Tag Archives: materials

  1. 12.19.14
    Eye Candy
    Marble Basics from Melbourne

    Sibling camaraderie is nothing new in the design world. We’ve been familiar with brother teams like the Campanas, the Bouroullecs, and the Peets for years, as well as sister power duos like the women behind Building Block, Block Shop Textiles, and Twin Within. Now you can add to that list Bonnie and Bliss Adams, the Melbourne, Australia–based sisters behind the new label Marble Basics. The sisters have created a new collection of tabletop accessories, rendering all of your most essential housewares in that eternally chic material (and some not-so-essentials as well, though who doesn’t love a decorative obelisk?). Each object somehow conveys the luxuriousness and durability that stone entails while maintaining an approachable price point. The products are so simple in form and function, it’s hard to imagine a better name for the company—Marble Basics.

  2. 12.16.14
    Up and Coming
    Matthew Philip Williams, furniture designer

    The first work we ever knew from Portland, Oregon–based furniture designer Matthew Philip Williams was a collection he calls The Step-Family. The pieces, which were designed individually but at the same time, include a pinchpot mug in Yves Klein blue, a laminate and maple bench, and a steel and Douglas fir coat rack. The items are so aggressively functional — and make use of such logical and simple material choices — that you would never guess that Williams’s first inclination was to be a fine artist. After graduating from a material studies program in Richmond, Virginia, Williams headed to Portland to get an MFA in applied craft and design. “I had this vision of being in galleries, but I soon realized I was more mentally suited for functional stuff,” he says. “At the same time, I try to keep my hands and my head in both worlds, thinking about art and furniture and doing what seems right for each project.”

  3. 11.20.14
    Q&A
    Matthias Kaiser, artist

    I had a long conversation over email this week with Matthias Kaiser, whose masterful ceramic work was a personal highlight of the show I curated for Sight Unseen OFFSITE earlier this year. The exchange reaffirmed my sometimes-waning faith in ceramics, or in anything that suddenly becomes so widely hyped that it can feel like we’re too busy being professionals to remember what struck us through about the practice in the first place. Kaiser, who now lives in the Austrian countryside having previously apprenticed with Japanese master potters and spent a combined two years
    traveling on the Indian subcontinent, speaks with the deep humility that comes with not taking shortcuts — with digging for your own clay, for example, or moving to Isfahan to study Sufi mysticism. He compares himself to “bad clay,” talks about how losses are a part of the game, and makes a joke about beards.

  4. 11.19.14
    Studio Visit
    Egg Collective, furniture designers

    When Egg Collective launched their debut furniture collection at ICFF in 2012 — snagging a Best New Designer award in the process — they seemed to the design world to have come out of nowhere. And in fact, though the three — Stephanie Beamer, Crystal Ellis, and Hillary Petrie — met and began collaborating as 18-year-old freshmen at Washington University’s architecture school more than a decade ago, the truth is they had formally joined forces and had begun crafting an ICFF plan only six months earlier. “I remember the three of us sitting outside the Javits Center in our Budget truck, about to move in furniture that we’d been working on with no one having seen for six months,” says Beamer. “I was like, you guys, this is it. People could just walk by us the entire fair. But thankfully we seem to have struck a chord and the work resonated.”

  5. 11.10.14
    Eye Candy
    #Nannyart by Brandon E. Cannon

    “#NannyArt is a series that has been ongoing for about 4 months now, consisting of 50+ 5×7-inch canvas boards incorporating collage, painting, patterns, and household supplies. The end of this series will consist of 100 of the 5×7-inch canvas boards as well as a few large-scale paintings done in the same manner. The term #NannyArt came from the culture and lifestyle that I became accustomed to after making the move to Panama back in May. In Panama, the term “Nanny” is thrown around a lot because everyone has one. To have someone who comes to your home or apartment once or twice a week, some are even live-in, is more than common in Panama. There’s even an extra bedroom and bathroom in every home and apartment for live-in nannies. Over time while painting at my studio I began to take notice of some of the cleaning supplies my “nanny,” Lucre, was using on a day-to-day basis. The colors, patterns, and textures of the supplies began to catch my eye and greatly intrigued me. With the sudden idea of buying art supplies not at the art store but in the cleaning aisles of grocery stores or mini-marts #NannyArt began to take form.”

  6. 11.06.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    A New Layer at Östasiatiska Museet

    Turns out we’re not the only ones who have noticed Scandinavia’s re-emergence as a design powerhouse. In 2012, at the behest of the Taiwanese government, the National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute invited five Swedish designers — Gabriella Gustafson and Mattias Ståhlbom of TAF, Matti Klenell, Stina Löfgren, and Carina Seth Andersson — to visit their country in order to work with craftsmen to explore the world of lacquer techniques. From Taiwan’s point of view, the project was meant to boost interest in their native lacquer craft and to investigate the effects of combining lacquer work with Scandinavian design. But it was also a very savvy business decision: “Many producers in Taiwan are curious about the performance of IKEA, Muuto, and Hay ━ the entire Scandinavian success story,” says Klenell. “A lot of questions have been asked about that kind of thing: ‘How can we learn about design, how can we start up businesses?'” The impact of the collaboration on Taiwanese design culture is still to be seen, but the physical results will be on view starting next Tuesday and until February 8 at Stockholm’s Östasiatiska Museet, or the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities.

  7. 10.10.14
    The American Design Hot List
    2014, Part V

    This week we announced the 2014 American Design Hot List, Sight Unseen’s unapologetically subjective annual editorial award for the 25 names to know now in American design. We’re devoting an entire week to interviews with this year’s honorees — five per day — thanks to the support of Design Within Reach, a company that not only honors the seminal names in America’s design history, but also invests in those who will shape its future. Get to know our last five Hot List designers after the jump.

  8. 10.08.14
    The American Design Hot List
    2014, Part III

    This week we announced the 2014 American Design Hot List, Sight Unseen’s unapologetically subjective annual editorial award for the 25 names to know now in American design. We’re devoting an entire week to interviews with this year’s honorees — five per day — thanks to the support of Design Within Reach, a company that not only honors the seminal names in America’s design history, but also invests in those who will shape its future. Get to know the third set of five Hot List designers after the jump.

  9. 09.27.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of September 21, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: our exhortations that you visit the New York Art Book Fair, buy a brand new design magazine, embrace the aesthetic of paperclips, and see an eccentrically staged exhibition of iconic late-2oth century chairs.

  10. 09.22.14
    Eye Candy
    Hazel Stark’s New Textiles

    It was only just last year that we were wondering what brilliance Hazel Stark would produce if ever she turned her attention to designing and making full-time, and already we have the answer. Having left her job with Ally Capellino earlier in the summer, Stark initiated work on her new collection, Naturally Dyed #1, with a long period of research into materials.

  11. 09.19.14
    The Making Of
    Steven Haulenbeek’s Ice-Cast Bronze Collection

    We’ve heard of something being a product of its environment, but never has that phrase rung so true as it does with the pieces in Steven Haulenbeek’s Ice-Cast Bronze series, on view this month at Chicago’s Casati Gallery, which were made largely in a trough of ice outside Haulenbeek’s studio window during last winter’s deep freeze. Haulenbeek — who knows from frigid winters, having grown up and studied sculpture in Michigan and lived in Chicago for the better part of his adult life — originally conceived the series back in 2011, when he was fooling around with pouring wax into frozen puddles on Chicago’s city streets. But this winter’s extreme conditions — while providing little but consternation for everyone else — gave Haulenbeek the opportunity to take the whole operation onto a much larger scale. We recently spoke with the Chicago-based designer to find out a little more about the origins and making of his new collection.

  12. 09.05.14
    Q&A
    Ricky Swallow vs. Matt Paweski, for Herald St London

    As much fun as it is, as journalists, to the pick the brains of the artists and designers who inspire us every day, there’s something we enjoy even more: being a fly on the wall as two of our favorite creatives spar back and forth about their craft. It’s something we’ll never understand as intimately as those who are makers themselves, and when those makers are as thoughtful about their work as Los Angeles artists Ricky Swallow and Matt Paweski are, it makes for a most excellent Friday read. Swallow interviewed Paweski in advance of the latter’s solo exhibition, opening tomorrow at Herald St gallery in London, and we were lucky enough to nab a transcription of that Q&A. Read on to find out what makes a Matt Paweski, which direction his work is going in, and what the heck a “kerf” actually is.

  13. 09.02.14
    Q&A
    12 Dozen Egg Cups

    Here at Sight Unseen, we have a pretty strict bias against kitsch. But every so often we stumble upon a project that, while somewhat gimmicky, injects so much fun into the daily routine and has such roots in formal and material investigation, that it’s impossible to deny its utter lovability. We discovered such a project from the Leicester, England–based creative duo 12 Dozen Egg Cups, whose initial outing to a pottery class at a local community center developed into a challenge to repurpose the ubiquitous egg cup 144 different ways in the space of 12 months.

  14. 08.22.14
    Eye Candy
    KONTO, Installation and Product Designers

    KONTO is a collaborative installation, interior, and product design project by two Danish creatives, artist Morten Bencke and textile designer Elizabeth Kiss. The pair make things like lamps and trivets, but our favorite projects of theirs are more abstract, like the pastel totem pictured below, created for a friend’s music video, or the experimental sculptural series Montage 1, featured in the rest of this post. The pair describe their work as “based on light, balance, curiosity and colors” — check out more of it after the jump.

  15. 08.18.14
    Eye Candy
    Erin O’Keefe, Artist

    Erin O’Keefe is an artist and architect based in New York and New Brunswick, Canada. Having studied architecture at Columbia’s grad program, O’Keefe took her interest in spatial perception back to her art career, in which she creates sculptures and models and landscapes out of paper, plywood, and foil, which she then photographs. As she describes it: “I’m interested in the layer of distortion and misapprehension introduced by the camera as it translates three-dimensional form and space into a two-dimensional image. In architecture, there is a similar dissonance … The representation of the building and the building itself are two radically different things, as is the photograph and its subject. This inevitable and often fruitful misalignment is the central issue in my practice.” Check out our favorite examples of her work after the jump.

  16. 07.09.14
    The View From Here
    David Taylor in Hälleförsnäs, Sweden

    Every summer, the Stockholm-based, Scottish-born designer David Taylor retreats to his family’s cottage in the Swedish countryside for a spell and spends his days foraging in the woods. It isn’t greens and mushrooms he’s after, though, but slag — the decidedly un-edible clumps of waste compounds left behind in the production of metal. Taylor’s cottage happens to be in a town called Hälleförsnäs, also home to an iron foundry that was built in the 1600s and shut down for good in 2006. “Slag can still be found just about everywhere around here,” Taylor says. “It’s a worthless by-product that was produced in huge quantities and mostly just dumped out of sight in the forest for centuries.” For a recent project that debuted during the Saatchi Gallery’s Collect fair in May, Taylor gathered up chunks of the stuff and upcycled them into a series of colorful candlesticks.

  17. 06.28.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of June 23, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week we indulge our inner shopaholics with a new Norwegian emerging-design purveyor, three designer pop-ups in New York and LA, and a mini online shopping guide that includes a little something for the guys, too — chic Op-Art pocket squares.

  18. 06.27.14
    Up and Coming
    Anny Wang, Furniture and Interior Designer

    If you’re a design student, and you’re still on the fence about whether to join Instagram (do people like this exist?) here’s proof positive that you need an account, stat: Instagram is where we recently stumbled upon Anny Wang, a Swedish-born designer whose BA graduation project (above) blew us away but who cemented her visual artist bona fides with one of the most beautiful feeds we’ve ever seen. Wang grew up in a small town in Sweden and only this year completed her undergraduate studies, but we’re already keeping an eye on her. Her first collection, called Akin, hits on many of the current trends — iridescence, marble, copper, etc. — but seems timeless rather than trendy through her use of form and interesting material treatments. Read on for more about this young talent, and watch out world when she goes for her Master’s.

  19. 06.23.14
    Eye Candy
    Los Objetos Decorativos by Rosa Rubio

    Barcelona-based Rosa Rubio founded Los Objetos Decorativos with a focus on creating editions of handcrafted objects designed to forge a subconscious emotional bond with their owners. Her first collection consisted of Surrealist, unconventionally tactile brushes and mirrors outfitted with ostrich feathers and synthetic hair, while her newest series — Obj. No. 5, 6, 7, and 8 — is meant to evoke the emblems of an imaginary tribe or clan. “Their patterns provide a feeling of belonging,” says Rubio, which in turn conveys a sense of “protection” and “gratification, which every culture stores through these kind of elements.” The one-of-a-kind pieces are made from recycled textiles which Rubio has embellished with dried plants and small clay beads.

  20. 06.21.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of June 16, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week was all about color treatments: chemically chromated mirrors, ombre lampshades, colored smoke, brushstrokes, glazes, and good old-fashioned paint daubs.

  21. 06.20.14
    What We Saw
    Our Top 5 From Show RCA 2014

    As the summer solstice approaches, so too does a wave of graduate shows offering up the latest creative projects and design solutions from the leading sphere of design schools. In London, no show is more hotly anticipated than the Royal College of Art’s annual exhibition Show RCA, noted for its impressive arsenal of postgraduate talent. We couldn’t miss the opportunity to spot this year’s pool of emerging stars across the contemporary art and design practices. The show took place simultaneously across two campuses: Design Products in Kensington, which offered its usual heady mix of modern-day design solutions, and over at the Battersea campus, Textiles, Fine Art and Sculpture students refreshed the visual senses with investigations into color and material. Here are our top five “ones to watch” from the exhibition.

  22. 06.09.14
    Eye Candy
    RillRill’s Marble Necklaces, New In the Sight Unseen Shop

    The world lost a future ad exec the day Katie Freedle started her jewelry line, RillRill, back in 2010, but it gained a tireless creative entrepreneur. Freedle studied journalism, business, and advertising as an undergrad at the University of Oregon, but her interests were already drifting elsewhere: “They wouldn’t let non-art majors take metal-smithing back then, so I started studying jewelry post-college,” the Portland native recalls. “I didn’t want to become part of the cultish advertising life.” RillRill became a platform for her experimentation with materials — “I like to put many random things in front of me and experiment with all of the options,” she says — and Backtalk, the shop she opened two years later, became her venue for showcasing not just her own designs but those of 30 others, all of whom are no doubt as glad as we are that she turned her back on Madison Ave. We’ve just added three of Freedle’s striking marble and copper statement necklaces to the Sight Unseen Shop — check out more images after the jump, or click here to snag one for yourself!

  23. 05.16.14
    Studio Visit
    Terri Chiao and Adam Frezza, Art and Design Duo

    This week, we’re featuring a series of designers, brands, and exhibitors participating in Sight Unseen OFFSITE, our brand new design fair taking place in New York City this weekend, May 16-20. Click here for more information.

    Partners in both life and work, Terri Chiao and Adam Frezza share a studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn, where they run an art practice together as well as a design company called Chiaozza. Yet the first two things they ever collaborated on belonged to neither of those disciplines: One was a stew they made for dinner soon after they began dating — which took so long to cook that joking about it inspired their eventual website name, eternitystew.com — and the other was the pancakes they made the next morning. “We were fascinated by their topography, so we took some printmaking ink, inked up a pancake, and started making monoprints with them,” Frezza recalls. “That was when it began, this idea of turning our everyday life and domestic play into some kind of product or work.” Two and a half years later, it’s still the motivation underlying many of their colorful projects, which they characterize as existing at the “intersection of imagination and the natural world.”

  24. 05.13.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    OBJECTS, Curated by Joel Evey

    This week, we’re featuring a series of designers, brands, and exhibitions participating in Sight Unseen OFFSITE, our brand new design fair taking place in New York City this weekend, May 16-20. Click here for more information.

    OBJECTS began, as so many great things do, with Philadelphia-based graphic designer Joel Evey playing around with tool dip: A series of plastic-splattered lamps he made from grappling hooks gave way to an ambiguous dipped “kitchen tool” and, eventually, the curiosity as to how other genre-bending artists and designers he knew and admired were approaching issues of functionality. Last year, he reached out to half a dozen of those peers — ROLU, Chen Chen and Kai Williams, Eric Timothy Carlson, Brendan Timmins, and Alex da Corte — and invited each of them to present him with a piece that redefined or recontextualized the idea of a utilitarian object for the home. “It was loose and broad, but intentionally so,” he says. “The point was to ask people who already existed within this playing field to do something that danced around the idea. The results are all very different.”

  25. 05.12.14
    Eye Candy
    Field Experiments

    This week, we’re featuring a series of designers, brands, and exhibitions participating in Sight Unseen OFFSITE, our brand new design fair taking place in New York City this weekend, May 16-20. Click here for more information.

    From June to September 2013, Benjamin Harrison Bryant (New York), Paul Marcus Fuog (Melbourne) and Karim Charlebois-Zariffa (Montreal) set up a studio in Lodtunduh, a farming community on the outskirts of Ubud in Bali, where they generated a trove of conceptual works through daily experimentation. They collaborated with local stonemasons, woodcarvers, batik-makers, kite designers, and painters, all while “absorbing the sights and sounds of everyday Balinese life and documenting commonplace objects, agricultural implements, traditional dress, and makeshift items from the local culture,” they write on the project’s website. The result is a collection of more than 100 handmade objects meant to “challenge the traditional notion of the souvenir.” At Sight Unseen OFFSITE, the collective will present these Field Experiments for the first time, including sketches, photographs, and personal stories from the makers.

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