It’s that time of year again ~ IKEA’s spring/summer goodies are out, and i’m once again fascinated by what they are doing design wise for low cost outdoor solar lighting. Here’s what they had going last year ~ and to be honest, and an upclose look at them unboxed… and a year later, the ones in my patio, some are holding up ok, some really just dont last long lighting the world up at night anymore. Perhaps i need to swap some new rechargable AA’s in. I’m intrigued by the new additions this year though ~ from floor lamps and desk lamps to pendant lamps and even snake like lighting tubes… do you use them indoors? but in strategic locations that get lots of light? They are apparently approved for outdoors, so it could make for a cute little patio set up… and it looks like you might even be able to turn the table and desk lamps on and off… so charge them up and only pull the switch when you need it outside? (Will this make the battery last longer?)… take a peek at some larger pics on the next page!
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Packaging based impulse buy at Whole Foods when i got home… “Clean Air Tree” ~ a biodegradable potato waste pod containing spruce tree seeds in a soiless growing pellet in a biodegradable growing pot… complete with an FSC paper booklet printed with veg based ink… sealed in a compostable corn starch sleeve… super green packaging? And apparently when you plant/buy one, they do too… but unfortunately their website seems a bit broken, so i couldn’t register my pod yet… See the next page for the unboxing… start at planting… and lets hop there are sprouts soon! And someday perhaps a tree…
Across the street from my milan hotel was a store front i must have walked past every day, and then one day stopped dead in my tracks when i suddenly noticed HOW these bags and ottomans and more were made… they all use the same simple leather units to build them up! I imagined the packaging being a DIY stack of leather pieces with instructions on the many possible configurations. What a beautiful and unusual use of leather…
Turns out these are the brand new Pinetti products experimenting with materials and shapes creating collections like “Hook” trying to interpret our contemporary lifestyle. The Hook collection makes use of one single leather module without the aid of glue or staples, to create several different types of handmade objects. Pinetti, a handmade leather goods manufacturer based in Bergamo, just north of Milan combines tailor made attention and tradition, inspired by the high quality of its raw materials to satisfy the requirements of the contemporary lifestyle. Take a peek at the shop display and details on the next page!
On unexpected packages that arrived ~ a Polaroid SX70 Original from the Impossible Project ~ as well as a pack of the PX 100 Silver Shade / First Flush… The IMPOSSIBLE Project - “In October 2008 The Impossible Project saved the last Polaroid production plant for Integral Instant film in Enschede (NL) and started to re-invent and re-produce a new intant film for traditional Polaroid Cameras.” ~ in addition they’ve been fixing up vintage polaroid cameras… “Polapremium SX-70 cameras are NOT new, but we did our very best to make them look and function like unused cameras. Nevertheless we cannot avoid that some cameras will have some minor cosmetic signs of their former usage.” and i couldn’t resist trying it out… so here’s a first look at the details and a test pic of the first flush on the next page!
p.s. there’s something fun about having a polaroid camera ~ since polaroids were an inspiration in the design of NOTCOT.org…
Wow, what a week it was last week ~ volcano, Eyjafjallajokull, threw a little kink into what started to feel like a never-ending adventure across asia and europe, and early on in the trip, i decided to travel with only my blackberry curve, no data plan - only sms and international email - also, no iphone… and figured i’d be so busy, i’d survive just fine. Somewhere while i was diving in Indonesia, HTC contacted me and offered to send over an HTC Legend to try out (knowing i’d been lusting to try out the unibody phone and opitcal trackball in person)… they were even kind enough to send it over to my hotel in italy, along with an italian SIM card… with data! After 3 weeks traveling without using maps/internet/etc on my phone, i thought i was fine… good to disconnect a bit!
HTC Legend shows up ~ pop sim card in ~ start playing with maps and internet and gps and twitter and youtube videos and more… i’ll admit it, it made life 110% easier, nearly instantly. I’ve learned my lesson. Super snappy connection to the digital world 24/7 - it’s not an addiction… its convenience… like being able to go get lost and not need to ask for directions b/c your phone always knows where you are… or being able to go out to drinks, and keep checking in on the status of closed airports and volcanic eruptions and ash clouds and book/change flights while in the middle of an insane italian club? Excessive, but it certainly helped keep the panic of being stranded in europe indefinitely to a minimum… so, THANK YOU, HTC, for reconnecting me to the digital world when i needed it most! Things got a little stressful as people were hopping 22 hour consulate bus rides to London, rushing on packed trains to madrid and rome, booking private 737’s from newark to heathrow… but it’s good to be home!
And beyond the awesome functionality of the phone ~ the internet browsing seems FAR snappier than my iphone and i’m in love with the screen and trackball! Also, every designer i ran into at design week couldn’t help but comment how the phone was nearly more mac than a mac! It feels SO good in your hand, and the single piece body of the phone is just lovely… take a peek at the bunch of pics on the next page of it compared to my mac book pro at my last lunch in Milan at a cute little cafe in brera…
Hope. After a night of endless events, too many people, and walking all over the city… i must admit walking into a room of HOPE lamps really did make me light up… i was just giddy at the sight of them all together! And then i had to go directly under one to see how it looked from below… Luce Plan’s light designed by Francisco Gomez Paz and Paolo RIzzato, and winner of the 2010 red dot design award, Hope was born in 2009 as a modern reinterpretation of classic chandeliers. The design is a combination of a steel structure with polycarbonate arms and plastic Fresnel lenses to create a refraction effect equivalent to that of glass.
There is something so versatile and enamoring about this lamp, in person they just draw you right in… fun to see the way the family has grown and evolved from the original modular design. This year Luceplan proposed four new versions capable of satisfying a variety of demands.The large suspension lamp with 105 pairs of illuminating lenses can be enlarged upon request for special projects. This is the perfect solution for public spaces where a sparkling and joyful effect is desired. The wall model is smaller, with three pairs of lenses, while the ceiling model has 12 pairs of lenses. Finally, the floor version completes the Hope family: polished stainless steel tripod supports 18 pairs of illuminating lenses. See more pictures from the Luce Plan event as well as all the new Hope family on the next page!
p.s. also walking past the dark lobby of a beautiful old milanese office building, i stopped dead in my tracks when i saw a large hope pendant in the center… it looked stunning!
As design week comes to a close, but not the trip (we’ve been hostages of the volcano), i’m still sorting and posting much of the fun stuff discovered this week! Here’s a favorite photo from Milano Salone del Mobile 2010 this 4am. Staring at it ~ Leo, who’s been amazing helping explore and cover design week with me, and i joked that in a way, this image epitomized the key elements of the design week chaos…
Milan Design Week = beautiful objects + flowing libations + a sea of humanity
Bottega Veneta Home Collection was one of my happy surprises this Salone ~ i showed you the fun pop up shop with an incredible curated selection of goods from Japan as well as exclusive and my new favorite Wine Opener i couldn’t resist there… well here is a look at the beautiful leather seating collaboration with META and Poltrona Frau (with classic Bottega Veneta woven pillows!), beautiful Murano glassware (with the bases etched with the iconic weave pattern), stunning Intreccio Svanito porcelain tea services in collaboration with German porcelain manufacturer KPM (with what almost look like charcoal rubbings of the iconic weave)… Creative director, Tomas Maier says “Many of the new furniture designs came out of customer requests, so they feel like natural next steps. Philosophically, the collection reflects Bottega Veneta’s commitment to meeting the needs of our customers with pieces that are versatile, understated, and beautifully crafted.” I had no idea that you can buy or order these in any of their stores… take a peek at the beautiful pieces on the next page! (I’m lusting after the couch and glassware…)
On designer impulse buys this week ~ the last place i expected to buy a matte black silicone painted japanese wine opener… was when popping over to check out the Bottega Veneta Home collection opening reception in their pop-up shop… But there it was, amongst a series of irresistible black metal minimalist beautiful pieces i had to talk myself out of, until i ended up with simply this “OWL” Wine Opener by Hagino Mitsunobu… the inner spike within the coil is lovely! I’m quite smitten by it, and as i write this post, i finally just tried it out! (It’s been a busy week!) In addition to the many closeups, unboxing pics, in action pics and more on the next page… also take a peek at the other pieces from the collection i was tempted by on the next page…
On standouts at the Fiera this year ~ the green and wood combination pulled me right in. Designed by Giulio Iacchetti for CASAMANIA, the BEK is a small but eye catching table. It looks like an excellent option to live underneath my Droog parasol. The main feature of this table is concentrated it is leg, composed of two identical metal elements: the combination of these two halves creates a unique object, perfectly adapted to be mounted between the table and its base. The series, including the BEK chair, were designed in 2009 but now for 2010 they are available in this new shade of green that looks super nice combined with natural wood. Additionally the matching BLOOM bookshelf is adorable as well! See images and more info of both on the next page!
On amazing surprises, i never expected a quick rush out to the Bottega Veneta launch between a cocktail appointment and dinner would prove to be one of the most inspiring experiences this trip! Also… totally tempt my shopping gene… Bottega Veneta featured a pop-up store store filled with unique, pleasing and travel ready items, which are apparently not readily available outside of Japan, as well as a small collection of Bottega Veneta products designed exclusively for the occasion by their creative director Tomas Maier. Simple, beautiful, and irresistible… housed in their new Milan office near Lido… and sadly only open for a few days! The products were absolutely stunning! And i totally gave in and bought an amazing wine opener… so FIRST, take a peek at the pop up shop offerings on the next page… and more to come on the wine opener and actual home collection (which is also totally lustworthy)…
On adorable irresistible impulse buys ~ i’m totally carrying this Ele Funnel back in my luggage. Thai Qualy Design, had the most adorable (and adorably packaged) Ele Funnel! The graphics are great, the plastic feels so nice in your hand… you can even hang it on the wall… see lots of pics unboxing it on the next page!
Perhaps one of our favorite finds while running around Ventura Lambrate ~ the amazing AXECHAIR! As part of the Made In Arnhem (Netherlands) exhibition Weltevree presented their beautiful AXECHAIR designed by Floris Schoonderbeek (whose Dutchtub, we loved and lusted after for some time now!) The AXECHAIR is a chair made of wood and cast aluminum, with a surprising use of existing axe handles by Swedish company Gränsfors, Gränsfors Bruks has manufactured axes and hatchets in Sweden since 1902. The unambiguous and powerful joints are directly derived from the way axes are made.
Floris Schoonderbeek on the Axechair: “Gränsfors is an inspirational company in terms of both its technology and its culture. The Axechair is actually a statement of identity - a statement about Gränsfors, the company and the village. And this has produced a practical chair, sturdy yet elegant.
On random ideas ~ i secretly wish they would do a version of this with the American Axes - Best Made Co! Can you just imagine how fun the incredible boxes would be? And the fun colored handles? Ahhh, a girl can dream! But firstly, check out the amazing pics (both from the booth, as well as making of pics!) on the next page of the AXECHAIR!
p.s. Just noticed the standalone page (with minimal information) on the Axechair: “The Axechair reflects this trip to Gränsfors with ice fishing, axe throwing and spending a Sunday afternoon on the ice. Back in Holland, Floris started to design the chair with the gathered materials from Gränsfors. Axechair, a romance between Dutch elegance and Swedish axe construction.”
One of the objects that caught our attention at the Ora-Ito showroom in zona Tortona was the cool looking Furtivo (very appropriate) knife, designed for french knife makers, Forge de Laguiole, with its all black metal minimalist styling and carbon fiber inlays makes it a very desirable pocket friendly accessory. See more pics of it on the next page!
Firstly, i’m not really a crystals kind of girl… but for some reason Swarovski is doing some pretty irresistible stuff this year! (How stunning is the Crystal Palace?!?!?!) Bisazza has always been a fascination of mine, the way they turn tiling into quite the art form is fascinating, and the designer collaborations are always stunning. However, the one thing about tiles i never loved is how FLAT they can feel visually ~ sure you can cover incredibly curved walls with their tiny tiles, but with the new Bisazza Crystal Collection with Swarovski, the crystal tiles add this incredible depth to the tiling! (Not to mention inevitable blinged out effects as well.) To see “flat” crystals essentially is bizarrely mesmerizing up close, since you see them come to a point beneath the surface, it’s as if you’re peering into the wall… The Crystal Collection is a series of decorative patterns “bejeweled with Swarovski crystals” ~ and the most noteworthy is the Skulls & Crown pattern… I’m imagining the interior of a pool with black reflective tiles and crystal/metallic skull markers for the depths…
See images of the cocktail party last night ~ the candle and chandelier lighting create interesting light effects in combination with the Bisazza tiles~ on the next page!
Popped by the De Padova opening tonight and can’t get Patricia Urqiola’s Lavenham Executive chairs out of my head. They describe it as “For dining and meeting tables, or behind a desk. Lavenham Executive reprises the quilted pattern on the back of the chassis of the Lavenham chair. A versatile, transformable seat: nude, with a small cushion, or covered with a matelassé housse, put on or removed with a single gesture. The base plays with the materials and finishes. The legs are in oak-stained ash wood, while the swivel version has a base in aluminium, polished or with white or black satin paint finish.” It’s like hypermodern chanel quilting as you approach it, with a satiny eggshell matte when you settle into it. Each of the different bases give them such a different character… i’m craving them for a fun dining/conference table look. See more images on the next page!
Ok, i kind of freaked out a little when i saw the new Freitag Reference collection Limited Editions over at 10 Corso Como, and instantly needed the laptop sleeve. This feels like a classier more refined Freitag than what we’ve become accustomed to over the years. I had a Freitag wallet that was worn pretty thin through high school, and let’s just say that was about a decade ago… The messenger bags were usually pretty heavy and not so lined… still truck tarps though! These SILVER limited editions pulled me right over… and they are lighter and lined with a nice light yet sturdy canvas. The Laptop sleeve also fits my requirement of no zippers… and has a magnetic clasp! Also the metal logo is darling… So it turns out that this is part of a limited edition series, 34 numbered silver pieces for 10 Corso Como, and gold pieces for Colette. How i never heard about them till now, is honestly, a little embarrassing. Apparently they dropped mid January… But better late than never? And i’m grinning and playing with the sleeve as i write this! Also incredibly tempted by the overnighter bag… and i’ve been scouring the net to find more pics to see what else is in the collection, and came across HopeHope’s post mentions that this is a sneak preview of the collection to appear in Fall 2010. In addition to the laptop sleeve and overnight bag, i saw a larger tote, two wallets, and two ipad sized handbags… from the HopeHope pics it looks like there are messenger bags, vertical totes with pockets, and more. See closeups of the laptop sleeve and a peek at the overnighter… the details are stunning.
On random adventures today, went to go find the Dom Pérignon Black Box by Marc Newson collaboration ~ special travel/gift packaging for the Dom Pérignon 2000 vintage. While i love the colors and playful way it photographed… i must say, as far as product collabs to save for years to come, this one feels a bit like plastic packaging, versus a solid reusable champagne cooler like some of his previous 3 collaborations? This polycarbonate black box is designed to play with the iconic shape of the bottle, and keep it perfectly chilled for any occasion, with a design that is said to “resists the wear and tear of transport and keeps Dom Pérignon perfectly chilled, even in the hottest destinations.” It does look awesome in pictures though, and i love the green on black! Also you have to check out the coolest robot of a street art piece i ran into on the way there too!
While in Stuttgart, i had a field day going to toy stores! Germans seem to have far more fun toys ~ particularly wooden ones and i adore their amazing puzzles and stunning miniatures! After falling for the bowl of Japanese Wooden Tops (which i can’t seem to give any away so far, they live on my table and are far too fun!) ~ i think a fascination with unique tops is growing! Quickly! So when i encountered 1000 Schoen in Stuttgart, it was hard to resist buying up the pile you see above! The incredible wooden ones are made by Mader Kreiselmanufaktur, and their site even shows them being made by hand! Absolutely fascinating! The other type i fell in love with are these metal and metal/wooden tops that initially look like gears! For the wooden ones with metal tips and a bent metal rod included, you basically insert the rod into two holes in the top, twist to wind it up, and when you let go, the tension gives you incredible spin! The flowery gear you hold between two fingers and blow to get it spinning super fast, and drop it and watch it go! The man at the store mentioned it’s great to use a straw to keep blowing on it to keep it spinning. Take a peek to see them all close up on the next page, as well as a video of some in action!
Picked up a NaoLab NaoLoop ~ 90% because of the packaging (after all its pretty much a fancy elastic loop), at Magazin ~ while i was hunting for designy/unique stores in Stuttgart that i’d never seen (my favorite finds? Ikarus, Manufactum, Grüne Erde, 1000 Schoen). The use of layered cardboard is certainly a bit excessive, but intriguing, and a fun idea on ways to packaging other notes for mailing… take a peek at the unboxing on the next page.
While checking out some of the new malls that popped up in Singapore since my last trip ~ came across the adorable new Atomi in Mandarin Gallery ~ specializing in “Japanese Designs x Comfortable Lifestyle”. Irresistible were the beautiful pearls by japanese parisian Miya Shinma (grew up in japan and studied perfumery in paris) ~ the Perle Parfumée was designed in Paris made in Japan. Basically these spheres (housed in a wood box sealed with wax paper) are scented… and you can leave them in little dishes or satchels around the house ~ and every 4-5 months, if needed, you can refresh them with essential oils. The whole box would make such a lovely gift! Take a peek at close up pics on the next page!
p.s. Also a fun idea ~ her scented fans!
Sandy Vohr has been making the most adorable luscious little leather bean bag creatures for the last 30 years. In fact i think i even received one of her beautiful little leather frogs as a paperweight as a kid! The site even says, “The animals are made from cowhide and deerskin, and filled with various combinations of fiberfil and beadlike materials.” When i spotted the Bunny Bookends at Barneys, i got nostalgic and ended up looking up Sandy’s site… where i discovered so many new adorable leather creatures ~ from moose to dragons, robots to octopi! See some of my favorites on the next page! Looks like she’ll even do customs!
Swinging us back towards man made design (vs the little nature sidetrack of posts!) ~ here’s a sneak peek at something i wish i had on this trip!!! While at Oakley HQ ~ i got a quick lesson on military gear ~ and really amazing to hear some of the design/user experience stories. I also had no idea quite how much military gear Oakley made (they’ve been in partnership with the US Armed Forces since the 80s)… also this is where many of their most innovative patents arise! (If you’re curious, apparently Shot Show is the place to go keep up on it all in person ~ and to browse online check out - US Standard Issue - Oakley’s Military & Gov’t Sales site.) Incredibly ergonomic, thoughtful design ~ and some smart fun details/research that luckily creep over into their retail lines as well!
My favorite discovery was the MultiCam pattern LSA (Land Sea Air) Boot ~ ridiculously lightweight, dries nearly instantly (drainage mesh in the soles), super grip soles, and even fits into fins… drop in from the air into the sea, swim up to shore, and you’re already dry and good to go. Well, your feet anyhow. Now adapt that to civilian design, and it becomes a stunning black/grey super water shoe with a design that is oh so oakley, and far more fun than other water shoes on the market! Bring the height up a bit, and i’d give up my dive booties for it! I’m wishing i had these right now for running around in the low tide over all the coral shrapnel! The LSA Boot wont be available for military until later 2010… and this civilian super water shoe is merely a prototype… but let’s keep our fingers crossed that it makes it in to production! See more shots of it all on the next page!
Net-A-Porter “just for you” emails are dangerous in the morning… my mom’s old Burberry crepe trench has been a lightweight travel friendly MUST PACK for nearly every trip, after all you never know what type of weather the world will throw at you these days… And then here comes the Burberry Crepe biker-style trench to my inbox, and it’s so tempting (and sold out in my size!) ~ a lovely combination of sleek classic simple trench dressed up with a few fun silver zips and motorcycle jacket details. Love the collar! And it has black and white lining… See more details on the next page…
On one of my latest shopping wanderings, i stumbled upon MOR Cosmetics out of australia, and am absolutely taken by their packaging (products seem fabulous too, but haven’t had a chance to play with them much). Awesome story of how a talented visual merchandiser and industrial/interior designer team up to create a stunningly beautiful line of soaps, scents, cosmetics, and more. The lip glosses are presented in fun pyramids, making for a beautiful stocking stuffer or gift add on… the lip balm tins are SO pretty in their ornate oval tins… and the gift tins even more so, and they are a great size to reuse around the house. Of them all, the Little Luxuries collection is definitely making my “perfect random gifts” list! See lots of pics of my favorites of their packaging on the next page…