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The Sight Unseen x Snarkitecture Pumpkin-Carving Contest

When we decided a few weeks ago to host a good old-fashioned pumpkin-carving contest with our friends at Snarkitecture — and to invite more than a dozen of our favorite architects and designers to compete — we figured there would be lots of intricate, hand-drawn patterns (there were, courtesy of Daniel Horowitz’s pumpkin in the form of a brain). We knew at least one group would employ meticulous typography (ditto, thanks to Benjamin Critton Art Dept.) What we didn’t guess — perhaps naively, in hindsight — was that the designers would come armed with such an array of power tools, Japanese machetes, kitchen electrics, Arduino-coded LEDs, drywall screws, and the like. As a result, what unfolded last night at Snarkitecture’s Greenpoint studios was nothing short of amazing. Here’s what went down.
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David Lynch’s workshop in The Chronicle #2

It wouldn’t be totally wrongheaded to view The Chronicle — a new biannual publication produced by the cultish Copenhagen ready-to-wear brand Rützou — as a fashion designer’s mood board, come to life. For each issue, the creative team — which consists of Rützou’s designer, founder, and namesake Suzanne; her husband, creative director Peter Bundegaard; and editor-in-chief Frederik Bjerregaard — selects a thematic framework and then collates together visual inspiration to support it. Called “Poetic Realism,” the first issue was abstract and moody, with photographic essays on pattern or urban decay and collages of the magazines’ own diverse inspirations, including Luigi Colani, Matthew Barney, Ernst Haeckel, melancholy, and a Mott Street acupuncturist in New York’s Chinatown. The latest issue, called Sense and Sensibility, more literally serves as a scrapbook for creative inspiration: “Sketches, abstractions in watercolor, visual logbooks, black-and-white imagery, personal portraits, simple doodles, this vast collection is a glimpse into a range of international artists’ creative processes and their final work,” the team writes. By international artists, they mean the likes of Marc Newson, Julie Verhoeven, and David Lynch, who offers a glimpse into his Parisian printmaking lair in the excerpt we’ve reprinted today on Sight Unseen.
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FORT STANDARD: Briefly explain your process. “On a mini-lathe we brought in, I began turning the feet of the stool from solid aluminum blanks I'd cut to size in our shop. I had to remove about 40 percent of the material from each blank in order to properly shape each foot. Each foot had to have two very precise dimensions: the outside diameter of the legs it would be inserted into, and the inside diameter, which had to have a slight taper so it could be pressed — or 'friction fit' — into the leg in order to stay without any additional hardware.” Above: Buntain on the lathe, which the studio typically uses to make jewelry.

The American Design Club at MAD

The brief itself was simple: Design and build something to sit on. It was the execution part that was hard. From April 16–21, four sets of young American furniture designers each took a turn in the open studios at New York’s Museum of Arts and Design, each with a single purpose: to build and assemble a chair from start to finish, between the time the museum opened at 9AM to the minute the last straggler was ushered out the door at 6. The designers could use any materials they chose, and they were allowed to make preliminary design studies or prototypes before arriving at the museum, but the bulk of the construction work had to be executed on the museum’s 6th floor — in full view of school tours, visiting tourists, families, and itinerant design geeks who wanted a peek at the action. But the exercise wasn’t some reality show–like competition to pit designers against each other or to see whose design would reign supreme. The event was part of The Home Front, a museum project curated by Surface editor Dan Rubinstein, who spearheaded the whole thing in order explore in-depth the business of being a designer in America today.
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This white-oak sori-dai-kanna compass plane from Japan and cast-iron Kunz 100 pocket plane from Germany look like a score from the FAO Schwarz toy store in Manhattan, but they’re actually razor-sharp tools for delicate woodworking.

A Carpenter’s Tool Box

A glimpse inside the toolbox of Bruce Greenlaw, a carpenter and architectural woodworker in Northern California. He explains: "It never fails that, as I perform my rituals to prepare for carpentry, such as sharpening plane irons and lubing gears, I see tools as something more than merely form following function. If only for a moment, I see art, animated by timeless design, world geography, and memories—every bit as riveting as the architecture and furnishings it helps to create."
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