a launch pad for the group, and its subject matter — elevating cheap materials in order to question traditional norms of beauty and value — lent their firm its distinctive name. “It was meant as a new take on formalistic values,” says Nobel, who with the other three partners has since built a thriving practice known for its work with museums and clients like Cheap Monday.

  25. 08.29.11
    8 Things
    Autoban, furniture and interior designers

    The Beyoğlu district is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Istanbul, but for centuries, it’s been the Turkish cultural capital’s most modern quarter as well. Beyoğlu got telephone lines, electricity, and a funicular early on; new technologies, fashion, and the arts have always flourished there. So it’s fitting that the creative firm helping to spearhead the growth of modern design in Turkey has all but grown up on Beyoğlu’s cobbled streets. Headed by Seyhan Özdemir and Sefer Çağlar — an architect and interior designer who met as students in the late 1990s — Autoban is housed in a half-baroque, mid-19th-century Italianate building, but inside, the studio is almost seamlessly modern: high-ceilinged and open plan, lined with white marble and fixtureless white cabinets. The only nod to the past comes in the form of old wooden sills that unfurl around the windows of the partners’ offices.

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