Tag Archives: materials

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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.”

  9. 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.”

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.”

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.”

  17. 04.02.14
    Up and Coming
    Nicholas Nyland, artist

    Nicholas Nyland studied to be a painter for years, first as an undergrad at the University of Washington and then as a graduate at the University of Pennsylvania. But it only took one night for him to figure out that his heart belonged to ceramics. “I discovered ceramics through a friend who invited people over just to play around and make things,” says the Seattle-based artist. “It was like a light bulb went off over my head. It was the best combination of my interests in painting and color and surface, with the immediacy of sculptural practice and the ability to then glaze.”

  18. 04.02.14
    8 Things
    Seattle Still Lifes, By Photographer Charlie Schuck

    Every creative scene has an unseen hand, the type of person who seems to know everyone, touch everything, and generally act as the glue holding it all together, all while falling just below the radar of the average outside observer. In the Seattle design world, Charlie Schuck fits that profile to a tee. A photographer and the proprietor of the former brick and mortar storefront Object — which he filled with commissions by designers from around the Pacific Northwest — he not only produces stunning product shots for locals like Totokaelo, Iacoli & McAllister, Ladies & Gentlemen Studio, and Filson, he also curates exhibitions, like the recent pop-up Future This Now and an upcoming museum survey of regional talents. He’s so committed to his role, in fact, that when we approached him about doing a story on his own work, he came back with the idea to do a photo essay on everyone else’s: “A still life series of personal items that speak to the influences of Seattle creatives,” he says. “Objects from those who produce objects.”

  19. 03.26.14
    Eye Candy
    Esther Ruiz, Artist

    Brooklyn artist Esther Ruiz refers to her sculptures as “settings,” “little parties,” and “miniature landscapes from a distant future,” but whatever you call them, they’re meant to act as colorful, abstracted symbols of imaginary places she’s conjured in her mind, and the objects that reside within them. Ruiz, who was born in Houston and graduated from the art program at Rhodes College in Memphis in 2011, showed the series in her first New York solo show this past October, at the Bushwick artist’s space Wayfarers. According to her artist’s statement, she’s inspired “mostly by space operas, pop culture, geometry and the setting sun.”

  20. 03.22.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of March 17, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: The world’s most beautiful bike lock, an iPad cover inspired by New York and a table (above) inspired by Milan, and an epic terrazzo floor discovered in a local institution.

  21. 03.11.14
    Artist's Proof
    Tombstone Chairs by Greg Buntain of Fort Standard

    From an outside perspective, the Brooklyn furniture-design studio Fort Standard exudes the aura of a successful business with a clear DNA. Yet that wasn’t always the case: When co-founders Ian Collings and Greg Buntain first joined forces in 2011, after graduating together from Pratt, they had no idea what direction to take — they simply dove headlong into the making process. “We had one goal: to do our own thing,” Buntain said in a recent interview. Their stock may have risen since then, but behind the scenes, the pair still make an effort to keep things loose; to maintain a sense of discovery in their shared practice, they both do separate solo work on the side, little personal experiments and objects they create for their own homes. Occasionally these prototypes are developed into Fort Standard products, but most of the time they go unseen, as was the case for Buntain’s marble Tombstone chairs before we spotted them on Instagram. When we approached the designer to ask him if we could share them with you in the interview after the jump, it turned out he had a home full of personal pieces he’d made but also never shared with the public, which he was kind enough to walk us through in the second half of this story.

  22. 03.07.14
    Eye Candy
    Mel Nguyen’s Desktop Deposits Series

    Earlier today we posted a studio visit with the young Minneapolis artist Mel Nguyen, shot by photographer Debbie Carlos. But it only featured a small selection of Nguyen’s work, in which each project is typically disassembled and morphed into three more. “If you look at a single project of mine and only associate me with that project, it will be not a complete representation of my practice,” Nguyen says. We figured it was worth showing you one more example from her portfolio: her recent clay Desktop Deposits series, made for the Kansas City, Missouri, project Objet Boutique curated by Dean Roper.

  23. 03.07.14
    Studio Visit
    Mel Nguyen, Artist

    As an artistically inclined teenager feeling bored and marooned in the suburb of Vadnais Heights, Minnesota, Mel Nguyen did what any millenial in her situation would do: She turned to the internet for creative stimulation. “Even as a high schooler I was looking at all these graphic design blogs, seeing how the field was changing, and thinking, wow,” she says. As soon as she enrolled as an art student at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, she started her own tumblr, showing off her experiments sliding from 2-D into to 3-D and back again. She managed to build such a following on the site that her work went viral in certain online art and design circles — so much so that it’s hard to believe she’s only 21, and won’t graduate until this spring.

  24. 03.03.14
    Q+A
    Nicole Patel on Her Textile Wall Panels

    When we first met the multi-talented Nicole and Sweetu Patel back in 2004, they were running Brooklyn’s Citizen Citizen, a high-concept British design showroom that sold objects like crucifix-shaped brushes by FredriksonStallard. But they gave up the project shortly afterward, and have continued to evolve creatively in the last decade: Nicole went on to focus on her interior design business and form a creative partnership with curator Josee Lepage, while Sweetu went on to work for Cappellini and later founded the men’s heritage clothing shop C.H.C.M. It was there that we recently spotted Nicole’s latest brilliant endeavor, a series of wall panels that she makes from the likes of Japanese indigo textiles and Belgian linen, meticulously stretched and then embellished with things like handmade rope or tone-on-tone embroidery. Beyond hanging them in her husband’s store, she hadn’t yet put them out in the world, so we decided to do the honors.

  25. 02.28.14
    Eye Candy
    Equilibrio Frágil y Simétrico by Cristian Montesinos

    For his ongoing series of miniature totems, Barcelona-based graphic and furniture designer Cristian Montesinos collects and paints scraps of found wood, which he keeps on hand for the assembly and photographing of each piece. “Biking or walking in Barcelona I always find what I need,” he says. “I keep the pieces, classified by size, and use them when I need them. When I work with these woods, I feel I’m returning to them a part of the dignity that was lost when they were thrown away. When I paint them I try not to completely cover the material, as part of the idea is to show and appreciate the tangible past of the object.”

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