Most of you probably know Brooklyn artist Paul Wackers for his paintings, which depict plants, rocks, and shelves full of abstract knick-knacks. But his work really comes alive when it's exhibited alongside his ceramics — as is currently the case in his new Morgan Lehman show "Thank You For Being You" — which makes it appear as though the paintings have come to life.
It can be hard to pin down exactly what it is Brooklyn-based artist and designer Justin Hunt Sloane actually does. He graduated with a BFA in printmaking and interactive design from Art Center, but while there, he became interested in the school's famed automotive program and began dabbling in classes like rapid prototyping and fabrication technology. Since moving to New York, he's held day jobs as a website designer for Creative Time, or, currently, senior designer at the branding agency Wolff Olins, but in his freelance work and spare time, he makes everything from drawings to etchings to self-published books to album covers to sculptures.
While the Chicago-born, Brooklyn-based artist Sam Moyer has played around with fabric painted to look like marble in the past, the geometric panels suspended in gorgeous bronze armatures that she recently installed at Galerie Rodolphe Janssen in Brussels are, in fact, the real deal. Meant to interact with the space's striking ceilings and the summer light that filters through them, the slabs are cut so thin as to be almost semi-translucent, a subverting of expectations about the way certain materials are supposed to look, feel, and function — a common theme in Moyer's work, and one that will sound familiar to many designers, which is probably why we've found ourselves so drawn to her.
When we asked Brooklyn's Wintercheck Factory — who debuted their latest collection with us at Sight Unseen OFFSITE last month — to shoot those new pieces in the most appropriate scenario they could imagine for our Self Portrait column, their choice of venues ended up being even more fitting than they themselves realized. A 1910 bank building in Bed-Stuy is about to become the duo's new studio, and clearly it makes for a stunning backdrop, but having been ripped up, painted, retiled, left to rot, bricked up, and, now, appropriated as a creative space, it can also be read as a symbol of Wintercheck Factory's own gradual reinvention.
For the rest of this week, we'll be bombarding you with our favorite finds from last week's Milan furniture fair, but we'd be remiss if we didn't first highlight one of the best things to recently launch on our shores: A colorfully graphic series of limited-edition rugs, pillows, and prints that represent a powerhouse collaboration between two Brooklyn designers, Alex Proba of A Poster a Day, and rug designer Aelfie Oudghiri. The two designers have strangely similar backgrounds — both attended medical school in Europe before finding their way to Brooklyn's collaborative design community — as well as a complementary aesthetic that's heavy on geometry and asymmetry.
A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week was all about designers doing mesmerizing things with very simple shapes: from Nendo's new color-gradient cube tables to a series of interactive geometric projections to the London grad who's pushing the boundaries of jewelry with his mixed-material compositions (pictured).
We love an artist who can successfully blur the line between sculpture and painting, and Brooklyn-based Ivin Ballen is certainly no exception. Upon first viewing his work, you perceive a few colored shapes (some rectilinear, others more organic) haphazardly arranged on a vast backdrop. Upon closer inspection, you begin to notice those colored shapes are an assemblage of found materials, and that, in fact, those found materials are simply just painted casts of the originals.
The past few years have proven that — every once in a while — a fashion label can make a successful, mostly non-embarrassing crossover into furniture and housewares. Margiela, Hermès, and Rick Owens all come to mind, but who better than a textile designer to make the leap? At last week's Capsule show, Ellen Van Dusen of the Brooklyn-based clothing brand Dusen Dusen launched a brand new line of soft goods for the home that feature her signature geometric patterns — sheets, blankets, rugs, towels, pillows, and a pouf — and the extension feels totally natural, like it was meant to be. Today she's giving Sight Unseen a first peek at the line's lookbook photos, which were shot by SU contributor Brian Ferry and feature cameos by both SNL comedian Aidy Bryant and Van Dusen's official canine mascot, Snips.
We discovered Cave Collective by way of their jewelry, which we spotted at the boutique No. 6 in New York, this past October. In late November, we shot founders Cat Lauigan and Alex Wolkowicz in their Greenpoint workspace. Then, by the end of January, we found out that they'd dismantled most of the studio and jewelry line, that Lauigan had relocated to California, and that both artists were focusing on their individual practices until they figured out what to do next. And yet by that point, we knew enough about Cave Collective to take the news in stride — ever since Lauigan and Wolkowicz began their collaboration in 2010, it's been an endlessly shape-shifting and exploratory project, one that's seen them living thousands of miles apart for nearly as long as they've lived in the same city.
Our first-ever From the Archives post, which looked back at William Sklaroff's mid-century desk accessory set Radius One, dates back to November 10, 2009 — the very first day of Sight Unseen's existence. But after that, the column pretty much petered out, partly because we didn't have the time to research it properly and partly because, with millions upon millions of wonderful old things to potentially highlight, how could we ever choose just one? We've officially solved that problem today with the launch of our new and improved From the Archives series, in which designers and artists will do all the work for us: Each edition will invite a talent we admire to give a little history lesson on someone from the past who's had a strong impact on their work. Our first subject is Brooklyn glassmaker Andrew O. Hughes, speaking about the California Light and Space sculptor DeWain Valentine (no holiday-themed pun intended).
Though we have a particular fondness for so many of the designers we've featured or worked with in the five years since Sight Unseen began, Huy Bui might be the only one who can lay claim to being both one of our favorite designers and the co-founder of one of our favorite New York restaurants. As the founder of Plant-In City — or what he calls architectural terrariums for "the 21st century" — Bui was one of the inaugural exhibitors at our Sight Unseen OFFSITE showcase last year. And as the designer and co-founder of the Lower East Side Vietnamese eatery An Choi, Bui's provided the backdrop for many a late-night design date. So when Freunde von Freunden reached out with the opportunity to co-publish a story on Bui's Brooklyn apartment and studio — complete with cameos by the designer's sweet dog Loopy, one of the more popular attractions at OFFSITE last year — we jumped at the chance.