This post is sponsored by the Ford Transit Connect. For this next Transit Connect adventure, I was sadly stuck at home on jury duty, so Shawn Sims hopped out to NYC to join the folks at Café Grumpy as they did super early morning deliveries. See our first adventure with the Butler Blue Mobile Transit Connect here.
Café Grumpy was founded in 2005 (just like NOTCOT!) with a passion for quality coffee and it has been amazing seeing how they’ve grown over the years. With the opening of the latest (5th!) Café Grumpy in NYC last week, we knew we had to head over and check it out when we heard they too use a Ford Transit Connect to deliver their coffee and pastries! Beyond their cafes, they also have the Café Grumpy Roastery, where they hand-roast small batches of specialty-grade coffee on a restored vintage Probat, and the Café Grumpy Bakery, where they bake their pastries and other deliciousness! And all of this goodness gets transported in their Ford Transit Connect to the cafes… with the launch of the latest cafe in the Fashion District in NYC and more to come, Caroline told us that she’s thinking about figuring out custom shelves (which the Transit Connect is ideal for) to better optimize the space for their deliveries. So we tagged along for their bakery and roastery deliveries to see what their process is like and what their dream Ford Transit Connect set up might be… as well as tasting some delicious coffee, pastries, and checking out the adorable stuffed grumpy beans! Check out our adventures with Cafe Grumpy on the next page!
Here’s the latest from NOTCOT’s London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw. The experiment of the week— i’ve been trying out superposts that live over at NOTCOT.org! So click the pics to see the the full features with tons of photos, details, and more!
Money from Hyundai Card at designjunction, an interactive installation introducing pretty new metal credit cards and an interactive exhibit where tapping the cards prints informative receipts about the project.
Design Is Everywhere at the V&A Museum - 3D Printed Gun, door of pinwheels, mesmerizing glass baubles of a chandelier, ferrofluid skull, Moleskine sketch inspirations, beautiful magnifying glasses, and more…
Here’s the latest from NOTCOT’s London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw.
This morning, I made my way to Top Drawer at London Olympia. The show features a wide range of suppliers and was filled with fun products and design inspiration. Here are a few of our highlights featuring designers from Britain as well as around the world, including Australia, Sweden and more! Can’t wait to see more of these products in stores soon! Check it all out on the next page.
Wow. Here is the unboxing of the first edition of CONTAINER from ARTOMATIC. “A new publication about the nature and culture of objects — a magazine that takes the idea of varying content from different contributors beyond the standard format of a printed book.” This first issue , #1: Hot&Cold is a fascinatingly fun theme, and all the artists/contributors took varying twists on the theme in a variety of mediums! The result has been my desk covered in fascinating objects that i seem to notice new details in every time i poke at them further… and all encased in… a CONTAINER, in this case, a styrofoam mini ice chest of goodies (how appropriate?)
This first edition of CONTAINER is limited to 200, and each is individually numbered and signed by each contributor. While i’ve been fascinated by this collection for some time now, the hardest part about writing this post is how much there is in here! Truly this new publication has held my interest (and helped inspire me) far longer than most print mags which i often read through in a few minutes. And beyond what is in the box itself, the digital side is equally fascinating - there is a whole CONTAINER development tumblr, which is an AMAZING look at the random thoughts, design details, and prototypes that lead to the objects in the box now, as well as the CONTAINER blog, with even more stories! The truth is, seeing, feeling, playing with the objects is only the tip of the iceberg to these though provoking pieces. This one contains objects from Accept & Proceed, James Bridle, Daniel Eatock, Malcolm Garrett, David Hieatt, Leila Johnston, Mother, Rebecca and Mike, Nic Roope & Violetta Boxill, John V Willshire, and each piece is manufactured in the UK exclusively for this edition of CONTAINER. The unboxing definitely had that magical Christmas morning feeling, of endless wonders to unwrap, so go take a peek at the unboxing on the next page, with the assistance of the (not so small) puppy!
While Shawn was in NY earlier this week, he came home taunting me (and my juice addiction) with pictures of Summers Juice & Coffee that was just opened by one of his closest friends, Alex Kleinberg. So, here’s a peek at the fun design details and deliciousness. Congrats, Alex!!!
On happy places, you can’t help but smile when you arrive at the freshly opened Summers Juice & Coffee in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We’ve enjoyed following their Instagram all summer as Alex Kleinberg and Christopher Taha (and their friend, Steffan Elzinga, of Wood Mgmt.) got their hands dirty and converted the 50 year old bodega space into their adorably refreshing neighborhood juice/coffee/pastry/sandwich spot. They found surprises like exposed brick and a large window under the drywall, which combined with some reclaimed wooden fence planks (which turn into herringbone ceiling and counter facade) and the addition of concrete flooring and counters, projection surf flicks, a stunning red surfboard on the wall, and a fun surf mural on the roll gate… it’s easy to forget there was a bodega there!
As for the food and drinks, Summers isn’t just fun decor, Shawn swears by the egg sandwich. (Here’s a peek at the making-of THE Egg Sandwich!) Part of the secret is definitely the parker roll from Clinton St. Baking Co. and the spiral of sriracha… also the bacon + avocado… oh, and the cheese folded in the fried egg. But i digress, with Alex’s history at his family’s award winning Clinton St. Baking Co., it’s no surprise the food and juice is delicious. (For Clinton St. fans, they also carry their pastries!) And as for coffee, they brew Brooklyn Roasting Company goodness. But, back to the visuals - take a peek inside Summers Juice & Coffee on the next page!
This post is sponsored by the Ford Transit Connect. When they first approached us to profile some fun, inspiring Ford Transit Connects, we weren’t sure what we would find. Well our first stop lead us to Butler University in Indianapolis, IN to visit Butler Blue III who rides around in the Blue Mobile 2010 Ford Transit Connect!
It’s not everyday that we find ourselves popping out to Indianapolis, to spend some time with some very social media saavy bulldogs. Butler Blue III and his predecessor, Butler Blue II (who we also had the pleasure of meeting) have with quite the following… of course it doesn’t hurt that their “dad”, Michael Kaltenmark, is Director of Web Marketing and Communications at Butler University, and a natural at sharing the adventures of these amazing bulldogs both in real life and digitally. With huge support from the community, these dogs are also living quite the life thanks to some amazing sponsors, including their local Ford dealer, who offered them a Ford Transit Connect to get around in. Of course, in addition to bulldog roadtrips, the Blue Mobile has become the perfect billboard, both around town and on the road at away games. In fact even doing errands, people will wave at the Blue Mobile, and sometimes even peek in to see if the dogs are on board. The bulldogs have their own hammocked back seat, tons of space, a flashing blue light to pop on top of the car, and quite the car wraps and stickers! We join Michael and Blue III (aka “Trip” - short for triple!) in the Blue Mobile, to see what life with their Ford Transit Connect is really like! Take a peek on the next page to see our adventures ~ from box destruction and shopping at the bookstore, getting a bath, celebrating at the vet’s with cake, checking out the renovations at Hinkle, and dreaming up the NEXT Ford Transit Connect to come…
A fun package arrived from the nice LA based guys at Ignoble. We’ve been quite a fan of their Cora Classic Rucksack for a few years now ~ the elegant simplicity with such nice modern details in all black gets me every time. Now, i think i’ve fallen for their new “wallets” even more! It doesn’t even seem fair to call them wallets, they are more like smart, simple little zippered pouches made of fully lined 400D nylon and closed with heavy YKK zippers, with their lovely signature leather zipper pulls. The larger Rutledge Travel Wallet happens to be perfectly passport/iphone sized, and the smaller Sternwood Card Wallet perfectly fits american bills/cards/etc. However nothing about the pouches dictates what you use them for, and as soon as i unboxed them, i easily found endless uses for them to ease the mess in my current monstrous wallet, purses, travel set ups and more! Also, it’s hard to resist how lovely their greytoned colorways look together, offered in white, silver, charcoal, and black. If i were to pick just one, the white with black zips are definitely the most striking solo, but if going for more than one, they all look fantastic together! Take a peek at the details of them on the next page… i kid you not that they are surprising in how useful they can be!
On fun packages that just arrived… We’ve seen pictures online of the Alite ultra-lightweight chairs for some time now, but it wasn’t until trying them all in person at OR that we truly understood how awesome they are… and how incredible the tiny design details are! For starters, i thought my 13” macbook air was light (not even 3lbs)… their three chairs range from 1.1 to 1.6lbs! With their butterfly logo and the sling style of their chairs, it’s hard not to have the iconic butterfly chair come to mind. With a similar single piece fabric sling and a collapsible thin metal frame, merged with the materials/tech from outdoors goods like aluminum tent poles and ripstop nylon, the result is a collection of incredibly versatile, ultra-lightweight, sling chairs that are perfect to pop up just about anywhere! They have used them on kayaks and canoes, rocky waterfalls and paddleboats, and more! I felt like Goldilocks as i tried each model out, the Monarch, Mayfly, and Mantis, my favorite is definitely the MAYFLY! While the Monarch is lightest, you’re constantly on your feet and rocking… and the Mantis gives you the stability of a traditional chair with it’s 4 feet firmly planted on the ground, but no rocking… the Mayfly gives you the best of both! You’re stable on the ground, you can tilt back and rock, AND you can even remove the front leg for a rocking-only Monarch style seat! From most of the pictures i’ve seen online, it has been easy to overlook just how tiny and lightweight these things are since they support full grown folks (up to 250lbs) with full back support. So, take a peek at my unboxing of the Alite Mayfly on my DESK (alongside my 13” macbook air and bulleit water bottle) to see all the design details on the next page! (As well as their fun video! and a peek at the other models!)
p.s. These would be amazing at music festivals!!!
I haven’t been able to get these insanely awesome rock climbing holds out of my mind - So Ill Holds! First spotted them when we were exploring the very inspiring Outdoor Retailer Show… and every time i run into their tab that’s been open on my computer, i realize how fun and unusually designed (and still super functional) they are. Their choices in naming, geometries, and collections are noteworthy - whether you like/agree with them or not, they definitely make you think differently. Staring at the bumps(steroids) and curves (lockjaw) hanging from the walls of their booth was what first pulled us in. From afar they looked a lot like giant 3D prints… in fact they got my mind racing with all kinds of forms you could 3D print or mill that could be turned into awesome and unusual rock climbing holds, and how they can be quite the art form… Additionally, their branding is strong and playful (though the green cross does initially make me think of medical marijuana dispensaries), their medicinally themed packaging for other products is quite fun, there are LED enabled holds, and they even have recycled billboard bags! Take a peek at more details as well as a fun video with a parking attendant putting their holds to a whole other use on the next page!
p.s. See more of our Outdoor Retailer Show adventures here!
On new goodies that just arrived for Bucky, the super sweet folks at Petswag Inc. sent over one of their Lucky Dog Swag Bags. Every month means a new selection of surprises that make for perfect dog gifts packaged up a lovely silk screen canvas drawstring pouch. This month’s includes a Jax and Bones Good Karma Lobster Rope Toy (choice of small or large), Burt’s Bees Breath Drops, MetroPaws Poop Bags, Cloud Star Grain-Free Chicken Buddy Biscuits, and a Petswag coupon. And a nice bonus… this month (every month differs) Petswag is partnering with Best Friends Animal Society and donating all Lucky Dog Swag Bag profits to help them! Ready to take a peek into the unboxing and details? To the next page!
p.s. The Petswag instagram is one of our favorite dog (and black lab!) filled feeds.
Loving these images that Erin Loechner (and her husband, Ken) of Design for Mankind created for Rivet & Sway. What a fun idea! There’s something so elegantly simple yet evocative with the personalities they’ve created for each glasses frame through hinting at the life that goes with them through the carefully curated objects… see all of the images on the next page!
p.s. How cute is the Rivet & Sway logo?
Here’s the latest from NOTCOT’s London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw.
As we move into late summer, fruits and nuts seem to be forming everywhere in all sorts of shapes and colors. While walking through London, these oddly-shaped green acorns caught my eye, with their ridges, knobs and slightly sticky appearance. On closer inspection, most of the acorns were covered with these intricate, ridged growths, called Knopper Galls. The galls result from a chemical reaction in response to the gall wasp (Andricus quercuscalicis), which lays its eggs on the developing acorns. The shapes and textures of the resulting galls are fascinating (and quite variable). The degree of ridging on the gall is thought to be related to the number of larvae competing within the gall and we found as many as three separate galls on a single developing acorn. Their name “Knopper Galls” comes is thought to be derived from the English word ‘knop’, meaning “a small rounded protuberance, boss, stud, button, tassel or the like” and German ‘knoppe’ meaning “a kind of felt cap or helmet worn during the 17th-century”.
Galls like the ones we found occur on the Pedunculate or Common Oak tree (Quercus robur), but the wasp also requires a second oak species, the Turkey Oak (Quercus cerris) in order to complete its life cycle. Like aphids, the wasp undergoes both a sexual and asexual components of its life cycle. The knopper galls we observed are part of the agamic (female only) generation. Only adult females will emerge from the Knopper galls in the spring and these females will go on to lay their eggs on the catkins of the Turkey Oak. It is from these small conical galls that a sexual generation of male and female wasps will emerge, mate and produce further knopper galls. As a result, knopper galls are only found where both Common and Turkey Oaks grow. While galls have a negative effect on the reproduction of the trees, they don’t appear to harm other aspects of the tree’s health and in a typical biological twist, the wasps themselves are also often parasitized by a number of hyperparasites! You can find out more at ARKive, The Wildlife Trusts and Hedgerow Mobile, but for now see more pics (and my dissection) on the next page!
SPY Optic and the Happy Lens! Thanks to the magical box of goodies that arrived from SPY today, get close up with Happy Lenses in the Helm in matte blue (designed with drift/rally driver, Ken Block), the Crosstown Haight in dessert tort, and the new Fold in matte black (created for professional surfer, John John Florence)! While i’ve been super curious to try out the magic of the Happy Lens, first things first, the packaging and awesome design details worked into their products are delightful!
If you’re ever unsure of whether your lens is happy… just look for the teeny tiny happy face in the top corner of your lens. Want to run out without a wallet, no worries, because the carrying case for the Fold glasses once folded up, also has a slot in the back ready for credit cards/id. The Crosstown case is quite a unique button sleeve that protects only the lens section of the glasses. Even the bright blue Happy Lens sleeves have a smiley face on the drawstring. And as for why the Happy Lens is so happy, “The SPY Happy Lens lets in the good rays that promote balance in the body, increase alertness, and have an uplifting effect on mood, while simultaneously blocking the bad rays. As an added bonus, it’s also a polarized and color contrast-enhacing lens, giving you the best visual experience possible.” Intriguing, right? I’m excited to try them out properly, but first, take a peek at all the awesome tiny design details on the next page, as well as the playfully animated SPY Happy Lens video!