In his new Views series created exclusively for Sight Unseen, New York designer Tom Hancocks used the 3-D graphics software Blender to conjure six different rooms inhabited by various types of chairs, whose forms and relationships to their immediate surroundings were intended to convey certain moods and emotions.
A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: A gorgeous crystal-growing video made us ponder the meaning of life, brushtrokes and Matisse-style cutouts on tote bags and kimonos were our favorite visual trends, and a French graphic design duo (pictured above) caught our eye with their technicolor zebra patterns.
New York creative firm RoAndCo have used a Memphis- and trompe l'oeil–inspired motif as a jumping off point for a brand new series of art prints for sale exclusively on Bezar. The pastel-colored prints, which come in the 11 different designs pictured below and range from $29 to $129, depending on size, are only available for purchase for the next five days.
People always ask where exactly we find our story subjects, and for the past two years, the most frequent answer has invariably been Instagram. And it’s true, in the case of Belgian-born graphic designer Stephanie Specht, we were fans of her @spechtstudio handle long before we ever knew who was behind it. But our interest was piqued even further in recent months after Specht got the imprimatur from two friends with an impeccable knack for collaborations: Sandeep Salter of McNally Jackson Picture Room, where Specht released an edition earlier this year, and Alex Proba, with whom Specht created this series of plant-inspired posters.
We've said it before — Australia often feels like a strange parallel universe to us. We know it's bursting with amazing design talent, but it all feels so far away, and it's not easy for us to assess what the new hot restaurant or hotel or creative agency may be at any given time. For those of us who pride ourselves on being up on the cultural landscape of the Western hemisphere, it's a weird feeling, but in a way, it's also a nice one: We didn't have to think too hard when the Melbourne firm Wildhen sent us their portfolio recently, we just poked through it and objectively liked what we saw, from packaging for a boutique pharmacy to still life shoots for an online nursery.
We here at Sight Unseen consider ourselves to be relatively worldly — I say this literally as Monica touches down in Norway — but if there's one place that's proved a holy grail for the both of us, it's Japan. We've never had the opportunity nor the funds to go, despite being relatively obsessed with the idea of both shopping and scouting there. So when two of our most visually attuned friends offered to provide us with a diary of sorts during their recent trip there, we jumped at the chance: Philadelphia-based partners-in-crime Andy Rementer and Margherita Urbani (whom many of you likely know from their collaborations in Apartamento magazine) were recently in Tokyo for two weeks.
For those of you who follow our website religiously, the name Branden M. Collins may ring a few bells: You may remember his poppy, brushstroke patterns for our Sight Unseen x Print All Over Me collab at the Standard Shop during Art Basel Design Miami last December. Or maybe you recall seeing his black-and-white zig-zag vases at our recent pop-up Think Big! at Space 15 Twenty in Los Angeles. Collins — who along with Madeline Moore operates as the San Francisco–based multi-disciplinary duo The Young Never Sleep — is more than just a graphic designer though. He’s also an art director, stylist, illustrator, photographer, product and costume designer, and serial collaborator.
Sight Unseen is the exclusive curator of the new PAOM HOME line, where our job is to help choose what kinds of objects to feature and then to invite up-and-coming illustrators, artists, and designers to contribute prints to those items. For the inaugural collection — which features IKEA slipcovers, plant cozies, pillows, linen throws, beanbags, cushions, and more — we selected four powerhouse female design studios: Caitlin Mociun, Pia Howell, Studiopepe, and Alex Proba. Get a 20% off discount code after the jump!
“It’s about making language visual,” respond the three members of Nous Vous when I ask them about their distinctly French name, which translates to We, You. “Well, it rolls off the tongue nicely, too,” laughs Jay Cover, who founded the London-based trio with William Edmonds and Nicolas Burrows back in 2007. “But aside from that, our external influences tend to be design manifestos where the process is conscious of the audience and collaboration.” We, You — there is a certain anonymity to their practice, reflected also in their European website domain (nousvous.eu), placing the group nowhere specific, perhaps in an effort to avoid defining their collective body of work.
Someday, when someone writes the definitive book looking back on how the internet changed life in the 21st century, they'll include stories like Atelier Bingo's: After living in Paris for two years post-graduation, Adéle Favreau and Maxime Prou decided on a whim one day to leave their burgeoning graphic design careers behind for a life in the countryside, and guess what? It didn't make a lick of difference. The pair now run a bustling illustration studio from a converted factory in Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre owned by Favreau's uncle, and thanks to the magic of email, it hasn't stopped them from selling prints online and working with clients like Vogue, The Plant, and Wrap Magazine, plus companies they did graphic design for back in Paris, now three hours away.
If there's anyone we'd trust to put together a beautiful book of ephemera, it's JP Williams, the New York–based graphic designer whose collections — of baseball cards, of balls of twine, of Swiss office supplies, and the like — are legendary. But Williams's first book doesn't in fact catalog his own accumulations from years past but rather those of the iconic graphic designer Paul Rand, who Williams used to visit at his home before Rand's death in the late 1990s. But, Williams writes, "it was not until visiting Mrs. Rand that I discovered Mr. Rand's cache of items that he had saved from his travels. A large variety of items: packages, shopping bags, dolls, toys. So many were unfamiliar to me. As soon as I saw them I asked then and there if I could have them photographed. I asked the photographer Grant Peterson to shoot all of these items in hopes of doing a book. Well, 18 years later, here it is."
There are some books that are quoted, referenced, or photographed so often in our line of work that they begin to feel like touchstones for design-world enthusiasts all over the world. The Nathalie du Pasquier–illustrated Leonard Koren bible Arranging Things: A Rhetoric of Object Placement is of those such books; the late-'90s graphic-design manifesto Tibor Kalman: Perverse Optimist is another. But recently, another book has begun popping up no matter where we look. Esprit: The Comprehensive Design Principle — a huge, softcover paean to every design aspect of the beloved 1980s fashion brand — was published in 1989 by its founder Douglas Tompkins, but has experienced a resurgence of late in these '80s nostalgia–tinged, Memphis revival–happy times.