Tag Archives: Product design

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 02.19.14
    Up and Coming
    Studio Visibility, Product Designers

    Sina Sohrab was born in Tehran and raised in Detroit; Joseph Guerra is a native Los Angelean who grew up outside Atlanta. Yet when the pair met as undergrads at RISD, their backgrounds turned out to be their most influential commonality: “There was this emphasis in both our families on earning your possessions and respecting them — it’s something we really connected on,” recalls Sohrab. “Joey’s dad, for example, had this idea that he wanted all of his possessions to reference an older possession he’d had at another point in his life. This timeline of objects and the idea of emotional value became really important to us.” Upon graduating in 2012, the duo knew they wanted to team up; Sohrab moved to New York and took a job at Bec Brittain studio, while Guerra spent six months in Europe working for Industrial Facility and Big-Game before joining him. They’re now hunkered down in Brooklyn preparing to launch their first collaborative collection during ICFF in May, under the name Studio Visibility.

  6. 02.17.14
    What We Saw
    At Stockholm Design Week 2014

    When Katrin Greiling offered to report on Stockholm Design Week for us this year, it felt like the holy trinity of guest fair coverage: a designer with an amazing eye, who also happened to be a talented photographer, who wasn’t too occupied exhibiting her own work this year to make the rounds on our behalf. Turns out she’s been busy with other projects, 700 miles away from her former home base: “After living in Sweden for 15 years, I recently made a move to Berlin to work on two interior projects,” Greiling says. “Still, though, my heart is strongly connected to the aesthetics of the North, and a year without going to the furniture fair in Stockholm would be unthinkable for me. Studio Greiling didn’t show any work at the 2014 fair, but we still enjoyed meeting up with all the members of our huge Nordic furniture family. Here’s a glimpse at what I saw during the four days I spent in Stockholm.”

  7. 02.07.14
    Eye Candy
    Slag Glas Bookends From Bazazas

    Thanks to the power of e-commerce — and the occasional abandoned shack — quite a few creatives have felt inspired lately to open small, tightly curated shops featuring weird and wonderful small-batch objects by young makers (see also: Handjob Gallery Store). The newest is Bazazas, founded by the designers Scarlett Boulting of opus and Mary Voorhees Meehan. They’ve assembled a quirky yet sophisticated selection of objects by folks like Études Studio, ceramicist Giselle Hicks, and jewelry designer Sandra Russell, but our favorite offering is no doubt this in-house series of Slag Glas Bookends.

  8. 02.03.14
    What We Saw
    At Maison et Objet and IMM Cologne 2014

    In January, we saw plenty of incredible things, from the Brancusi show at Paul Kasmin Gallery to the Swiss Alps to the movie Her. What we did not see, unfortunately, was a design fair — while many of our friends and colleagues were making the rounds in Paris and Cologne, we were busy with the likes of planning our 2014 New York Design Week event, beginning our site’s forthcoming redesign, and talking about how much we loved Her. Lucky for us, though, we’re pretty well connected, so we managed to round up a relatively comprehensive group of photos of what we missed. Behold, after the jump, the Sight Unseen armchair guide to the best new releases at Maison et Objet and IMM Cologne 2014, minus the jetlag and the convention center food.

  9. 02.01.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of January 27, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: a stunning geometric ’70s tapestry piece, dispatches from the LA Art Book Fair, an unconventional take on a diamond ring, and a jealousy-inducing Art Deco-era necklace (pictured above) found by Caitlin Mociun at an antique fair in Miami.

  10. 01.16.14
    Q+A
    Dario Buzzini and Barbara Busatta on Machine Series

    For all the excitement around the game-changing rise of rapid prototyping, it’s always felt a little abstract to us — mostly limited to actual prototyping, MakerBot-style tinkering, and a few crazy, high-end projects meant above all to flaunt the capabilities of the technology. Yet with the launch of Machine Series, a new brand of housewares made using fused deposition modeling (FDM), co-founders Dario Buzzini and Barbara Busatta are attempting to make a case for the potential of 3-D printing to create a commercially viable line of attractive and functional everyday objects. “The focus of this exploration has been to elevate 3-D printing, a technology that is very much talked about but is relegated to either cumbersome, amateurish results or over-expensive artistic applications,” write the Italian-born, New York–based pair in the brand’s press release. “We believe that by exploring the full potential of FDM, we are able to create items that are as simple as they are sophisticated and as elegant as they are innovative.” The designs are also fully open-source, so all the files used to produce them are available online. Buzzini and Busatta took some time to tell us more about the project, after the jump.

  11. 12.13.13
    The Essentials
    50 Gifts We’re Coveting

    Introducing the first annual Sight Unseen holiday gift guide! We’ve been scouring our favorite shops, both here and abroad, and starting yesterday we’ve been featuring 25 items per editor. Today’s picks come from Monica, whose taste runs more towards all things monochromatic, graphic, and geometric.

  12. 11.30.13
    Saturday Selects
    Week of November 25, 2013

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, and events from the past seven or so days. This week: hot guys in design, a new online furniture shop in Berlin, Artsy’s definitive Design Miami preview (including the Jeff Zimmerman ombre vases above), and more.

  13. 11.21.13
    Where They've Been
    Kiosk in Athens, Greece

    There were several reasons Alisa Grifo wanted to take her Kiosk co-founder Marco Romeny to Greece for their newest themed collection of everyday objects, which launches today. But the most pressing was the fact that Greece’s ongoing economic woes have shuttered scores of small businesses, and continue to do so the longer they persist. “It felt like half of Athens was closed,” says Grifo, who traveled there with Romeny in early October. “We would find something and try to contact the manufacturer and their phone would be disconnected. We felt an urgency to go now before more and more disappeared.” The irony is that Greece is also the last collection for the couple before they’re forced to pull their own disappearing act of sorts, thanks to economics of an entirely different kind.

  14. 11.13.13
    Eye Candy
    Diario Textiles by Moisés Hernández

    Apart from being a member of one of our favorite new design collectives — the Mexico City–based group Panorámica, whom we discovered at ICFF this past May — Moisés Hernández also runs a housewares brand called Diario that searches out and redesigns everyday Mexican objects. He started the project last year as part of his masters project at ECAL in Switzerland, and after returning to his hometown, continued it with this new line of colorful tabletop textiles manufactured by a family-run workshop in Oaxaca, all documented after the jump.

  15. 11.12.13
    Shop
    Four New Items for the Holidays!

    If homemade gifts are supposedly the best kind, we happen to think that beautiful objects hand-crafted in small batches by artists and designers are easily the next best thing, especially if you have less than full confidence in your crafting skills (or lack thereof). Of course, you could also simply go out and buy your girlfriend that Vitamix she’s been obsessing over, but where’s the fun in that if she could just as easily go out and buy it herself? A gift from the Sight Unseen Shop strikes the perfect balance, proving you’re thoughtful and resourceful, and that you understand what makes the person you’re giving it to so unique. Not that we wouldn’t also mind a Vitamix for the holidays — ahem — but you know what we’re getting at here! Check out the latest additions to our shop after the jump, which make for great gifts in any price range.

  16. 11.06.13
    Eye Candy
    AOO Shop in Barcelona

    AOO is a new store and brand in Barcelona started by Marc Morro and Oriol Villar, whose first collection is a mix of chunky wood pieces they’ve designed and built in their workshop and pieces they’ve commissioned from other designers and had produced by local craftsmen. The store’s shelves are supplemented with outside objects from brands like Santa & Cole, and its graphics are the work of Eindhoven faves Raw Color. “We’re a place where you can easily find things that are hard to find,” say the founders. “For example, things to give to someone you really care about, like yourself if you consider it appropriate.”

  17. 11.04.13
    Factory Tour
    Mykita’s Berlin Headquarters

    Just a few blocks from the three-story factory where Mykita eyeglasses are designed, prototyped, and assembled by hand by a team of skilled workers, there’s a world-renowned contemporary art museum currently showing works inspired by Joseph Beuys’s vision of the future. There’s a new bar where fancy hipsters go to sip $15 Moscow mules, and more than a few new “luxury” condo buildings, which have begun sprouting like weeds in the area in the past five years. That’s about when Mykita moved its headquarters to their current location in the middle of Berlin’s Mitte neighborhood, which is basically the New York equivalent of setting up shop in Soho. It doesn’t actually manufacture from scratch there the metal and acrylic frames that are its signature — the parts are sent up in flat batches from South Germany — but it does just about everything else that’s required to construct and ship out between 600 and 1,000 pairs of glasses per day to the likes of Colette and Opening Ceremony. “It’s a business philosophy for Mykita that everything is under one roof,” says Lisa Thamm, head of Mykita PR, who gave us a tour of the factory this past June. “It’s actually easier that way, especially when your graphics team, your designers, everybody is really into detail.”

  18. 11.01.13
    Self Portrait
    Sebastian Herkner’s Pulpo Containers

    You might not recognize it at first glance, but Sebastian Herkner’s new ultra-shiny glass Containers for the German brand Pulpo have a serious high-low thing going on — and not just in one sense, but two. Not only are they inspired by the cheap plastic containers normally used to store things like distilled water and Cheez-Balls, they’re also made using a technique that’s gone from rags to riches in recent history. “Mercury glass was once used as a substitute for real silverware, which was too expensive for poor people to afford,” says Herkner. “Nowadays, though, it’s thought of as unique and rare; there’s one company in Czech Republic which specializes in mercury glass, and Pulpo produces the Containers there.” Like most of our favorite tastemakers, Herkner’s appreciation of both the lowly and the luxurious extends to his personal style, too, which is why we thought it fitting that he should photograph his Containers for us amidst the landscape of his own home, just outside Frankfurt. He told us more about his process and his possessions below.

  19. 10.28.13
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    AmDC x Outpost Journal: Hometown Homage

    Last week, we introduced you to Outpost Journal, a magazine founded by Pete Oyler and Manya Rubinstein that investigates American creative scenes outside the likes of L.A. and New York, focusing on a different secondary city each year. This week, we’re showing you the results of the magazine’s recent collaboration with the American Design Club, which invited young designers to reflect on their own hometowns across the country, no matter how large or small. Exhibited earlier this month at the ever-changing New York boutique Story, as part of its Made in America showcase, the project — Hometown Homage — included a dozen or so objects intended to celebrate “the origins of our creative identities,” as AmDC co-founder Kiel Mead put it in the call for entries. “As creative professionals, the environments from which we come – whether a farm, small town, or large metropolis – help to shape our worldview. The AmDC challenged designers to look retrospectively at their hometown experiences to design an object that reflects their heritage, paying homage to their past with skill sets honed in the present.” The show itself closed on Friday, but Sight Unseen picked our favorite pieces to share with anyone who didn’t have the pleasure of seeing them in person.

  20. 10.11.13
    Eye Candy
    New Work by David Taylor

    Hot off the presses! A Sight Unseen fave, David Taylor gave us a ‘first look’ at his newest trio–a mirror, a vase and a plate. Taylor’s work is often a conglomerate of materials, surfaces and actual conglomerates. Today we see a mix of polished brass, concrete and rough edged rock clusters combined to form this elegant and satisfying series. Taylor comments the project is very much “in embryo” so don’t be surprised if the set takes off in a new direction. Even tho to our wide eyes the series looks completely snazzy as is.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.”

  25. 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.

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