On interesting presskit/packaging/art pieces that just came through - here’s the Nike Flyknit Puzzle Box by Ryan Gander in collaboration with The THING Quarterly! This is something little kid me would have totally geeked out about: wooden puzzles + puzzle boxes + the fibonacci sequence (1, 1, 2, 3, 5,…)? I loved (and still love!) all of those things. Mix in geometric patterns as inspired by the Nike Flyknit -even better! A mix of walnut, cherry, elm, and birch wood show the “mathematically precise, non-geometric marquetry.” There are only 144 of these boxes in existence - and they chose an edition of 144 “based on the Fibonacci Sequence, representing the first perfect square,” that occurs in the sequence. I love the concept - though to be completely honest, i wish it was harder and the puzzle/sequence reference had a bit more depth! That being said, it’s a truly unique shoebox surrounded by lovely packaging and holding black and white flyknits I’m adoring the design of. It’s a fun way of getting people to think about the patterns that exist everywhere! Check out the details on the next page!
One of my favorite new discoveries from Tent London this year was Whitebeam Studio and their incredible Toolsets series of jewelry. The pieces are made from stainless steel and come in a huge variety of designs including knife sets, the GTA set and measuring tools. Despite their small size, the tools are incredibly detailed yet stylish and all come in their very own toolbox! Look at all the details on the next page.
This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, Shawn, Bucky, and I are loaded up in the NOTFZJ80 spending a week in Alberta roadtripping, camping, and exploring all that we can fit in… follow the series here to see what inspires us along the way!
The one thing you can count on on a multiweek road trip is running into the unexpected. In this case the weather took a turn to the cold and snowy for a few days! Like wake up to half a foot of snow sticking kind of snowy… and that didn’t stop us from genuinely, excitedly trying to go find a camp site by Spray Lakes. The camp sites are THAT stunning just off the water nestled in the trees. But like in a fairy tale ~ we headed to dinner at the Mount Engadine Lodge around the lake, which appeared like an adorable Swiss chalet mirage through the low visibility of the snow and trees… and with dinner, they offered us a spare room and told us not to be silly instead. By the time i woke up and saw the inches of fresh powder everywhere, i think we made the right decision!
Honestly, there is something just magical about Mount Engadine Lodge. Beyond the adorable chalet style, the people both running it and guests immediately treat you like family as you curl up by the fire, play games, and join the communal dining area. The first thing you are offered is to get out of your wet shoes and slip on some colorful hand knit slippers. Then you hear “BEAR” and “MOOSE” and then “TWO MOOSE!” within moments of arrival… and it’s not joke. Staring out the vast windows overlooking the meadow, sure enough there is a mama and baby bear sauntering down, and two moose chowing down in the mud pit. Often you read things are “like the Serengeti for wildlife viewing”, but to pop in and have all of this happen so fast… magical! See our adventure to Spray Lakes, Mount Engadine Lodge, and the rather precarious drive out on the next page!
So the last few weeks has been quite the learning experience for me - decades of over computer usage seem to have caught up with me and my occasional eyeglasses for late night driving/etc are being used a bit more frequently. So when i got my new prescription and needed new lenses, an email from long time NOTCOT reader, Dave Barton of David Kind, seemed perfectly timed! Beyond the stunning cork packaging (swoon) and the high quality, luxury frames, what has been most exciting is learning about the advances in eyeglass lens technology! When i got new lenses in my old glasses updated to the new prescription, there was no question about what type of lens i wanted besides anti glare, transitions, etc… I didn’t even know what to ask about! Shawn on the other hand, has been in pretty thick glasses since he was 4, and is never without his glasses/contacts. While in Nashville we even found his stash of old glasses and how the lenses have been slowly evolving and getting thinner/lighter, from glass to polycarbonate and now on to High Definition and Trivex.
Luckily for us, David Kind is based right here in Venice, CA! With years in the eyewear industry, Dave Barton spent a lot of time at Spy+ and Oliver Peoples/Luxotica as well as starting another eyewear company before launching, David Kind - so it’s been great getting caught up on the options. From first touch - it’s easy to see and feel the quality of the frames and the attention to detail on designing and perfecting every little thing. But it wasn’t until i just got my glasses in my prescription that i understood the clarity i’d been missing with my old lenses. While the frames and process may feel like other online ‘try at home, then buy’ eyewear stores - what has surprised me the most is how much attention to detail and how knowledgable the team at David Kind has been along the whole process. They work with you to find the right pair, make sure to find the best lens for your prescription, get everything aligned and adjusted and customized as needed… and the packaging is just awesome too. Take a peek at what i’ve learned and all the details on the next page!
Design inspiration comes from all over the place - regardless of price - and this time i was inspired/intrigued while at CVS needing to grab a disposable razor. It’s been hard to miss the ridiculously annoying tongue in cheek (literally) Gillette Shave Face ad during the World Cup but on product design weirdness - have you seen the Gilette Venus Snap? I had to poke at it… and honestly, in a world of Harry’s, Dollar Shave Club, etc - i get curious and poke at a bunch, but i’m finding all these strange product design innovations/solutions far more interesting (and functional). So take a peek at the design details of this little clamshell compact holding a tiny razor handle (that fits all their blades, thought not all blades on the handle will fit in the case) and a single blade. How this compact takes up less space than a traditional, simple disposable I don’t understand - but from an ID stand point it is intriguing. The center of the handle is even like a bouncy, rubbery trampoline of sorts. See more (and vids!) on the next page…
We recently posted Ursa Major’s Traveler’s Skincare Kit on NOTCOT.org, and they were kind enough to send one over for us to check out in person! The Traveler’s kit contains minis of their Face Wash, Shave Cream, Face Balm, and five tonic-infused bamboo Face Wipes in a fun canister that shows off some of their lovely branding. In addition to the kit, there are also some stickers and cards supporting the Live Major motto and my favorite, “Always Awesome. Never Lackluster.” The Burlington, VT based Ursa Major is all about natural, organic ingredients to bring out your best. They test every product until it is a yes to the following three questions: “Is it effective? Is it healthy? Is it sublime?” Take a peek at it all up close on the next page.
I “needed” a new hydration/trail pack. And while i’d been curious about ACRE (a special division of Mission Workshop) since they launched back in Fall ‘13… the website has such stunning images! But it wasn’t until i ran into the packs in person in Portland that i couldn’t get them out of my head. So i finally gave in and ordered The Hauser Weatherproof Hydration Pack 10L and couldn’t be happier! This biggest seller for me on this bag in person was the material - photos just don’t do it justice. The Dimension-Polyant 210d nylon VX ripstop with waterproof laminate has such subtle diamonds that add another dimension to the simplicity of the Hauser’s design - which is packed with such thoughtful, useful details… from the perforated padding to the tool roll, the multiple anchor points to the watertight zippers, the flap down to the rolltop option, and more! Check out the details up close on the next page!
Oakley’s performance eyeware turned 30! And to celebrate and launch the beginning of even more fun in the next era of their company they threw a #DisruptiveByDesign party last night. In the goodie bags? These special edition Disruptive By Design Oakley Eyeshades. These are part of their Heritage Collection which “salutes the evolution of a revolution by bringing back vintage rarities for a limited time.” In the collection are Eyeshades, Razor Blades, and Frog Skins. And while these resemble the classic Eyeshades, they have been updated with an improved nose pad, and come with both curved and straight ear stems… and details like the 2014 inside the frame, and ‘Disruptive by Design’ etched into the bottom of the lens! The special Microclear bag for storage/cleaning has a special sketch of the original design on them, and the packaging and bag have fun retro Oakley logos. They also look pretty amazing on NOTpuppy, Bucky! Check out all the details on the next page…
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!
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?
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!