Aleja Castellanos et Francois Leite - 1 © Luc Bertrand

The Designers on Our Radar After This Year’s Design Parade in Hyères and Toulon

As we hurtle towards the September make-up version of Salone del Mobile — which will mark the first major in-person design fair since COVID began, advisedly or not — we first wanted to turn our attention to the return of one of our favorite smaller fairs, the annual Design Parade in Hyères and Toulon from Villa Noailles in the south of France. As always, we're smitten with the competition format for these two festivals, which seems to unearth amazingly talented designers we've never heard of.
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This Exhibition Shows How Cranbrook Helped Pioneer the Cross-Disciplinary, Craft-Based, Experimental Design and Art of Today

Most people know the highlights of the Cranbrook Academy of Art’s storied 90-year history, from its campus by Eliel Saarinen to its role as a breeding ground for the stars of mid-century modernism. But in June, the school launched the results of a four-year deep-dive into its own history — in the form of a sprawling exhibition and a 600-page book, both called With Eyes Opened — that offer a much more nuanced view of Cranbrook’s game-changing influence. We spoke with curator Andrew Blauvelt about 6 artworks and objects by varied practitioners that were part of that narrative.
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A New Exhibition in Los Angeles Presents “Objects as Aura”

Closing this Sunday is an exhibition in Los Angeles, called SIZED, that aims — as LA residents emerge into a newly reopened city — to recapture some of the magic of in-person, pre-pandemic events. Curated by Alexander May of Offsite.Studio, with all items available to purchase, the exhibition gathers together hundreds of objects that address our desire to collect.
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You’ll Never Guess Which California Town is Undergoing an Art Renaissance — Thanks, In Part, to This New Artist-Run Gallery

Here at Sight Unseen, we could of course rattle off a long list of renowned, influential city centers for art and design: Berlin, Mexico City, Seoul, Copenhagen, New York and more. But lately, Long Beach, California, has landed on our radar — yes, you heard right, Long Beach, home to the Queen Mary and Snoop Dogg, where, later this summer, a new art gallery called In Various Forms will open.
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Step Inside Object & Thing, An Intimate Art Exhibit at the 1955 Home Gerald Luss Built for Himself

The new Object & Thing exhibition, created in collaboration with Blum & Poe and Mendes Wood DM at the Gerald Luss House in Ossining, New York, opened on May 7. Since then, I've basically treated it like the design equivalent of the Mare of Easttown finale, trying to shield myself from spoilers on social media until I could visit in person last Friday. And yet, when I got there, I realized that this was a relatively pointless task: No image can replicate the feeling of stillness that comes from being inside a house that's as well-considered as the Luss House, and no Instagram tour can capture all the details that make this particular collaboration so satisfying.
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Blistered Leather and Melted Aluminum — Soft Baroque’s New Works Were Inspired By the Sun

After a year of pretty much everything being on hold, we’re finally seeing the fruits of some of that pre-COVID labor. For those of us here in Milan, that means projects originally slated for the canceled 2020 Design Week are at last seeing the light of day. One of the better projects to have made it out the other side is Sun City, a collaboration between PIN-UP magazine, Soft Baroque, and Marséll, the Milanese footwear brand. Set over three levels in Marséll’s headquarters in an ex-factory in the Porta Romana district, Soft Baroque debuted — during the Digital Design Days in April — a slew of new work, each piece loosely inspired by the sun.
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Motherhood — And the Ways In Which It Challenges Us to Create — Is At the Center of This Exhibition

The idea for Egg Collective's third "Designing Women" exhibition was born long before the pandemic struck. Back in 2018, Egg's co-founders — Hilary Petrie, Crystal Ellis, and Stephanie Beamer, along with Ellis's sister, the artist Tealia Ellis Ritter — had the idea to curate a selection of female artists and designers who also happened to be mothers, and who often worked with or chafed against the constraints of motherhood in order to create.
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A New Gallery Show in London Takes Wood to Unexpected Places

Maybe it's because I've been watching Ellen's Next Great Designer (which, honestly, you should be as well, it's highly entertaining and it features THREE former Sight Unseen subjects!), but an exhibition where designers riff on the range and versatility of wood feels extremely low-stakes. (Also not a knock; it's an appropriately sized brief for coming out of a year of lockdown). But that's also what makes it all the more impressive that Gallery FUMI's first exhibition of 2021, called The Beautiful Grain and featuring 11 of the gallery's artists, should be so insanely inventive.
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Fictons by CCC  — Photo © Alex Lesage 3

This Canadian Design Show Was Dreamed Up Before the Pandemic. So Why Is It About Mutation, Isolation, and Fear of the Unknown?

Set in an abandoned, somewhat post-apocalyptic-looking building in the middle of Montréal, FICTIONS offers visitors a surveillance-like experience, with four different camera angles offering a glimpse of the half-shrouded pieces, alongside an eerie accompanying score. Though there was no brief, many of the pieces play with ideas about mutation and perception.
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Stacey Rees’s Abstract Female Portraits Capture a Moment of Inner Contemplation

In her previous works, the Australian painter Stacey Rees seemed to be captivated by the strange and modern notion of the selfie. Her portraits explored the idea that people can define their self-worth by the public face they show to the world and that people can, in fact, manipulate those images for a better outcome. What comprised the inner life of those who swore by such digital machinations, she seemed to ask? In her new body of work, which was on view this month at the Sydney gallery Saint Cloche, Rees appears to sink even deeper into the stillness of contemplation.
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