ES_portrait

Hans Ulrich Obrist’s Lost Interview with Ettore Sottsass, From Surface Magazine

It's no secret that we're devotees of the work of the late Italian design legend Ettore Sottsass, but to the extent that everyone we know has been caught up lately in the more superficial elements of his influence — the post-modernist colors, patterns, and geometries — we jumped at the chance to share with you this reminder of his intellectual legacy: one of several previously unpublished interviews with Sottsass conducted by Hans Ulrich Obrist in 2001. It was given to us as a little holiday present by Surface magazine's new editor Spencer Bailey, who oversaw its inclusion in the Dec/Jan Art Issue, which was co-edited by ForYourArt founder Bettina Korek and is the fourth since Surface was redesigned and reimagined this past July. Says Bailey: "Last fall, I was talking with Serpentine Gallery co-director Hans Ulrich Obrist over dinner in London about his unpublished interviews with artists and designers. He mentioned that he has several with Ettore Sottsass, so I asked him to send them to me. This one in particular blew me away. Hans Ulrich is a master interviewer, and Sottsass is, well, Sottsass. When I was putting together Surface's first annual Art Issue, I just knew I had to publish it." Sight Unseen is the only place on the web you can read the entire edited interview as it ran in the magazine — check it out after the jump, including images added by us, and don't forget to subscribe to Surface when you're done!
More
Rafael 2

Week of November 18, 2013

A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, and events from the past seven or so days. This week: a cement-truck mural, a furniture collection about shark-hunting, a pretty way to empty your pockets, and more.
More
_0003727

The Belger Collection in Outpost Journal #3

So many of the designers we've featured here on Sight Unseen grew up somewhere small, but left their hometowns behind for someplace big. Kiel Mead grew up in Buffalo but moved to Brooklyn. Max Lamb started out on the beach in Cornwall but headed inland to London. Sam Baron spent his childhood in the mountains of France, but is now so worldly he splits time between Paris and Lisbon. But what of the people who stay behind? Who are the artists and designers who make up the cultural fabric of, say, a Tucson or a Des Moines? That's what the three-year-old annual nonprofit magazine Outpost Journal purports to find out.
More
1358 - Pin-Up Interviews_Final6_1300

PIN-UP Interviews

It's quite nice to write, as we do here at Sight Unseen, for ourselves, but it's equally — if not sometimes more — fun to write for PIN-UP. When you're a writer assigned to conduct a Q+A in the "magazine for architectural entertainment," as I was earlier this year, you take one look at past examples and breathe a huge sigh of relief. Because PIN-UP has always encouraged both writer and subject to be absolutely themselves, and its founder and editor-in-chief Felix Burrichter has always allowed transcripts into the magazine complete with exclamation points, interjected giggles, and tangents about things like Beyonce's hair, Philippe Malouin's "lustrous beard" or what kind of stationery is Shigeru Ban's favorite — in other words, all of the fun, non-jargony things that often make an interview entertaining to conduct but that usually get edited out. This week, PIN-UP Interviews — a book filled with seven years' worth of those conversations — was published by PowerHouse Books.
More
catalogpress_905

Joel Evey, Graphic Designer

Joel Evey owes his career to Pixar, believe it or not. He made a name for himself as part of the team that was bringing edgy, high-brow graphics to Urban Outfitters back in 2010 — with a style some like to call the “new ugly” — but at age 15, it was Toy Story that changed his life. “I saw it for the first time and was like, wow, that’s crazy! You can do that with a computer?” recalls Evey, who at the time was already about to head off to college early to study computer science. Instead of hard coding, he decided to pursue animation and 3-D graphics instead. “But animations took so long to render that I started to think, ‘Well, what happens when I take this image and just render one of them?’ Then, ‘What if I put type on it? What would that look like?’” The rest, as they say, is history.
More
Tomáš Král, Spring Mirror. "Shaped by a colored cord, Spring is a series of flexible mirrors that are thin like a sheet of paper."

Zrcadlo: The Mirror by Okolo

If you go strictly by the numbers, nearly any product typology could be said to be having a moment at the Milan Furniture Fair each year. Sofas? There are always hundreds. Cabinets? Wall clocks? Yup, those too. But scan the recent fairs not just for mirrors but for amazing mirrors, and you might be inclined to agree with Adam Štěch and Klára Šumová, curators of a show at this week's Prague's Designblok festival that reflects on the genre's recent creative uptick. (These three hand mirrors alone totally slay us.) "The exhibition not only brings together our friends from the design world but also tries to define the typology of a mirror based on quite varied styles and design approaches," says Štěch, one of three co-founders behind the creative agency and online magazine OKOLO. He and Šumová comissioned 30 designers — 15 of them international and 15 Czech — to design a new mirror for the installation, from Maxim Velčovský's wall mirror bordered by cheap plastic store-bought varieties to Marco Dessí's mirror that doubles as the top for a jewelry box.
More
MG_covertrials

mono.kultur #32: Martino Gamper, All Channels Personal

It took me 16 issues (Miranda July) to discover the Berlin-based magazine mono.kultur, after seeing its pull-out poster on my friend's wall a few years back. "Dear life," it read, "do you want to hang out tonight? I should warn you that I will not be wearing any make-up and my hair is dirty. If you can handle that, call me. Yours, Miranda July." Five issues later (Tilda Swinton), I was obsessed: Here was a publication that, with each issue dedicated to a single long-form interview, was less about collecting personalities for front-cover bragging rights and more about truly, painstakingly, and intimately getting to know them. Which is all any of us dream about when it comes to our cultural idols, even those of us who, from time to time, have the honor of crossing their paths ourselves. So even though we've profiled Martino Gamper on Sight Unseen before — our lovely London contributor Claire Walsh having toured his home garden and secured us his favorite pasta recipe — we still jumped at the chance to excerpt mono.kultur's new sit-down with the Italian RCA grad, who talked to its editors about his latest public design projects, his feelings about Ikea, and the use of humor in his work. The interview runs to 10,000 words and — in print — comprises three booklets hand-assembled into one exhaustive artifact that stretches far beyond the small sample presented here. After reading it, scroll down to learn how to get your own copy before it — like most of the issues this cult favorite has produced — sells out forever.
More
neoclassicism

A 20th Century Palate in The Gourmand Issue 00

In the summer before starting Sight Unseen, one of us had a very brief flirtation with the idea of attending culinary school. Along with design, food is our great love, so we were pleased this week — and maybe even a little bit jealous — to stumble upon a new magazine out of London that unites the two disciplines in the most fantastic of ways. Called The Gourmand, the first issue tackles subjects ranging from David Shrigley's new cookery-themed opera to Jeff Koons's recipe for apple dumplings. But our favorite feature — plucked from the site's website, which has a sprinkling of teasers for the print edition as well as practical food recommendations from artists, contributors and London's culinary cognescenti — has to be this collaboration between art director Jamie Brown and photographer Luke Kirwan, which depicts 20th century art and design movements in foodstuffs like American cheese and pink wafer cookies.
More
monumenta-clemence seilles-3

Clemence Seilles in PIN-UP #12

Berlin's many charms are hardly lost on your editors. After a sunny, weeklong trip five summers ago, we both fell in love with the German capital — the wide open spaces, the well-situated swimming pools, the way clubbing unfolds as an actually enjoyable activity. But while my partner in crime has returned to the German capital each consecutive summer, I've never been able to find the time to go back. This summer, then, I was lucky enough to visit by proxy through the eyes of Felix Burrichter and his staff of Berlinophiles over at PIN-UP Magazine, which devoted its entire Spring/Summer issue to the changing metropolis. "For very long, Berlin was this one thing: You went when you had no money," says Burrichter, who serves as both editor and creative director of the architecture biannual. "But there’s a cultural elite — a moneyed elite — that has developed there over the past 10 years. Mostly people from out of town or in the art world. So there's an interesting friction right now. When that moneyed elite takes over, the city will lose a lot of its charm. But right now it still feels very raw and budding." The issue was in some ways a homecoming — Burrichter grew up in Düsseldorf — but in the end, the Berlin depicted in the magazine's pages bears more of a resemblance to Burrichter's adopted home in New York. "What fascinates me about Berlin right now is that it's very international," he says; hence the features run to a British architect who recently remade the city's Neues Museum (David Chipperfield), a West African transplant (Francis Kéré), and Clémence Seilles, a Frenchwoman who arrived in Berlin with a singular goal — to assist in the studio of designer Jerszy Seymour — and who never left. We've been fans of Seilles' work for some time now, and her conversation in the magazine with fellow Sight Unseen friend Matylda Krzykowski was too good to confine to print. Burrichter has graciously allowed us to excerpt it today on Sight Unseen.
More
big_350002_4804_LOW_VASES_323

Nicolas Trembley’s Fat Lava vases in Apartamento 07

If I hadn't taken as long as I did to read issue number 07 of Apartamento, which came out around this time last year, I would never have gone stumbling around the web only to realize that Nicolas Trembley's wonderful Sgrafo vs Fat Lava exhibition — which started in Geneva last year, making stops along the way at Galerie Kreo in Paris and Gisela Capitain in Cologne — will end its world tour this June in my own backyard, at the Zachary Currie gallery in New York. In this excerpt from Apartamento, the Parisian art critic and curator explains how his collection of more than 150 instances of the bizarre German ceramics came to be.
More
OKORehbergerShelves

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.
More
SIMG_1333

The Bouroullec Brothers in Disegno #1

Designers around the world owe Johanna Agerman Ross a drink, or perhaps even a hug: Her new project, the biannual magazine Disegno, is devoted to letting their work breathe. “I always found it frustrating working for a monthly, because I couldn’t give a subject enough time or space to make it worthwhile,” says the former Icon editor. “For a project that took 10 or 15 years to make, it felt bizarre to represent it in one image, or four pages.” Founded by her and produced with the help of creative director Daren Ellis, Disegno takes some of the visual tropes of fashion magazines — long pictorial features, single-photo spreads, conceptual photography — and marries them with the format of a textbook* and the investigative-reporting ambitions of The New Yorker. The story about Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec which we’ve excerpted here, for example, fills 22 pages of the new issue and runs to nearly 3,000 words; it’s accompanied by images captured over two full days the photographer spent with the brothers, one in their studio and one at the Centre Pompidou-Metz, where they were installing their latest retrospective, “Bivouac.” And articles on Martin Szekely, Azzedine Alaïa, and Issey Miyake’s Yoshiyuki Miyamae are set either over lunch, or in the subject’s living room. The focus, says Agerman Ross, is on proper storytelling. “The people behind the project, the process of making something, even the process of the writer finding out about the story — that’s all part of it,” she says. “It’s the new journalism.” Obviously, we couldn’t agree more.
More