2015-04-12 20.30.47

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.
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Acme Releases Deadstock Memphis Objects

It was only a week and a half ago that we reported on a cache of original, made-in-the-80s Memphis jewelry designs that the brand ACME has spent the past few months pulling from its archives and posting for sale on its Legacy website (where it appears that even more designs, particularly those by Peter Shire, have since been added). But we had to come in for round two today when we found out that, just this morning, Acme unleashed the motherlode: actual objects, long unavailable and highly rarefied, by the likes of Ettore Sottsass, Andrea Branzi, and Aldo Rossi. Many of them are original prototypes, some of them are one-of-a-kind, and none of them were ever put into mass production. We've posted a selection of the offerings after the jump, along with the bits of history provided by ACME — get them before the collectors do!
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Spotti Milano, Summer Tales interior project, 2014

Studiopepe, Stylists and Set Designers

When describing their sensibility, Arianna Lelli Mami and Chiara Di Pinto of the Milan-based Studiopepe invoke the versatility of classic white shirt: “You can wear it anytime, to go to the supermarket or to a soirée. The same is for design. Good design — whether a masterpiece or anonymous — goes with everything.” Their evocative aesthetic, though, is anything but simple. “Eclecticism and curiosity” are important starting points for them, and their output is rich with visual references, ranging from the harmony of classical forms to the glamour of Italian cinema in the ‘60s. But they don’t merely quote their source material, they transform it.
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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.
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Hallgeir Homstvedt, Designer

As we prepare to welcome the new year, let's all take a moment to reminisce about how great 2014 was. Sure, some had better years than others, but there's one thing that can't be contested — Norwegian designer Hallgeir Homstvedt had an immensely successful run, launching four products to the market and cementing relationships with companies like Muuto, Lexon, and Established & Sons. So what is it exactly that brings manufacturers knocking at his door? We've got a hunch that it's the designer’s ability to be adaptable and cooperative throughout the design process, whilst sticking to a very distinct concept, something he learned on the job during a three-year stint with design studio Norway Says. His products are tactile and interactive, smart and perfectly proportioned.
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Week of November 18, 2013

A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, and events from the past seven or so days. This week: a cement-truck mural, a furniture collection about shark-hunting, a pretty way to empty your pockets, and more.
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Material Material, by Doug Johnston & Debbie Carlos

The practice of two artists collaborating by mail is nothing new; after all, that’s how Peter Shire communicated ideas to his Memphis colleagues back in 1980s Milan and how Alex Segreti and Kelly Rakowski of New Friends got their start (with the former in Philly and the latter in New York.) But what happens when you elevate that practice to something more like a parlor game? We here at Sight Unseen had been wondering that ourselves, which is why we were especially tickled when we found out that Debbie Carlos and Doug Johnston — two of our favorites — had recently happened upon the exact same idea.
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Andy Rementer’s People Blocks

One of the only things that bummed us out about doing a printed edition last year was that it was, in the end, an edition — only 400 of you (give or take a few) ever read the stories housed within its covers. Take Andy Rementer’s Inventory story, for which the Philadelphia-based illustrator styled and photographed his own creative influences, which ran from vintage lettering manuals to Italo comics. It was one of our favorite stories we’ve ever published. But the good thing about creative people is that they tend to keep creating awesomely publishable things, so today we bring you Rementer’s latest: interchangeable “People Blocks,” created in collaboration with the Belgium-based object editors Case Studyo.
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Eva Roovers, Photographer

Eva Roovers's still lives contain orderly and fanciful arrangements of mundane objects mixed with organic shapes. Skillfully photographed colored light bounces delicately across her sets. Roovers explains: "Making use of daily objects, I connect what doesn’t belong together. With a sense of geometrical order, the old objects gain a new perspective and are shown like little rock-stars or whimsical monuments." Roovers lives and works in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
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Designers of the Future Photo Essay

And now for some ridiculously old news: At Design Miami/Basel this past June, the three W Hotels Designers of the Future awardees included Tom Foulsham, Markus Kayser, and Philippe Malouin, each of whom were handed a commission with a very meta, very Sight Unseen-style brief — to devise a project that would somehow illuminate their creative process, like Foulsham's merry-go-round propelled by balloons and hair-dryers, or Malouin and Kayser's differing takes on daylight-mimicking lamps. Even if you weren't in Basel yourself, you probably read all about it earlier this summer, whoop-de-doo. But what you might not have seen is the hefty catalog Design Miami's organizers produce for every show, which was handed to us belatedly last week during a pow-wow with head curator Marianne Goebl, and which contained an article that was so up our alley we were surpised no one had shown it to us sooner: a photo essay wherein Kayser, Foulsham, and Malouin were asked to respond to questions like "A sketch" and "An object you find useful" by handing over the sketches and objects themselves.
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Substitutes at Berlin-Weekly

Peer through the window of the narrow, unassuming storefront space at 160 Linienstrasse in Berlin this week — which, like Maurizio Cattelan's once perpetually shuttered Wrong Gallery, allows for little more than such a glance — and you may feel perplexed at the seemingly disparate objects scattered about its plinths. Toasters, ash trays, broomsticks, plastic spiders: not your typical fare for a gallery like Berlin-Weekly, which normally invites one artist or designer per week to create an elaborate installation piece behind its locked doors for the enjoyment of passersby. During this year's Berlin Design Week, however, owner and curator Stefanie Seidl decided to shift the proposition a bit, partnering with designer Fabian Baumann to ask 40 creatives for two personal objects exploring the theme of "Substitutes"; say, a rolled-up magazine when no fly-swatter is handy, or a spider in lieu of coffee (read on to figure out what we mean by that one). The results will be visible in the Berlin-Weekly space from June 1 to 28, but you can see a portion of its contents in the excerpt below.
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For "Achille is Watching Us," Krzykowski and Lorusso collected personal objects from 32 different European and American designers, displaying them in the ground-floor storefront of a small historical building in Milan where the marble used to make the Duomo was once polished. Each item was accompanied by a story written by the designer about how they had acquired it and why they had hung onto it. Fifteen of those stories are posted in the following slides.

Achille is Watching Us

There were thousands of exhibitions going on in Milan two weeks ago, when the annual furniture fair took over the city, stuffing its subway cars and panini shops full of hungover design tourists. But in terms of sheer number of designers represented per square foot, one emerged a clear winner: “Achille is Watching Us,” for which the young designer and journalist Matylda Krzykowski and architect Marco Gabriele Lorusso managed to corral no less than 32 marquis names — Nacho Carbonell, Peter Marigold, and Bless among them — into an empty shopfront no larger than the average New Yorker’s bedroom. That’s because the pair, after being offered the space for free by the building’s wealthy and culturally savvy owner, decided not to show any design inside it all. Instead, they asked the talents Krzykowski had befriended through her blog, Mat&Me, to each contribute one small personal belonging and tell the story behind it. “Milan is so commercial — it’s about retailing and selling,” Krzykowski explains. “You get so caught up in looking at what’s new that you get lost in it. This year we decided to turn it around, to look at the things that are really important.”
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