Tag Archives: ICFF

  1. 06.04.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Norwegian by Nature

    When it comes to contemporary Scandinavian design, the furniture love tends to go to Denmark (Hay, Muuto, Normann Copenhagen) while Finland gets all the attention for its graphic design (Tsto, Lotta Niemenen, Kokoro & Moi). But Norway’s design identity was always a bit more elusive — that is, until recently. This month in New York saw an onslaught of celebrations of Norwegian design, including Norwegian Icons — which celebrated the Nordic country’s contribution to midcentury — and Norwegian by Nature, a survey of emerging talent curated by our friend Paul Makovsky of Metropolis, who criss-crossed the small Nordic country visiting schools, studios, and design fairs to gather a group of 23 design shops on the cusp of stardom. Norwegian by Nature was part of the Inside Norway booth at ICFF, and it was one of our favorite concepts for an exhibition in a long time. Prototypes by the up-and-coming studios (like Silje Nesdal, whose Granit bookends are shown above) were mixed with vintage pieces curated by Oslo-based Fuglen as well as works by more established companies like Roros Tweed and Mandal Veveri. All of the prototypes were having their North American debuts, but we can only hope some brave, deep-pocketed soul will soon put these beauties into production so we can see a whole lot more of them.

  2. 05.28.14
    Eye Candy
    Matter—Made’s 2014 Lookbook

    We’ll be posting a recap of our favorite designs from ICFF and the best of the rest tomorrow, but today we wanted to share with you the one piece of printed collateral from New York Design Week that stopped us in our tracks. At Matter’s ICFF booth, we managed to snag a copy of the design store’s brand-new Matter—Made lookbook, which was art directed, styled, and photographed by our personal Sight Unseen dream team, Benjamin Critton and Brian W. Ferry. The collection itself was already fantastic — brand new, disc-shaped LED pendants and stocky oak stools by Matter owner Jamie Gray, an expanded HS1 shelving system by Henry Julier in the cutest colors, and the first commercially available pieces from Jonathan Zawada’s Affordances line (which you might recall we featured last fall). Add to that Critton’s custom type treatment and props sourced by Critton and Ferry — which included black Slinkys, gold-plated hands, and a blue squiggle that looks like it fell off a Thighmaster — and you’ve got an excellent collectible object.

  3. 05.21.14
    What We Saw
    At New York Design Week 2014: Interiors from Spain at ICFF

    Imagine this scenario: 14 American design brands banding together to take over a large swath of the Milan Furniture Fair, all with the financial and logistical support of the US government. Sounds hilarious, right? While we can’t dream of enjoying such privileges here, in one of the world’s most prosperous nations, Spain has been throwing its weight behind its homegrown design industry for ages. In addition to marketing services, the Spanish trade commission — through an initiative called Interiors From Spain — has helped its local furniture manufacturers have a unified presence at ICFF for the past 10 years. This year’s selection included Apavisa, Capdell, Ebir, Fama, Inalco, Isimob, Kriskadecor, Lladro, Marset, Nanimarquina, Now Carpets, RS Barcelona, Santa & Cole, and Texidors — check out our highlights from those makers after the jump, then watch our site for more coverage of the overall fair in the coming week.

  4. 05.10.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of May 5, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: a little bit of Scandinavian design heaven in downtown Los Angeles, lots of emerging designers under one roof in far-out Brooklyn, and a preview of the design hothouse that is the coming week in New York City.

  5. 05.08.14
    Sight Unseen OFFSITE
    Preview the 2014 Show!

    Back in March, we gave you a small taste of what was to come at Sight Unseen OFFSITE, our brand new nomadic design fair opening May 16 at 200 Lafayette Street in New York’s Soho neighborhood. But a lot has happened since then! Most notably, we’ve brought some exciting partners on board and finalized our official lineup, which is now packed with more than 50 independent designers and forward-thinking brands, all of whom have been hand-picked by the editors at Sight Unseen. Open to the public May 16 to 20 — during the hours of 12PM to 7PM Friday and 11AM to 7PM Saturday through Tuesday — Sight Unseen OFFSITE is New York design week’s most exciting platform for new ideas and talents. Check out a small preview after the jump of some of the works that will be on view during the show, then join us next weekend to see it in person!

  6. 02.05.14
    Sighted
    Assembly’s 2x Aluminum Mirror

    As journalists, it’s basically our job to be professional busybodies, so there’s almost nothing that gives us a bigger thrill than when designers offer us a sneak peek at what they’re working on next. This week, those designers were the unfailingly prolific Pete Oyler and Nora Mattingly of Brooklyn-based Assembly, whose work we’ve featured extensively on the site. Their brand new piece is the 2x Aluminum Mirror, which is crafted from a solid sheet of 1/4-inch aluminum that’s been finished with two different techniques in order to create both reflective and opaque effects on the same surface. Says Oyler, “It’s part of a broader collection of work, to be released at ICFF in NYC this May, that bridges highly skilled hand and machine processes to explore extremes, subtleties, and possible outcomes within common materials.” Of course we decided to snoop around a little more and asked Oyler to tell us a bit more about it.

  7. 06.03.13
    What We Saw
    At New York Design Week 2013, Part V: The Rest

    New York Design Week may already feel like a distant memory, but we couldn’t move on to covering the upcoming Design Miami Basel fair — or start publishing all the amazing studio visits and house tours we’ve been saving up for the past few weeks — without doing one last post about all the offsite shows we saw (and didn’t see) during this year’s ICFF. From magnified eyeballs to garbage arches to our favorite watering can of all time, check out the official Sight Unseen roundup below.

  8. 05.30.13
    What We Saw
    At New York Design Week 2013, Part IV: ICFF

    We had a dream for ICFF this year: to set up a “Sight Unseen Canteen” staffed by an avant-garde chef who would purchase food items from the conference center cafeteria and recast them into amazing gourmet meals, a bit like the now-defunct website Fancy Fast Food. The reason we had this dream (which we still hope to someday realize) is that no one in their right mind ever has anything good to say about the Javits itself — the climate, the lighting, and of course, the hideous, overpriced cuisine — and so pretty much everyone, we figured, would get the joke. If we could add on a foot massage station, a napping pod, and a daylight simulator, our vision would truly be complete. But alas, this year all there was to comfort weary fairgoers like us was plain old great design, and the joy of running into old friends and colleagues, and so we had no choice but to settle for that. We came, we saw, we conquered.

  9. 05.23.13
    What We Saw
    At New York Design Week 2013, Part I: The Noho Design District

    Each time we start to celebrate the end of yet another successful edition of our Noho Design District project — this one being our fourth, if you can believe it — it’s not long before a certain realization hits us like a ton of bricks: We only really get a few short months to recover before we have to start the process allllll over again. We began planning in the fall for the 2013 edition of the show, which ran from May 17-20 and which we’ll be recapping on Sight Unseen today and tomorrow, and it’s almost impossible to fathom how much work could go into a four-day event that nevertheless flew by so quickly. There were spaces to secure (thanks, SubCulture!), flyers to finagle (thanks, Benjamin Critton!), and press-preview pastries to provide (thanks, The Smile!). And of course we had to find the perfect brand to partner with to help support all the amazing emerging talents we offer a platform to (thanks, Jawbone!). But in the end all that work would have amounted to naught had our exhibitors failed to bust out with some of the most stunning and inspiring designs we’ve ever shown, from the simplest concrete domino set to painstakingly elaborate chandeliers, light-up neon desks, and textile installations. In case you weren’t lucky enough to join us for this year’s event, we’ve put together a roundup of its highlights, the first half of which is featured in the slideshow at right; stay tuned for coverage of Noho Next, ICFF, and other offsite shows to come. And thanks to everyone who joined us this weekend!

  10. 04.25.13
    Noho Design District
    Join Us for the 2013 Show!

    There’s still an obnoxious chill in the air in New York City, but as the trees start to cautiously bloom and we begin the lurch towards spring, you know it’s that time again — we’re excited to give you a sneak preview of our fourth annual Noho Design District, which we’ve curated and produced in partnership with Noho-Bowery Stakeholders. Running from Friday, May 17 through Monday, May 20, it’s set to once again be New York Design Week’s most exciting incubator for new ideas and talent.

  11. 06.08.12
    Sighted
    Tools for Everyday Life, by the Designers in Residence at Northumbria University

    It seems ironic that the design school at Northumbria University’s two most famous graduates would be Max Lamb and Jonathan Ive. At one end of the spectrum is Lamb, a designer so consumed with the act of making and the transparency of process that he films himself fabricating each piece from start to finish and posts the results on his website. On the other is Ive, who’s responsible for an object that’s more of a cipher, one that conceals its mechanics within and successfully erases any questions about how the way it works or the context in which it was made. But perhaps the difference between the two designers is as simple as the difference between their concentrations at university: Ive graduated from a Northumbria program known as Design for Industry, which focuses on consumer experience, while Lamb finished a course called Three-Dimensional Design, where the act of making is as paramount as the artifact itself. It’s the latter program that’s yielded the Designers in Residence who have exhibited at ICFF, for two years running, a collection of products known as Tools for Everyday Life, and it’s in Lamb’s footsteps that those designers follow.

  12. 06.01.12
    What We Saw
    At New York Design Week 2012, Part IV: The Rest

    At 8:15 AM on Monday, May 21, I heard it in my sleep: thunder, really loud thunder, loud enough to wake me up and send me flying to the window in a panic. The Noho Design District’s 22 Bond space had shown signs of roof leakage during setup earlier that week, and with torrential downpours seeming imminent, I threw on shoes and glasses and rushed meet Jill at the space to begin damage control. Thus went the day, as we scrambled to clean up puddles and position buckets underneath the growing indoor deluge, our dreams of making it to the rest of New York Design Week’s offsite shows slipping away from us by the hour. We’d seen Wanted Design and Matter the day before, but as fate would have it, there would be no Boffo Show House for us this year, nor would we make it to Model Citizens, despite a valiant effort which saw us sprinting up the stairs of the venue fifteen minutes before the show was scheduled to close, only to find that almost everyone had packed up early. Luckily the American Design Club’s Raw + Unfiltered exhibition at Heller Gallery — part two of the Karlsson’s Unfiltered project — remained on view later that week, so we paid it a belated visit. (The Boffo house is up through June 4, though as of press time we hadn’t been able to get there quite yet; ditto for the Herman Miller pop-up shop, on until July 1.) Next year, if they haven’t quite perfected cloning technology just yet, we at least hope to nip this problem in the bud with a more foolproof modern invention: interns.

  13. 06.01.12
    What We Saw
    At New York Design Week 2012, Part III: The Noho Design District

    The question we get most often about curating and producing three years’ worth of Noho Design Districts isn’t “Can you spare an invite to the VIP party” or even “How can I show my work with you?” but “How on earth do you two do it?” This year was our biggest and best event yet: We had two new hubs (the empty former print lab at 22 Bond Street and The Standard, East Village hotel on Cooper Square); two new international partners (London’s Tom Dixon took over the basement of the Bleecker Street Theater while DMY Berlin hit the American circuit downstairs at 22 Bond); and exhibitions so big that one of them stretched across two different venues (The Future Perfect’s showcase busted the seams of its Great Jones flagship, continuing up the street at 2 Cooper Square).

  14. 05.29.12
    What We Saw
    At New York Design Week 2012, Part I: ICFF

    We may have spent most of our New York Design Week(end) tending to the most successful Noho Design District ever — wrap-up post coming soon! — but this year we were determined to see as much of everyone else’s presentations as possible, including spending more time walking the International Contemporary Furniture Fair at the Javits, checking in with old friends while discovering new talents. And since Roll & Hill opted not to reprise the bar they plopped in the middle of the fair last year, plying us with beers and chips as we charged our phones and completely lost track of time, we were able to do a relatively thorough sweep before racing back out into the sunshine again. We started out just snapping products we loved, but then couldn’t resist adding a Sight Unseen twist, so we asked some of the more adventurous designers and brand ambassadors to strike a pose with one of their new pieces — which turned out to be a welcome break from the tedium of spending one’s days doing business inside a windowless convention center. See our highlights here, then stay tuned for our roundup of this year’s offsite shows.

  15. 05.14.12
    Noho Design District
    The Balloon Factory at Japan Premium Beef

    As traditions go, you can’t get much better than the one that will commence this Friday in the window of the tiny Great Jones butcher shop Japan Premium Beef: An annual display of custom meat-themed installations, rendered in various incongruous materials. It started during the 2010 Noho Design District, with the delicate glass sausages that won Fabrica’s Sam Baron a similar commission for T magazine earlier this year. And it will continue for 2012 with a series of inflatable meat balloons — whose prototypes are pictured above — that are being specially created for us by the Chicago designers behind the Balloon Factory project. We asked Caroline Linder, Lisa Smith, Michael Savona, and Steven Haulenbeek for the skinny on their savory new creation, which we invite you to visit this weekend at the Noho Design District.

  16. 05.03.12
    The Making Of
    Sneak Peek at the 2012 Noho Design District

    If we’ve been quiet this week, it’s because — as usual — we’re up to something big, something outside the realm of the digital. In this case, that something is the 2012 Noho Design District, taking place in New York’s Noho neighborhood in just two short weeks, from May 18 to 21. We founded the NDD three years ago to ensure that there would always be a place for the kind of design we love during New York Design Week — independent talents, innovative brands, and an emphasis on the creative, not just the commercial — and our efforts have only grown since then. With the help of the local organization Noho-Bowery Stakeholders, this year’s show promises more locations than ever, including two new brand new hubs: the former photo studio at 22 Bond, and the Standard, East Village hotel, where Sonos will help us host a series of exhibitions that includes a showcase of California design curated by your faithful editors. Other exciting developments: The new city-wide design-week coalition we’re a part of (check out the DesignweekNYC.org site for details), and a shuttle that will be looping around town to all the hotspots during ICFF, including Noho. There’s still a lot left to be done before then, but we wanted to take a moment to give you a sneak peek of what’s in progress; the process images below were submitted by some of the designers whose work you’ll see on view at the Noho Design District. We can’t wait to show you the final results.

  17. 05.25.11
    What We Saw
    At ICFF 2011, via Pin-Up’s Felix Burrichter and Dwell’s Sam Grawe

    If you’ve been paying attention, you know by now that the Sight Unseen team spent nearly all of New York Design Week this year holed up in an abandoned lumber building, manning our very first pop-up shop and attending to all the talents we had on board for the second Noho Design District. Did we experience the rest of the weekend’s offerings to their fullest? Not by a longshot. But we couldn’t quite move on without offering readers some kind of behind-the-scenes take on the festivities, so we enlisted the help of two friends whose viewpoints we trust entirely and asked them be our eyes and ears: Sam Grawe, the endearingly burly editor-in-chief of Dwell, and Felix Burrichter, founder of Pin-Up magazine and local man-about-town. Grawe offered us a mini-photo album of insider moments he particularly cherished — including the back room at the Javits, pictured above, where “judging the Editors Awards requires collateral and fluids” — while Burrichter made us a list of his top 10 (er, 11) highlights from this year’s show, perhaps the next best thing to cloning ourselves. See things their way right here.

  18. 07.23.10
    The Making Of
    Amy Helfand’s Garland Rugs

    Even though Brooklyn-based artist Amy Helfand has been designing rugs on commission from her Red Hook studio since 2004 — hand-knotted wool rugs, it should be mentioned, that sell for at least $125 a square foot — she still has trouble defining herself in those terms. “Up until recently, I never really thought about rugs,” she says. “I thought about making my artwork, and some of that artwork I’d make into rugs. But it was never like ‘Ok, this one comes in 5×7 and 6×9.’

  19. 05.24.10
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Noho Design District

    Even non-New Yorkers know Soho, the swath of land below Houston Street in Manhattan, colonized by artists in the ’60s and now the domain of the rich and the retail-obsessed. Noho, on the other hand, still flirts with obscurity, despite having been home to some of the city’s most legendary artists — Robert Mapplethorpe, Frank Stella, and Chuck Close, to name a few — as well as its first Herzog and de Meuron building. Sure, as an emerging neighborhood with several hotels on the rise, its streets are often crisscrossed with ungainly spiderwebs of scaffolding, but beneath that lies a creative energy so strong we at Sight Unseen figured it would be the perfect place to create a new satellite destination during New York design week: the Noho Design District. All of the elements were already there.

  20. 05.21.10
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    New Useless Machines at Oak & Rogan

    Back in January, when we first began contemplating how we would program Noho Design District — the just-completed four-day design extravaganza produced and curated by Sight Unseen and held in conjunction with New York’s ICFF — one thing was clear: Come hell or high water, we’d find a way to pull off an exhibition we’d been obsessing over for months, ever since the re-release last summer of the 1966 Bruno Munari classic Design As Art. Among the late Italian designer’s musings, photos, diagrams, and sketches, we were reminded of his childlike fascination with hanging mobiles — or as he calls them, useless machines.

  21. 05.20.10
    The Making Of
    Apartamento's Tasca Dinner

    Most people run around during ICFF frantically gathering design leads. But for Apartamento editor Marco Velardi, it was zucchini — about 6 pounds per night, to be exact. Tasked with organizing three dinners during the furniture fair in New York, “I had to pick them every day, individually, choosing ones that weren’t too big or too fucked up as the skin was an important part of the dish,” he says. “I got to know all the guys working in the fresh veggie department at Whole Foods, and I imagine they thought I was the crazy zucchini guy when I kept asking for more.” The summer squash became a salad doused with lemon and olive oil, the second of four courses at the dinner Sight Unseen attended this past Sunday along with Todd Selby, Rich Brilliant Willing, the editors of Dossier, and half a dozen other New York creatives.

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