Tag Archives: Product design

  1. 05.15.15
    The Making Of
    The Dynamic Sanctuary at Sight Unseen OFFSITE

    Sight Unseen OFFSITE opens today, and front and center at this year’s show is an undulating structure that, from a distance, looks incredibly mysterious — its walls are made from an unusual material, and they periodically emit a strange, pulsing blue glow. As you approach the structure, you first pass through a very narrow entryway that obscures your view of what’s inside, but once you arrive there — well, that’s the magic of the Dynamic Sanctuary, an installation by the Brooklyn design studio The Principals that’s a kind of poetic metaphor for the design ideas behind Ford’s 2015 Edge vehicle.

  2. 05.05.15
    Q+A
    Ford’s Moray Callum on Sight Unseen OFFSITE and the Future of Car Design

    Next week marks the start of New York design week, which is jam-packed with events like Sight Unseen OFFSITE, Collective Design, Wanted, ICFF, and more. Add to that the fact that Frieze NY has backed its show up to the same week, with NADA and all the other art fairs following suit, and you’re looking at one of the most insanely hectic cultural schedules this city has ever seen. But there is one place you’ll be able to find a moment of respite from all the madness: inside the Dynamic Sanctuary, a 5′ x 9′ responsive light chamber created by Brooklyn studio the Principals for Sight Unseen OFFSITE, which is meant to bring the design thinking behind the 2015 Ford Edge to life. The lead sponsor for this year’s show, Ford — under the design leadership of Moray Callum — has spent years researching user responses to build a car that’s sleek and fast-looking on the outside but calming and open on the inside (despite being packed with potentially intimidating levels of technology), and we figured there couldn’t be a more perfect metaphor around which to build OFFSITE’s signature installation. We’ll be giving you a behind-the-scenes peek into the creation of the Dynamic Sanctuary next week, but first we wanted to start by talking to Callum, who’s been with Ford since 1988, about the company’s approach to design in general — and where that approach is headed.

  3. 04.25.15
    Saturday Selects
    Week of April 20, 2015

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: Three particularly timely design objects that launched in Milan, one peculiar woven-glass lamp that didn’t, and a show by the design world’s most beloved artist, Carol Bove, pictured above.

  4. 04.23.15
    What We Saw
    At the 2015 Milan Furniture Fair, Part II

    Yesterday we introduced you — both on our site and in a massive Facebook album — to all the wonderful objects we photographed while design-hunting our way through the Milan furniture fair. But thanks to seriously horrendous lighting (we’re looking at you, Rho Fiera), the times we were in a hurry, and the times our camera just couldn’t seem to grasp the concept of white balance while in the presence of LEDs, we couldn’t possibly capture a great image of everything we saw that deserved coverage. That is where today’s post steps in: Here, we bring you the best press images we gathered of all our favorite designs at this year’s Salone, with nearly 50 more on offer over on Facebook.

  5. 04.21.15
    Sighted
    Thévoz-Choquet’s New Marble Accessories Collection For Bloc Studios

    Over four days spent in Milan last week at the annual furniture fair, we saw dozens of exhibitions, spent 9 hours at the fairgrounds, and shot more than 800 photos. Pretty overwhelming. While we take a moment to regroup and put together our official coverage, which starts tomorrow, we figured we’d share with you one of the few projects that we didn’t photograph in Milan, but didn’t need to — SU alums Josephine Choquet and Virgil Thévoz launched an extensive new collection of marble tables and housewares with the Italian marble producer Bloc Studios, and thanks to the duo’s superior art directing skills, it came complete with the perfectly styled set of images you’ll see after the jump.

  6. 04.10.15
    Sighted
    Été Studios’s Project 001

    Ask anyone what kind of houseplant you ought to get if you’re cursed with a black thumb, and you’re nearly always regaled with tales of the wonderful, unkillable qualities of cacti and succulents. But frankly, we’ve had bad luck with more than a few of that breed. Été Studios, a new product-design studio based in Seoul, Korea, is here to help. Their first line of products consists of a series of vases and pots specially designed to make growing cacti and succulents easier. Larger vessels are made from copper, a material known for its antimicrobial properties that inhibit bacterial growth, and smaller, hydroponic vases are made from two parts: “A plant is placed on top of the holder, and its root system passes through the copper pipe and into the vessel. Cactus and succulents thrive in a condition in which the plant is kept dry except for its root system. This vase — while allowing the root system to be in contact with water, which only needs to be changed once a week — keeps the rest of the plants dry.” The fact that they’re beautiful to boot is icing on the cake.

  7. 03.31.15
    Eye Candy
    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!

  8. 03.30.15
    Top 5
    Incense Burners

    We love design thinking. We love interior design, landscape design, fashion design, and architectural design. We love design for social change, and design for public spaces. But it’s hardly a shocker to admit that we’ve got a particularly soft spot for the design of objects, and as such we’re constantly looking for new ways to highlight them — mostly with in-depth backstories and maker profiles, but sometimes, as in our Eye Candy and Saturday Selects posts, with a simple tip of our hats as well. Our newest column, Top 5, is just that: a straightforward, periodic nod to object typologies both obscure and ubiquitous, with five of our favorite recent examples of that typology highlighted in each post. Today, the subject is incense burners, whose proliferation among makers and ceramicists we’ve been noting for some time now. From geometric compositions to simple brass balls, in no particular order, see our picks after the jump.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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!

  19. 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!

  20. 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!

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

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