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New Media: Sight Unseen

Jill Singer and Monica Khemsurov met as editors at the venerable I.D. in 2005 and both developed a passion for peeking behind the scenes at the creative processes of designers—–access that came with working for an established print publication. Just before the magazine folded in the wake of the great magazine shake-up in the latter aughts, they embraced the opportunity to cast aside the medium’s limitations—–space restrictions and long lead time—–while preserving its take-a-seat-and-stay-awhile sensibility.

 

When they aren't traveling the world seeking out design to share with their growing readership (and already loyal followers), Jill Singer and Monica Khemsurov are busy writing and editing stories from the comfort of home. Here, they search the web and have a laugh in Singer's apartment.

The online result is Sight Unseen. Eschewing the quick-turnover approach favored by many blogs, where new work and ideas ignite and flame out in the click of a mouse, the duo craft their stories to offer an intimate and in-depth look at photographers, designers, and artists through regular features like Studio Visit, At Home With, and 8 Things, which details an individual’s favorite inspirational objects, ideas, people, books, and movies. “We’re always looking for ways to poke deeper behind the curtain,” says Khemsurov. She and Singer research and write every article themselves and take most of the photographs that accompany them; the result has a personal, timeless feel that’s more like flipping through a photo album than scrolling through a press release. The pair also curated the first annual NoHo Design District event to coincide with ICFF in New York in 2010 and would like to pay their respects to paper by, at some point, penning a book.

For an outlet so deeply rooted in art and design, it might come as a surprise that neither has any formal training in the fields. “I think it’s part of what informed Sight Unseen. We were both unfamiliar with this world, and now we want to explore it along with our readers,” Singer says. “It’s a place for people who are interested in what it’s like to live a creative life,” Khemsurov adds.

  • Young Guns Dwell graphic

    Young Designers

    Branching out and doing your own thing is a brave and bold move at any time and any age. That said, the 21 visionaries we profile here—–designers 
of interiors, graphics, architecture, exhibitions, furniture, landscapes, 
and communities both online and off—–are all younger than 40 and are building their careers in the United States during an economic recession. Their mediums range wildly, from high-end residential town houses 
to urban postindustrial landscapes, but what they all share are uncommon tenacity and highly personal approaches to blazing their own paths. We’ve found editors who reinvented themselves as unconventional bloggers when their magazine shuttered; community activists who are transforming foreclosed houses in Detroit into models of environmental sustainability; and designers who’ve built burgeoning furniture companies in their own backyards. Neither an exhaustive compendium nor an exclusive best-of list, this roundup is a sampling of rising stars whose work continues to catch our eyes and imaginations.

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