It feels like it’s been summer here since february or so… and when we were checking out at the supermarket, had a nostalgic moment when i spotted Smashball - that beachy wooden paddle ball game thats been around since the 70s with such an adorably iconic logo. It also seemed like a fun one to experiment with in the Laser Cutter! Remember the hexagon experiment from the laser challenge? Well we threw some of those patterns together and played with painting and etching it into the paddles and toying with some custom colored plastidip. Take a peek at more details of the experiment on the next page!
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This post is part of the NOTlabs Laser Challenge: The ground rules are: Shawn and I are alternating days with executing and sharing a Laser Cutter involved experiment! And most importantly - we’re supposed to have fun, explore ideas, and it’s less about a fully formed product/concept at the end of the day, but more about seeing where the experiment takes us!
Laser Challenge #7 is here! When Shawn was teaching me to play poker this weekend, I found it hard to stop playing with the chips (and it was driving me crazy how ugly they were) ~ so naturally the conversation evolved to sparking ideas about how much more fun they could be! So for today’s challenge, he prototyped some gorgeous wooden poker chips that you can BUILD with! They interlock to make fun little structures during the game… we’re still fine tuning it more before we end up with a full set - perhaps the future ones with use different woods/materials for different values, or a splash of lacquered color along the edges, and have deeper notches to help them attach better, but it’s a fun start! See the making of and details on the next page!
p.s. If you have ideas, or want some laser cutting done, or want to play with us… feel free to use the contact form or leave a comment! And if you’re curious about the laser cutter we’re using, here’s the unboxing.
Stranger & Stranger, you’ve outdone yourselves once again. Following their Holiday Spirits of the past few years, “to celebrate the year we broke out of our alcohol comfort zone and designed premium olive oils, fine foods, luxury luggage, and just plain crazy new stuff, we teamed up with the amazing Dan & Dave to create this, our Ultimate Deck.” And broke out of their alcohol they did! Previously, anyone who asked me for suggestions on alcohol packaging, i undoubtedly told them, Stranger & Stranger! Well it sounds like it has been quite the year for the incredible design group… and these cards (no surprise) are STUNNING, down to the tiniest of details! From the matte black magnetic box… to the velvety pouches… to the festive ambigram… to the seal on the deck… to the gilded edges of the deck… to the artwork adorning each card… it’s a magnificent deck of cards! And the quality is incredible, as are all Dan & Dave cards (like the awesome Fulton’s Clip Joint Playing Cards we wrote about previously)… take a peek at all the incredible details of Stranger & Stranger’s Ultimate Deck on the next page!
Been smitten by these MetroDeck upcycled NYC MTA Subway cards into playing cards ever since seeing them on Collacubed. They are so beautiful and detailed! They are hand silk screened with enamel ink - “Printed on found and repurposed New York City subway fare cards, Metro Deck attempts to visually capture the common thread between commuters, public transportation, and chance. Every card has been gathered at random, after having been purchased, used, and discarded by either a visitor or resident of New York City. Some have been signed or otherwise marked, making each card unique with its own narrative potential. Appropriating the language of playing cards, the work asks us to consider our intimate connection with the subway and the city. The face cards are inspired by landmarks across the five Boroughs, referencing the tremendous reach of the subway system.” I love the Ace of Spades man hole cover… and the city inspired details of the face cards so lovely! WOW - “Designing, collecting, and printing the cards has been my official after-hours pastime for almost two years. Each face card needed four colors to print—approximately 8 hours work.” Additionally, “The deck comes packaged in a custom 2-color, die-cut and letterpressed tuck box printed by Mama’s Sauce Print shop.” WOW - “A total 2,268 cards were printed, wih over 4,000 pulls.” That’s 43 decks?
Each deck will run you 750$, but you can also order just the 4 kings, etc.. It’s too bad that “Given the nature of the materials, these cards are not intended for play.” See the making of and full set of beautiful cards on the next page!
The latest from London-based editor, Justine Aw.
Last summer, we rowed across the roof of Selfridges, this year, ahead of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and Olympics, I was invited for a round of golf on the roof! The festivities are all a part of The Big Rooftop Tea & Golf Party, as part of the Big British Bang on the roof of Selfridges. Boasting Oxford Street’s “highest tea” in a cafe from Daylesford Organic, the roof was also transformed into a 9-hole, 2,500sqft crazy golf course by the ever eccentric Bompas & Parr.
The course’s obstacles are designed to look like cakes, complete with fondant cladding and piped icing decorations. They are all celebrations of the metropolis, taking the shape of iconic London landmarks like Buckingham Palace (hole #7), St. Paul’s Cathedral (hole #4) and Tower Bridge (hole #6).
The cafe and crazy golf course are set to stay open all summer and will be open to the public soon. Book your rooftop tee time here and drop in for tea and cake in the cafe, which will be open to everyone on a first come first serve basis. See all the fun on the next page!
So. FUN. I can barely stop looking up random places on the map. Everything from giant Androids to t-rex skeletons and flamingos to eames houses and more… For a super amusing April Fool’s come early, Google Maps has gone 8-bit QUEST View! Complete with silly video introduction about how to play it on your NES with cartridge (which may need blowing to fix problems) and all. The little guy is my favorite ~ too cute in all of his various angles. Take a peek at screenshots, fun finds, and the video on the next page!
p.s. I feel like the only thing missing is a soundtrack playing while you go on your quest!
While i’ve seldom had the traditional “family vacation” as a kid ~ talking to NOTlabs director, Shawn, i found out that he knows HomeAway well! Apparently his mom’s been booking everything from houses in the Rockies, French Quarter in New Orleans, and Utah Ski trips on the site ~ and they often associate family vacations with insane jigsaw puzzles and toys… so when HomeAway asked us to share some awesomeness around family travel… adventures at the NY International Toy Fair seemed like a perfect fit! There were SO many random toys in every genre you can imagine, so to narrow it down, here’s a selection of our favorites that are perfect to keep kids (both actually young and young at heart) occupied in the car/plane en route or curled up by the fireplace/dining table when just hanging out! Ready to see some crazy puzzles, fun magnetic building toys, turtles, mazes, paper animals, electronic experiments and more? To the next page!
Unexpectedly fun and addictive ~ the Fling and Fling Mini suction joysticks from Ten One Design for touch screens are great. There’s something unbelievably satsifying about the way the action of the joystick movement feels ~ also the design is ingeniously simple. “Fling is constructed from silky-smooth anodized aluminum, and an incredibly tough, perfectly clear, and unusually flexible engineering-grade resin. It’s nearly indestructible, and will give you years of precision gaming.” Take a peek at more pictures on the next page…
Theses beautiful Fulton’s Clip Joint Playing Cards designed by Brad Fulton arrived from Dan and Dave’s. Take a peek at this video to get into the mood and world they evoke… The details on the box are stunning ~ and the joker cats will mesmerize you.
“Fulton’s Clip Joint Playing Cards celebrate our fascination with cinema, history, and the art of the grift. Taking inspiration from vintage Los Angeles and Film Noir, Fulton’s captures a time and place where men were men, women were dames, and the next deal could be your last. These limited edition playing cards feature original artwork by Dan Phillips and are beautifully encased in a linen box with embossed ornaments and foil stamping.”
See close-ups on the next page! (As well as a peek at the uncut sheet!)
Bronze Bones! I don’t think dominoes have ever made me swoon… until now. Leave it to The World’s Best Ever’s Dave to dream up something so spectacularly lust worthy! “The first collaboration between The Principals and The World’s Best Ever looks to redefine the domino as a unique geometry, crafted from a more substantial material: bronze. The weight, shape and numbering have been refined, resulting in an original design that retains the spirit of the domino while capitalizing on its serial potential as an artistic object.” From the naming (Bronze Bones!) to the packaging (who doesn’t love anything hidden away in a BOOK?) to the material choice (bronze!) to the thoughtful inclusion of a pencil, sharpener, and paper to keep score (white pencil + black paper of course)… it’s all incredible. Take a look at the details on the next page!
So many fun things to share with you from the last few days, but so sleepy this 1am and currently in the Côte d’Azur… so, silly things first. While visiting the Mercedes-Benz factory in Bremen, i couldn’t help but admire their Gran Turismo 5 + PS3 + Logitech circle of racing fun set up in the lobby. The design details of the racing pod are great ~ but even better is the Nürburgring mat it sits on, complete with each twist and turn labeled. The PS3 mount even resembles an engine! See all of the details on the next page!
We ended up at an unexpected oasis amongst the madness of Monterey Auto Week when we drove up into Monterra Woods to join friends at the Aston Martin Estate. They took over a beautiful house and filled it with a brilliant mix of lifestyle brands from Far Niente Wines and Louis Roederer Champagne, to Emanuel Andren’s Chocolates from Sweden… Vizio 3D tvs and CxC Driving Simulators, to Flexjet by Bombardier and Worth magazine… There was even a tailor, diamonds, non-alcoholic cocktails (test drives happening!), and of course Aston Martins ~ from the V12 Zagato and One-77 to Virage Coupés, Vantage S Roadster, and Rapide. They created a beautiful space with relaxing indoor and outdoor areas, and endless things to do. Favorite? While waiting for test drives, the garage had two 3-large-screen simulators with racing seats that throw you around almost as hard as a real F1 car. (Of course, had we planned a bit better ~ i’m sure test driving the Astons would have been the favorite!) All in all, there was so much to see and do, and it was the perfect way to get a feel for the lifestyle they imagine around the marque. There were even herds of deer and flocks of turkeys roaming nearby! Take a peek and explore the estate and details on the next page!
I never knew the history of Nudie cards till this post. Did you know - “The birth of modern-day nudie cards can be traced to 16th century cards from India depicting the positions of the Kama Sutra. By the turn of the 20th century, during the Art Nouveau movement, erotic card decks appeared celebrating a renewed appreciation of the female form. These decks evolved to include illustrations or photographs of nude models, flappers, burlesque singers, and pin-up girls. Because these cards were not legal at the time, they were often sold under the guise of art studies.” They started as “art” not “porn”? Fascinating, right? Also, apparently for these new Ryan McGinness Blacklight Nudie Cards for the Standard, each abstracted drawing was from actual figure studies of models… even the three boobed ones! (Ok, so a few have multiple bodies, but they still are near indecipherable, as creative as you get!) Printed with fluorescent inks, these cards are optimal for glowing goodness under blacklights. I showed you a peek at McGinness’ show that started this series as well as the vinyls at the The Standard New York and limited edition prints of the cards, now, take a peek at the unboxing and close ups of the cards on the next page!
Yay! Portal 2. (Boo PSN has been down though, and for days?!?!) Reddit thread about guy turning the in-game posters into high res images… lead to this gallery of images from the game… and really, the writers and designers had far too much fun with Portal 2. The details are so fun, here’s a peek at some of my favorites!
p.s. and if you’ve missed them, the Investment Opportunity videos are so fun!
Here’s a sneak peek at the show opening tomorrow at the newest Gallery 1988: Venice! (Bittersweet that SF is closing, but awesome to have one on the westside!) “Multiplayer” opens tomorrow night and is filled with video game inspired art! I can’t wait to see what else is unveiled tomorrow night! Take a look at a few of the pieces on the next page… but be warned, you’ll be overcome with a nostalgic desire to go play tetris and zelda and more though!
The Saatchi & Saatchi LA xmas email came out yesterday, and this year they are “giving back by making donations to three nonprofit charities on your behalf: The Amanda Foundation, Free Arts for Abused Children and New Directions“… and then they announced NOG PONG! Exactly what it sounds like, only it’s always our turn, and they get to do all the eggnog drinking…
Teaming up with Deep Local (yup, our new favorite people from Project Reindeer, etc) - “Nogbot started as an off-the-shelf ping-pong practice machine. In one weekend, we reverse engineered the machine and replaced its guts with our own wiring and microcontroller. The new microcontroller allowed us to programmatically control the motors, switches and servos to do our bidding. We created a web-based API to communicate with Nogbot allowing an external program to fire balls at different speeds and directions.” Awesome, right? Well they’ve also shared some pics of what the NogBot looks like! (He’s your real world arm launching those balls as you click from behind your monitor.) As well as videos of the game in action, and the making of! Check it all out on the next page… love these projects that really pull the digital and physical closer in such playful ways!
PORTAL 2 is coming!!! I’m a little excited. The trailer is gorgeous (check it out on the next page), and looks incredibly fun! Valve’s Portal was not only stunning visually, but conceptually innovative (part FPS part puzzle game), gave us “the cake is a lie”, and Still Alive still gets stuck in my head… So, can they do it again? Take it further? We’ll find out soon… but how awesome is the trailer? See the trailer and more pics on the next page!
Mmmm, who doesn't love surprise packages in brown paper tied up with string? This latest mysterious piece of mail comes from the very awesome folks at W+K teasing me about their new ARG (Alternative Reality Game), Levis Go Forth, that just launched yesterday! (You twitter followers will recall i gave you a heads up when we were 20 min from the start!) SO what is it? Well, you'll have to take a peek into the package on the next page... but from what i can gather we have the opportunity to win G.O. Fourth's fortune of $100,000. Mixing part story, part scavenger hunt adventure, and part puzzle game ~ between online, word of mouth, real world events and more layered across the country and internet ~ we're currently in Phase Two of this adventure where the Online intersects with Reality... Phase Three is all about the Real World... and in Nov the final phase will narrow things down to 100 finalists to solve the final puzzle... SO, game on? See what was in the mysterious envelope on the next page!
Its striking how similar in SIZE the real Rickenbacker 325 and the Beatles Rock Band Controller are. In fact, they are so similar, i couldn't resist visiting the Rickenbacker factory in Santa Ana to check them out side by side in person! Funny coincidence ~ on 09/09/09 when Beatles Rock Band launched, the factory happened to start working on a run of the Rickenbacker 325! They claim it really wasn't planned! So luckily when i visited a few days later, i not only got to take a peek at the controller and its real life counterpart in person, but also had an opportunity to see exactly how the real guitars are made! (and it is truly an amazing process, so many more steps of skilled craftsmen than i ever imagined, but more to come on that soon!)
Take a peek at the next page to see lots of pics of the Rickenbacker 325 alongside the Beatles Rock Band Controller ~ as well as peeks into the factory and renderings of the controller!
Happy 9/9/9 ~ it's been quite a day! On awesome launches that are hard to miss, The Beatles Rock Band came out today, and it was impossible not to share an unboxing of the goods with you! For starters the imagery is stunning (gorgeous intro video on the next page!) ~ and the custom guitars are adorable mini-plasticized simplified versions of their normal forms... The front of the kick-drum is like those frisbees or carshades where you can twist it up into a smaller disc when not in use (you know the type, it pops open instantly?)... and the pedal is beautifully detailed with Beatles-ness. There is also a set of postcards included... so anyhow, take a peek at it all! I picked up the full kit for PS3 and the Rickenbacker...
Just got home and ended up playing way too much Rock Band tonight ~ so as tired as my body might be, my mind was inspired to show you this awesome limited edition MWM Graphics Rock Band Guitar that i've been meaning to post! Before we get into looking at how sweet this guitar is... lets get all the complicated collaborations and brands out of the way ~ this Geometric Funk XBOX 360 Rock Band Guitar was created by MWM Graphics, which is Matt W. Moore, for Pepsi Rock Band 2009 to promote the Pepsi/Yahoo/Harmonix/MTV Drink Up, Rock Out promotion! Basically, gamers can submit their own Rock Band music videos for a chance to win a MTV Video Music Award Moonman, as well as other great Rock Band prizes under the caps of Pepsi bottles everywhere! I just got distracted midway through post writing while watching a bunch of the videos, some are pretty hilarious - here, check this one out.
ANYHOW, beyond the pretty fun campaign going on (i think you have till Sept to rock out and make a fun music video!) ~ stepping back and checking it out ~ i just love that this is art + video games + music + UGC + ad campaign. It's so fun to see the graphic stylings of favorites like MWM Graphics on a Rock Band fender guitar! I must say the number of brands you can tie into this whole endeavor is hurting my head slightly ~ but that aside ~ could the rock band guitar be the new tshirt/skateboard to customize for artists? Check out more pics of this gorgeous collaboration on the next page ~ as well as some screenshots of the campaign (i'm liking the site design!).
So for some background ~ i've been in love with the work of Shag since i was a kid (early high school perhaps?) ~ and to stumble into Frankie's Tiki Room upon the suggestion of Hugh at Unica Home, and then to see not only all the amazing art/interiors, and the exclusive mugs... and in the corner there is this playful "VICE TESTER" machine calling out to me... and as i get closer, the whole thing is covered in Shag's illustrations! Every single side of it and all the options too! It's only getting in to the hotel and hooked up to some wonky internet that i got caught up on all things Frankie's Tiki Room, including the little snippet on their site that says "And the 'Vice Tester' carnival game, designed and built by Shag, must be seen to be believed." It's no joke, you really must see it... and since i can't show it to you in person, on the next page you will see a bunch of pictures of every side of it as well as a little *sideways* video (sorry, we did what we could between the very dark bar and the very strong drinks)...
I popped a quarter in, grabbed the handle as instructed, and apparently my vice at that moment was "drugs"... and i love that lincoln quote on the side "It has been my experience that those who have no vices have very few virtues"... so anyhow, go see the pics and vid on the next page!!!
Tetris Tiles!!! Thank you Tomas, who just emailed this in, and i've been giddy since first laying eyes on them... what game room, kitchen, bathroom, etc, can't use some tetris tiling? Although of course, every row had better have some random hole, so the rows don't disappear? And in imagining covering a wall or floor with these, i can't help but wonder whether it really is better to buy the pre-made sheets, or to place each tile one by one, by simply reaching into a bucket randomly... sure it may take ages, but then every tile has a story, and perhaps some rationale behind its placement? They are custom made in the UK from the finest italian ceramics, and while they are already available in quite the range of colors, may also become available in any pantone color of your choice....
Ooooh can you imagine Tetris Tiles in your pool??? My head is spinning with ideas of where/how to use these, see more images on the next page!