A+R is the closest thing out there to a NOTCOT store... and the novelty has yet to wear off, since Andy keeps the place stocked with far too much that makes me feel like a kid in a designer candy store. Aside from the Theosauruses that i showed you earlier... i fell for this Puzzle Dinner Tray from Royal VKB designed by Wendy Boudewijns. In a nice unbreakable melamine, this tray helps kids get used to what goes where... and having loved puzzles of all sorts growing up, i just know my mom would have gotten me one of these had it been around when i was a wee one. Although i'm sure i've seen this around the web, playing with it in person won me over to post about it... see some hands on pics below!
Entries tagged with: gifts
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The German Theosaurus - the porcelain piggy bank with nostrils so large you're sure it ought to be able to sniff out some truffles for you... or, at least, help you save up some coin to buy some! After CA Boom V (which took merely an hour to cover) ~ i headed over to Abbot Kinney and stopped in on Andy over at A+R, where he had just gotten the Theosauruses in, and he even has an exclusive on them this month! These adorable piggy banks showed up on .org as #7013, but seeing them in person, you can't help but want to pick it up and bring it home... really, it's one worth checking out in person, and would make a darling gift for nearly anyone, once you figure out which one to buy. We debated whether the sitting or standing was more cute... and personally, i think the sitting one is most adorable when next to the standing one, however if i only got to go home with one, definitely the standing one... in porcelain with the blue pattern! Although, the sitting one does have a locking bottom, versus the two cork feet of the standing one... and the family of the 4 did look most adorable together. Anyhow, take a look below to see how they look in context of the real world (versus the uber-clean product photography world).
You can't go wrong with Magis, the products both large and small have had me lusting since i was a kid... and tonight in particular i've been rediscovering their Me Too children's collection (many of which have been on NOTCOT over the years)... one that i hadn't noticed before is this Alma and Linus stacking chair and table set from Spanish designer, Javier Mariscal. The most incredible part is seeing the patterns on the back up close, i love the trees filled with the birds in their leaves! Made of injection molded Polypropylene with glass fibre, this set is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. Below, see not only a close up of the detail of the back of these seats, but also a few other Mariscal pieces for the Magis Me Too Collection (like the crazy angler fish looking play thing!)
The Puppy now comes in a sky blue! This was the first thing to grab me at CA Boom V at Santa Monica Airport's Barker Hangar today... the Magis Me Too Collection's booth is filled with all four sizes of the puppy in the four colors - green, white, orange, and now blue! This piece by Eero Aarnio is quite the iconic and irresistible kids piece that i would love to have around... see more pics below!
p.s. can you believe i first wrote about this puppy 3 years ago? (and for those who need a refresher, Aarnio is the man behind design icons like the ball chair and the bubble chair!)
Happy Pi Day ~ and for all of you who wonder where all these crazy posts and ideas and inspiration come from... well for the sake of my amusement, here's something silly i ended up with tonight (blame the lack of sleep and insanity that is LA this week... also Linhchi brought me a sun jar and combine that with my vinyl cutter.... ) Naturally all the craziness that you see propagating across the network comes from somewhere! But where? My glowing jar full of NOTCOTs! (Whatever a NOTCOT may be, that, as surprising as it is to most, is still quite unknown). So for today's random project, NOTCOTs are like fireflies, visual manifestations of all the crazy inspiration lighting us up?
Ok, so basically, Sun Jar+ Vinyl Cutter = Jar of NOTCOTs (and this will probably continue to evolve into other ideas...) Also, on Sun Jars, although i've gifted and recommended these solar powered glowing jars often, this is the first time i've been gifted one! And i must say for the next one i gift, i will ditch the packaging, personalize it in some subtle way for the recipient, and present it as simply the jar, with a beautiful ribbon to tie a notecard on. See more pics below! (also the dissection of my sun jar...)
The latest from one of our favorite designers, Alissia MT, are these beautiful glass Me-Rors which were produced by Charles & Marie. Coming in two versions, you can view yourself in a floating silhouette, or in a classic oval... either way, it is quite a trip to use a handheld mirror that has your reflection essentially floating as you hold it up to inspect yourself closely... An exciting surprise that showed up at my door last week were one of each of model! I was thrilled to see the packaging on these (and even more excited to share them with you in many pics below)... they come in a pretty simple Charles & Marie branded box, with a magnetic flap you lift and open it, exposing the me-rors embedded in flocked blackness and a playful intro message... take a look below!
NOTCOT Note: Here's another article from Anna Corpron of Sub-Studio!
Rahee Yoon is sticking it to the old adage that bigger is better. Rather than going for the largest carat, Rahee has created what she calls "the world's thinnest ring" - out of a single sheet of paper. She designed two books around these rings - one with 25 different ring designs, and the other describing the processes to cut the rings out of the book. The result is conceptual, ephemeral jewelry. See more of her rings after the jump!
On fun tempting things i'm currently debating... i'm quite drawn to this Gryphon Timeless Trench Coat in Grey - "Dove double-breasted cotton trench with gold mirrored leather griffin buckle fastening. Gryphon trench has epaulettes on shoulder, button fastenings and a pocket on each hip. This Gryphon style comes with two belts, a traditional self-tie style and a glamorous gold style for evening. An essential in every fashion savvy urbanite's wardrobe" Isn't it adorable? More images below.
Blame the Kindle for the extra quiet Monday as far as posts go. This unexpected new toy showed up on the doorstep this morning, and i've been a bit distracted since. In all honesty, as far as first impressions go... i LOVE the packaging and use of playful typography and book like packaging... as well as using the same patterns on the non-slip rubbery back of the kindle itself. As for using the actual Kindle to read books/newspapers/blogs/wikipedia... i was skeptical, never figured it was for me. But, i'm kind of hooked. Unlike the Zune experience, this worked like a breeze out of the box. Finds its connection, lets me scroll around, even give me a little intro/walkthrough as one of the first files to check out... and the readability of the screen is SO nice on the eyes... (i'm *this* close to getting a new macbook pro and ditching this current one to go back to a matte screen before they get rid of them all)... flipping pages is a such a nice gesture, and i'm in love with the mirrored little scroller squares. I know i'm a bit late to the game on this one, but check out the pics after the jump to see how nicely done the packaging is!
So far, i have impulse bought the new Sophie Kinsella book Remember Me (embarrassing as it is, i'll admit it, i read a few of those Shopaholic books on the beach while on post-uni euro trips) to try out, and have been surprised how quickly i've been flying through the pages between working on the laptop today and taking calls on the pearl (this may be terrible for multitasking!)... i am also trying out the WSJ and NYTimes subscriptions, but so far it feels a bit too RSS like for my tastes, and i think newspapers are still most fun in print for me, but this is definitely nice to slip in the purse. And of course... i've browsed the NOTCOTs on the web browser, and while we're not the best optimized for advanced kindle rendering... in default mode its not half bad! Also tried browsing gmail a little.... anyhow, check out the unboxing pics below, probably more to come on this new toy later...
Pranna Timers ~ these incense meditation timers may not be the expected NOTCOT content, but when i received an email about these i was genuinely intrigued. "Using gravity instead of batteries, incense instead of circuits." And the site had these beautiful handmade wooden contraptions that sit next to ancient singing bowls...
To further indulge my curiosity of a COMPLETELY technology free activity (timed meditation? or any other random timing you need once you perfectly calibrate how long it takes a certain length of incense to burn)... Pranna Timers sent one over, so here is the review - with close up shots of how exactly it does its thing, and a video of how it sounds as well! Check out your minute of zen below (please don't mind the airplane noises that had to fly over right when i was filming it...)
Wow. Fendi. "Artist Baguette", freshly launched for a mere $1300, a new stark white version of their classic - designed by Silvia Venturini Fendi in 1997 - in coated canvas? And it comes with 10 Pantone Universe markers! It sure looks like they are taking a page from the current trends with the vinyl toy blanks... or coloring books/placemats/other children oriented goodies. And in fact quite a few purse sites seem a bit appalled by the whole thing (Purse Blog, Bag Snob, etc)...
Anyhow, putting the pricetag aside, lets think about this from an arts perspective... there is a LOT of collaboration potential here. Can you imagine getting a few of these into the hands of some talented artists and toy designers, and letting them have their way with them? The potential to merge a fashionable classic accessory with art could have some very interesting results (which could also be a way to increase that initial investment, not to mention actually create an even more unique one of a kind designer clutch). So i must admit i'm tempted, although i might have to hold out till i can draw on my own Birkin... See many more images after the jump!
It seems like this is one of those situations where packaging makes a world of difference... if it were presented as a gorgeous new white clutch and nothing more, would anyone dare take a sharpie to it? Or would the die hard fashionistas complain about the ridiculousness? And it's not *just* a white canvas bag, it still has all the detailed stylings of a classic Baguette, and additionally has a playfully multicolored cartoon-like lining!
UPDATE 03.13.08 - i walked by a Fendi store, and couldn't help myself, so went in and bothered them to show me the bag... that box is FAR bigger than i expected, and the bag is quite hideous... not nice to the touch at all... the coated canvas reminded me more of random art school creations than a designer bag.
Papabubble. I was just watching the CoolHunting video (embedded below for easy viewing!) interviewing the candy makers at the new NY store, and it was incredible. I feel like those kids in the candy store, face pressed against my monitor drooling over the incredible candy making process ~ turning a simple mixture of sugar, water, and glucose combined with flasks of coloring and flavoring ~ into what looks like delicious candies, and perhaps just as fun, the perfect medium for sculpting random dioramas out of (as well as classics like Gehry's cardboard wiggle chair)! Truly impressive is watching how all of the candy is made by hand, down to the mixing in of coloring and stretching to aerate until its more translucent. With stores in Barcelona, Amsterdam, and Tokyo, the NY store is the first in the US.
Grand Theft Auto IV Special Edition comes with lots of fun schwag - Special Edition is presented in a customized Grand Theft Auto metal safety deposit box and contains Grand Theft Auto IV in special packaging, The Grand Theft Auto IV Art Book with never-before-seen production artwork, Selected Soundtrack CD with exclusive material to this release, Rockstar Keychain for the safety deposit box keys, and a Limited Edition Rockstar Duffel Bag And Amazon pre-orders also get a free Liberty City GTA License Plate as well. Retailing at $89 and releasing on April 29, 2008 for the PS3 (and the 360). I impulse bought my PS2 specifically for GTA back in college... and now i'm extremely tempted to impulse buy another PS3 (the first one i bought i left for my ex)... although perhaps its worth holding out for the super slim PS3 to come? Trailer videos below!
Alcohol and design collaboration is not a new thing, especially not when it comes to Heineken... but this Beertender which is basically a mini at home/office/studio tap for the mini kegs in collaboration with Krups is an interesting product to essentially 'dock' your mini keg and have it good to go for 30 days of perfect draught beer. Details that grabbed me were also their site design and graphics for the instructions, as well as their interesting approach to entering your birthday for proof of age... see screenshots after the jump!
UPDATE - although not new to euros - "The Heineken Beertender we first wrote about almost four years ago is finally getting its US launch tomorrow, March 1. The beertender is a special for-your-home tap that takes in four-liter Heineken DraughtKegs and dispenses via the tap, for a reasonably authentic home beer experience. It'll be exclusively available at Williams-Sonoma stores starting tomorrow for $299, and move into a wider release schedule at the start of April." says Gizmodo
Mobius Climbers from Landscape Structures! Is there simpler more intriguing surface? My future backyard will definitely need one of these... essentially it is a giant sheet of annodized aluminum with rock climbing styled hand holds so kids (or you) can climb up, down, and all around any side (well, i guess its only really ONE side) of it... It is available in 4 configurations to accommodate various budgets ~ 3, 6, 7, and 12 panel options. My only disappointment with this is that you can't climb a full loop and go around and around since the two ends go into the ground (so really this isn't a mobius strip so much as a crazily bent sheet), but with a little imagination i supposed you can assume that where these go into the ground they pop out into another yard and continue the loop. Also cool could have been if it was in a loop AND you could unzip it down the middle for an even larger mobius strip! More images after the jump!
Every feel like your brain is just hopping all over the place with ideas? Combining my love of brains, frogs, and toys... check out Emilio Garcia's Jumping Brain RGB set by Lapolab! And as you can see from the sneak peeks below from the thread on Solson Toys, the hemispheres even separate! I think i'd have to get the set and mix and match them all. What would i ever do without Vinyl Pulse?
Brio. Their logo always flashes me back to childhood and makes me imagine those woody tracks that interlock, and the adorable, simple, primary colored, magnetic train cars that you could link up... But it seems like they have headed more towards Playsam with these adorably bright, glossy, lacquered toys. Remember the shape sorting box was on NOTCOT.org a while back? Well, in addition to that, you can also find matching glossy building sets, rattles, and the coolest little race cars! Can you imagine a prettier kids gift for designer moms and dads? Even if you outgrow playing with them (is that even possible?), they'd look beautiful as part of the decor. Also see the pull toys and push cars after the jump.
Sheridan's Coffee Layered Liqueur has truly the most incredible bottle design i've yet to encounter. I loved the stuff (and the packaging had a large part to do with that) when i lived in milan, and was absolutely fascinated by the split glass bottle, half filled with white, the other with black, and joined by the cap that magically poured a layered drink every time. Unfortunately, i started NOTCOT after returning, and never found it in the states... i even posted about it back in march 2005 when the site first launched, and even tracked down the case study of the bottle design! (You can view it below)... at the Duty Free in Toronto they had some! So i grabbed a bottle to take some pictures (and video!) of it to share with you, check it out below. It's absolutely mesmerizing! Oh, and as for the taste, well its like a yummier bailey's for those of you who like the sugary sweetness.
NOTCOT Note: I'm excited to introduce you to Jenny Lemieux and Leo Corrales, of HERO Design Lab! Old friends from my Milan grad school days, they were nice enough to show me Toronto, and we had so much fun all weekend, that they've even written some posts for you! Starting off check out this awesome behind the scenes look at Monster Factory (who has had much love across NOTCOT over the years)!
We dropped by the Monster Factory factory today, as I'm dying to get my hands on one of their super cute little kid-friendly guys, and of course, we wanted a sneak peak at how the monsters come into being.... We chatted with partners Bliss Man and Rhya Tamasauskas (Adam Dunn wasn't in) and some of their team. The coolest, gentlest people, I have to say, which only makes sense. We got a behind the scenes glimpse of how they turn their concepts into patterns, then various prototypes, before stitching together the 65 kinds of monsters. We love that they do the whole thing in Toronto, and hire local fashion grads to lend a hand. See the many pictures after the jump!
Decor-a-Boards from Pop Ink caught my eye because of this Little Red Samurai! So cute on the wood, so sweet, so innocent, so definitely has blood dripping from her sword. What are these? "Pop Ink's Decor-a-Boards are the real wood wall art you need. Printed directly onto unfinished birch veneer over MDF board, Décor-a-Boards are a natural fit for any green (or any other color) home. The 11.25"x14" ready-to-hang Pop Ink Decor-a-Boards are manufactured with recycled wood scraps and unused parts of lumbered trees." See more images after the jump!
As i sit here in Toronto airport waiting to pop back over to LA ~ i'm sorting through MANY pictures, and how much i *could* post while i wait... first to really grab me ~ the playfully Canadian oriented jewelry of Anneke van Bommel that i encountered at The Souvenir Shop, she manages to simplify national pride down to simple cheeky iconic jewelry pieces... from these various wood/silver antler rings, to stubby beer pins, crossed axes, and more... (see lots of pics below!) The Souvenir Shop is one of the best collections of exclusive limited edition Canada oriented design pieces i ran into, which was unfortunately at the Gladstone Hotel within the Come Up To My Room Exhibition where artists took over rooms on the 2nd floor, and honestly, you didn't miss much, because there were some of the rudest, most obnoxious people manning the door and their store ~ so luckily you can shop the wares online!
Bio from the site: "Anneke van Bommel is an artist and educator living and working in Toronto. She shares a downtown studio with 5 other jewelery artists and teaches at the Ontario College of Art and Design and George Brown College.Her work focuses on contemporary jewelery design, and explores concepts of place, memory and the symbols and icons of Canadiana."
In the Alessi 2008 Spring/Summer collection is the new Pop-Up Bottle Opener. This beautiful piece is designed by Giovanni Alessi Anghini, great-grandson of Giovanni Alessi, founder of the company. It should also be no surprise that Giovanni Jr. has put in his time at Stefano Giovannoni's Milan studio, and is now coming into his own. Apparently this mirror polished stainless steel bulb of a bottle opener has a magnet within that holds onto the cap once you push down to open a bottle. See an image of it on a bottle after the jump!
p.s. does this remind anyone else of J Schatz's egg bird feeders, lamps, etc?
A new entry in the bottled water market, Y Water, comes fresh out of Venice Beach ~ has a playful bottle designed by Yves Behar ~ and can be built into crazy structures... oh, and they are also targeted at kids, and are organic, low calorie drinks chock full of vitamins and minerals! "Y Water's attention-getting names—Muscle Water, Bone Water, Immune Water, and Brain Water—communicate the idea that the ingredients are the building blocks of healthier bodies." And there's the green angle too: bottles are 100% recyclable and 100% reusable as a creative developmental aid... And perhaps just as fun, are the crazy illustrations all over the Y Water site. See images of all after the jump!
Sorry, it's been quiet... i tried to take the day off. Still ended up handling a few emails and calls via the pearl, but at least it was while running around discovering things... like Shu Uemura's Art Of Hair. Shu Uemura is one of those lines i've loved for not only the gorgeous packaging design (have you looked at some of those lipstick and skincare products? The new clear lipstick cases were designed by architects!), but also for their skincare and makeup products. Admittedly i was skeptical about their branching out into haircare... until about an hour ago. I've been a Bumble & Bumble girl for the last decade or so - but the last few weeks i felt like something different - i tried other bumble products (also love their packaging/branding), various 'organic' brands, even some basic drugstore brands (which ended up being far too fruity and chemically for the most part), and was about to give up back to my usual, until i wandered into Shu Uemura today.
Apparently the "Art of Hair" line is not available for sale online, and can currently only be purchased in their retail boutiques (but you can also call and order from them)... the boxes with the gloss images of the bottles on a matte white are gorgeous, and the bottles themselves beautiful as well, so i was already ready to simply show the packaging of the new line here... but only if it was any good! Anyhow, i'm sure you know by now, i'm smitten, and silly enough, can't stop running my fingers through my hair. Smells amazingly fresh, feels ridiculously clean, AND comes in pretty bottles. See the unboxings after the jump, as well as a few other fun goodies i picked up... and a statement from the designers of the packaging, campaign, and branding of the line.
UPDATE: Check out this beautiful flash site for the 'Art of Hair'... check out the Ceremonies in particular, they sound like pure bliss... and more updates being added at the bottom of the post as i obsessively research more.
DayNa Decker makes some breathtaking Candles - i mean Chandels. What's the difference? According to their site, it's their patent pending wood wicks, which not only create mesmerizing wide flames, but also crackle like a wood fire. They are also handmade right here in LA! The come in a range of sizes, from the perfect size to line around your bathtub, to huge centerpieces, they will certainly set the mood. I'm personally most drawn to the layering of the black within the solid clear glass candle... see a plethora of images after the jump!