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At the 2014 Milan Furniture Fair, Part III

The fairgrounds at the Milan Furniture Fair are a great place to see attainable designs by established companies and talents, but typically it's not the place to go when you're scouting for new names (though this year's Satellite show, as demonstrated in yesterday's post, happened to be a surprise goldmine). For that, you have to brave the long walks, aching feet, and lack of taxis that come along with trying to get to all the shows around town, from Rossana Orlandi gallery to the far-flung Lambrate district. We say this every year, but we barely saw half of what was on offer; that said, we saw a lot of nice things.
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Sebastian Herkner’s Pulpo Containers

You might not recognize it at first glance, but Sebastian Herkner's new ultra-shiny glass Containers for the German brand Pulpo have a serious high-low thing going on — and not just in one sense, but two. Not only are they inspired by the cheap plastic containers normally used to store things like distilled water and Cheez-Balls, they're also made using a technique that's gone from rags to riches in recent history. "Mercury glass was once used as a substitute for real silverware, which was too expensive for poor people to afford," says Herkner. "Nowadays, though, it's thought of as unique and rare; there's one company in Czech Republic which specializes in mercury glass, and Pulpo produces the Containers there." Like most of our favorite tastemakers, Herkner's appreciation of both the lowly and the luxurious extends to his personal style, too, which is why we thought it fitting that he should photograph his Containers for us amidst the landscape of his own home, just outside Frankfurt. He told us more about his process and his possessions below.
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Bisque fired stock. Ahn throws three different types of clay bodies: white, medium with speckled, and a darker clay. “For a while I was using Standard clay, which is out of Pennsylvania,” she says, “but there were some problems with cracking. I think for a while in the beginning I was just trying to make anything work. After making hundreds and hundreds of things, you’re like, ‘I can’t have half my pieces crack. I need a more stable clay.’ You don’t figure those things out until you’ve fired multiple times.”

Julianne Ahn of Object & Totem

Like most ceramic artists we know, Julianne Ahn didn’t originally train at the wheel. “I went to school for undergrad in textile design, and then I got an MFA in the Fiber Materials Studies department at SAIC — which is a way more conceptual major,” the Philadelphia-based designer told us when we visited her studio this winter. “I did that on purpose to complement my undergraduate degree, which was about technique and craft-making. Somewhere in the middle, I’ve managed to find a balance between concept and design.”
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At the 2012 Milan Furniture Fair

While nothing will ever compare to the Great Ash Cloud of 2010 in terms of strange events surrounding the Milan Furniture Fair, there seems to be a fair amount of juju going on with this year's festivities — or at least with the members of our hand-picked street team, who were meant to upload photos from their bases around the Italian metropolis all this week. Pin-Up editor Felix Burrichter reported a suddenly collapsed eardrum, which stranded him in Berlin and prevented him from attending the fair entirely, while designer Sam Baron confessed his attempts to take photos at a dinner for Fiat's Lapo Eklann were sadly thwarted by bodyguards. Lucky for us, then, that we've been able to follow along on Instagram, Twitter, blogs, and a steady stream of photos arriving in our inbox from The Future Perfect's Dave Alhadeff, who's been firing off everything from potential products for his store to OMG moments to jealousy-inducing images of gelato. We'll be bringing you more photos as they roll in, but for now, here's a sampling of the first few days from one of our favorite fairgoers.
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Miranda July’s Resale Shop at Partners & Spade

For It Chooses You, a resale shop popping up at Partners & Spade in New York, Miranda July scoured the New York classifieds, buying up other people’s discards — like a collection of stolen oil paints or a pair of taxidermied deer hooves — and interviewing the sellers to discern the original meaning of those once-cherished objects.
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A promotional image for the video lookbook Amsterdam duo Freudenthal/Verhagen created around the five ArtEZ Fashion Masters students' collections, each of which is represented within one or another of its triangles.

ArtEZ’s 2011 Fashion Masters Graduates

Whether they go on to work at Viktor & Rolf and Louis Vuitton or scrape together the crazy amount of money it takes to launch a solo line, nearly all clothing-design talents make their first identifiable mark of genius on the fashion world during end-of-the-year graduation shows. Sure, after a year of monomaniacal focus — at least double what any designer ever gets in the real world — the concepts are usually completely overthunk and overwrought, as student work in every discipline tends to be. But without the constraints of the market or a demanding boss, in some ways there can be no purer expression of creative perspective than when designers send that first exaggeratedly proportioned dress or gender-bending jacket down the runway. With that in mind, Sight Unseen made it a point to be there when Generation 12 of the ArtEZ Fashion Masters program opened the doors to their final presentation last week, during the Arnhem Mode Biennale.
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The ink continues to spread even after it's hung to dry, though Seilles says the polyester hasn't absorbed as well as her typical textiles do. She suggests readers try cotton.

Make an Osmose Lamp, With Clemence Seilles

Clemence Seilles was only four months into a job at Jerszy Seymour's Berlin studio when she started to feel it: that restlessness creatives invariably get when they're unable to fully express themselves. It's not that the job wasn't fulfilling — it was, and more — but working fulltime meant Seilles hadn't yet found a way to devote attention to her own projects. "I had this idea to make a piece that would do the work for me, something that would happen when I wasn't there," she recalls. One morning she hung a few felt-tip pens from the ceiling of her apartment, their tips pressed down against a sheet of Chinese rice paper, and left for Seymour's studio. "When I came back that evening, the work was made."
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BCXSY presented the three finished screens, made from hinoki cypress wood, in the basement of Rossana Orlandi gallery during this spring’s Milan furniture fair — a rectangle, triangle, and circle. “Traditional tategu screens are typically very complex, with lots of geometric or floral patterns,” says Cohen. “We thought that by making the frame itself the shape we were adding only a small twist on what already exists. Turns out it introduced an enormous challenge to Mr. Tanaka, but he was quite happy with the results.” Photo (c) BCXSY

BCXSY’s Join Room Divider

On a sunny afternoon during this spring’s Milan furniture fair, blissfully unaware of the encroaching cloud of ash, I made my way through the maze of exhibitions at Spazio Rossani Orlandi, the former factory turned gallery and shop off Corso Magenta. As usual, there was plenty to see: During the fair, the gallery practically splits its seams with new work, giving over corners of the courtyard and even parts of the stairwell as exhibition space for young talent. In the basement, I encountered a bottleneck. Nearly everyone passing through the room occupied by the Eindhoven-based duo BCXSY was stopping to gape at the young couple’s latest offering: a trio of Japanese screens in hinoki cypress wood, each designed as two geometric shapes intersecting in beautifully woven grids.
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One of 10 knitting machines at the Eindhoven factory where Emily Hermans designs and produces custom textiles for her clothing line, MLY.

MLY by Emily Hermans

When Emily Hermans started her own clothing line in 2004, she did something kind of genius: She found a local knitwear factory in Eindhoven that would let her produce her own textile designs on its knitting machines, and then slowly convinced its owner to take her on as a partner. He would get equity in her line — MLY — and she could crank out prints to her heart’s content without paying a premium. There was only one catch.
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