Tag Archives: materials

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

  17. 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.”

  18. 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.”

  19. 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.

  20. 04.30.14
    Where They've Been
    Chen Chen and Kai Williams at Design Days Dubai

    When Brooklyn design duo Chen Chen and Kai Williams — known for their eccentric experimentation with materials — headed to Brazil two years ago for a residency with the gallery Coletivo Amor de Madre, they learned an important lesson the hard way: Don’t show up in a far-flung country expecting to source all your fabrication supplies at the drop of a hat. Invited to join the same gallery last month for an interactive installation at Design Days Dubai, they brought from home many of the materials they needed to make their new Moonmilk vessels (above), which they constructed live in their show booth from pigmented quick-dry cement slowly dripped onto a substrate. They also left time before the show began to scout working-class areas where, says Chen, “instead of big box stores like Home Depot, you’ll see an entire neighborhood in which one shop only sells plastic and another shop is a carpenter inside this little storefront, where you can say ‘I need pieces of wood cut to this size,’ and he’ll cut it for you.” The rest of their eight-day trip was spent making — and exploring.

  21. 04.23.14
    Up and Coming
    Rimma Tchilingarian, product designer

    So much of the current frenzy around ceramics revolves around what feats each practitioner can achieve with glaze, whether it’s Adam Silverman’s volcanic pots, Dana Bechert’s carved vases, or Ben Fiess’s brushstroked jars. But for the just-graduated Berlin-based product designer Rimma Tchilingarian, it’s the properties of the clay itself that fascinated her the most. “I wanted to work with porcelain at a very basic level, free of conventions or rules, creating raw and unglazed surfaces or coloring the snow-white material with pigments,” she says of her first collection At the Studio, for which colored or textured parts can be combined into a whole. She burned paper to achieve a crinkled effect and mixed in pigment to get that on-trend marbled look but has yet to experiment with the thing that so many of her brethren obsess over. We were so smitten with the results of her first collection we asked her to tell us a little bit more.

  22. 04.21.14
    Eye Candy
    Luke Armitstead’s Ceramics

    We discovered the ceramics work of Luke Armitstead — born in Seattle, currently in grad school in Wisconsin — at Johnson Trading Gallery here in New York, where we spotted one of his colorful, organic planters standing sentry just outside the space’s entrance. Yet as it turns out, Armitstead isn’t a designer but an artist who frequently references the built environment. “In my work, one may see colorful fragmented structures, primal bodily forms, architectural models, or funky planters,” says Armitstead, whose inspirations span Antoni Gaudi and Friedensreich Hundertwasser to Sterling Ruby and Thomas Houseago. “However, aside from my organic forms, my projects are driven by structured ideas that seek to relate to, or interact with, a physical landscape or place.”

  23. 04.18.14
    Eye Candy
    New Work by Katharina Trudzinski

    Four years ago, we visited the studio of Berlin-based artist Katharina Trudzinski — who’s also a co-founder of the German fashion label Hui-Hui — to learn more about how she used local scrap wood and street detritus to create sculptural works that fed her textile designs (and vice versa). After visiting her site recently and being impressed by what we saw, we figured it was high time to check back in with Trudzinski to give you an update on what she’s been working on since our last dispatch. See a sampling of her most recent projects after the jump.

  24. 04.08.14
    Self Portrait
    Ladies & Gentlemen Studio’s Form Studies

    When we first interviewed Jean Lee and Dylan Davis of Seattle’s Ladies & Gentlemen Studio back in 2012, they revealed that a sizable chunk of their design process happens on and around the shelves that line every room in their home studio and serve as a kind of 3-D inspiration board. The pair pick up any number of objects and offcuts that reside on them, then collaboratively ponder a simple question: “What we can do with this block of wood to make it an object?” Their work may have evolved considerably since that interview, but their methods have stayed pretty much the same — they still experiment in real-time using scraps and basic shapes, a practice they attempted to capture in these exclusive photos that mark the finale of Seattle Week on Sight Unseen. “It’s our standard approach when we’re working with new materials,” says Davis.

  25. 04.07.14
    Factory Tour
    Filson, Seattle

    These days, plenty of companies in the United States are touting their status as heritage brands, as is the current fashion, but markedly few who can claim the kind of pride of place that Filson can: Since the outdoor apparel label was founded in Seattle back in 1897, it’s never moved more than two miles away from where it began, in what’s now known as the city’s SoDo neighborhood — nor has it stopped manufacturing most of its wares there, either. Having long occupied a complex in the up-and-coming industrial area that included its factory, headquarters, and flagship store, last year the expansion of its business led it to annex a nearly 60,000 square-foot building just two blocks away from the original. “We’ve been in SoDo for 117 years, so it feels like home,” says Filson CEO Alan Kirk, a Scotland native who moved to the city in 2009. “It’s one of the few areas left in the city that still has manufacturing — in a way it’s the garment district of old Seattle.”

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