Tag Archives: materials

  1. 07.22.15
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Extra Ordinary at London’s Aram Gallery

    On view at London’s Aram Gallery right now is an exhibition with a conceit quite close to our hearts. Featuring 14 international designers and curated by Riya Patel, “Extra Ordinary” focuses on pieces that are made from everyday materials but constructed via unorthodox or even invented processes.

  2. 07.18.15
    Saturday Selects
    Week of July 13, 2015

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: very on-trend iridescent flatware and terrazzo coasters, gorgeous oil-slick vases from a recent RISD grad, and the debut of the booksleeve (pictured above), an innovation we never realized we needed until now.

  3. 07.09.15
    Eye Candy
    English Artist Henry Jackson Newcomb

    While many of his peers are busy creating digital landscapes of shapes and planes that mimic three dimensions, the young Norwich, England–based artist Henry Jackson Newcomb makes sculptural assemblages that — owing in part to the aforementioned trend — often look inspired by digital ones. Yet by incorporating elements like chunks of concrete, panels painted with unfinished-looking brushstrokes, and haphazardly taped rings of rubber tubing, Newcomb introduces an imperfect rawness that keeps his work squarely rooted in the physical world.

  4. 07.08.15
    Up and Coming
    London accessories designer Ejing Zhang

    Growing up in China, designer Ejing Zhang was fascinated by traditional calligraphy and ink painting — art forms that are both fine and expressive, requiring a fluid interaction with brush and ink. Zhang is now based in London, but at the heart of her work is the same sensitivity to materials that she observed growing up. Four years ago, while studying at the Royal College of Art, she developed a new technique for creating work that involved taking spalted beech wood (partially decayed wood that has a marble-like pattern), wrapping it with colored thread, and casting it in resin, before sanding and polishing it to reveal its beautiful cross-sections.

  5. 07.07.15
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Marcin Rusak’s Inflorescence and Other Artefacts

    It may seem daring to open an exhibition on the eve of the annual design carnival that is graduate show season in London but Marcin Rusak doesn’t have to worry about a lack of attention. It was a big year for the London-based designer, who kicked off his artistic career with exhibiting at the Victoria and Albert museum and securing the coveted Perrier-Jouët Arts Salon Prize for emerging talent within just a year of graduating from the RCA last year. His first solo show, “Inflorescence and Other Artefacts,” is a display of dichotomies, constantly flipping between natural and synthetic, authentic and fake, beautiful and seductively grotesque, forcing viewers to form their own opinion about the value of the objects on display.

  6. 07.02.15
    Q+A
    Portuguese Designer Célia Esteves of GUR Rugs

    While Portugal is probably best known, these days, for manufacturing clothing and shoes for big brands like COS, Zara, and Camper — or if you’re a product designer, for supplying 50% of the world’s cork — Porto-based designer and printmaker Célia Esteves homed in on its longtime flat-weave rug-making tradition when she founded GUR two years ago. After meeting a weaver in her hometown of Viana de Castelo, who for 15 years had been handcrafting the style of rug that she’d seen on “every Portuguese kitchen floor” since she was a child, Esteves decided to hire the weaver to use the same technique to produce colorful limited-edition designs commissioned from illustrators she knew and admired, like Atelier Bingo and Ferreol Babin. We recently interviewed Esteves about the project, which has collabs with Après Ski and Reality Studio on the way; scroll down to read more about how she transformed a local craft into a contemporary design brand.

  7. 06.26.15
    Top 5
    Transparent Jewelry

    A periodic nod to object typologies both obscure and ubiquitous, featuring five of our favorite recent examples. Today, the subject is transparent jewelry, which has evolved beyond its ’60s pop connotations to encompass designs both subtle and edgy.

  8. 06.25.15
    Up and Coming
    Justin Hunt Sloane, artist

    It can be hard to pin down exactly what it is New York–based artist and designer Justin Hunt Sloane actually does. He graduated with a BFA in printmaking and interactive design from Art Center, but while there, he became interested in the school’s famed automotive program and began dabbling in classes like rapid prototyping and fabrication technology. Since moving to New York, he’s held day jobs as a website designer for Creative Time, or, currently, senior designer at the branding agency Wolff Olins, but in his freelance work and spare time, he makes everything from drawings to etchings to self-published books to album covers to sculptures.

  9. 06.22.15
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Slowly by Sam Moyer at Galerie Rodolphe Jansen

    While the Chicago-born, Brooklyn-based artist Sam Moyer has played around with fabric painted to look like marble in the past, the geometric panels suspended in gorgeous bronze armatures that she recently installed at Galerie Rodolphe Janssen in Brussels are, in fact, the real deal. Meant to interact with the space’s striking ceilings and the summer light that filters through them, the slabs are cut so thin as to be almost semi-translucent, a subverting of expectations about the way certain materials are supposed to look, feel, and function — a common theme in Moyer’s work, and one that will sound familiar to many designers, which is probably why we’ve found ourselves so drawn to her.

  10. 06.09.15
    Eye Candy
    French Sculptor Cécile Mestelan’s Ceramic Objects

    As an MFA student at ECAL, French-born artist Cécile Mestelan got into making small-scale sculptures with plaster for practical reasons — cost and ease of transport — but stuck with the material for more poetic ones: “It’s a very powerful and open material to work with; you can do so much with it, from modeling and sculpting to engraving,” she says.

  11. 06.04.15
    Up and Coming
    Aleksandra Pollner, Furniture Designer

    After her family bribed their way out of Poland in the ’80s, says Aleksandra Pollner, they spent years moving from place to place to place. Her perpetually uprooted childhood, she says, had a profound effect on her work as an adult: “I became fascinated with boundaries, tensions, spaces in between, where we find solace, and what makes us feel comfort and discomfort,” concepts that inspired pieces like her new Line and Circle table and Ma floor light, pictured above.

  12. 04.22.15
    What We Saw
    At the 2015 Milan Furniture Fair, Part I

    Another year, another Milan. Every year we attend the behemoth furniture fair known as Salone expecting to come away with something smart to say about the current state of design. But the truth is, you spend the week bombarded with so much stuff that you’re often left with just a few fleeting mental images of your favorite things, whether it’s a colorful chair sheathed in Flyknit-esque sneaker material or a particularly delicious gnocchi you nearly licked off the plate. Luckily, that’s what cameras are for. We shot nearly everything we saw this year, whether it was for an immediate Instagram, a file-away-for-later trend, or to share with you here, in our best of the best round-up from last week.

  13. 04.06.15
    At Home With
    Brook & Lyn, Los Angeles Furniture Designers

    The precision-machined brass bars lining the base of Mimi Jung and Brian Hurewitz’s Pepto-pink sofa? They’re a doggie jail. At least they were, conceptually speaking, intended to be; the couple lives with three dogs in Los Angeles’s Mt. Washington neighborhood, and Truffle, the most diminutive of the bunch, necessitated the arrangement. “If you give her six inches of space underneath anything, she’ll steal things from around the house and drag them in there,” says Jung. “I wanted to make a couch that had prison bars for her, so she couldn’t get in.” Granted Jung started out sketching metal poles and wound up creating a system of stunning, diagonally canted fins that subtly shift in appearance depending on one’s vantage point, but the sofa overall was — like much of Brook & Lyn’s work — designed to serve very specific, very personal needs. Since they moved from Brooklyn to L.A. a year and a half ago, Jung and Hurewitz have been populating the studio’s portfolio with pieces they’ve created for themselves, and their new home.

  14. 03.30.15
    Top 5
    Incense Burners

    We love design thinking. We love interior design, landscape design, fashion design, and architectural design. We love design for social change, and design for public spaces. But it’s hardly a shocker to admit that we’ve got a particularly soft spot for the design of objects, and as such we’re constantly looking for new ways to highlight them — mostly with in-depth backstories and maker profiles, but sometimes, as in our Eye Candy and Saturday Selects posts, with a simple tip of our hats as well. Our newest column, Top 5, is just that: a straightforward, periodic nod to object typologies both obscure and ubiquitous, with five of our favorite recent examples of that typology highlighted in each post. Today, the subject is incense burners, whose proliferation among makers and ceramicists we’ve been noting for some time now. From geometric compositions to simple brass balls, in no particular order, see our picks after the jump.

  15. 03.24.15
    Eye Candy
    B-FIT Assemblage by Fact Non Fact

    B-FIT, a project by the Seoul-based design collective Fact Non Fact, is the very definition of eye candy — the geometric shapes it comprises are meant not to function in specific ways, but merely to look pretty and highlight the materials they’re made from, which include iron, brass, plaster, terra cotta, marble, wood, glass and concrete. If “A-FIT,” according to Fact Non Fact, refers to all the objects in our lives that are optimized for specific functions, like chairs or door handles, “B-FIT” refers to the kinds of objects that aren’t. After making the pieces, designers Jinsik Kim, Yuhun Kim, and Eunjae Lee brought them to life in three ways: as a physical installation, as a conceptual deskscape, and as the Assemblage images you see here.

  16. 02.26.15
    Studio Visit
    Cave Collective, Artists

    We discovered Cave Collective by way of their jewelry, which we spotted at the boutique No. 6 in New York, this past October. In late November, we shot founders Cat Lauigan and Alex Wolkowicz in their Greenpoint workspace. Then, by the end of January, we found out that they’d dismantled most of the studio and jewelry line, that Lauigan had relocated to California, and that both artists were focusing on their individual practices until they figured out what to do next. And yet by that point, we knew enough about Cave Collective to take the news in stride — ever since Lauigan and Wolkowicz began their collaboration in 2010, it’s been an endlessly shape-shifting and exploratory project, one that’s seen them living thousands of miles apart for nearly as long as they’ve lived in the same city.

  17. 02.16.15
    Eye Candy
    Valentin Dommanget, Artist

    Like most visually inclined folks his age, 25-year-old French artist Valentin Dommanget — who studied fashion as an undergrad before receiving his MFA at Central Saint Martins last spring — grew up with a steady diet of internet art. Having internalized a certain digital aesthetic that embraces all things geological and hypercolor, natural yet unnatural, he created a series of paintings that take those virtual influences and represent them through actual real-world handicraft, pairing paint-marbled canvases with torqued stretchers that mimic some kind of Photoshop rotation effect. Pictured above and below are selections from that series, plus other pieces that apply the same techniques to concrete tables, paper books, framed canvases, and crooked canvases that appear balanced atop geometric plywood cutouts.

  18. 02.13.15
    From the Archives
    Andrew O. Hughes on DeWain Valentine

    Our first-ever From the Archives post, which looked back at William Sklaroff’s mid-century desk accessory set Radius One, dates back to November 10, 2009 — the very first day of Sight Unseen’s existence. But after that, the column pretty much petered out, partly because we didn’t have the time to research it properly and partly because, with millions upon millions of wonderful old things to potentially highlight, how could we ever choose just one? We’ve officially solved that problem today with the launch of our new and improved From the Archives series, in which designers and artists will do all the work for us: Each edition will invite a talent we admire to give a little history lesson on someone from the past who’s had a strong impact on their work. Our first subject is Brooklyn glassmaker Andrew O. Hughes, speaking about the California Light and Space sculptor DeWain Valentine (no holiday-themed pun intended).

  19. 02.03.15
    Up and Coming
    Michael Schoner, furniture designer

    Sometimes you can take one look at a designer’s body of work and deduce that they have a background in architecture before ever meeting or talking with them. Amsterdam-based Michael Schoner — who worked his way through multiple architecture firms across Europe before settling in Amsterdam and founding his own design studio in 2010 — definitely falls into this category. His approach to design is uniquely architectural, building from a visual vocabulary of simple shapes and forms that are often bisected, stacked, or spliced.

  20. 01.31.15
    Saturday Selects
    Week of January 26, 2015

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: Sorting the best of the rest from January’s design fairs, getting a crash course in great product photography, and hailing the almighty power of pink (not to mention colored gradients, as seen in Bryce Wilner’s puzzle — yes that’s a puzzle — above).

  21. 01.30.15
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Örnsbergsauktionen 2015

    Exhibition curators often face a funny dilemma: The more successful they become, the more great people start clamoring be involved in their projects, which ultimately only makes their selection process that much harder. Hence why the minds behind the Swedish design auction Örnsbergsauktionen — which for the past four years has consistently been pretty much the most amazing thing coming out of Stockholm Design Week — decided to tighten the curatorial reins this year, not only requiring that their 30 participants be designers who self-produce their own work in small batches but also leaning heavily towards the ones who work collectively or invent their own materials and processes. Once they managed to narrow their list down to the lucky few, which this year includes folks like Maria Jeglinska and Jenny Nordberg — plus of course founders Simon Klenell, Fredrik Paulsen, and Kristoffer Sundin themselves — they let the magic flow, resulting in the 40 objects that will head to the auction block on February 6. As usual, we’ve excerpted our favorites after the jump.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.”

  24. 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.

  25. 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.”

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