Take a Tour of Our 2017 Sight Unseen OFFSITE Show, Part I
PHOTOS BY CHARLIE SCHUCK
Conventional wisdom suggests that for an event to be considered truly successful, it’s supposed to get bigger every year — that’s the strategy most conferences, festivals, and fairs follow. But here at Sight Unseen we’ve always put curation before commerce, and so when we began pondering back in October whether Sight Unseen OFFSITE might benefit from a tighter, smaller, more elevated edit, we had no qualms whatsoever about scaling down. Whereas in 2016 we hosted more than 70 exhibitors in 20,000 square feet, our 2017 show, which wrapped on Monday evening, featured just 25 exhibitors in 13,000 square feet — yet it was widely credited with being the best we’ve ever done. Rather than spanning brand new talents, commercial brands, AND more established design studios, we focused particularly on the latter, giving them each larger spaces in which to launch sophisticated new collections within a more immersive, designed environment.
The studios who joined us for 2017 included old Sight Unseen favorites like Iacoli & McAllister, Atelier de Troupe, Grain, Ben & Aja Blanc, and BZippy & Co, but also more recent discoveries like Miami collaborators Office GA and NUN, the new housewares collection Pieces, and the very first furniture line by noted Brooklyn interiors firm Home Studios. Two booths delighted visitors with interactive installations — Calico Wallpaper teamed up with The Principals to create a touch-sensitive, color-changing chandelier, while the online art purveyor Twyla teamed up with Tom Hancocks to present a series of virtual reality interiors. And lest we leave behind the young talents we’re known for launching, we partnered with Levi’s Made and Crafted to debut the work of two incredibly amazing women — Eny Lee Parker and Leah Ring of Another Human — then included two dozen more in a group show we curated, which we’ll feature in tomorrow’s post.
Thanks to everyone who attended, to the exhibitors who helped make this week’s show such a success, to our PR team at Camron for spreading the gospel, and to our partners — Twyla, Levi’s Made and Crafted, Sonos, West Elm, Eero, Hay, and the Royal Norwegian Consulate General in New York, without whom none of this would have been possible. Here’s Part I of our tour — stay tuned for Part II tomorrow!
L.A.’s Leah Ring launched the debut collection of her new studio, Another Human, with the support of Levi’s Made and Crafted — including mirrors crafted with semiprecious stones, an upholstered bench inspired by stacked stones, and an acrylic table filled with black sand and obsidian.
The expressive London lighting studio Areti joined OFFSITE for the second year, this time adding sculptural marble and wood furniture to its repertoire.
L.A.’s Atelier de Troupe also began as a lighting brand and recently added furniture, including variously sized sheet-metal tables and a gorgeous brass-legged bench that debuted at OFFSITE.
Ben & Aja Blanc set the mood for their new collection with a Turrell-inspired booth completely lined in dusty powder-blue, which heightened the perceptual illusions in their latest series of mirrors.
Our show may have gotten smaller this year, but its wares followed the opposite trajectory — most noticeably in the booth of Bari Ziperstein, whose BZippy & Co vases grew to become oversized planters and side tables. Calico Wallpaper invited The Principals to help showcase its new Aura collection — inspired by aura photography — and they responded by creating an interactive chandelier that reacted to touch with flashing colored lights and bird songs. Moscow-based duo Crosby Studios launched its second collection at OFFSITE — including a chair, bookcase, rug, and pendant lights — inspired by the Sanctuary of Fortuna Primigenia (Palestrina), the Egyptian Temple of Hatshepsut, and the shapes used by Russian suprematists. After discovering this collection of collaborative furniture by Jonathan Gonzalez of Office GA, Jessica Martin, and Deon Rubi (the latter two work together under the moniker NUN), we basically begged the trio to bring it to OFFSITE. Lucky for us, they said yes.
LA designer Elyse Graham took her work in multicolored resin to the next level, creating Gaetano Pesce–inspired nesting tables and vases, paired with Metaflora botanicals against a richly hued teal backdrop.
Both anecdotally and according to Instagram, Savannah-based designer Eny Lee Parker‘s watermelon-washed booth — presented by Levi’s Made and Crafted — was a fair favorite, with its velvet, terracotta, and glass furnishings referred to alternately as “heaven’s waiting room” “a Matthew Barney film set,” and “a really cool doctor’s office.”
Everything about Erich Ginder‘s booth was so on point, from the precision-cut fabric room divider, to the sconces made in collaboration with Dusen Dusen, to the aluminum side tables with pleated bases resembling fabric, to the decor touches like a slice of John Hogan glass and a stainless-steel gazing globe.
After Fernando Mastrangelo‘s explosions in color this spring, the Brooklyn-based designer went back to basics, with monochrome works in layered, ombre sand as well as the piéce de resistance, a landscape mirror that incorporated fourteen hundred and fifty-two individually shaped pieces of glass.
Fort Makers expressed their signature playfulness in almost Bauhausian terms, with each color ascribed to a certain shaped leather ottoman. Two sculptural cherry-wood lights and a series of organically shaped brass hardware rounded out the booth.
Seattle’s Grain mixed contemporary and vintage influences in a new collection inspired by a residency in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. A braided rug based on crop circles, a screen that evokes prayer flags, and a bronzed, C-shaped stool that references a snaking river were among the highlights.
Interiors firm Home Studios — who, chances are, designed your favorite bar — debuted its first furniture collection, called Homework. We love this whole situation, from the marble table, to the sinusoid, nickel-plated steel shelves, to the sheer, peachy, latex curtain hanging in the corner (not an official part of their line, but maybe it should be?)
Though these forms look utterly new and fresh from Iacoli & McAllister, they’re a natural evolution of the work the Seattle-based studio has been doing since the beginning — manipulating a line in space, and turning it into the most covetable collections of lighting.
The Berlin-based brand New Tendency showed its latest collections with us for the second year in a row, including the Meta Side Table in new sand and earth tones and a new version of its December lamp in marble, part of the brand’s new, exclusive line New Tendency Black Label.
Our second annual Norway x New York project matched five new pairs of Norwegian and American designers. Clockwise from top: Vases by Moving Mountains x Runa Klock (with help from Andrew O. Hughes and Urban Glass), Bue stool by Visibility x Noidoi, brick and wood stools and furniture by Vonnegut/Kraft x Kneip, galvanized Split Bench by Jamie Wolfond x Sigve Knutson, and concrete and brass light by Slash Objects x Thomas Jenkins.
Miami-based Jonathan Gonzalez of Office GA had a second display at the show, this one showcasing a series of coat racks he made in subtly different shades of green and differently angled rods.
We were excited to debut a brand new line at OFFSITE this year: Pieces, a completely customizable furniture and accessories brand by the Brooklyn creative agency An Aesthetic Pursuit. Each table can be customized in terms of color, material, and shape, though we also love the more static vases and rugs.
Quebec-based Simon Johns debuted a collection of monolithic furniture pieces in stone and metal, including a series of side table whose rough stone bases and slick metal tops mirror each other in shape and size.
Arielle Assouline-Lichten of Slash Objects debuted her second collection, entitled Coexist, with us this year. Almost every piece is made from two (or three) wildly different materials: marble and brass; concrete, rubber, and metal, etc. So beautiful.
New, Michigan-based TWNS Studio showed its debut line of bent-tube metal chairs, The Double Down, in a booth wrapped in a custom, removable wallpaper by Wallpaper Projects, based on their experiments with chemical reactions on silver photo paper.
Our Twyla and Tom Hancocks virtual reality collaboration — which you can read all about here — was the hit of the fair, with kids, with designers who didn’t realize their work had been rendered in one of the rooms, and with everyone else who might never have been able to experience virtual reality before this weekend.