Tag Archives: Product design

  1. 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.

  2. 03.18.15
    Sighted
    Acme Legacy’s Archival Memphis Jewelry

    After our recent post on jewelry created by famous ’80s-era Memphis-group architects, readers came to us asking where they could find the pieces (good luck), while even copies of the out-of-print book we pulled the images from immediately became exponentially harder to procure (for under $350, at least). And so despite the excitement the post generated, it was destined to remain a mere digital artifact for most. That’s why we were so happy to discover, shortly thereafter, Acme’s Legacy collection, through which the 30-year-old accessories brand — which these days focuses on designer pens — has been quietly pulling Memphis jewelry pieces out of its archives and making them available for sale at shockingly reasonable price points. From 1985 to 1992, Acme founders Adrian Olabuenaga and Leslie Bailey produced more than 100 different earrings, brooches, and necklaces by design titans like Ettore Sottsass, Joanna Grawunder, Alessandro Mendini, and George Sowden, a big chunk of which are now up for grabs on its Legacy page. We asked Olabuenaga a few questions about the history and future of the project.

  3. 02.10.15
    The Essentials
    Our Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

    If you’re anything like us, the idea of receiving a big, overpriced bouquet on Valentine’s Day seems not only a little bit schmaltzy, but also a little bit of a waste, with all the amazing design objects out there your significant other could be spending his or her money on. Isn’t it more romantic or them to be so thoughtful as to gift you something you might really, actually want? With that in mind — and with a little nudge from our friends at Aether, whose strikingly minimalist Cone speaker we had on our own wish lists long before they reached out to us — we present the first ever Sight Unseen Valentine’s Day gift guide, featuring 11 items guaranteed to melt the heart of any design-lover in your life.

  4. 02.02.15
    What It's Like
    To Star on Ellen’s Design Challenge

    If the weirdness of Ellen Degeneres starting her own Project Runway–style furniture-design reality show didn’t fully strike me when I first heard about it, a couple of months back, it definitely hit home shortly after the show first aired on HGTV last Monday night, when I got the following text from my mom: Do you know any of the designers on Ellen’s Design Challenge? The weirdest part of all, of course, was that I did: Katie Stout, one of Sight Unseen’s inaugural American Design Hot List picks and the winner of our own erstwhile design competition (our 2013 pumpkin-carving contest), is one of the show’s six contestants. After watching the first episode myself, in which Stout introduces mainstream America to the squiggly cabinet above, we knew we had to get the full story from the designer. “It was really surreal,” she says of the experience.

  5. 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.

  6. 01.15.15
    The Making Of
    Eyebodega’s Vase Series

    If we had a nickel for every time we heard a designer or artist express the desire to work across scales, disciplines, or dimensions, we could probably buy one of these. But earlier this week was the first time we’d heard this zeitgeisty little zinger: “It’s exciting to be producing things we can share with people, as opposed to just clicking a ‘share’ button.” While most graphic design studios dabble in physicality by way of books and other printed ephemera, the young New York duo Eyebodega — to whose co-principal Rob Chabebe said quote can be attributed — have been using 3-D printing to quite literally turn their Pinterest-ready digital illustrations into objects you can have and hold.

  7. 01.13.15
    Sighted
    New Textiles by Alyson Fox for Ferm Living

    When we profiled the designer and artist Alyson Fox last year, on a visit to the home she and her husband built themselves in the wilds of Texas, we spent much of the story marveling at the sheer, unrelenting range and volume of her creative output. Which is to say: We could theoretically be writing about some new project of hers every week if we wanted to — she’s just that prolific. We won’t go there, of course, yet when of-the-moment Danish housewares brand Ferm Living offered to let us be the first to share the new line it’s done in collaboration with Fox, in advance of revealing its full 2015 collection to the world tomorrow, we figured it was as good a time as any to check in with the talent.

  8. 01.05.15
    Up and Coming
    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.

  9. 12.11.14
    Sight Unseen Presents
    Visit Us This Weekend at Tinseltown, With Refinery29

    Last week we shared with you our official Sight Unseen holiday gift guides, which were full of links to our most-coveted design and fashion items this year. But for those of you who prefer to browse in person — and will be in New York this weekend — we’re taking our wish lists IRL at Tinseltown, Refinery 29’s annual holiday shopping event, which we’re co-hosting this year. Sight Unseen has invited seven amazing vendors to offer their wares for sale: Alex Proba, Best Made Company, Bower, CHIAOZZA, Dusen Dusen, Fredericks & Mae, and MAKE Cosmetics. Refinery29 are hosting RillRill and Print All Over Me, plus a cat-themed boutique and a hairstyling bar. Best of all, CHIAOZZA’s Terri Chiao and Adam Frezza will be on hand all weekend offering personalized papier-mâché plants, so you can choose custom colors and patterns and get them painted for you on the spot! It’s all happening at OpenHouse in Nolita, 201 Mulberry Street, on December 13 and 14, from 12PM to 8PM each day.

  10. 12.03.14
    The Essentials
    75 Gifts We’re Coveting — Ryland

    Welcome to Sight Unseen’s second annual gift guide, in which each member of the Sight Unseen team will share the 25 items they’re coveting at the moment. Today’s honors go to the newest third member of Sight Unseen: assistant editor Ryland Quillen. Gift guides are great because they not only tell you what cool things to buy for your loved ones but they also give you a sneak peek into the inner workings of the author’s brain. For example, Ryland likes: chunks of resin embedded in things, glyphs, figurative animal prints, and long walks on a rocky beach. If you do too, this is the list for you! Happy holidays!

  11. 12.02.14
    The Essentials
    75 Gifts We’re Coveting — Jill

    Welcome to Sight Unseen’s second annual gift guide, in which each member of the Sight Unseen team will share the 25 items they’re coveting at the moment. Yesterday we got a peek at Monica’s picks (from $10 chocolate bars to $10,000 chairs), and tomorrow we’ll be hearing from our assistant editor Ryland (dude loves himself a nude-colored seating element!) Today it’s Jill’s turn, and this year’s list doesn’t stray too far from the color scheme of 2013. Into blue, aqua, blush and brass? This is the list for you! Happy holidays!

  12. 12.01.14
    The Essentials
    75 Gifts We’re Coveting — Monica

    If you’re anything like us, you probably spent this weekend thinking less about buying new things and more about giving thanks for what you already have. But let’s be real: Gifting season is about to get seriously underway, and with that in mind we’ve put together a fantasy wish list of all the beautiful, considered design objects we’ve been eyeing lately. Welcome to Sight Unseen’s second annual gift guide, in which each member of the Sight Unseen team — Monica on Monday, Jill on Tuesday, and Ryland, our assistant editor, on Wednesday — will share the 25 items they’re coveting at the moment, from the attainable ($10 chocolate bars) to the wildly aspirational ($10,000 chairs). Happy holidays!

  13. 10.22.14
    How To
    Make a Sculpey Mobile, With Fort Makers

    The team behind Fort Makers don’t refer to themselves as a design studio but rather an “artist collective,” and there’s a marked difference: They make functional objects, but instead of producing a stream of products with a unified aesthetic, they each work individually under the studio umbrella, experimenting with whatever interests them at any given time. In a way, it’s that same sense of structureless structure that first attracted Noah Spencer to the idea of making mobiles: You can hang pretty much anything from them, as long as you get the balance right. “Any kind of visual language can be carried into the mobile world,” says Spencer, a Paul Loebach and Uhuru Design alum who co-founded Fort Makers in 2008. While he primarily makes models hung with simple wooden shapes, he’s also been toying around lately with more expressive elements made from polymer clay (aka Sculpey), a method he graciously offered to teach Sight Unseen readers in this tutorial.

  14. 10.13.14
    Eye Candy
    Valentina Cameranesi Sgroi’s Associations Vases

    Italian product designer Valentina Cameranesi Sgroi worked as lead designer for Diesel Home — developing furniture and lighting for its collaborations with Moroso and Foscarini — for three years before becoming a freelance creative director in 2012. Since then, she’s also developed a personal body of work that includes video art, photography, and ceramics, exploring “the relationship between the natural and artificial.” Her latest project, Associations, is a series of vases that take inspiration from ’70s craftsmanship but with simple, expressive shapes that evoke Ettore Sottsass and the Italian artist Gino de Dominicis. All of the pieces in the collection are made by artisans in Veneto, Italy.

  15. 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.

  16. 09.18.14
    Sighted
    Optical Delusion by Page Thirty Three

    We are completely intrigued by Australia. It almost feels like a parallel universe sometimes — it’s on the totally opposite side of the world from us, and it has its own thriving design scene that we’re constantly being reminded we know precious little about. That’s how we felt a few weeks ago when the Sydney-based creative studio Page Thirty Three contacted us out of the blue to introduce us to their latest collection, Optical Delusion, which consists of shelves, lamps, chairs, and tables inspired by puzzles, simple mechanics, and neolithic forms. Now we’re introducing it to you. Click through to see images from Page Thirty Three’s new collection, much of which is hand-crafted in their own workshop.

  17. 09.17.14
    Sight Unseen Presents
    Our Fall Pop-Up at Space Ninety 8

    Having branched into retail three years ago with the Sight Unseen Shop — plus a few pop-ups along the way — we can definitively say that the only thing better than buying beautiful objects for ourselves is putting them out into the world for the enjoyment of others. When Marissa Maximo, curator of Space Ninety 8 in Williamsburg, offered us 500 square feet in which to host an event for the month of September, we figured it was the perfect opportunity to bring the work of some of our favorite makers — most of it destined for our fall shop collection — to a much wider audience. Designed by Syrette Lew of Moving Mountains and on view now through October 5, the pop-up consists both of items we admire (Pat Kim’s Soap on a Rope, Heddle & Needle’s wall weavings) and items we’ve commissioned exclusively for the Sight Unseen Shop (Ian Anderson’s Oden pitchers, Sandwich Shop’s Shapes Vase and Two-Tone Artifact Mug). See photos of the space — and our packed opening-night party — after the jump.

  18. 09.11.14
    Shop
    Our Fall Collection is Here — 14 New Designs!

    Today is an exciting day at Sight Unseen, because for months we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to put together our biggest, most exclusive collection of new releases ever, and now we can finally unveil the results! From marbled cups by Workaday Handmade to ceramic mobiles by Recreation Center to copper and brass necklaces by Ladies & Gentlemen Studio, we’ve assembled a killer group of handmade housewares and jewelry by our favorite rising design talents, and you can shop them all right now in the Sight Unseen Shop — you won’t find them anywhere else!

  19. 09.09.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Future Tropes at Volume Gallery

    “Timeless” is probably the most overused — and abused — word in design in recent years, typically employed by designers in the context of sustainability in order to imply that a piece has such a classic look or function that its expected longevity can somehow justify its existence in a sea of wastefulness and overproduction. Future Tropes, a new group show that opened this past weekend at Chicago’s Volume Gallery, approaches the concept of timelessness from a very different angle, however: “The work should be slightly ahead of the world, slightly un-contemporary, setting the stage for future codes yet operating in a place that precedes our ability to apply language to those codes.” (—Jan Verwoert, as adjusted by RO/LU.) In other words, objects that are equally linked to our prehistoric past and our distant, utopian future. Volume curators Sam Vinz and Claire Warner proposed that brief to Leon Ransmeier, ROLU, Jonathan Muecke, Tanya Aguiñiga, Jonathan Olivares, and Anders Ruhwald, who exchanged ideas on the topic before each creating a custom piece responding to it. See the results after the jump.

  20. 08.23.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of August 18, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week had a very geometric vibe, from our favorite picks from the NYNOW gift fair, to a lamp inspired by ’80s virtual reality, to a photography series showcasing the nature of shadows.

  21. 08.20.14
    Gramaway
    Win an iPhone Case From Mansi Shah!

    When we first discovered the work of New York textile designer Mansi Shah, we were impressed by the way she was able to make such playful prints and patterns look so ultra-sophisticated, from splatter-paint motifs to neon grids to squiggles. That quality is exactly what makes the items in her newly launched, eponymous accessories collection so wearable — they feel more fashiony than faddish, which is all the more impressive considering she graduated from CalArts with a degree in graphic design just six years ago. Having since done time designing for the likes of Warby Parker and Madewell, Shah recently set up shop on her own, offering both custom print services as well as the items in her brand new retail arm — scarves and iPhone cases at the moment, with caps, backpacks, and more to come, all of which channel her love of “hand-drawn typography and organic mark-making.” To celebrate the label’s launch, Shah is offering Sight Unseen readers the chance to win one of her Impasto-print iPhone cases, worth $42. Read on for instructions on how to enter.

  22. 08.12.14
    Q+A
    Jamie Wolfond of Good Thing

    When we’re asked by other journalists to talk about the evolution of American design, we pretty much always point to the same thing: the rise of independent designers and studios producing and selling their own work. Young American designers have increasingly become entrepreneurs in the past ten years, leveraging local manufacturing resources and online shopping platforms in order to bypass the need to wait around for big brands to do it for them. The latest such endeavor is Good Thing, a new company founded by designer Jamie Wolfond and based in New York that launches next week at NY NOW. Good Thing’s first collection consists of nine products by six different designers, from a sand-cast aluminum trivet to a coiled-plastic vase to a handmade clay mug. We spoke to Wolfond about the new venture and how he’s making it work.

  23. 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.

  24. 06.24.14
    Sighted
    Patch of Sky by Fabrica

    People who know me well consider me to be semi-obsessed with the weather. I check it often, and I’ve long had the habit — often wondering if I was the only one — of bookmarking the cities of my friends and family in my app of choice, Weather Underground, just so I could picture from time to time whether they might be out frolicking in the sunshine that day, or cowering from a nasty snowstorm. And I was especially enthusiastic when, earlier this week, I read that the set of 250 new emojis released this month included far more nuanced ways to indicate to others via text your current meteorological status (here’s hoping I don’t have to use “cloud with tornado” anytime soon). It’s no wonder, then, that when an email came in this morning from the folks at the Italian design-research studio Fabrica touting their latest project Patch of Sky, a “set of three Internet connected ambient lights, enabling you to share the sky above you in real-time with loved ones, wherever they are,” I dropped what I was doing and decided to post about it immediately.

  25. 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.

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