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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Okolo Visits Tobias Rehberger’s Studio

For the team behind the Czech curatorial studio and blog Okolo — Adam Štěch, Jakub Štěch, and Matěj Činčera — their work is informed as much by the fact that they're based in Prague, with a front-seat view of all things fascinating in Eastern European design, as it is by the fact that they love to travel. Adam Štěch has toured the region documenting amazing modernist homes, one of which he covered for Wallpaper this fall and more of which you'll see on Sight Unseen in 2012, and the trio recently produced a print magazine devoted entirely to the city of Vienna. They also traveled to Frankfurt in November, visiting a succession of designers' studios and photographing them for the Okolo website, slotting them in between posts about new work by Tomáš Král and the deconstruction of a Phillips auction catalog. One of our favorites was the studio of artist Tobias Rehberger, known for his striking graphical sensibility and his affinity for design and architecture, recently witnessed in the award-winning series of spaces he created in partnership with Artek; we've reposted it here with additional images and text that Adam prepared exclusively for Sight Unseen. Meanwhile, look out for a more extensive collaboration we're preparing with Okolo for later this winter.
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Andy Beach of Reference Library in 01 Magazine

Sighted in the seventh issue of the online journal 01 Magazine, an interview with Philly-based blogger extraordinaire Andy Beach. Despite having never met the two women behind the Vancouver-based publication, we feel a certain kinship with them: They meander across disciplines, they cover folks who are near and dear to us like ConfettiSystem and ROLU, and they even have a healthy appreciation for the absurd. But when we saw the story about Beach, in particular, we knew we had to repost it, as we've been trying to weasel our way into the man's home ever since we first met him in Milan two years ago, when he did a pop-up shop with Apartamento and sold us this book from his personal collection. For now, we'll settle for excerpting a Q+A that shines a light on the goings-on behind the scenes of his cult blog Reference Library, including the avalanche of inspiration binders that started it all
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Digital Artist and Scientist Krist Wood on Rhizome.org

Any first-time visitor to the internet-art blog Computers Club could be forgiven for getting lost in the meandering stream of digital illustrations, photo manipulations, and animated gifs created by its close-knit group of international contributors. With no real nav bar or About Us page to use as a guide, either, they would even be justified in wondering what, exactly, it all means. And if, like I did back in 2009, this visitor decided to trace the site all the way to its founder, they would discover an even bigger enigma: Krist Wood, a doctor in Yale University's Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology who spends his days studying the protein nanomotors responsible for cell motion, and who calls his scientific work "part of my art practice." Indeed, I found Wood so intriguing — and Computers Club so freakishly addictive — that I contacted him two years ago, when Sight Unseen was just about to launch, in the hopes that I could feature both him and his cohorts on the site somehow. And yet without a clear understanding of how to capture such a disparate and mysterious group, I let the ball drop, which is why I was so pleased to see an interview with Wood published at the always-thought-provoking Rhizome blog earlier this week, one that actually sheds light on Wood's oeuvre. It's partially excerpted here.
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New Finnish Designs in Aalto’s House, on Nowness.com

Sighted today on Nowness, a post celebrating the opening of Helsinki Design Week — and the year of design events taking place in the Nordic capital in 2012 — with a photo essay featuring contemporary furniture and lighting by eight established and up-and-coming Finnish designers, shot inside Alvar Aalto's house. Located in the Munkkiniemi neighborhood of Helsinki, the meticulously preserved home provides the perfect backdrop for work created by a generation of designers who, living in such a tiny country, must all inevitably feel the influence of Aalto's outsized legacy — visually speaking, the project also reminded us of our favorite installation at the 2010 Milan Furniture Fair, when contemporary furniture was inserted into the hallowed rooms of Piero Portaluppi's Villa Necchi Campiglio. The Nowness story was beautifully shot by the young French photographer Estelle Hanania, and we've excerpted half of those images here.
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Kings County Distillery on The Makers Project

On occasion, the editors of Sight Unseen spot a story about creativity told from a viewpoint that’s not unlike our own. In the past year, we’ve noticed that documenting the studio interiors of people who spend their workdays making things has become a bit of a cottage industry on the web; our most recent obsession, Brooklyn-based photographer Jennifer Causey, chronicles the interior spaces of local fashion designers, florists, perfumers, jewelers, and food producers. We’re excerpting here Causey’s feature on Kings County Distillery, a homegrown moonshine producer that’s been run out of an East Williamsburg studio since early last year.
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Philippe Malouin’s studio on Yatzer.com

On occasion, the editors of Sight Unseen spot a story about creativity told from a viewpoint that’s not unlike our own. This one, posted yesterday on the design blog Yatzer, peeks in on the studio of Québec-born, London-based designer Philippe Malouin. Malouin is known for taking his time with a project — after painstaking research, his recent chainmail-like Yachiyo rug for Beirut’s Carwan Gallery famously took 3,000 hours to produce — and in the article, writer Stefania Vourazeri probes the young designer about his thoughts on permanence as well as the influence of art on his designs. "Production for the sake of production is not that interesting to me,” he explains.
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The Making of Tom Price’s Meltdown Chairs on Tales of the Hunt

Sighted on the new design-art documentary website Tales of the Hunt, a video chronicling the making of Tom Price's Meltdown Series, for which the London talent employs inventive heating methods to transform commonplace objects like PVC pipes, polypropylene rope, and even polyester clothing into dramatic chairs and tables. The site itself is the creation of the precocious young Belgian design-art dealer Victor Hunt, whose interests lie particularly in objects that are created by hand using highly experimental processes; his collection contains not only finished products but prototypes, failures, and abandoned one-offs that further highlight those processes. It was only natural that Hunt would launch a video series dedicated to showing his clients and the design-art world at large the stories behind the works he supports, and likewise that Sight Unseen would want to become a partner in the endeavor. From time to time we'll share with you new videos posted on the site, starting with Price's. Watch it after the jump, then head to Tales from the Hunt to view the other offerings so far, including a behind-the-scenes look at how Maarten de Ceulaer's Balloon Bowls are created.
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