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Slowly by Sam Moyer at Galerie Rodolphe Jansen

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.

Wintercheck Factory’s Collection No. 300

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.

Aelfie x Studio Proba Rugs

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.

Week of March 30, 2015

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).

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.

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.
Costumes have also been a big part of Cave Collective’s performances — this is an example of many ideas for those costumes layered on top of each other, including a thick shawl made from strips of dyed cotton and Icelandic wool that Lauigan plans to explore further during the hiatus. “I’d like to do collections of one-of-a-kind shawls and install them as art pieces on a wall,” she says.

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.
What are your three favorite pieces of his, and why? "He has several sculptures called Diamond Columns from the 1970s that are all amazing and are my biggest inspirations. I think they're the most inspiring in how they emphasize form devolving into color and our perception of it. When you see a photo of them you don't see a shape, you see color, light — the ephemera. The shape is unimportant, to me; it's all about the color and how it disappears."

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).
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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.
As seen on Ellen's Design Challenge, designer Katie Stout's piece was the first to be evaluted by the panel of experts at the end of the first challenge. For this week, the designers had to create a unique and functional piece from materials contained in six identical crates. With her carpenter Karl Champley's help, Katie built a sideboard/cabinet made of steel, walnut and acrylic. (After)

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.

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.

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.”