Tag Archives: Brooklyn

  1. 03.13.15
    Eye Candy
    Ivin Ballen, artist

    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.

  2. 03.02.15
    Sighted
    Dusen Dusen Home

    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.

  3. 02.26.15
    Studio Visit
    Cave Collective, Artists

    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.

  4. 02.13.15
    From the Archives
    Andrew O. Hughes on DeWain Valentine

    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).

  5. 02.12.15
    Sighted
    Huy Bui on Freunde Von Freunden

    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.

  6. 02.02.15
    What It's Like
    To Star on Ellen’s Design Challenge

    If the weirdness of Ellen Degeneres starting her own Project Runway–style furniture-design reality show didn’t fully strike me when I first heard about it, a couple of months back, it definitely hit home shortly after the show first aired on HGTV last Monday night, when I got the following text from my mom: Do you know any of the designers on Ellen’s Design Challenge? The weirdest part of all, of course, was that I did: Katie Stout, one of Sight Unseen’s inaugural American Design Hot List picks and the winner of our own erstwhile design competition (our 2013 pumpkin-carving contest), is one of the show’s six contestants. After watching the first episode myself, in which Stout introduces mainstream America to the squiggly cabinet above, we knew we had to get the full story from the designer. “It was really surreal,” she says of the experience.

  7. 01.22.15
    Self Portrait
    Recreation Center’s Ceramics

    There’s a kind of genius in the way that Josephine Heilpern runs her ceramics studio, Recreation Center. Maybe not in the fact that she does everything — from designing to fabricating to filling orders — 100% on her own, with no help, running herself perpetually (yet gleefully) ragged, but more in how she knows exactly when to keep things simple versus when to let her imagination run wild. In the three years since she’s been making the mugs, lamps, and mobiles we’ve been fortunate enough to stock in our online shop, she’s barely changed her design formula, hewing to basic shapes and consistent patterns that resist becoming tiresome with daily use, yet on her site and her popular Instagram feed, she markets those objects with all the visual pizzazz of a 28-year-old raised on internet culture. When we invited her to shoot some of her creations exclusively for Sight Unseen, she turned up the styling charm, busting out the dollar-store props and studio scraps to bring her aesthetic vision to life.

  8. 12.10.14
    Studio Visit
    Maryanne Moodie, Brooklyn textile artist

    There are few people who get the opportunity to uproot, relocate, and be instantaneously welcomed by a community of powerful and creative women. But Maryanne Moodie — the Melbourne, Australia native who settled in Brooklyn last year after her husband got a job a Etsy — did just that. Since arriving, she says, “I’ve been able to meet and forge fast friendships with so many amazing textile ladies — inspirational women who are creative as well as business focused. I’ve had the chance to collaborate professionally with them — as well as down a few glasses of wine over plans for world domination.”

  9. 11.24.14
    Sight Unseen Presents
    Our 5th Anniversary Party

    Two weeks ago, Sight Unseen celebrated our 5th anniversary with a post full of birthday cards made for us by our favorite designers and readers. But we couldn’t possibly mark such a momentous occasion with a web post alone — we had to throw a party, of course! Last Thursday night, we gathered 200 of our closest friends and clients together at the stunning roof bar of the McCarren Hotel & Pool in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where we sipped Bombay Sapphire cocktails, danced to music spun by DJs Kyle Garner and Jon Santos under a piñata by Confettisystem, tossed around pool-toy dance props crafted by Misha Kahn, and ate adorable hand-shaped cookies and a golden birthday cake baked by Fredericks & Mae. There were even custom zig-zaggy funhouse mirrors by Chiaozza on hand to freak us out once we got tipsy. It was a memorable night for all involved, and we’re grateful to our partners at Bombay Sapphire and Chelsea Hotels for helping to make it happen. It’s definitely going to be hard to top come 2019!

  10. 11.19.14
    Studio Visit
    Egg Collective, furniture designers

    When Egg Collective launched their debut furniture collection at ICFF in 2012 — snagging a Best New Designer award in the process — they seemed to the design world to have come out of nowhere. And in fact, though the three — Stephanie Beamer, Crystal Ellis, and Hillary Petrie — met and began collaborating as 18-year-old freshmen at Washington University’s architecture school more than a decade ago, the truth is they had formally joined forces and had begun crafting an ICFF plan only six months earlier. “I remember the three of us sitting outside the Javits Center in our Budget truck, about to move in furniture that we’d been working on with no one having seen for six months,” says Beamer. “I was like, you guys, this is it. People could just walk by us the entire fair. But thankfully we seem to have struck a chord and the work resonated.”

  11. 11.08.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of November 3, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week, old meets new with the resurgence of Op-Art and a 1950s desk lamp, a(nother) Franz West show, and of course, the usual smattering of new work by young talents, including the latest collection from Brooklyn weaving duo New Friends (above).

  12. 10.24.14
    Up and Coming
    Heddle & Needle

    Before she got hooked on weaving, Rachel Gottesman was both a painter and a jewelry-maker, and the influence of those preoccupations is wonderfully obvious in her small-scale textiles, which she creates under the name Heddle & Needle. Gottesman treats each small weaving as a tiny canvas on which to work out ideas about things like color, composition, linearity, topography, and adornment. Formerly a director of artist relations at Threadless in Chicago, Gottesman moved back to New York about a year ago, and in the short time since she discovered her affinity for the medium, she’s made weavings that incorporate grids, geometrics, hieroglyphs, brass charms — even tiny squares made to look like Boucherouite rugs. The weavings are small – usually no more than a foot wide and two feet long, though she has plans to go big — and accessibly priced, which is why we immediately looked her up when we needed someone to create a textile series for our recent pop-up at Space Ninety 8. At the same time, we thought it was the perfect time to get to know her a little bit better on the site.

  13. 10.22.14
    How To
    Make a Sculpey Mobile, With Fort Makers

    The team behind Fort Makers don’t refer to themselves as a design studio but rather an “artist collective,” and there’s a marked difference: They make functional objects, but instead of producing a stream of products with a unified aesthetic, they each work individually under the studio umbrella, experimenting with whatever interests them at any given time. In a way, it’s that same sense of structureless structure that first attracted Noah Spencer to the idea of making mobiles: You can hang pretty much anything from them, as long as you get the balance right. “Any kind of visual language can be carried into the mobile world,” says Spencer, a Paul Loebach and Uhuru Design alum who co-founded Fort Makers in 2008. While he primarily makes models hung with simple wooden shapes, he’s also been toying around lately with more expressive elements made from polymer clay (aka Sculpey), a method he graciously offered to teach Sight Unseen readers in this tutorial.

  14. 10.02.14
    Up and Coming
    Romy Northover, Ceramicist

    Ten years ago, Romy Northover was a student at Goldsmith College, an incredibly conceptual art school in London that she found to be grueling. “I’m a kinesthetic learner,” says the now Brooklyn-based ceramicist. “I figure things out by doing them, not just by thinking about them. I’m not an intellectual; it’s more experiential for me. But those were important years because they got me to where I am now.”

  15. 09.18.14
    Eye Candy
    Amy Brener, artist

    Brooklyn-based artist Amy Brener is all about excavating the technological artifact in her large, translucent, crystal-like sculptures. Each standing the height of an average-sized human, the totems are like some colossal peer of Thaddeus Wolfe’s ongoing Assemblage Series. Into these cast resin and concrete monoliths, Brener fossilizes decade-old Nokia phones, Fresnel lenses, and gypsum; once the cast dries, she chisels away, cracking sheets of plastic and remnants of our recent technological past, revealing sculptures that resemble the natural and the geological. The structures stand bright and vertical, weighted in a mix of familiar earthy rock formations and distant ideas of the supernatural. As Brener notes, “My pieces are artifacts from an imagined future.” Enjoy a small selection of our favorites after the jump.

  16. 09.17.14
    Sight Unseen Presents
    Our Fall Pop-Up at Space Ninety 8

    Having branched into retail three years ago with the Sight Unseen Shop — plus a few pop-ups along the way — we can definitively say that the only thing better than buying beautiful objects for ourselves is putting them out into the world for the enjoyment of others. When Marissa Maximo, curator of Space Ninety 8 in Williamsburg, offered us 500 square feet in which to host an event for the month of September, we figured it was the perfect opportunity to bring the work of some of our favorite makers — most of it destined for our fall shop collection — to a much wider audience. Designed by Syrette Lew of Moving Mountains and on view now through October 5, the pop-up consists both of items we admire (Pat Kim’s Soap on a Rope, Heddle & Needle’s wall weavings) and items we’ve commissioned exclusively for the Sight Unseen Shop (Ian Anderson’s Oden pitchers, Sandwich Shop’s Shapes Vase and Two-Tone Artifact Mug). See photos of the space — and our packed opening-night party — after the jump.

  17. 08.23.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of August 18, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week had a very geometric vibe, from our favorite picks from the NYNOW gift fair, to a lamp inspired by ’80s virtual reality, to a photography series showcasing the nature of shadows.

  18. 08.19.14
    Where They've Been
    Helen Levi in the American Southwest

    Sometime in the past year, Brooklyn potter Helen Levi began making her popular Desert Tumblers, which evoke a kind of faded, windswept, Southwestern landscape by marbling white porcelain with sandy red clay. But the funny thing is, until this summer, New York–born Levi had never even been to the desert. “I’d been wanting to go to New Mexico since high school,” she says. “That landscape has always been kind of a dreamy thought, but my tumblers were based on my imagination of a place I’d never seen.” This summer, Levi decided to bite the bullet, taking a month off from work to road trip 7,000 miles — all the way to Albuquerque and back — making sure to stop along the way at places like the Pittsburgh factory where her clay is made and leaving enough time to simply wander off the road in search of this country’s vast natural beauty.

  19. 08.15.14
    Up and Coming
    Workaday Handmade

    Like many creatives we’ve interviewed before, Forrest Lewinger began his Workaday Handmade ceramics label while in the employ of someone else. Having studied ceramics in college and promptly dropped it to focus on more video-based, site-specific work, the Virginia-born designer found himself a year or so ago back behind the potter’s wheel, working as a studio assistant to a ceramicist in New York City. “A lot of times, artists think of their day job as an obstructive force,” laughs Lewinger. “I started to think of it as something more generative.”

  20. 08.12.14
    Q+A
    Jamie Wolfond of Good Thing

    When we’re asked by other journalists to talk about the evolution of American design, we pretty much always point to the same thing: the rise of independent designers and studios producing and selling their own work. Young American designers have increasingly become entrepreneurs in the past ten years, leveraging local manufacturing resources and online shopping platforms in order to bypass the need to wait around for big brands to do it for them. The latest such endeavor is Good Thing, a new company founded by designer Jamie Wolfond and based in New York that launches next week at NY NOW. Good Thing’s first collection consists of nine products by six different designers, from a sand-cast aluminum trivet to a coiled-plastic vase to a handmade clay mug. We spoke to Wolfond about the new venture and how he’s making it work.

  21. 08.07.14
    From the Library Of
    Ellen Van Dusen

    If there’s anyone who knows a little something about calibrating the perfect pattern, it’s Ellen Van Dusen. The D.C.-born fashion designer is Brooklyn’s reigning queen of prints, with nine seasons under her belt as Dusen Dusen, the line for which she creates flattering basics marked by colorful fruits, stripes, curves, dots, geometrics, and the like. So it made sense when we recently learned two things about Van Dusen: one, that she studied in college the psychology of design and the brain’s reaction to visual stimuli; and two, that she has a pretty incredible resource library to back that major up. On a recent visit to her Williamsburg studio, we perused her stacks, which included the massive, Todd Oldham–designed Alexander Girard monograph from a few years back and some amazing old Esprit books that we already had planned to excerpt in the coming weeks. But it was this book on Yaacov Agam, an Israeli sculptor and experimental artist known for his optical and kinetic work, that seemed to best represent Van Dusen’s joyful spirit. “As a textile designer, this is a huge source of inspiration,” Van Dusen admits. “I have named more than one print after Agam!” Here she tells the story of how she discovered Agam’s body of work and the long-lasting effect it has had on her own.

  22. 07.01.14
    Studio Visit
    Ilana Kohn, fashion designer

    “It was running joke as a kid, that all I wanted to wear were cut-offs and T-shirts,” says Ilana Kohn. “My mom would buy them by the pack, and I would cut the sleeves and the neck.” Of course, Kohn is now known as the creator of a rabidly collected, Brooklyn-based, cult-favorite clothing line, so was fashion always the master plan? Sure, she was interested in clothes, she says, but her teenage self would be more than a little surprised at this turn. At 18, she says, she did not want to be a “fashion person,” intending rather to study fine art and spend her life of painting. But after high school — in a move that would appease parents who worried about her making a living — Kohn left her native Virginia for New York City to study illustration at Pratt.

  23. 06.25.14
    Sighted
    Moving Mountains on Refinery29

    There’s only one thing we love as much as exhibiting the work of our favorite designers, like we did with Syrette Lew of Moving Mountains this May at our Sight Unseen OFFSITE event. And that’s snooping around their studios, unearthing old sketches, and pleading with them to put killer side projects into production. Luckily for us (since we’ve been a bit flush with travel this summer) Refinery29 took care of Lew’s visit for us. A gorgeously photographed studio visit with the Hawaiian-born, Bushwick-based designer ran on the site yesterday, and we thought it only fitting to share a few of our favorite bits here. Check out a short excerpt from that piece after the jump, then scroll down to read the rest over at Refinery29!

  24. 05.31.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of May 26, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: super-colorful rugs and blankets that are surprisingly affordable, an 80-pound, solid-brass bookcase that’s anything but, a peek inside Totokaelo’s Seattle offices, and a covetable pair of Bauhausian chairs (above).

  25. 05.30.14
    Sighted
    Ian Stell Shot By Rob Howard

    With a debut solo show at Matter in April and a major presentation last week at Sight Unseen OFFSITE, up-and-coming furniture designer Ian Stell has had the opportunity to introduce his kinetic, transformable furniture to quite a few people this spring. Yet most of them, apparently, have read it completely wrong. “I’ve gotten comments recently from people who … assumed I have an engineering background or was trained as an architect, and that couldn’t be farther from the truth,” he recently told photographer Rob Howard, on whose portfolio site we recently discovered dozens of shots of Stell at home in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and at his nearby studio. Howard recorded a short audio file of Stell very eloquently describing his background — he studied sculpture and painting, not engineering — and his approach to furniture design: “All of my designs sit somewhere in between poetry about functional objects and ones that are actually functional,” Stell tells Howard. “I don’t hesitate to pursue something even if it’s incredibly complex … As far as I’m concerned the world is about complexity, and nature is about complexity, and although I’m very happy that there are many people that take a reductive approach to design and to art … it’s not the way that I think.”

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