Jerpoint Irish Glass for Makers & Brothers

Anyone who was in New York for our annual Noho Design District event this spring should be familiar with the Irish online homegoods brand Makers & Brothers; they would have been the ones making a beautiful mess on the floor of the Standard East Village hotel, as their woodworker James Wicklow carved stools made from Catskills-grade green ash by hand over the course of four days. But most of what namesake brothers Jonathan and Mark Legge do to showcase their particular brand of native handcrafted goods takes place a bit closer to home — which in their case is a shed located on the same property as their parents' home and architectural practice in Dublin. Since founding their online retail venture less than a year ago, the two have made a point of visiting and documenting the workspaces of the people who create products for them — the basketweaver who grows her own willow on the banks of the River Boyne, the Irish RCA grad who knits stool covers from a warehouse in East London, and, most recently, a family of glassblowers in Kilkenny whose Jerpoint brand drinking vessels the brothers grew up with. When we wrote Jonathan to ask if we could reprint some of their text and photos on Sight Unseen, he confessed he hopes to collaborate soon with Jerpoint — so perhaps a follow-up story will be in the offing for fall. Until then, if you're in Dublin, you can pop by the brothers' shed this weekend for a summer opening. If not, live the Makers & Brothers life vicariously through our excerpt after the jump.
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New Work By My Bauhaus Is Better Than Yours

From the start, the young Weimar students behind My Bauhaus Is Better Than Yours gave themselves a crushingly large reputation to live up to. Not their alma mater's creative legacy, mind you, but those tote bags, given away when the collective-turned-production company launched in 2009. Bearing its name in a thin block print, the bags made for the perfect product even before you saw the group's actual work, and for awhile you couldn't turn a single corner at a design event without running into someone wearing one. But to the credit of the now Berlin-based company's founders — graphic designers Manuel Goller and Daniel Burchard — each furniture collection continues to hit the proverbial nail on the head, combining appealingly graphic shapes with just the right dose of functionality. Earlier this week, My Bauhaus re-launched its webshop with a new design, lower prices, and new products, some of which debuted earlier this year in Milan. We asked three of the designers behind those works to send us a list of five things that inspired their piece, from Bret Easton Ellis to solitaire.
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Tools for Everyday Life, by the Designers in Residence at Northumbria University

It seems ironic that the design school at Northumbria University's two most famous graduates would be Max Lamb and Jonathan Ive. At one end of the spectrum is Lamb, a designer so consumed with the act of making and the transparency of process that he films himself fabricating each piece from start to finish and posts the results on his website. On the other is Ive, who’s responsible for an object that’s more of a cipher, one that conceals its mechanics within and successfully erases any questions about how the way it works or the context in which it was made. But perhaps the difference between the two designers is as simple as the difference between their concentrations at university: Ive graduated from a Northumbria program known as Design for Industry, which focuses on consumer experience, while Lamb finished a course called Three-Dimensional Design, where the act of making is as paramount as the artifact itself. It’s the latter program that's yielded the Designers in Residence who have exhibited at ICFF, for two years running, a collection of products known as Tools for Everyday Life, and it’s in Lamb’s footsteps that those designers follow.
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ROLU’s Settee X Three at Sit and Read Gallery

It's fitting that the boys from ROLU would choose to introduce the show they opened this past Saturday at Williamsburg's Sit and Read Gallery with this quote from American sculptor Richard Artschwager: "Everything matters. An itchy nose, scratching it; a distant train. A bit of coffee left in the mug. My hand grasping the mug, the thumb providing guidance. Every encounter with another person... etc." Beyond being a mantra as of late for the Minneapolis-based studio, its core message — everything matters — could easily describe the approach they and most of our other design friends took to ICFF weekend: Why do one show when you can cram in three, or four? Thus while Sit and Read's Kyle Garner was installing his hand-dyed Sling Chairs at our Modern Craft show at the Merchant's House Museum, he was also prepping his gallery for the exhibition with ROLU, who were also installing new pieces at the Boffo Show House and at the No Frontier show with Volume Gallery at Mondo Cane in Tribeca. As a working method, everything matters may actually be dangerous to one's health, but when applied to a single design project, it turns out the results are pretty stunning — in this case, a series of furnishings and experiments that will be on view at Sit and Read through July 1. Click through to see what ROLU co-founder Matt Olson had to say about the project, and watch a video documenting how one part of it came to life.
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Roll & Hill Jonah Takagi Silk Road

An Exclusive First Look at Roll & Hill’s 2012 Collection

Three ICFFs ago, when we launched the Noho Design District, our biggest exhibition was the debut of Jason Miller's highly anticipated new lighting company Roll & Hill, which took over the top floor of our beloved former lumber building (RIP) and cozily lit its dilapidated interior with a string of gorgeously modern chandeliers. It's hard to believe how far both of us have come since then. With the imminent redevelopment of the NDD's former hub at 45 Great Jones, we went hunting for a new home, and instead found two. And Roll & Hill — in addition to showing its new collection at the Javits Center — will join up with us once again in Noho, this time spreading out over 3,500 square feet on the ground floor of 2 Cooper Square, where a monthlong showroom will showcase the brand's full collection in addition to its new products for 2012.
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Balanced by Mischer’Traxler at Wait and See

Two years ago, we went to Milan for the annual furniture fair and noticed, to our delight, a very Sight Unseen–appropriate theme: Rather than just presenting their work, designers were using their Salone exhibitions to showcase their process alongside their finished products. Last year was no exception to the trend, and this year, one of the most promising Milan preview emails to come across the transom at Sight Unseen HQ saw the Vienna-based duo mischer'traxler poised to create a new piece from the tools and inspirations used to develop their old ones. For Balanced, an installation opening tomorrow at the Milanese concept shop Wait and See — a kind of next-gen 10 Corso Como tucked inside a former monastery — the machine-obsessed couple dug up artifacts from the creation of four of their most popular projects and envisioned them laid out perfectly on either side of four gigantic homemade scales. Mischer'traxler gave Sight Unseen an exclusive first look at the show, by way of images they shot in their studio earlier this month, and told us a bit more about its genesis.
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Studio Glithero in Icon Magazine

Though we often travel the world searching for stories and meeting subjects for Sight Unseen, the UK-based design duo Studio Glithero has somehow always eluded us. We were first introduced to their work in 2008, when they created a massive site-specific installation at Milan's Nilufar Gallery during the annual furniture fair. After traveling through the gallery's labyrinthine hallways and courtyards, we ended up in an eerie basement space where a series of motorized wicks hung from the ceiling, methodically dipping in and out of metal cans full of hot wax arrayed in a circle on the floor. But the pair was nowhere to be found. That's why we were particularly excited to find a recent interview with the studio on the British magazine Icon's website — not only for the article itself, which we're reposting on Sight Unseen today, but also because it led us to Glithero's Vimeo channel, where a vast archive of process videos has all the while been hiding in plain sight. The pair have been using film to document their work for years, which makes sense when you realize that they often use time as an integral material to their process.
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Lars Beller Fjetland on It’s Nice That

We've had printed editions of online magazines on our minds lately, and now comes the news that one of our favorites, It's Nice That, will release its 8th issue at the end of this month. Their new edition will feature all sorts of design-world greats like Paula Scher and John Pawson, but their website continues to introduce us to exciting unknowns, like their recent feature on Norwegian designer Lars Beller Fjetland, which we're reposting today. Fjetland hasn't even graduated yet from the Bergen National Academy of Arts, but he's already amassed a first-rate portfolio of projects that often use found objects or waste materials, like cork and leather, as their jumping-off points. His latest collection is a series of hand-turned wooden birds made from reclaimed Norwegian wood. In this interview with It's Nice That, the designer explains how the project came to be; we were intrigued enough that we asked him to share with us some process photos as well.
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Fredericks & Mae’s 2012 collection video

If Luis Buñuel had somehow detoured into a life making promotional lookbooks, they might have ended up something like the stop-motion video filmmaking duo Grave of Seagulls recently put together for our friends at Fredericks & Mae. The video was conceived to celebrate Fredericks & Mae’s 2012 collection, which is based loosely on the Mayan idea that 2012 marks the end of the world, and includes things like worry beads, backgammon and dominoes sets (with which to bide your time waiting for the apocalypse?), and a special edition of their signature arrows, featuring black feathers on dyed-black dowels. Says Lauryn Siegel of Grave of Seagulls: “I randomly saw their work over a year ago and immediately knew it would be great on film. It's an amazing video no matter how it's seen — as a commercial, as a documentation of work and process, as a stop-motion, or as a piece of design.” We recently spoke to the filmmakers and to Fredericks & Mae to get the scoop on the film, which debuts today on Sight Unseen.
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Julien Renault on Found By James

Julien Renault is the kind of designer who wears his influences on his sleeve. Not only does he create his own utilitarian furnishings — a series of lightweight aluminum stools that appear forged like steel, a desk made from recycled-plastic boards that resemble wood — he collects everyday anonymous objects and keeps them as a kind of inspiration library, like a second-generation Jasper Morrison or third-generation Castiglioni. And as if that's not enough, he also totes around his father's old camera wherever he goes, shooting whatever he's drawn to and saving the images for future study. As a consequence, the Brussels-based designer has not one website, but three: Julien Renault Objects houses his portfolio, Inventory his fly swatters and pumice stones, and Magic Argentic his photo album. We'd been meaning to feature Renault somehow when we came across an interview with him on the enigmatic site Found By James.
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Jason Miller’s Big Fade Dishes

If you haven’t been on the hunt lately for info about his iconic Antler Chandelier or Duct Tape Chair — or the trio of designs he’s contributed to his own lighting label, Roll & Hill — you might not have noticed that Jason Miller quietly updated his personal website last week, adding e-commerce and setting the stage for what he calls “Jason Miller Studio 2.0.” It’s been two years since Roll & Hill’s splashy New York launch, after all, and while Miller is still tethered to his growing company, he’s slowly begun finding the time to get back to his own independent projects. Hence the new site: “The idea was to take the emphasis off some things I thought were either dated or that I changed my opinion of slightly, and to refocus it on what I’m currently doing and plan on doing for next three or four or five years,” Miller says. One of those current projects is a new series of plates inspired by his recent trip to an airbrushing stand in Miami, where he bought his daughter a t-shirt featuring palm trees and rainbows. Miller told us the full story behind his Big Fade dishes here.
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Found Objects at RoAndCo

Sighted today on the blog of RoAndCo — the up-and-coming, ADC-award-winning design agency run by our friend Roanne Adams — a beautifully presented series of old treasures discovered under a client's floorboards. Writes Adams: "All too often our NYC paced lifestyles make it easy to forget that the buildings we walk by and work in every day have stories to tell. Our friends and clients at Projective Space recently found some treasures hidden under floorboards while renovating their new Lower East Side space, and we thought they were too beautiful to not share! We did a little research and found that both cigarette boxes date back to 1910 and feature artwork inspired by Owen Jones, a London-born architect who reproduced the ornate designs he found while traveling in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and India. We thought it was pretty funny that the design for the Turkish Cigarettes packaging clearly took its style cues from Egypt. The Juicy Fruit wrapper and matchbooks all date back to the 1920s. One of the matchbooks actually has an ad for life insurance: $5,000 worth of coverage for 5 bucks!" Click through for more images.
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