OFFSITE_Vorrasi_SpainPost

At New York Design Week 2014: Spanish Design at Sight Unseen OFFSITE

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.
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At New York Design Week 2014: Interiors from Spain at ICFF

Imagine this scenario: 14 American design brands banding together to take over a large swath of the Milan Furniture Fair, all with the financial and logistical support of the US government. Sounds hilarious, right? While we can't dream of enjoying such privileges here, in one of the world's most prosperous nations, Spain has been throwing its weight behind its homegrown design industry for ages. In addition to marketing services, the Spanish trade commission — through an initiative called Interiors From Spain — has helped its local furniture manufacturers have a unified presence at ICFF for the past 10 years. This year's selection included Apavisa, Capdell, Ebir, Fama, Inalco, Isimob, Kriskadecor, Lladro, Marset, Nanimarquina, Now Carpets, RS Barcelona, Santa & Cole, and Texidors — check out our highlights from those makers after the jump, then watch our site for more coverage of the overall fair in the coming week.
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At Collective 2 and Frieze New York 2014

A little more than a week ago, we were eyeball-deep in preparations for our Sight Unseen OFFSITE show, which runs for two more days in New York City. We had insurance permits to apply for, electricity installations to oversee, and staffers to train, but we were still determined to drag ourselves away long enough to see two of our favorite shows of the year: the Collective Design Fair, and Frieze New York. And oh, was it worth it — Collective had nearly doubled in size since its first edition last year, and Frieze once again gathered some of the most gorgeous art we'd seen in ages under one roof (not to mention with killer food by the likes of Roberta's and the Fat Radish). See a small selection of our highlights after the jump, then head over to our Facebook page to see much, much more.
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At the 2014 Milan Furniture Fair: Part IV

A week ago today, we spent our afternoon at the Milan fairgrounds, our evening surrounded by colleagues at a dinner hosted by Camron PR, and the wee hours of the night at Bar Basso, where we ran into just about every friend of ours who was in town from far and near. Which reminds us of two key things about the Salone del Mobile: that catching up with dozens of the designers and curators we know but never see is one of our favorite things about the fair, and that each of those friends packs their days in Milan with just as many sights and experiences as we manage to pack into ours. We figured we'd combine both ideas into the second installment of a tradition we began last December at Design/Miami, when we invited everyone we knew who attended to send us the best photo they took that week. Read on to see what folks like Faye Toogood, Felix Burrichter, and Rafael de Cardenas thought were the highlights of their trips.
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The 2014 Whitney Biennial

Perhaps the most telling moment regarding this year's Whitney Biennial came when we posted an image of Dutch artist Peter Schuyff's spiral-carved pencils on Instagram. "Where is this craft show?" joked Mondo Cane's Patrick Parrish. "Bedford Ave?" he asked, referring to Brooklyn's main hipster thoroughfare. Yep, this biennial feels decidedly different than years past. There are still inscrutable videos, and works we simply slid by for lack of interest, but this year had moments that felt smaller, more tactile, more intimate — and for us, more compelling — than in years past.
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At Stockholm Design Week 2014

When Katrin Greiling offered to report on Stockholm Design Week for us this year, it felt like the holy trinity of guest fair coverage: a designer with an amazing eye, who also happened to be a talented photographer, who wasn't too occupied exhibiting her own work this year to make the rounds on our behalf. Turns out she's been busy with other projects, 700 miles away from her former home base: "After living in Sweden for 15 years, I recently made a move to Berlin to work on two interior projects," Greiling says. "Still, though, my heart is strongly connected to the aesthetics of the North, and a year without going to the furniture fair in Stockholm would be unthinkable for me. Studio Greiling didn't show any work at the 2014 fair, but we still enjoyed meeting up with all the members of our huge Nordic furniture family. Here's a glimpse at what I saw during the four days I spent in Stockholm."
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The slopes in Verbier are said to be Switzerland's most challenging; only the most athletic skiers — and their unfathomably fearless skiing prodigy 3-year-olds — vacation here.

At the New W Verbier in Switzerland

If you're a fan of the W Hotels chain, which at the moment comprises nearly 50 properties in more than 25 countries, you probably fall in to one (or both) of the following categories: you're young, wealthy, extroverted, and appreciate things like fire-juggling bartenders, or you really, really love design. It's not that the W's interiors are suited to every taste — especially since half the fun of them is that they're mostly designed by different firms, from Patricia Urquiola (Vieques) to Yabu Pushelberg (Guangzhou) — but you do have to tip your hat to any corporate entity that puts this much investment into our little corner of culture, including the annual W Hotels Designers of the Future awards. The latest W to take cutting-edge design to a novel locale is the new W Verbier by the Amsterdam firm Concrete, which Sight Unseen had the good fortune to visit last month.
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At Maison et Objet and IMM Cologne 2014

In January, we saw plenty of incredible things, from the Brancusi show at Paul Kasmin Gallery to the Swiss Alps to the movie Her. What we did not see, unfortunately, was a design fair — while many of our friends and colleagues were making the rounds in Paris and Cologne, we were busy with the likes of planning our 2014 New York Design Week event, beginning our site's forthcoming redesign, and talking about how much we loved Her. Lucky for us, though, we're pretty well connected, so we managed to round up a relatively comprehensive group of photos of what we missed. Behold, after the jump, the Sight Unseen armchair guide to the best new releases at Maison et Objet and IMM Cologne 2014, minus the jetlag and the convention center food.
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At Art Basel and Design Miami 2013: Part III

We never quite know what to say after attending a large art and/or design fair. Did we see anything that particularly stood out? Of course. Did we identify any trends? Does it matter? Sure, there were motifs here and there — marble abounded once again in the design tent, as did Prouvé, while the artists seemed really into pineapples and coconuts this year — but all that feels pretty inconsequential. When we attend shows like these, we have a lot of fun documenting them as we go, and meeting new people doing interesting things along the way. Then we come home with a trove of new talents to explore for future Sight Unseen stories. That's really the heart of it. So while we'd planned to tell you more about what sold (Sebastian Errazuriz's motorcycle, clocks by Humans Since 1982, Vuitton's Perriand cabana), what didn't sell (actually we have no idea), and what the mood of this year's show was like (It was better than last year! It was worse than last year!), we think we'll leave it at this: 134 annotated photos on our Facebook page sharing our highlights from the fair, so you can make some discoveries of your own.
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At Art Basel and Design Miami 2013: Part II

If you spent even an ounce of time at the pool while in Miami for Basel last week, or having cocktails with friends, or sleeping late thanks to an epic hangover, there's an excellent chance you failed to see everything that was on view at the various fairs and satellite exhibitions around town. We ourselves had so little time at Art Basel itself that we did an embarrassingly inadequate skim through what amounted to about a third of the show, promising ourselves we'd come back later in the week (yeah right). And then there were the personal moments we missed just by virtue of not being able to be at every gathering of friends, every party, or every impromptu beach hang at any given time — the weird, wacky, and wonderful experiences our friends had amidst the hyper-stimulation that is Basel, which we witnessed fragments of during the rare times when we were able to sit down and catch up on our Instagram feed. Because we couldn't be everywhere nor see everything, we decided to ask some of our favorite design-world folks to share with us what they saw — the one favorite photo they took in Miami last week, from droopy hot dogs to Modernist masterpieces.
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At Art Basel and Design Miami 2013: Part I

Hello from sunny Miami! Sight Unseen has been here all week attending the 2013 Art Basel and Design Miami shows, and it's been a wild ride, as usual. We've brunched with Ruinart and Piet Hein Eek, partied with Dom Perignon and Jeff Koons, and seen performances by Jonah Bokaer and Pharrell. We almost did yoga with Grey Area, but got (happily) stuck hanging out at NADA instead. We tried to document it all, but it hasn't been easy — here's a small taste of what we've seen so far! We'll be back next week with a more comprehensive post, but for now, check out these pics and then head over to our Facebook album to see dozens and dozens more.
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A reprieve for those of us who faced down a sad void when Iko Iko closed last month: the inspirational retailer is back for Arts ReSTORE, introducing their signature mix of Japanese picks and one-of-a-kind functional art pieces to Westside audiences. Items on table include silver keep-cold lunch bags, a corn fiber broom, handwoven fabric scrap slippers and sanyaso bashi ceramic planters “for casual plants.”

Hammer Museum’s Arts ReSTORE

For all of the handwringing about art being inaccessible, there’s no city planning theory that has gained more traction in this century than the idea of creative people driving neighborhood revitalization. Which means that the descriptively titled “Arts ReSTORE: LA” project isn’t just loftily ambitious. The month-long residency program, which began last week, might actually work at creating a less sterile West Los Angeles, not least because it is supported by the powerhouse Hammer Museum, whose three-story compound anchors one end of the street. On a stretch of Westwood Ave., better known for chain sandwich shops and fluorescent interiors, the Hammer offered a half-dozen empty storefronts to local artists and makers, with the idea that even a temporary infusion would upend the retail mood of the area. If the packed opening night was any indication, this time the theory holds. Here’s what we saw.
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