Tag Archives: retail

  1. 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.

  2. 03.01.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of February 24, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: furniture worthy of a “French Fries Party,” super-minimalist $99 lamps, candy-colored stools by Jeff Martin (above), and incredibly styled images by the likes of Gemma Tickle and the Bouroullec brothers.

  3. 02.27.14
    Sighted
    Last, a New Swedish Design Trio

    No pun intended, but we had to share one last find from this month’s Stockholm Design Week: Last, a new arena for selling one-of-a-kind products by Swedish design trio Åsa Jungnelius, Gustaf Nordenskiöld, and Fredrik Paulsen. They are, respectively, a glass designer working with glass, a potter with clay and a furniture designer with wood. All share a common desire for not only producing sustainable products, but also to promote a kind of design that is slower, more considered, and intended to stand the test of time (i.e. the last spoon you might ever buy).

  4. 01.20.14
    Sighted
    Joanna Williams of Kneeland Mercado on Sous Style

    There are a lot of reasons we’ve been reading Sous Style since former Elle photo director Pippa Lord first launched it in 2011: the casual, contemporary feel of the food photography, the glimpses into the homes and private lives of some amazingly cool women, and of course, all those incredibly gorgeous men(!). But we also love when Lord surprises us with different types of approaches to mixing food with fashion, design, and culture, including a post she did recently on textile-sourcing maven Joanna Williams of Kneeland Co. Mercado — in it, Williams reveals both the stories behind some of the items she’s brought back from various cities to sell in her Los Angeles shop, as well as all of her favorite things to eat while visiting those places. Check out an excerpt from the story after the jump!

  5. 01.18.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of January 13, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: vintage Brooklyn hipster interiors, shelves inspired by Venetian bridges, a new website for Josef and Anni Albers, Sottsass Bacterio bookends (above), and more.

  6. 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.

  7. 12.16.13
    Shop
    Now In Stock: The Shadow Vase by Jessica Hans

    You’ve made your list, you’ve checked it twice — but if you’re anything like us, there are still a few gifts that have you stumped. Luckily, we’re launching one last piece in the Sight Unseen Shop before the holidays, and it might just be perfect for that certain someone. It’s our first piece ever from Philly favorite Jessica Hans, and it’s a beauty — the black-and-white, Keith Haring-inspired, made-by-hand Shadow Vase ($120), whose textural surface marks come from a mix of matte black glaze and unglazed porcelain peeking through.

  8. 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.

  9. 12.12.13
    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 over the next two days we’ll be featuring 25 items per editor. Today’s picks come from Jill, whose taste runs more towards all things pretty, colorful, and mid-century.

  10. 12.11.13
    Eye Candy
    72Editions.com

    2013 was a good year for buying affordable art online. The long-dormant 20×200 relaunched in beta, Exhibition A proved stronger than ever, sites like Artfully Walls debuted, and countless independent designers began selling prints via their own webshops. As of last week, you can add to that list 72 Editions, a new online destination for limited edition contemporary art and artifacts, curated by London’s YCN creative network, whose offerings start around $60. We’ve already spotted a few favorites among the mix — Saskia Pomeroy’s graphic illustrations, and really lovely photography by designer Cristian Zuzunaga (above) — but we were also excited to see a few artists lesser known to us (how great are Chris Jarrett’s hand-whittled slingshots, below?). Immediately bookmarkable.

  11. 12.07.13
    Saturday Selects
    Week of December 2, 2013

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, and events from the past seven or so days. This week: a slam-dunk stocking stuffer for your graphic designer friends, a furniture collection inspired by Palm Springs, a better way to crack a nut, and more

  12. 12.02.13
    Invitation
    Shop Sight Unseen on Print All Over Me

    In April, we introduced you to BYCO, a production platform and online shop for custom clothing designs submitted by up-and-coming fashion talents. But BYCO also had a small section for housewares, where designers could apply imagery to a standardized selection of pillows, duvets, and curtains — an idea that co-founders Jesse and Meredith Finkelstein have taken one step further with their new spinoff project, Print All Over Me. The site harnesses the same overseas manufacturing capabilities the pair utilize for BYCO, but instead of producing custom pieces, it offers designers a choice of eight blanks onto which they can apply any image file — think CafePress, but with shirts, sweatpants, hats, pillows, totes, and scarfs that are actually fashion-forward (Jesse’s also the designer behind the New York label JF&Son). Print All Over Me is technically still in beta, but we were so excited about its possibilities that we invited a few friends — Will Bryant, Mel Nguyen, New Friends, Clay Hickson, and Tim Colmant —to post a few items just for us. Read on to check out and shop their mini-collections, or create and sell your own designs.

  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. 11.12.13
    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.

  15. 11.11.13
    What We Saw
    Hammer Museum’s Arts ReSTORE

    For all of the handwringing about art being inaccessible, there’s no city planning theory that has gained more traction in this century than the idea of creative people driving neighborhood revitalization. Which means that the descriptively titled “Arts ReSTORE: LA” project isn’t just loftily ambitious. The month-long residency program, which began last week, might actually work at creating a less sterile West Los Angeles, not least because it is supported by the powerhouse Hammer Museum, whose three-story compound anchors one end of the street. On a stretch of Westwood Ave., better known for chain sandwich shops and fluorescent interiors, the Hammer offered a half-dozen empty storefronts to local artists and makers, with the idea that even a temporary infusion would upend the retail mood of the area. If the packed opening night was any indication, this time the theory holds. Here’s what we saw.

  16. 11.07.13
    Where They've Been
    Shinola’s Daniel Caudill in Detroit

    It wasn’t too long ago that bringing up Detroit made people feel sad. For decades it was America’s most downtrodden city; the first and only time I visited, 15 years ago, at age 19, I gasped dramatically upon arrival that it looked like its downtown had literally been bombed out and abandoned. But two or three years ago, Detroit got a brand new narrative, unfortunately by way of an annoyingly over-baked media frenzy that branded it the next hipster haven, complete with coffee shops, urban farms, and its first Whole Foods. The arrival of Shinola — which opened a watch factory and bicycle workshop there last year — quickly became a part of that narrative, even moreso when it opened its second retail location in New York a few months ago and began introducing the East Coast to its $2,000 artisanal bicycles and handmade leather goods. And yet the company is playing an important part in what’s really going on in Detroit, beyond all the coffee shops and organic foods, which is that it’s in the process of replacing parts of its failed industrial economy with a creative one, and that its residents and legislators are counting on that renewal to get the city back on its feet.

  17. 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.”

  18. 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.”

  19. 11.02.13
    Saturday Selects
    Week of October 28, 2013

    In a perfect world, we’d all be spending our Saturdays sleeping in, making brunch, then reading the paper in our pajamas all afternoon. Our smartphones would be switched off, and we wouldn’t open our computers until we were forced to get back to work on Monday morning. But who are we kidding? Days like those come around once in a blue moon, and we’re not exactly Luddites over here anyway — we like spending time online, when it’s for our own enjoyment, anyway. Assuming there are those of you out there who agree — or are just helplessly addicted to your RSS — we’ve decided to start a weekly recap each Saturday in order to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, and events from the past seven or so days. If you’re lucky enough to be reading this on Monday, we salute you. But for everyone else, we hope we can make it worth your while to consider spending a little bit of your downtime with us each weekend, pajamas or no.

  20. 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.

  21. 10.16.13
    Sight Unseen Presents
    The Etienne Aigner Flagship Opening

    In many ways, the story of Etienne Aigner is a personal one for us. As a kid growing up in the Midwest, I remember coveting my mother’s gold horseshoe–embossed heels, and then, as a teen, scouring the shoe racks at Marshall’s for a pair of my own. And Monica? I’m pretty sure when we first met she had a dozen pairs of the brand’s vintage loafers and Priscilla heels, and she happily passed that obsession — complete with eBay alerts and frantic Etsy searches — on to me. So we were more than thrilled earlier this year when Sight Unseen was approached by the 63-year-old heritage brand, now led by creative director Daniela Anastasio Bardazzi, to help conceive and curate the opening of their first-ever flagship in New York’s Soho.

  22. 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.

  23. 10.03.13
    Self Portrait
    Keehnan Konyha’s Safe House USA

    How do you know when someone’s a child of the ’80s? Posting photos of Lisa Frank’s headquarters on their blog is a pretty obvious clue. Brooklyn interior designer Keehnan Konyha has been tracking his eccentric tastes on his freestyling eponymous site for the past three years, and dipping into his formative decades liberally, so it didn’t surprise us a bit when he totally went there for his Sight Unseen Self Portrait. His newest project is a bedding textile company called Safe House USA that’s inspired by streetwear and the visual influences he tracks on the web, and he couldn’t imagine a better way to showcase his first collection than to pin it up to a white metal grid in a way that should be familiar to anyone who grew up in the era of cheesy department store displays and layaways at TJMaxx. Published here are the exclusive photos Konyha shot of the series — which is printed with internet-approved motifs like faux marble, punctuation marks, and the black and white mottle unique to composition notebooks — along with the backstory behind both the collection and his vision for this project.

  24. 09.27.13
    Up and Coming
    Helen Levi, ceramicist

    If, like us, you began hearing the name Helen Levi only a few months ago — well, there’s a pretty good reason for it. At this time last year, Levi was balancing four part-time jobs, working as a photo assistant, a pottery teacher, a bartender and a waitress. “I’d been doing pottery since I was a little kid, but mostly gifts or for myself,” she told me when I visited her Greenpoint studio last month. “It’s the dream to be able to make stuff you want to make and have that support you, but I never really thought that was possible.” Then, at a random cocktail event last fall at one of the Steven Alan shops in Manhattan, Levi met the man himself: “I met Steven Alan by chance and was telling him about my work, and he was like, ‘Send it to me.’ I didn’t even have one photograph!” Levi laughs. “But once I met him, it was the spark. I quit all my other jobs and I just tried to do this. Maybe it doesn’t work out and I go back to balancing four things, but it didn’t take a huge investment of money. And so far it’s working.”

  25. 09.26.13
    What They Bought
    Zoe Alexander Fisher’s Handjob Gallery//Store

    In 2007, San Francisco native Zoe Alexander Fisher was 16 and designing an eponymous line of girly cocktail dresses that sold in local boutiques and landed her in the pages of Nylon and Teen Vogue. A mere six years later, the entrepreneurial 22-year-old has today unveiled her latest project, the so-called Handjob Gallery//Store, and it couldn’t possibly be more disparate: It’s an online shop stocked with the kinds of weird and wacky handmade curios infinitely more likely to baffle the general public than to send it stampeding towards Saks. What happened in between? A coming of age, of sorts. After realizing she loved making clothes but hated everything else involved in the fashion business, Fisher went to school to study sculpture and art history, where she found a calling examining the complicated relationship between fine art and function. “There were all these debates in my art classes saying that if you could use it, it’s not art, and I felt such a strong divide was unnecessary,” she says. One 60-page research paper later, she had the idea for Handjob Gallery//Store — officially launching this evening at Sight Unseen’s Back2Cool pop-up shop — which invites practicing artists who don’t normally work in design to create limited-edition objects that do more than just sit there and look pretty.

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