Tag Archives: Product design

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  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. 09.18.14
    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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  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. 06.20.14
    Invitation
    Q+Q Watches Shot By Amanda Ringstad

    When Amanda Ringstad showed a friend recently one of the images she’d styled and shot for us of a cluster of Q+Q SmileSolar watches, all linked together in a random shape, her friend’s first reaction was: “That looks like a lawnmower!” Ringstad was thoroughly pleased — having been invited by us to apply her styling genius in the service of our friends at Q+Q, who partnered with us on this year’s edition of Sight Unseen OFFSITE, the Seattle photographer’s main objective was to present the watches in a simple, abstracted way that left plenty of room for the imagination. “Watches are a simple thing, but difficult to disassociate so that they convey something else,” she explains. After initial attempts to weave them together into a kind of “textile,” or arrange them on top of summery backgrounds depicting water or sand, in the end Ringstad used spare colored planes and graphic shadows to elevate her subjects above the realm of mere utilitarian objects.

  15. 06.10.14
    Up and Coming
    Dessuant Bone, Multi-Disciplinary Designers

    Product designer Marie Dessuant and graphic designer Philip Bone met in 2010 as fellow residents at Fabrica, the Italian design research center, but their professional paths diverged for a spell afterwards. They both moved to London, but Dessuant took a job as head of design for for the furniture brand Another Country, while Bone went on to work at Wallpaper magazine and Reiss. This spring, the pair finally decided to team up to start the studio Dessuant Bone, now based in Paris, where they tackle projects that span their chosen disciplines — art direction and set design for Reiss, product design for Another Country (by whom Dessuant is still technically employed), and experimental object and furniture design for themselves. Their first official studio project, released last month, was the Bay Collection, which includes a large leaning ceramic vase, a flat vase resembling a cymbal, and a series of colorful silkscreened mirrors inspired by beach flags. Read on to see more of the duo’s work and find out what the future holds for their collaboration.

  16. 06.02.14
    What We Saw
    At New York Design Week 2014: David Rockwell by Caliber Grill

    It’s June, and soon we’ll be heading off to places like Art Basel and the Venice Biennale, but you’ll excuse us if we’re still reveling in the highlights from the Best Ever New York Design Week. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention one last special exhibitor from our Sight Unseen OFFSITE exhibition: Rockwell Group, who came onto the event as a partner to show off the serious bells-and-whistles grill that the New York–based firm recently designed for Caliber Range Corporation. Like almost everything Rockwell Group creates, the grill was built around the idea of a shared experience, and in that way it was the perfect product for Sight Unseen OFFSITE, which ended up being as much a social gathering as it was a design exhibition

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 04.15.14
    What We Saw
    At the 2014 Milan Furniture Fair, Part III

    The fairgrounds at the Milan Furniture Fair are a great place to see attainable designs by established companies and talents, but typically it’s not the place to go when you’re scouting for new names (though this year’s Satellite show, as demonstrated in yesterday’s post, happened to be a surprise goldmine). For that, you have to brave the long walks, aching feet, and lack of taxis that come along with trying to get to all the shows around town, from Rossana Orlandi gallery to the far-flung Lambrate district. We say this every year, but we barely saw half of what was on offer; that said, we saw a lot of nice things.

  20. 04.09.14
    Excerpt: Magazine
    Oeuffice’s Milanes Collection, from Pin-Up No. 16

    Now that Seattle Week on Sight Unseen is over, we’re turning our attention to another northwestern capital — Milan, Italy, home of the Salone del Mobile, where Jill and I are on serious scouting duty this week. Before we begin posting our annual eyewitness dispatches from the fair, though, we wanted to start our coverage with a small paean to our temporary digs: an article I contributed to the forthcoming Milan-themed spring/summer issue of PIN–UP magazine, which features the work of one of our favorite local design firms (Oeuffice) photographed inside the foundation of one of our favorite local architects (Piero Portoluppi). Click through to learn more about Oeuffice’s Milanes collection of tabletop items and the impetus behind these gorgeous images, plus how you can snag the PIN–UP No. 16 when it goes on sale next month.

  21. 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.

  22. 03.19.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Renate Müller at R & Company

    Renate Müller is 68 years old and has been designing children’s toys for half a century, some of which she created for her family’s toy factory in Sonneberg, Germany, in the ’60s and ’70s, and the rest of which she still makes by hand in her nearby studio, as part of the personal line she began in 1978. The materials she uses for that line have stayed exactly the same ever since (jute, wood, leather), as has her process and her policy of working alone, save for the occasional hand lent by her daughter. Many of her animal typologies have remained perennial, too. Yet when it came time to create 26 new pieces for her second solo show at New York design gallery R & Company, which opened yesterday, Müller decided to bust out a pretty major — and amusing — twist: Surrealist creatures with two heads, or no heads, that only someone with a very vivid, childlike sense of imagination could possibly dream up.

  23. 03.18.14
    What They Bought
    Sam Baron on Fabrica’s Extra-Ordinary Gallery Collection

    When we found out that Fabrica, the Italian design studio and research center, had just launched its striking new Extra-Ordinary Gallery collection in its online shop earlier this month, the pieces were so intriguing and beautiful that we thought we’d struck editorial gold — turns out we weren’t the only ones! The collection has been all over the design blogs in the past two weeks, and deservedly so. Yet we couldn’t pass up the chance to share it with our readers anyway, so we got in touch with our old friend Sam Baron, creative director of Fabrica’s design department, and asked him for some special insight into the collection, which he curated. The result is a fun little personal diary, featuring five of the line’s standouts as they relate to Baron’s daily routine.

  24. 03.13.14
    Eye Candy
    Totokaelo’s Spring Campaigns

    The cult Seattle boutique Totokaelo already carries clothing and objects so beautiful that each new season wreaks havoc on the wallets of aesthetes around the country. The only way the store could possibly improve on that game? By shooting those new collections in scenarios designed to make said aesthetes even crazier. To promote its spring Art—Object catalog, the store’s creative director Ashley Helvey masterminded two such campaigns: a photo shoot shot by Robin Stein and styled by Margaret Macmillan Jones in the technicolor plaza of Seattle’s King County Correctional Center (designed in the ’80s by Martha Schwartz and Benson Shaw), and a video, also in collaboration with Stein, that features Cameron Mesirow of Glasser along with music from her latest album, Interiors. The photo shoot includes works by SU mainstays Phillip Low, Josh Herman, and Katy Krantz, while Glasser happens to be one of our very favorite bands, so much so that Mesirow is the first-ever musician we’ll be profiling on the site, happening in the next few weeks. For now, check out the video and the photos after the jump.

  25. 02.20.14
    Eye Candy
    Fort Standard’s Home Goods

    Today, a trifecta of awesomeness: The entire home goods line from Brooklyn designers and Sight Unseen favorites Fort Standard, photographed by talented SU contributor Brian Ferry, and styled by Monica Nelson — a new name to us, but you can bet we’ve been perusing her portfolio of great work for brands like Urban Outfitters and Wilder Quarterly. Greg and Ian of Fort Standard have been majorly expanding the scope of their work lately — designing interiors for clients like Steven Alan Home and Harry’s, furniture for Matter and Roll & Hill, and, you know, creating a massive beer luge for our Bowery Hotel party last year — but it’s their growing collection of beautifully considered home goods that’s making them a household name. Pretty, minty sand-cast aluminum bowls, hanging wood-plank cutting boards, geometric stone trivets — and they’ve never looked better than they do here.

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