Tag Archives: London

  1. 03.06.14
    Eye Candy
    The Fruit Shop by Hsian Jung

    Taiwan-born, London-based Hsian Jung works as a curator and interior stylist, but in his spare time, he recently started a hand-formed ceramics line called The Fruit Shop, through whose website he releases collections inspired by individual fruits and vegetables. “Friends were describing my pottery as reminiscent of sweet melons and pumpkins, an insight that inspired this project,” explains Jung. To launch his first series, based around the cantaloupe, he styled a series of photographs using “cheap objects from daily life that have similar color tones as the ceramics but totally different textures,” he says.

  2. 02.15.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of February 10, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: sculptures made from deconstructed window blinds and laminate floors, a book on vintage corporate identity design manuals, a series of fake Cuban shop windows (pictured above), and the most excitement we’ve ever experienced over a bar of soap.

  3. 01.23.14
    Eye Candy
    Sevak Zargarian, Ceramicist

    Sevak Zargarian is a London-based graduate of the Central Saint Martins undergrad course in Ceramics, for which his final project was the series of Grogged Vases pictured in the first half of this post. To make them, Zargarian first creates his own “grog” — broken-up scraps of stained and fired clay normally mixed into pottery to invisibly prevent kiln shrinkage — then makes a plaster bowl mold, which he dips into a bucket of grog-filled slip in a reverse-casting process. His Grogged Jars, below, use smaller grog bits and conventional plaster molds. Zargarian focuses on process- and materials-driven experimentation based around the tactile qualities of clay, yet rather than only celebrating the hand-made element of his work, he’s more interested in how he might someday apply his studio discoveries to industrial production.

  4. 01.22.14
    Peer Review
    Henny Nistelrooy on I’m Revolting

    Like so many small-town kids before him, Henny van Nistelrooy didn’t move to just any city. He moved to the most tightly layered and epochally dense cities he could find, the sorts of places that have already had a dozen lifetimes. After graduating from London’s Royal College of Art, Van Nistelrooy launched his design studio in London in 2008 and then moved to Beijing, another capital with more than a bit of historical fiber. They’re fitting locales for Van Nistelrooy’s textile process of taking seemingly finished material and slowly unraveling the threads for an entirely new weave.

  5. 12.20.13
    Excerpt: Book
    Dixonary

    If we had to elect the most Sight Unseen–like book ever published, Tom Dixon’s Dixonary might land at the very top of that list. In the intro he writes, “A book about me? I wasn’t sure I needed one — at least until I am dead, at which point people can write what they like.” But personally we wish this kind of book existed for all of our favorite visual artists. In it, Dixon pairs photographs of his own designs, dating all the way back to his early-’80s punk days, with the images that inspired them, and then tells the micro-stories behind each one. There are obvious pairings (Dixon’s Lustre lights with an oil spill, for example) and those that are more obscure (his 1994 Jack Light with concrete sea defenses from Yakushima Island, Japan). The book fleshes out the more well-known contours of Dixon’s story. For instance, we knew he was a welder, but did we imagine that meant he spent time in the early ’80s making chairs out of things like frying pans and ladles? Those early experiments — so far from the more polished work Dixon creates under his own label these days — are one of the most fascinating aspects of the book, so we’ve excerpted a few of our favorites after the jump.

  6. 12.18.13
    Up and Coming
    Lola Lely, furniture designer

    Lola Lely was born in Hanoi, Vietnam, but, having moved to London when she was only five, the rising design star can claim native east Londoner status — a rare feat in the area’s bustling international design scene. Her interest in making dates back nearly as far; her mother, a seamstress, was always “knitting or crocheting, making clothes or coasters.” Her Foundation tutor, ceramicist Bo Davies, guided Lely down the path to product design, to satisfy her interest in various disciplines and materials. But now that she’s there, she says, “none of my projects seem to have an end point. I like restlessness, when I don’t know where something is going. It’s a little bit serendipitous.”

  7. 12.11.13
    Eye Candy
    72Editions.com

    2013 was a good year for buying affordable art online. The long-dormant 20×200 relaunched in beta, Exhibition A proved stronger than ever, sites like Artfully Walls debuted, and countless independent designers began selling prints via their own webshops. As of last week, you can add to that list 72 Editions, a new online destination for limited edition contemporary art and artifacts, curated by London’s YCN creative network, whose offerings start around $60. We’ve already spotted a few favorites among the mix — Saskia Pomeroy’s graphic illustrations, and really lovely photography by designer Cristian Zuzunaga (above) — but we were also excited to see a few artists lesser known to us (how great are Chris Jarrett’s hand-whittled slingshots, below?). Immediately bookmarkable.

  8. 10.15.13
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Oscar Wanless for Riess, at Vienna Design Week

    Oscar Wanless is one half of Silo Studio, the London twosome whose unorthodox investigations into industrial materials have graced Sight Unseen more than a few times. But when I met up with him during last month’s London Design Festival, I found that his latest solo project was also more than worth a mention. For this year’s Vienna Design Week, Wanless worked with Riess, a ninth-generation enamelware company based in Ybbsitz, a small town in southern Austria. The factory has been knocking out metal pots and pans since 1550, and enamelling them at its Austrian headquarters for nearly a hundred years as well. Wanless came on board to disrupt the company’s tried, tested, and perfected process.

  9. 09.27.13
    Eye Candy
    Kim Thome, Designer

    Kim Thome’s creates vivid installations of patterns utilizing the reflective magic of mirrors. Works on Reflection II exhibited this summer at William Benington Gallery in London. Each wall is painted with brightly colored diagonal stripes while mirrors are strategically placed in the center of the gallery for optimal reflection. The result is mind bending plaids and gingham style patterns, criss crossing diagonally as reflected on the glass. True beauty! Thome lives and works in London.

  10. 09.25.13
    Eye Candy
    Eleanor Davies, Artist

    Eleanor Davies’s enormous, gigantic, puff ball of a pom pom is mind blowing. Entitled Over 200 Beautiful Colours Davies creation is made from wool, newspaper and rope. Her photographs documenting ‘the wrapping’ process are art in themselves. Cutting through layers and layers of yarn must have have quite a feat. It’s the pom pom to end all pom poms. Davies lives and works in London.

  11. 09.25.13
    What We Saw
    At the 2013 London Design Festival

    If someone was going to attend the London Design Festival in our place this year — a circumstance that normally fills us with a mix of raging jealousy and resigned disappointment — we’re super glad it was Matylda Krzykowski, one of our favorite fellow design bloggers, who on her site Mat and Me manages to nail the same up-close-and-personal vibe we hew to here at Sight Unseen. She captured the perfect overview of the fair for us, even though she only had one day to explore it: Her plane in from Hong Kong landed at 5:40AM this past Saturday, at which point she quickly took a bath, rearranged her suitcase, and bolted back out the door by 9:30AM to begin her reportage. “I had literally had six 6 hours that day to look around before departing to Switzerland the next day for my duties at Depot Basel,” she says. “I started off in South Kensington, then hit the Brompton Design District, then Central London, and finally the East End.” How’s that for dedication? Check out the things she spotted, and the people she said hello to along the way, after the jump.

  12. 09.20.13
    Eye Candy
    Esme Winter, Paper Collection

    Esme Winter presents stylish and celebratory patterned papers. Hooray! A mesh between Japanese papers and Bauhaus textile prints Esme Winter presents a color saturated solution for your gifts and goods. “Esme together with her partner, Richard Sanderson, invest themselves in a kind of design that wraps, ends and lines objects.” Beyond the beauty of the papers, the photographs themselves are a playful presentation of the collection. Stack them up!

  13. 09.20.13
    The View From Here
    LDF13: Modus Furniture in Somerset, UK

    Despite being closely associated with the UK, and with top Brit designers like Simon Pengelly and PearsonLloyd, there’s nothing particularly British about Modus’s actual furniture: Sleek, modern, and mostly solid in color and material, its sofas, lights, and chairs have a kind of pan-European or even slightly Scandinavian feel. So we were surprised to see the brand celebrating its new London Design Festival launches (pictured after the jump) with a companion exhibition of striking photographs by Angela Moore, which document the otherworldly landscapes of rural Somerset, England — the home of Modus HQ. “Shooting the local landscape is a little random for us,” says Modus co-founder and Somerset native Jon Powell, who credits London creative agency Studio Small with the idea. “But it actually made sense to us to say look, we’re British, and we’re committed to sustainable design.” In addition to all eight of Moore’s images, which are on view this week and next in the show “Out of Sight” at Modus’s London showroom, we asked Powell to tell us a little bit more about the brand’s home base, and what it’s like making very urban furniture from a place that’s anything but.

  14. 09.17.13
    Eye Candy
    LDF 2013: Mountain Light by Studio Swine

    Studio Swine introduces a light shining bright with inspiration from mid century modern West Coast architecture. Swine explains, “…the vacation homes of Palm Springs where wild landscapes of desserts and canyons are integrated with playful luxury interiors and glass facades.” Its faux marble finish and jutting dimensional angles exudes a mountainous landscape while tubular brass legs provide height and atmosphere. Catch a glimpse of Mountain Light debuting at London Design Festival happening now.

  15. 09.17.13
    What They Bought
    LDF 2013: So Sottsass at Darkroom London

    Had we thought of it ourselves, “That’s so Sottsass” is a phrase we might have used hundreds of times over the past five years to describe all the designs spawned by the recent mega-Memphis revival. Crazy colors, clashing patterns, geometric shapes on shapes — it all came rushing back in homage to Ettore and his crew, a fact which the intrepid duo behind our fave London store Darkroom chose to acknowledge this week with the debut of their So Sottsass collection. Launching last night — day one of this year’s London Design Festival — the installation includes both Memphis-like objects by outside designers and new pillows and wrapping papers conceived by Darkroom owners Rhonda Drakeford and Lulu Roper-Caldbeck as part of their ongoing in-house collection. There’s also an amazing window display by up-and-coming Italian stylists StudioPepe. Drakeford took time out of her crazy LDF schedule to not only share photos of So Sottsass with us, but to tell us the inspiration behind the collection: “At Darkroom, we’ve always had a penchant for maximalist modernism — bold colour palettes, big patterns, and brave combinations,” she says. “In a decade of ‘greige,’ we love exploring how being bold and playful with design can fit into modern life.”

  16. 09.13.13
    Eye Candy
    Marina Dragomirova, Product Designer

    Marina Dragomirova’s woven ‘Fuchila’ chairs are a brilliant blend of hard and soft design. Delicate threads create the warp, strung skillfully around the chairs’ bars. Thick wool is woven into the thread to make a soft cushion. The frame of the chair becomes the loom and the weaving forms the seat. Dragomirova writes, ‘Fuchila is a woven chair inspired by Bulgarian carpet making traditions that developed into a research of the basics of weaving.’ She lives and works between London and Sofia.

  17. 09.03.13
    Up and Coming
    James Shaw, Furniture Designer

    I recently wrote an article for a forthcoming issue of Architectural Digest on the London talent Anton Alvarez, whose Thread-Wrapping Machine has captivated the design world as of late, and in it, his gallerist Libby Sellers makes the point that what’s so of the moment about his work is that he isn’t just making objects, he’s making the object that makes the objects. And it’s so true: Many of the more interesting young designers we’ve come across in the past few years have been the ones shifting their focus towards developing their own weird and wonderful production processes, like Silo Studio for instance. There’s just something about this unexpected inventiveness that captures people’s curiosity, which explains why the latest project by newcomer James Shaw — a series of homemade “guns” that spray or extrude materials into or onto furnishings — went viral on the design blogs shortly after he presented it at his RCA graduation show. In work like his, it’s about the journey, not just the destination. So Sight Unseen, right?

  18. 08.07.13
    Eye Candy
    Alice Foxen, Artist

    Alice Foxen combs the roadways collecting odds and ends (aka rubbish). In her series ‘Road Works,’ she’s created objects inspired by what she’s found, which are themselves later placed back in the street. Outside you may find one of her pieces sprouting out of a gutter, mimicking its lined and tubed shape. The forms capture the essence of ooze, crust, and gunk: Nasty, beautiful things. Foxen lives and works in London.

  19. 08.02.13
    Eye Candy
    Some Wow, Ceramics

    Some Wow are some crazy good ceramics crafted by William Edmonds (also known as one third of the Nous Vous collective). His curvaceous cups are glazed multiple times with speckles and lines in hues of greens, blues and peaches. The magic is in the stack—the vessels sit snug on top one another–or just as striking, the solo mug. Edmonds lives and works in London. Some Wow made in 2013, contact Edmonds if interested in his stellar stoneware.

  20. 07.12.13
    Eye Candy
    Studio Toogood for Phillip Lim

    Phillip Lim’s latest collection is on display as a pop up shop at Selfridges designed by the fantastic visions of Studio Toogood. Inspired by the epic poem Paradise Lost by John Milton, Studio Toogood manufactured a heavenly space for Lim to exhibit his pieces. A magnificent scene of smoky mountains and lush foliage are backdrop to the many objects and clothing that inhabit the space. A mix of greens and coppers form an earthy palette.

  21. 07.10.13
    Eye Candy
    Saskia Pomeroy, Illustrator

    Saskia Pomery’s super shapes and dott-y patterns glide freely over and under one another. Primary colors mesh swimmingly with Miami Vice like pastel hues. She recently collaborated with fashion designer Rebecca Torres to create a skintight series of bodysuits and slinky dresses in printing geometric graphics onto modern performance fabrics. Perfect fit prints. Pomery lives and works in London.

  22. 07.08.13
    Sighted
    Q+A With Hannah Waldron on Designboom

    If I was a bit late to the Hannah Waldron party, only discovering her work in May at the Here & There exhibition that Field and Various Projects put on during our Noho Design District event, it’s probably only because I have a deep, embarrassing secret that, until today, I’ve never admitted publicly: I don’t know why, but I just don’t like most contemporary illustration all that much, particularly when it’s figurative. Which means that I can sometimes throw the baby out with the bathwater, failing to notice the work I do love because I’m so busy filtering out the work I don’t. Waldron definitely falls into the former camp for me, probably because she has such an intricate, graphic style — she’s more influenced by the Bauhaus, for example, than the aesthetics of street art or cartooning. The woven Map Tapestries she exhibited at Here & There (and previously at Rossana Orlandi gallery in Milan this past April) feature long, abstract representations of her journeys from one place to another, plotting the transition in landscape between, say, Tokyo and a hot spring in Japan’s Gunma prefecture (pictured above). Check out some of Waldron’s works in this lovely Q+A, excerpted below, that ran recently on Designboom.

  23. 06.17.13
    What We Saw
    At DMY 2013

    One half of Sight Unseen may currently be stationed in Berlin, but when it came to covering DMY last week — the 10-year-old fair for young designers that takes place here annually at the decommissioned Tempelhof airport — we passed the torch to our longtime friend and sometime SU contributor, Thorsten van Elten of the online shop Theo, while we jetted off to Basel. In Berlin from London for a few days on a whim, partly to check out the fair’s offerings and partly as a tax-deductible excuse to revisit one of his favorite cities, van Elten documented for us his personal DMY selections, but also key moments from his romp through town — all couched in his crazy sense of humor. Scroll through his DMY travel diary below, then head over to Theo to check out what he does for a living.

  24. 06.04.13
    Up and Coming
    Hazel Stark, designer

    If this is what Hazel Stark can come up with spending only one or two days a week in the studio, we’d love to see what she could do working fulltime. The London-based designer spends most days tending the website, marketing and events for bagmaker Ally Capellino, but on her off days she slips away to a shared studio space in Hackney to dabble in ceramics and textiles infused with the same lighthearted cheer she exhibited when I phoned her up last month. But who’s to say she’ll ever take the fulltime plunge? “I started out as an artist’s assistant, and it helped me figure out the ways to run a design business before I ever started designing,” Stark says. “In some ways, seeing other people struggle put me off a bit! So it’s baby steps for now.”

  25. 05.06.13
    Up and Coming
    Poetic Lab & Studio Shikai, Designers

    As anyone who’s spent even a passing amount of time with us knows, one of our favorite games is playing “spot the next design star.” There are lots of places to look, of course — our most recent obsession being the treasure trove that is Instagram — but the granddaddy of them all is Salone Satellite, the young designers showcase that sets up shop on the edge of Milan’s fairgrounds each year. Before blogs, before ICFF Studio, before the London Design Festival even existed, there was Satellite, which in the past has been a launching pad for designers like Front, Nendo, Paul Loebach, Jonah Takagi, and Matali Crasset, to name a few.

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