Tag Archives: London

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.”

  5. 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.

  6. 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?

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.”

  14. 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.

  15. 03.25.13
    Sighted
    Tom Dixon’s New Mass Coat and Book Stands

    Tom Dixon has long been considered a master of metal (thanks, famously, to an early motorcycle accident requiring extensive bike repairs for which he learned, then fell in love with, welding). So we weren’t the least bit surprised when we received a press release this morning revealing the London designer’s newest wares — set to be released in two weeks at the Milan Furniture Fair — that contained a veritable smorgasbord of copper, cast-iron, brass, and shiny stainless steel, with a small contingent of nickel-plated aluminum tables that pair the faceting of a cut gem with the roughed-up surface of a silver ingot. There was one thing that really stood out for us, though: two minimalist brass sculptures, each an imposing 6.5 feet tall, one for holding books and the other for hanging coats. They’re so different from anything we’ve seen Dixon show lately that they almost beg the question as to what new wunderkind he’s brought on staff, but either way, they’re a win. Someone with good taste, a huge budget, and high ceilings is about to make us very jealous.

  16. 03.05.13
    Eye Candy
    Daniel Eatock, Artist

    Daniel Eatock is a London based artist formally trained in graphic design who practices “a rational, logical and pragmatic approach when making work.” His 2012 series of complementary objects, One + One, demonstrates this utilitarian method. The series was developed at Stanley Picker Gallery, Kingston University over the course of his fellowship. Gallery Director Stanley Picker writes, “[Eatock]…establishes a range of formal, practical or conceptual conceits connecting two otherwise independently existing objects.” Aka, object mash up.

  17. 02.19.13
    Sighted
    The Faye Toogood Collection at We See Beauty

    When we first heard that Faye Toogood, one of our all-time favorite furniture designers and stylists, had been trysting with the make-up industry, creating a concept collection for the recently launched beauty brand MAKE — well, we weren’t one bit surprised. After all, Toogood has made a career of never quite doing what you’d expect her to do. What’s surprising, actually, is why more designers haven’t tried their hand at beauty. To dabble in a new discipline like fashion or ceramics would involve acquiring a rigorous new skill set. But to devise a collection for an existing makeup brand, as Toogood has, requires only a preternatural sense of materiality and color, both of which the designer has in spades.

  18. 02.08.13
    Up and Coming
    Ya Wen Chou, Textile and Product Designer

    Ahh, design school — where navel-gazing and the pretentions of identity art are not only tolerated, but encouraged (on days when the lesson plan doesn’t focus on sustainability or people with disabilities, of course). It’s easy for lesser talents to get sucked too far into these themes and end up with over-baked work that either borders on kitsch or is completely irrelevant to the wider world, but when done right, the results can be both beautiful and culturally illuminating — as in the case of Ya Wen Chou, who used her time in the RCA’s textile department to dig into the traditions of her grandmother and her home country of Taiwan. “My grandmother’s house was always full of handicrafts made by Taiwanese artisans,” she told the Arts Thread blog last year, explaining a main source of her inspiration. And her Precious Objects project — which first caught our eye on Pinterest — explores her culture’s traditional reverence for nature’s role in everyday life, which does feel rather universal, having a lot in common with everything from Icelandic elf mythology to Native American spirituality. Read more about Chou’s point of view in our interview after the jump.

  19. 02.04.13
    Up and Coming
    Stephanie Hornig, Furniture Designer

    One of our favorite things to do when we discover the work of a new designer is to play the internship guessing game. You can typically spot a former Bouroullec acolyte, for example, just by their use of shape and color. But Stephanie Hornig? With forms this clean and utilitarian, we never would have guessed she once worked for the doyenne of decoration, Patricia Urquiola. Perhaps a more telling clue in Hornig’s case is the fact that the Austrian-born talent went to design school in Berlin before moving on to her current home in London — her geometric tables, accordion shelves, and minimalist chairs lean more towards functionalism and the beauty of classic everyday objects, albeit subtly tweaked with new colors and ideas. We asked the recent graduate to tell us a bit more about her fledgling practice, which we’ll no doubt be keeping an eye on.

  20. 01.23.13
    Invitation
    Kelly Rakowski’s “Life With Max Lamb Prism”

    Here at Sight Unseen, we’re a bit like a college application — fixated on versatility, and in awe of anyone who’s proven themselves equally gifted across a spectrum of interests and activities. So it’s no wonder we became fast friends with someone like Kelly Rakowski, who studied graphics, worked as a book designer for Todd Oldham for five years, started a blog revolving around her obsession with archival textiles, and now makes weavings, housewares, and jewelry as one half of the label New Friends. She’s an artist, a designer, and a stylist, and when we asked her to art-direct a special editorial featuring Max Lamb’s Prism Bangle — commissioned by us for the Sight Unseen Shop — it was no surprise that she understood our vision immediately. Max’s bangle, after all, is way more than just a bangle; it began life as a sculptural object and was adapted for us to wearable proportions, but it still feels just as at home on a desk as it does around your wrist or hanging from your neck. For this slideshow, Rakowski imagined several creative uses for the Prism’s four discrete parts, from spaghetti dosing to cookie-cutting, then photographed her ideas in action.

  21. 01.11.13
    Studio Visit
    Silo Studio, Furniture Designers

    Oscar Wanless and Attua Aparicio certainly aren’t the first design students to have clashed with an industrial manufacturer, showing up the so-called experts by proving a seemingly impossible process quite possible after all. But the RCA grads—who now collaborate as Silo Studio—are certainly the first we’ve heard of whose triumph so impressed said manufacturer that they were asked to move into the factory. At an industrial park 45 minutes outside the center of London, Silo operates out of a small warehouse room on the premises of Jablite, the U.K.’s largest maker of styrofoam insulation panels. “They’ve got steam, which is how we produce what we produce,” explains Wanless, that being lumpy polystyrene furnishings once compared to “stage scenery for a production of Hansel and Gretel on acid.”

  22. 01.09.13
    Up and Coming
    Gemma Holt, designer

    Gemma Holt is one of those designers who seems to be both everywhere and nowhere at once. If you’re organizing a group exhibition heavy on young designers or putting together a collection of talents for an expertly curated new shop, chances are she’s on your list: The RCA-trained, London-based designer’s work often has conceptually rigorous thinking behind it, but her forms are usually quite simple and her jewelry pieces are the sort of elegantly crafted bits that tend to fly off the shelves. If you’re the average Pinterest-happy design-lover, however, you might not know a whit about her, considering there’s maddeningly little written about Holt on the web. It’s possible she keeps a purposefully low profile; after all, she’s worked for years for one of the biggest names in furniture design (Martino Gamper). But today the secret’s out: We’re taking it upon ourselves to introduce you both to Holt herself and to three of her incredible pieces, which we’ve recently launched in the shop. (Above: O&D bangles, $380)

  23. 12.20.12
    Up and Coming
    Fabien Cappello, Furniture Designer

    Whatever Fabien Cappello’s studies at ECAL may have taught him about luxury, his subsequent grad degree at the RCA may have un-taught him: The London-based designer has made stools carved from trashed Christmas trees, Venetian glass vessels melted onto lowly bricks, and benches constructed from shipping pallets or punctuated with cheap street-vendors’ umbrellas. That’s not to say, of course, that Cappello’s work isn’t high end — it’s been shown at the likes of Libby Sellers Gallery and has won him an Elle Decoration New Designers Award — just that the materials and ideas he sees value in wouldn’t exactly be considered the norm. If he’s come a long way since setting up his own studio in 2009, it’s because his focus on local and overlooked resources has captured the curiosity of the design world, not just its eyes or its wallets. That said, with the world headed where it’s headed, his style of economical chic may become the new luxury before long, so we figured he was worth checking in with. He gave Sight Unseen a quick glimpse into his practice below.

  24. 11.30.12
    Q+A
    Milena Silvano on Intelligent Clashing

    Rhiannon Gilmore’s posts on Intelligent Clashing often begin with a tiny nugget of an idea — a pattern, a color, a shape — that after a bit of research flourishes into a loose, visually driven narrative. In her most recent post, though, the nugget wasn’t so much tiny as nearly floor-length: a beautifully draped woven silk poncho trimmed with fringe and edged with reclaimed and antique textiles. The poncho was the creation of Milena Silvano, a UK stylist-turned-slow fashion enthusiast who’s become something of an obsession for Gilmore in recent weeks: “For some time I’d been wondering: Where were the UK designers producing small, slow collections like those coming out of the States? I was thinking along the lines of ERMIE or Wiksten — collections that hold the personalities and the passions of the women who make them and are small enough to feel truly intimate and exclusive, in a warm wholesome way. I’d started to think there just wasn’t anyone working in this way here in the UK, and then I found Milena Silvano.”

  25. 11.23.12
    What We Saw
    At London’s Frieze Art Fair

    Which furniture designs do discerning art dealers truly prefer? Not to sell, but to sit in? That was the age-old question that photographer Sanna Helena Berger set out to answer while traversing the aisles of last month’s Frieze Art Fair. Her utterly unscientific answer? Four out of five discerning art dealers prefer Friso Kramer, or failing that, some variation on mid-century bentwood. Quelle surprise. A Swedish photographer based in London, Berger chose to hone in on the subject after her maiden voyage to Frieze — tagging along with a friend’s art class — proved otherwise underwhelming. “The space itself is divided into cubicles, very much like an overcrowded office, except that everything is crisp, bright, and white and within the cubicles the office wear is of a higher standard,” she explains. “Obviously I don’t claim that there was no worthwhile art there, because there certainly was, but the environment, the space, and the curation were not for me.” Instead of complaining, though, and jeopardizing her friend’s happy experience, Berger pulled out her camera and devoted the rest of the day to documenting art-booth furniture. Then she decided to share the results with usThen she decided to share the results with us, in a behind-the-scenes exposé that will no doubt put a lot of curious minds at ease, once and for all.

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