Week of July 20, 2015

A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: Nerding out on the science of chemical reactions, finding new uses for tie dye, and professing our love for iridescence and copper (yes, we’re predictable!). Discoveries We’ve always said that the only bad thing about the incredible roster of products made by Australian duo Daniel Emma is how few of them are available Stateside. Perhaps that will change now that their amazing Cherry on the Bottom light is being produced by the French company Petite Friture. In 2013, Daniel Emma first showed a self-produced edition of the lights in more fanciful colors, like baby blue and red; we much prefer the more sophisticated iterations shown here and at the top of this post, particularly (natch) the black and iridescent. The brand-new Museo del Design 1880-1980 is now open in Milan, tracing the history of Italian design from Art Nouveau to Memphis. As you might imagine, the permanent collection includes lots of chairs but our favorite might be this 1969 Mies seat, which was given by one member of Archizoom to the other as a wedding present. Not shown is the A+ illuminated footstool that typically accompanies the chair. An update from the Greece- and New York–based architecture firm LoT arrived in our inboxes this week, filled with lots of great new built work but also alerting us to their range of small goods, which they create under the name Objects of Common Interest. We’re especially partial to these copper table mirrors, whose bases are CNC milled from blocks of aerated concrete. Speaking of copper, we also got word this week of these beautiful copper bowls by Vancouver designer Ben Barber. Spun from solid copper sheets, the exteriors are powder-coated; “as the powder is baked into the copper, the copper undergoes a blooming process, giving each bowl a pearlescent hue; no two bowls are the same,” explains the designer. These ceramic bowls by Portuguese designer Sara de Campos are also the result of a relatively cool chemical reaction. Their blackened exteriors are formed using a dying Portuguese process called barro negro, in which the pieces are placed with burning firewood into a hole in the soil in the ground and covered with moss, leaves, or straw. East Village gallery Ed. Varie is leaving its 9th Street digs at the end of this month in search of artier surroundings, and before they leave, you should absolutely stop in and see the excellent exhibition on view, which includes one of our favorites, Malin Gabriella Nordin. … Continue reading Week of July 20, 2015
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Top 5: Designer Dominos

A periodic nod to object typologies both obscure and ubiquitous, featuring five of our favorite recent examples. Today the subject is dominoes, which no longer resemble those black and white, polka-dotted celluloid tiles of yore.

Node Lights by Amsterdam’s Odd Matter

The young Amsterdam-based duo Odd Matter, who we mentioned today in a separate post dedicated to their new work at Aram Gallery, have been busy bees lately. In addition to that project, the Dutch and Bulgarian designers recently launched a series called Node, which includes four highly expressive, sculptural lamps in copper and Jesmonite with forms designed to underscore their functions.

Week of July 13, 2015

A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: very on-trend iridescent flatware and terrazzo coasters, gorgeous oil-slick vases from a recent RISD grad, and the debut of the booksleeve (pictured above), an innovation we never realized we needed until now.

Top 5: Beach Towels

A periodic nod to object typologies both obscure and ubiquitous, featuring five of our favorite recent examples. Today, the subject is beach towels, whose increasingly complex graphic patterns offer more ways than ever to stand out on the sand.

Portuguese Designer Célia Esteves of GUR Rugs

While Portugal is probably best known, these days, for manufacturing clothing and shoes for big brands like COS, Zara, and Camper — or if you're a product designer, for supplying 50% of the world's cork — Porto-based designer and printmaker Célia Esteves homed in on its longtime flat-weave rug-making tradition when she founded GUR two years ago. After meeting a weaver in her hometown of Viana de Castelo, who for 15 years had been handcrafting the style of rug that she'd seen on "every Portuguese kitchen floor" since she was a child, Esteves decided to hire the weaver to use the same technique to produce colorful limited-edition designs commissioned from illustrators she knew and admired, like Atelier Bingo and Ferreol Babin. We recently interviewed Esteves about the project, which has collabs with Après Ski and Reality Studio on the way; scroll down to read more about how she transformed a local craft into a contemporary design brand.
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The Top 5 Designers at RCA’s 2015 Graduate Show

It’s graduate show season in London, and though we’ll be featuring students from all over town in the coming weeks, we’ve found over the years that no show is quite as spectacular — or up our alley — as the Royal College of Art’s. With its esteemed alumni including the likes of Barbara Hepworth, Thomas Heatherwick, Tracey Emin, and David Hockney — not to mention some of our favorite contemporary designers, such as Max Lamb, Hunting & Narud, Soft Baroque, Fredrik Paulsen, and Hilda Hellström — Show RCA always boasts an impressive arsenal of postgraduate talent across a variety of disciplines.
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Lily Kamper, London Jewelry Designer

Though she studied textiles at London's Royal College of Art, Lily Kamper spent most of her time in the jewelry department experimenting with acrylic, resin, and offcuts of Corian. The lathe became her tool of choice, enabling her to machine pillar-like, geometric forms that could transform those everyday materials into vibrant, beautifully crafted pendants and accessories.

L.A.’s Newest Design Brand, TOOOLS

Back in 2012, we wrote about the launch of a gallery called Beginnings in Brooklyn, which, a year later, met an untimely and unfortunate end. But two of the gallery's founders have since gone on to forge a new (ahem) beginning, this time giving it a far less superstitious name: TOOOLS, a Los Angeles–based object-design company recently started by artist Caroline Hwang and designer Joel Speaskmaker that aims to be "a new company with an old ethos: form & function." See what the duo have to say about the project, and see tons of images, after the jump.

Top 5: Transparent Jewelry

A periodic nod to object typologies both obscure and ubiquitous, featuring five of our favorite recent examples. Today, the subject is transparent jewelry, which has evolved beyond its '60s pop connotations to encompass designs both subtle and edgy.

Designers Interpret the Classic Tolix A Chair

We aren't quite sure how we missed this project — considering both our affinity for the classic Tolix A chair (we might own seven (!) of them ourselves) and our affection for the designers involved — but in Milan last month, the French company celebrated its 80th anniversary and in doing so invited eight design studios to reinterpret its most famous offering.

Top 5: Dust Pans

Our Top 5 column is a periodic nod to object typologies both obscure and ubiquitous, with five of our favorite recent examples highlighted in each post. Today, the subject is dust pans, whose utilitarian beauty is being rediscovered by a new generation of retailers and designers.