If you happen to have been wandering under the High Line in New York's Chelsea neighborhood sometime over the last week, you might have seen something you don't see every day — the bespectacled, wild-haired Chilean designer Nicolás Aracena Müller making chairs from found scraps of wood in the gallery windows of Chamber, a concept shop and exhibition space opened last year by Juan Mosqueda.
The young Amsterdam-based duo Odd Matter, who we mentioned today in a separate post dedicated to their new work at Aram Gallery, have been busy bees lately. In addition to that project, the Dutch and Bulgarian designers recently launched a series called Node, which includes four highly expressive, sculptural lamps in copper and Jesmonite with forms designed to underscore their functions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It can be hard to pin down exactly what it is Brooklyn-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.
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.
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.
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.