When we founded the Noho Design District back in 2009, it was meant to provide a much-needed, well-curated platform for independent designers, whose numbers — particularly in America — had begun to surge. But it was also meant to add an extra dose of dimension and excitement to New York Design Week (or NYCxDesign, as it has since come to be known), which at the time was considered preeeeeetty lackluster, to say the least. By that measure alone, the first edition of Sight Unseen OFFSITE, our successor to the Noho Design District, was a massive success; word on the street was that this NYDW was the best anyone could remember, and we’re proud to have played a significant role, alongside Wanted, ICFF, Intro/NY, Herman Miller, Matter, Wallpaper, and several others.
Of course, Sight Unseen OFFSITE was a success in other ways as well, like the thousands of visitors who surged through this year, from design curators to celebs like David Byrne to top players at the likes of Proenza Schouler, J. Crew, and Alexander Wang. Plus the nearly 50 exhibitors who came away with sold-out booths and glowing press everywhere from T magazine to Refinery29. To that end, there were two questions we heard most often as the show drew to a close earlier this week: 1. Will you do it again next year? (As long as we find a great space!) And 2. How can I see photos of the show if I missed it? (By viewing the slideshow at right, the first of two recaps). Thanks so much to everyone who did attend, thanks to all of our exhibitors who helped us make design-week history, thanks to our graphic designers Kokoro & Moi and our PR team at Camron, and special thanks to our partners — General Growth Properties, Rockwell Group, Q+Q, Waggener Edstrom, and Interiors From Spain — without whom none of this would have been possible in the first place.
We can’t wait to do it again in 2015! After we get some much-needed rest, that is.
We've had a special place in our hearts for Spanish design for as long as we can remember. After all, the very first scouting trip we ever took for Sight Unseen, way back in the summer of 2009, was to sunny Barcelona. (Don't even get us started on Design in Spain, the last full issue Monica and I worked on at I.D. Magazine, and one of our personal favorites, period.) So when the Spanish trade commission in New York asked us earlier this spring if we'd be interested in curating a selection of our favorite recent Spanish designs for Sight Unseen OFFSITE, the answer was an unequivocal yes.
By the close of Sight Unseen's four-day pop-up during the Noho Design District last year, we'd come to realize a few things. One: that we quite enjoy being shopkeepers — the merchandising of objects, the banter with the public, the satisfying swipe of each credit card through our handy Square readers. And two: that four days was not nearly enough. As we watched the objects we'd put so much effort into procuring move on to more permanent retail homes, we felt a vague sense of deflation, almost like a break-up, and we immediately began plotting for pop-up number two. Never, though, did we dream what would happen next: We were approached by Jade Lai, owner of the impeccably curated Creatures of Comfort store in New York and Los Angeles, to create a Sight Unseen pop-up in the gallery space of her New York store, which had previously played host to temporary outposts from the likes of Confettisystem, Textfield, and the Japanese housewares shop Playmountain. After months of planning, we finally debuted the Sight Unseen Shape Shop this Tuesday at a blowout party.
Back in March, we gave you a small taste of what was to come at Sight Unseen OFFSITE, our brand new nomadic design fair opening May 16 at 200 Lafayette Street in New York's Soho neighborhood. But a lot has happened since then! Most notably, we've brought some exciting partners on board and finalized our official lineup, which is now packed with more than 50 independent designers and forward-thinking brands, all of whom have been hand-picked by the editors at Sight Unseen. Open to the public May 16 to 20 — during the hours of 12PM to 7PM Friday and 11AM to 7PM Saturday through Tuesday — Sight Unseen OFFSITE is New York design week's most exciting platform for new ideas and talents. Check out a small preview after the jump of some of the works that will be on view during the show, then join us next weekend to see it in person!