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Before and After: Our First Home Makeover

This winter, designer Eunsun Park was living with her boyfriend in a sunny studio apartment on New York's Lower East Side that contained almost no furniture. That's when she spotted the auction we were hosting on eBay in partnership with Paypal, which offered a personal home makeover by Sight Unseen's editors to the highest bidder. Forty-eight bids later, Park emerged the winner, we got to make over her tiny apartment from top to bottom — see the before and after photos after the jump!
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Week of February 2, 2015

A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: two groundbreakingly gorgeous ways to hang your clothes, two making-of videos featuring Misha Kahn and Rafael de Cardenas, and two of the hottest Mexican talents to come out of the Zona Maco art show.
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If you don’t have the fortitude to build your own Sculpey mobile, of course, you can always purchase one of Fort Makers’ existing wooden mobile designs in the studio’s online shop.

Make a Sculpey Mobile, With Fort Makers

The team behind Fort Makers don’t refer to themselves as a design studio but rather an “artist collective,” and there’s a marked difference: They make functional objects, but instead of producing a stream of products with a unified aesthetic, they each work individually under the studio umbrella, experimenting with whatever interests them at any given time. In a way, it’s that same sense of structureless structure that first attracted Noah Spencer to the idea of making mobiles: You can hang pretty much anything from them, as long as you get the balance right. “Any kind of visual language can be carried into the mobile world,” says Spencer, a Paul Loebach and Uhuru Design alum who co-founded Fort Makers in 2008. While he primarily makes models hung with simple wooden shapes, he’s also been toying around lately with more expressive elements made from polymer clay (aka Sculpey), a method he graciously offered to teach Sight Unseen readers in this tutorial.
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Jamie Wolfond of Good Thing

When we're asked by other journalists to talk about the evolution of American design, we pretty much always point to the same thing: the rise of independent designers and studios producing and selling their own work. Young American designers have increasingly become entrepreneurs in the past ten years, leveraging local manufacturing resources and online shopping platforms in order to bypass the need to wait around for big brands to do it for them. The latest such endeavor is Good Thing, a new company founded by designer Jamie Wolfond and based in New York that launches next week at NY NOW. Good Thing's first collection consists of nine products by six different designers, from a sand-cast aluminum trivet to a coiled-plastic vase to a handmade clay mug. We spoke to Wolfond about the new venture and how he's making it work.
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Constantin Boym at UrbanGlass

For anyone like us who "grew up," professionally speaking, in the New York design world in the last few decades, it was always with a sense of awareness of and deference to the scene's elder statesmen. Constantin and Laurene Boym, for example, set up Boym Partners back in 1986, and by the time we started circulating in 2005, they still felt markedly omnipresent, both critically and physically speaking. We suppose that's why it felt so surprising when these New York stalwarts up and left town in 2010, after Constantin accepted a two-year tenure as director of graduate design studies at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar. They disappeared from New York design events, parties, exhibitions, and talks, only occasionally sending dispatches to their mailing list about life on the other side of the globe. They returned to New York a year ago, but we hadn't really heard from them until now — with the launch of Constantin's new exhibition at Brooklyn's UrbanGlass, "Learning From the East," which opens this Saturday.
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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.
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Nick Ross’s Objects of Ambiquity Series

In the fictional narrative behind his Objects of Ambiquity series, Nick Ross is a designer from the future who's been hired by a history museum called The Institution to work as an "object mediator," delving into the origins and possible uses of any mysterious artifacts the rest of the staff can't identify. When he presented the project at the Konstfack graduate thesis show earlier this year — including his White Lies table (pictured above), A Mirror Darkly, and Baltic Gold shelves — he staged the presentation as if it were a snapshot from The Institution itself, his pieces being among the targets of his imagined discovery process. "The story of Objects of Ambiquity is a vessel used to highlight the role of fiction within historical records," says Ross. "While doing this, it simultaneously questions the designer’s possible future role within this context and how this will alter our understanding of what a museum is."
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Phantom: Mies as Rendered Society by Andrés Jaque

Considering Mies van der Rohe designed the 1929 Barcelona Pavilion to emphasize transparency and freedom of movement, you've got to hand it to the Spanish architect Andrés Jaque for his genius new exhibition "Phantom: Mies as Rendered Society," which plumbs the one part of the building that's always been both hidden and completely off limits to the public: its basement. When we spotted these images of the show on Dezeen last week, complete with broken window panes in the reflecting pool and an industrial vacuum on the patio, we kind of lost it — talk about sights unseen! Jaque's installation, the latest in a series of Barcelona Pavilion interventions by designers like SANAA and Ai Weiwei, takes what's basically an overlooked yet significant refuse pile and transforms it into something unmistakably gorgeous.
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Archivo Diario by Melinda Santillan and Marco Rountree Cruz

If you're the kind of person who pays attention to Pinterest, you may have spotted the playful image above making the rounds there as of late. But we can pretty much guarantee you don't know the story of the two Mexican artists who created it — and the blog it's pulled from, Archivo Diario — which turns out to be one of the more amusing tales we've heard in awhile. We were lucky enough to meet Marco Rountree Cruz and Melinda Santillan at a party thrown this fall by Jennilee Marigomen of 01 Magazine, and we decided to keep in touch with the Mexico City–based couple, who launched Archivo Diario three months ago both as a way to force themselves to create something new every day and to try their hand at working together (Cruz being a successful installation artist and Santillan more of an art director). But when we dug a little deeper, we found out that the endeavor was technically their second collaboration, and was in many ways a direct reaction to the failure of first: an elaborate script for a stylized telenovela that they dreamed of actually producing, but that has since languished in their desk drawer. We were so impressed by the couple's boundless creative ambitions — just wait until you hear about the crazy project Cruz is working on now — that we begged them to tell us everything
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Josep Román Barri, Graphic Designer

Josep Román Barri's latest project happens to be the art direction for a new website that's in the exact same spirit as our own: It goes behind the scenes in design, focusing on process rather than the final result. Should you ever have doubted that the world needs more of this kind of reporting, though, try searching for behind-the-scenes information on young talents like Román Barri himself, whose work has certainly made the blog rounds as of late but who might scarcely have a turn under the microscope if it weren't for sites like ours. When we first caught a glimpse of his fledgling oeuvre, all we could glean was that he was a 26-year-old Barcelona-born graphics graduate who studied technical engineering before turning his hand to two-dimensional design, and that he had a way with color and typography. So we emailed him and asked him to introduce his work, and he gladly obliged — now that wasn't so hard, was it?
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Bec Brittain’s Lattice Candelabra

When we last did a studio visit with Bec Brittain, we made a brief mention of her new candelabra design, which — as depicted in that slideshow — was just a formless pile of metal tube segments at the time. While it's still something of a work in progress, Brittain decided to share it with Sight Unseen readers today anyway, originally planning to photograph it on the High Line and then ultimately finding inspiration a bit closer to home. And when we say home, we mean the building that houses her Red Hook studio, also referenced briefly in our March story: the E.R. Butler headquarters and production facility, which we only got a quick glimpse of that day, but whose awesomeness we may have failed to properly convey. It's a 10,000 square foot renovated warehouse with a hauntingly beautiful courtyard and the kind of gritty factory floor most makers go nuts for, and in the photos she shot for us, Brittain borrowed that industrial scenery to use as a metaphor for her own working process.
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ROLU’s Settee X Three at Sit and Read Gallery

It's fitting that the boys from ROLU would choose to introduce the show they opened this past Saturday at Williamsburg's Sit and Read Gallery with this quote from American sculptor Richard Artschwager: "Everything matters. An itchy nose, scratching it; a distant train. A bit of coffee left in the mug. My hand grasping the mug, the thumb providing guidance. Every encounter with another person... etc." Beyond being a mantra as of late for the Minneapolis-based studio, its core message — everything matters — could easily describe the approach they and most of our other design friends took to ICFF weekend: Why do one show when you can cram in three, or four? Thus while Sit and Read's Kyle Garner was installing his hand-dyed Sling Chairs at our Modern Craft show at the Merchant's House Museum, he was also prepping his gallery for the exhibition with ROLU, who were also installing new pieces at the Boffo Show House and at the No Frontier show with Volume Gallery at Mondo Cane in Tribeca. As a working method, everything matters may actually be dangerous to one's health, but when applied to a single design project, it turns out the results are pretty stunning — in this case, a series of furnishings and experiments that will be on view at Sit and Read through July 1. Click through to see what ROLU co-founder Matt Olson had to say about the project, and watch a video documenting how one part of it came to life.
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