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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.