Tag Archives: Product design

  1. 10.07.13
    Shop
    Seven New Items for Fall!

    When we launched the Sight Unseen shop just under two years ago, we decided to focus exclusively on jewelry and wearables, which are relatively easy for designers to fabricate — and experiment on — and easier still for us to ship. If we’ve strayed from that formula, introducing our first handful of small housewares last summer and going full-tilt this week with our heaviest item yet, a pair of marble and steel bookends that should have the USPS grinning, well, can you blame us? We couldn’t pass up the chance to offer our readers a first exclusive on the bookends, handcrafted by Philly designer Brendan Timmins and not yet sold anywhere else, or Eric Trine’s steel pyramid shown above, however impractical. They’re joined by a brand new series of painted Baggu pouches, climbing rope necklaces by two Icelandic sisters, a brass bottle opener masquerading as an objet d’art, new geometric wind chimes by Ladies & Gentlemen studio, and last but not least, the return of the official Sight Unseen t-shirt. Check them all out after the jump.

  2. 10.04.13
    Eye Candy
    Colourbox Boutique

    Continuing the color craze this week—Colourbox Boutique. We’re shaking it up with salt n’ pepper shakers arted by Colourbox, a visual artist who dabbles in porcelain. The online shop Colourbox Boutique sells tabletop goods, hand painted and made-to-order by Colourbox. Seriously vibrant risograph prints are available too. Based in UK and ships worldwide.

  3. 09.25.13
    What We Saw
    At the 2013 London Design Festival

    If someone was going to attend the London Design Festival in our place this year — a circumstance that normally fills us with a mix of raging jealousy and resigned disappointment — we’re super glad it was Matylda Krzykowski, one of our favorite fellow design bloggers, who on her site Mat and Me manages to nail the same up-close-and-personal vibe we hew to here at Sight Unseen. She captured the perfect overview of the fair for us, even though she only had one day to explore it: Her plane in from Hong Kong landed at 5:40AM this past Saturday, at which point she quickly took a bath, rearranged her suitcase, and bolted back out the door by 9:30AM to begin her reportage. “I had literally had six 6 hours that day to look around before departing to Switzerland the next day for my duties at Depot Basel,” she says. “I started off in South Kensington, then hit the Brompton Design District, then Central London, and finally the East End.” How’s that for dedication? Check out the things she spotted, and the people she said hello to along the way, after the jump.

  4. 09.17.13
    What They Bought
    LDF 2013: So Sottsass at Darkroom London

    Had we thought of it ourselves, “That’s so Sottsass” is a phrase we might have used hundreds of times over the past five years to describe all the designs spawned by the recent mega-Memphis revival. Crazy colors, clashing patterns, geometric shapes on shapes — it all came rushing back in homage to Ettore and his crew, a fact which the intrepid duo behind our fave London store Darkroom chose to acknowledge this week with the debut of their So Sottsass collection. Launching last night — day one of this year’s London Design Festival — the installation includes both Memphis-like objects by outside designers and new pillows and wrapping papers conceived by Darkroom owners Rhonda Drakeford and Lulu Roper-Caldbeck as part of their ongoing in-house collection. There’s also an amazing window display by up-and-coming Italian stylists StudioPepe. Drakeford took time out of her crazy LDF schedule to not only share photos of So Sottsass with us, but to tell us the inspiration behind the collection: “At Darkroom, we’ve always had a penchant for maximalist modernism — bold colour palettes, big patterns, and brave combinations,” she says. “In a decade of ‘greige,’ we love exploring how being bold and playful with design can fit into modern life.”

  5. 09.10.13
    Eye Candy
    Krzysztof J. Lukasik’s Stratifications Series

    Krzysztof J. Lukasik’s Stratifications Series feature handsome, utilitarian forms made from heavy, solid materials–marble, granite and limestone. “Stratifications is a collection of five objects based on the complementarity between the simplicity of the forms and sophistication and intensity proper to the texture of laminated marble.” The series will be exhibited at Young Creative Poland: 4 Years On during London Design Festival starting September 16th.

  6. 09.06.13
    Eye Candy
    Jennie Jieun Lee, Ceramist

    Jennie Jieun Lee forms blobs of clay into attractive vessels full of good humor. Lee allows the clay to crack and warp and the paint to drip and drop. Pieces are named Eddie’s Mug, Salome, Suzanne and—Mr. Vukelich—A jar and lid based on a true man who sat in a classroom behind me. Make sure you check out her instagram, so many more goodies. Lee lives and works in NYC.

  7. 09.05.13
    What We Saw
    At Boisbuchet with Snarkitecture

    For those of you who haven’t heard of it, Domaine de Boisbuchet is basically glorified summer camp for designers: It’s an old chateau and grounds in the middle of the French countryside where, each week for 12 weeks, two or three contemporary designers or studios are invited to host a creative workshop for a group of students and professionals. During downtime, you can canoe, swim in the lake, lay in the grass, drink beers, swing from trees, attend dance parties, or sit around a bonfire and stargaze — it’s pretty much rural heaven. So it was a tiny bit funny to be there last week with Daniel Arsham and Alex Mustonen of Snarkitecture, who are best-known for their work with white styrofoam, fancy fashion brands, and hip-hop superstars, and who this week are hard at work back in New York installing a 20-foot-tall carved-foam mountain as a backdrop for the runway show of leather-sweatpant purveyor (and Kanye favorite) En|Noir. Luckily you can not only take the boys out of the city, you can take the city out of the boys, whose first instruction to the participants in their “Excavations” workshop was to dredge up wheelbarrows full of dirt, clay, and sand from the lake and its surroundings. The group then spent five days doing hand-casting experiments in the sunshine, in order to “take familiar, everyday objects and find ways to manipulate and alter them to make them serve new and unexpected purposes,” as Mustonen put it. After the jump, check out all the photos we took documenting the process from start to finish.

  8. 08.23.13
    Up and Coming
    The American Design Hot List

    Last week on Ambra Medda’s new site L’Arcobaleno, Jill was asked to cover the recent rebirth of New York design, discussing the transformation with key players like Jason Miller, Lindsey Adelman, and Dave Alhadeff. “Once again there’s a scene that’s celebrated internationally,” said Alhadeff, and we couldn’t agree more — ever since we founded the Noho Design District in 2010, which is largely devoted to American talents, we ourselves have been asked countless times by global designers and journalists to share our take on all the exciting things happening on our home turf, and we’re always happy to oblige. After awhile, though, it got us thinking: Why wait for people to ask? Why not create an easy resource we can share with everyone? And so, introducing the American Design Hot List, a totally unscientific, unapologetically subjective portfolio of the 25 emerging and semi-emerging furniture and product designers we think you should know now. Is it comprehensive? No. Will some folks feel left out? Inevitably. But without enumerating them here, we had our reasons for every choice, whether it’s the fact that they have a big show coming up this fall/winter — Katie Stout, Misha Kahn, Snarkitecture, Jonathan Muecke — or they had a game-changing launch this year, or they just seem to be ubiquitous at the moment. Because these things (and our minds) are constantly changing, we’ll be publishing new versions of the list periodically. Meanwhile, Sight Unseen is taking a short summer hiatus next week, returning September 2, so you’ll have plenty of time to peruse this one! See the names after the jump!

  9. 07.22.13
    The Making Of
    Wary Meyers’ Candles

    If you want to put too fine a point on it, you could say that John and Linda Meyers specialize professionally in obscurity. The couple run a brand and webshop called Wary Meyers, where they sell flea-market ephemera that often have a delightful but abstruse narrative attached, and their own goods like Gonks, which are handmade creatures for kids based on an old World War I British archetype. They also made themselves scarce a few years ago when John, a former visual merchandiser at Anthropologie, and Linda, an art director, picked up and left Manhattan for a quieter life in Portland, Maine. But as a young couple with a very young child, they felt increasingly that they ought to be investing their time in something that might one day become ubiquitous: “The thing with our company is we’ve always done a lot of one-offs and prototypes — things where we’ll make one item and then it’s like, ‘Well, how do we produce them somewhat cheaply and not in China?’” says Linda. “And everything we did before seemed slightly esoteric. We had a book where we did 50 DIY projects and people loved the products and were like, ‘Do you want to sell them?’ And it was kind of like, ‘Well, do you want to pay $1500 for a dresser?’” Which is why last week, the couple released their first — “dare I say mainstream?” jokes Linda — product: A line of scented candles with iconic-seeming packaging and incredibly inviting-sounding scents.

  10. 07.10.13
    Up and Coming
    Pauline Deltour, Product and Furniture Designer

    Okay, let’s get this out of the way as quickly as possible: Yes, Pauline Deltour spent a few years as a designer in Konstantin Grcic’s studio. And yes, Grcic may have made a few strategic phone calls on her behalf, jumpstarting her career once she struck out on her own in 2009. But considering that was four years ago, and the 30-year-old Paris-based talent has since turned out more than a few painfully elegant designs for the likes of Discipline and Kvadrat, we thought it was worth stating for the record that she’s become quite the rising star in her own right — not to mention one of design’s most promising new female voices. We checked in with Deltour, who describes her practice as aspiring to create “self-evident” objects, to find out what she’s been up to lately.

  11. 06.12.13
    Eye Candy
    Lotta Lampa, Product Designer

    Lotta Lampa’s designs ooze a kind of nightclub chic. There’s an edge to them, a razzle-dazzle, club kid cool. Yet there are more to her pieces than just making the scene. Her most recent work, Raaisii Collection, references the stereotypes of people from Northern Sweden (where Lampa was raised). “I have found symbols representing some of the prejudices, and then used them to create three dimensional objects in the form of furniture and vases.” Lampa lives in Stockholm and Kalix, Sweden.

  12. 06.07.13
    Eye Candy
    Dale Hardiman, Designer

    Dale Hardiman mixes artificial substances with natural elements. The ‘Pogle’ collection of polymer based bangles and bowls swirl radical colors while morphing into globby forms. Hardiman “explores material substitutes and an autonomous approach to furniture and objects. The majority of his work is based around the exploration of differing methods of manufacturing outside those of industrial practice.”

  13. 06.03.13
    What We Saw
    At New York Design Week 2013, Part V: The Rest

    New York Design Week may already feel like a distant memory, but we couldn’t move on to covering the upcoming Design Miami Basel fair — or start publishing all the amazing studio visits and house tours we’ve been saving up for the past few weeks — without doing one last post about all the offsite shows we saw (and didn’t see) during this year’s ICFF. From magnified eyeballs to garbage arches to our favorite watering can of all time, check out the official Sight Unseen roundup below.

  14. 05.30.13
    What We Saw
    At New York Design Week 2013, Part IV: ICFF

    We had a dream for ICFF this year: to set up a “Sight Unseen Canteen” staffed by an avant-garde chef who would purchase food items from the conference center cafeteria and recast them into amazing gourmet meals, a bit like the now-defunct website Fancy Fast Food. The reason we had this dream (which we still hope to someday realize) is that no one in their right mind ever has anything good to say about the Javits itself — the climate, the lighting, and of course, the hideous, overpriced cuisine — and so pretty much everyone, we figured, would get the joke. If we could add on a foot massage station, a napping pod, and a daylight simulator, our vision would truly be complete. But alas, this year all there was to comfort weary fairgoers like us was plain old great design, and the joy of running into old friends and colleagues, and so we had no choice but to settle for that. We came, we saw, we conquered.

  15. 05.02.13
    Shop
    New For Spring in the Sight Unseen Shop!

    Geometry, shapes, ceramics, iridescence — these are a few of our favorite things, so it’s no wonder they’re all over our spring shop update! We’ve been stockpiling the amazingness for weeks, including our first men’s ring (and first piece by Jonathan Nesci) and our lowest-priced item ever: mix-and-match ceramic stud earrings by Jujumade that are a steal at only $18 each. The rest of the names you’ll recognize, like Ladies & Gentlemen Studio, WWAKE, Object & Totem, Katy Krantz, Gemma Holt, and Iacoli & McAllister, the latter of whom have reprised their Sight Unseen–exclusive Necklace No. Ultra for a third time in hammertone, a crackled enamel finish that will play a starring role in their new furniture launch this month. Check out all the new jewelry offerings after the jump, then stay tuned for a second round of exciting spring additions next week — housewares!

  16. 04.29.13
    Noho Design District
    Sign Up For Designer Master Classes at the Bowery Hotel

    During this year’s 2013 Noho Design District, Sight Unseen is hosting a day of designer master classes on May 17 at New York’s Bowery Hotel. In each workshop, participants will learn a fun process or technique from one of our favorite up-and-coming New York designers — Fredericks & Mae, Noah Spencer of Fort Makers, or Chen Chen and Kai Williams (pictured) — then enjoy a period of guided experimentation before walking away with their own handmade objects. Classes are 75-90 minutes long, cost $50 per person, and each is limited to 20 participants, so read the class descriptions after the jump, or click here to sign up now!

  17. 04.25.13
    Noho Design District
    Join Us for the 2013 Show!

    There’s still an obnoxious chill in the air in New York City, but as the trees start to cautiously bloom and we begin the lurch towards spring, you know it’s that time again — we’re excited to give you a sneak preview of our fourth annual Noho Design District, which we’ve curated and produced in partnership with Noho-Bowery Stakeholders. Running from Friday, May 17 through Monday, May 20, it’s set to once again be New York Design Week’s most exciting incubator for new ideas and talent.

  18. 03.25.13
    Sighted
    Tom Dixon’s New Mass Coat and Book Stands

    Tom Dixon has long been considered a master of metal (thanks, famously, to an early motorcycle accident requiring extensive bike repairs for which he learned, then fell in love with, welding). So we weren’t the least bit surprised when we received a press release this morning revealing the London designer’s newest wares — set to be released in two weeks at the Milan Furniture Fair — that contained a veritable smorgasbord of copper, cast-iron, brass, and shiny stainless steel, with a small contingent of nickel-plated aluminum tables that pair the faceting of a cut gem with the roughed-up surface of a silver ingot. There was one thing that really stood out for us, though: two minimalist brass sculptures, each an imposing 6.5 feet tall, one for holding books and the other for hanging coats. They’re so different from anything we’ve seen Dixon show lately that they almost beg the question as to what new wunderkind he’s brought on staff, but either way, they’re a win. Someone with good taste, a huge budget, and high ceilings is about to make us very jealous.

  19. 03.12.13
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    5 Platonic Objects by Christian Wassmann at R 20th Century

    Swiss architect Christian Wassmann is quite the chameleon: Not only does he seem to float effortlessly between every important New York fashion party, design talk, and art opening, equally at home in every crowd, his work also spans myriad scenes and disciplines — from the interior of a scrappy East Village radio station, to a massive installation with fashion darlings threeASFOUR at the Arnhem Mode Biennale, to his latest project, a suite of transformable furniture for the high-end Tribeca design gallery R20th Century. While we’re not sure how to explain his social gifts, his professional versatility comes down to something we here at Sight Unseen can certainly appreciate: Wassmann’s longtime appreciation for geometric forms permeates everything he does, and those shapes by their very nature happen to work just as well on a small scale as they do on a larger one. In honor of his first small-scale effort, we did a little interview with him, which we’ve posted after the jump.

  20. 03.05.13
    Eye Candy
    Daniel Eatock, Artist

    Daniel Eatock is a London based artist formally trained in graphic design who practices “a rational, logical and pragmatic approach when making work.” His 2012 series of complementary objects, One + One, demonstrates this utilitarian method. The series was developed at Stanley Picker Gallery, Kingston University over the course of his fellowship. Gallery Director Stanley Picker writes, “[Eatock]…establishes a range of formal, practical or conceptual conceits connecting two otherwise independently existing objects.” Aka, object mash up.

  21. 02.27.13
    Excerpt: Book
    Carl Auböck: The Workshop by Clemens Kois and Brian Janusiak

    Is it possible to love something too much? What about when you’re an avid collector of something that teeters on the line between fame and obscurity? For Austrian photographer Clemens Kois, a longtime devotion for the century-old Viennese design workshop Carl Auböck carried a particularly trying dilemma: He had the chance to make a book that could finally introduce the long-overlooked brand to the mainstream, vindicating his fervor and helping to build up the very collecting market he was engaged in, but that would in all likelihood make it harder for him to acquire the objects he loved so much. Luckily for the rest of us, he chose to follow his passion, joining forces with Brian Janusiak of Project No. 8 and powerHouse Books to create Carl Auböck: The Workshop, which came out this past fall. We’ve excerpted eight of the objects Kois shot for the book, along with their backstories, as told to he and Janusiak by Carl Auböck IV, the latest son to run this multi-generational atelier.

  22. 02.12.13
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Alley-Oop by Will Bryant and Eric Trine at Poketo

    Before the show Alley-Oop opens at L.A.’s Poketo store this coming Saturday, you should take a moment to thoroughly examine the portfolios of its two Portland-based collaborators, illustrator Will Bryant and furniture designer Eric Trine. Because think about it: How easy is it to picture the results of a collaboration spanning the two disciplines? Especially when Bryant’s work is so crazy vibrant — full of squiggles and anthropomorphized hot dogs wearing neon sunglasses — and Trine’s is so very understated, albeit with a lot of cool geometries in the mix. Alley-Oop is like one of those software programs that lets you crudely merge the faces of two people to find out what their child might look like at age 5, though perhaps a better metaphor would be that it’s like what would happen if you pumped two designers full of methamphetamine and locked them in a room together for 48 hours with nothing but some spray paint and a welding gun. Actually, that’s not too far off from how Bryant and Trine describe it themselves. See our interview with the pair after the jump, along with the first preview images of their collaborative work — which hopefully won’t be the last.

  23. 02.04.13
    Up and Coming
    Stephanie Hornig, Furniture Designer

    One of our favorite things to do when we discover the work of a new designer is to play the internship guessing game. You can typically spot a former Bouroullec acolyte, for example, just by their use of shape and color. But Stephanie Hornig? With forms this clean and utilitarian, we never would have guessed she once worked for the doyenne of decoration, Patricia Urquiola. Perhaps a more telling clue in Hornig’s case is the fact that the Austrian-born talent went to design school in Berlin before moving on to her current home in London — her geometric tables, accordion shelves, and minimalist chairs lean more towards functionalism and the beauty of classic everyday objects, albeit subtly tweaked with new colors and ideas. We asked the recent graduate to tell us a bit more about her fledgling practice, which we’ll no doubt be keeping an eye on.

  24. 01.30.13
    The Making Of
    Shatter Vases by Pete Oyler and Misha Kahn for Assembly

    If you have a great design sense, and if you enjoy sending people flowers, you’ve probably noticed by now that the two don’t exactly tend to play well together. Unless you’re clued into a place like The Sill, our new favorite Brooklyn-based succulent delivery service, you know your lucky recipient is most likely going to receive their posies in some boring glass trifle that will inevitably end up in the freebie box at his or her next garage sale. That’s why when young designers Misha Kahn and Pete Oyler hit up a Salvation Army looking for castoff vessels to experiment with for their latest project, they had absolutely no trouble filling up their cart. It’s tough out there for a generic FTD vase, especially one whose emptiness eventually reminds you of a failed relationship or a hospital stay. Kahn and Oyler decided that, just in time for Valentine’s Day, they’d take their thrifted castoffs and give them new lives as objets d’art, filling them with colored resin and shattering them in place (hence the name). “We wanted to capture the instantaneous,” the pair write in their project description. “The gesture of shattering and freezing the vases simultaneously subverts their typical use and life-cycle while reconstituting them as extraordinary objects: Each is completely unique in both in its contents and configuration.” Kahn and Oyler have described to us in detail after the jump the process behind the vases; as of tomorrow, you’ll be able to buy one for your sweetheart — or yourself — on Assembly’s website.

  25. 01.23.13
    Invitation
    Kelly Rakowski’s “Life With Max Lamb Prism”

    Here at Sight Unseen, we’re a bit like a college application — fixated on versatility, and in awe of anyone who’s proven themselves equally gifted across a spectrum of interests and activities. So it’s no wonder we became fast friends with someone like Kelly Rakowski, who studied graphics, worked as a book designer for Todd Oldham for five years, started a blog revolving around her obsession with archival textiles, and now makes weavings, housewares, and jewelry as one half of the label New Friends. She’s an artist, a designer, and a stylist, and when we asked her to art-direct a special editorial featuring Max Lamb’s Prism Bangle — commissioned by us for the Sight Unseen Shop — it was no surprise that she understood our vision immediately. Max’s bangle, after all, is way more than just a bangle; it began life as a sculptural object and was adapted for us to wearable proportions, but it still feels just as at home on a desk as it does around your wrist or hanging from your neck. For this slideshow, Rakowski imagined several creative uses for the Prism’s four discrete parts, from spaghetti dosing to cookie-cutting, then photographed her ideas in action.

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