The Droog Shadylace Parasol by Chris Kabel, 2004 ~ i've been lusting after this design since... at least 2006 (i even posted about it back then!) Well, on indulgences for the new house, and with some help from Greener Grass Design, i gave in, and finally have one! And yes, it's just as exciting as i'd hoped! The green is stunning, the adorable little gold birdy perched on top is adorable, and i LOVE the way it casts shadows! Finally having it in person, beyond the usual press photos we've all seen, here's an up close look at the details ~ nice thing i was hesitant about... the material for the parasol is green polyester, and not at all waxy feeling! So it has a really nice look to it. And really it just brightens up any space you put it in! So take a look at the unboxing, closeups and some pics of it set up yesterday (popped it up in the hot sun between these rainy days we keep getting!) ~ everything on the next page!
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I totally buy beer for packaging ~ ok, i buy a lot of things for packaging... but while at Whole Foods, i couldn't resist the Hitachino Nest Beer Owl, and the Red Rice Ale is SO red and delicious! I'd first spotted the brand on Liqurious a while back, but this was the first time seeing it in person!
On the next page you can see all the labels and standard sized bottles of their 10 variations ~ the graphic design is awesome, it has a trippy playful almost retro disney-esque feel to it ~ the fonts on the White Ale, Non Ale, and Red Rice in particular are my favorites! Check out close ups of the bottle and bottle cap ~ as well as glasses and schwag i found pics of online... Question to you is ~ have you seen a Hitachino Nest Beer KEG? I'm so curious now what the branding looks like on those! Discussing with a friend we were thinking about how fun an Owl shaped keg would be...
I have a soft spot for Scotch ~ especially when the packaging grabs me... Although the packaging redesign for Highland Park Single Malt Sotch Whisky happened in 2006, i was still curious enough to poke at their PR to show me the old bottles for comparison ~ and there's just something about the cleanliness of the design of the 30 and 40 year bottles and their wood boxes i'm loving. Don't the slight curvatures of the 40 year bottle remind you of the Ri(1) bottle? Well, only shorter and stouter, and with a much cooler label and silver "H" emblem ~ which apparently dates back to the Orkney's 12th-century Viking ancestry. Even the 30 year bottle is so clean, i love the transparent look with only the small paper labels covering the gorgeous color of the scotch in the glass bottle... As you'll see below, the packaging of the 18 and 25 year bottles are similar but have much larger labels, although on a similarly shaped bottle ~ they are however packaged in fun gloss black on matte black boxes! And you can see how they compare to their predecessors... Also noteworthy, it's nice to see a brand site dedicate a section to the thought that went into the redesign of the packaging! See close ups and more on the next page!
Been doing a lot of moving lately, and one of my pet peeves is being stuck with piles of boxed up stuff that isn't unpacked, there's something so unsettling about living amongst a pile of boxes, as if ready to bolt again... but more often than not, those boxes during transitory times serve as places to sit, makeshift tables and more... so i couldn't help but smile when i ran across this new piece at PID ~ the Wannabe by Llotllov which is a powder coated steel table that comes with a box... so when you moving, or if you never want to unpack, that box becomes a functional piece of furniture, and the box nearly disappears! See more pics on the next page!
On things i didn't even know i needed, but now can't imagine not having... TAD Gear's Titanium Skeleton Key. But really, who doesn't want a piece of thick solid 6AL-4V titanium billet that is machined locally in SF in a machine shop that does parts for the F22 Raptor?!?!?! They've already sold out of three editions of 100... it features TAD Gear Terminator Skull graphic, and has a laser engraved TAD gear logo on reverse... What does it have? Flathead screw driver tip, pry tip with nail puller, bottle cap lifter, and a spanner wrench tip fit all regular sized Strider Folders. Is it bad this makes me want a Strider now? See more images of it on the next page... and perhaps if there's enough interest, they'll do another run!
Ooooooh on fun rainy day packages that just arrived ~ a surprise box from the lovely ladies of Villainess Soaps just arrived ~ remember i gushed about their Pirate + Lush like products with amazing packaging before? Things that jump out even MORE up close? Their amazing skulls! Teeny tiny little skulls that are so perfectly adorable! See that little one that is on the beautiful perfume bottle? And its on the labels too! See more pictures of the unboxing of the lovely gift on the next page!
On unusual jewelry gift "packaging" ~ how beautifully intriguing is new Abandoned Comb Amulet by Black Sheep & Prodigal Sons? There are only a limited edition of 30 pieces made!
From their description: "The Abandoned Comb Amulet consists of a hexagonal sugar-glass pyramid filled with Brooklyn rooftop honey. Free floating in the candied bubble is a solid 18k gold honeycomb necklace sculpted by bees. It is protected by a glass dome with a rubber stopper. The usefulness of the Abandoned Comb Amulet is defined by the resulting choice of a Solomonic dilemma. One must either forcefully exhume the honey drenched gold by violently shattering and eating the casing, or find value in the object's current form and care for it as it deteriorates on its own.
Regarding the process: "First, abandoned honeycomb from Brooklyn rooftop hives is gathered. Next, in the ancient 'lost wax' tradition, the honeycomb is burned away and replaced by molten gold. Resulting is a perfect hold replica of the wax comb."
It's a fascinating story/process/concept for what may finally result as simply an 18k honeycomb necklace, but the delicious "unboxing" process really adds a new dimension even more delectable and beautiful to display than most. See more images on the next page!
Spy schwag!!! Ok, well not quite schwag, and i've been holding off on this post until these gifts are opened by the birthday boy... (wouldn't want the post to ruin the fun!)
So one of the highly recommended (via Twitter and Facebook) must sees in DC was the International Spy Museum ~ and it was so fun! Unfortunately no pictures allowed, and while the beginning was questionable (pretending to make you memorize things and move from room to room on their schedule) ~ it opens up quickly and had some great displays and interactive stations throughout! SO much imagery wish i could have taken pictures of to share! But what i CAN share is some of the fun goodies i found in their impressively stocked store! (You can shop online too, but not nearly as much stuff) My favorites that i couldn't resist... their DENY EVERYTHING one way mirror like shot glass and the magnetic bottle opener logo guy ~ so stealthy, so classic! Also, how nice is the graphic design of their tickets? See more closeups on the next page... and their James Bond Credit Card Lock Picks i just found in their store too!!!
As spotted first at Today and Tomorrow ~ the Greece is for Lovers "Hooker's Delight" is an interestingly misleading name (if your mind naturally leans that way) ~ for a fun martini glass design perfect for the fishermen in your life! Talking about living dangerously ~ you may hook yourself at any moment... or on the flip side, your olive can't go far when its attached to the stem! See more images of this pretty, playful design on the next page!
Flexicord! On silly products that seem so simple ~ its amazing what some awesome packaging, clean simple product displays, and an instant "why didn't i think of that" reaction can turn into! These Flexicord cables are your usual HDMI, Cat5, S-video, USB, etc... only you can bend them, and they'll hold their shape! I love their "Clamshell-free" imagery ~ and the idea that it basically comes with a paper towel tube as a "coiling tube" feature... just crack me up. But really, i still want one, it could serve as the ethernet cable that doubles as a cable wrangler, coiling itself around it, or bending it into various shapes to hold/sort the mess behind my desk? Read more about Flexicord here... and I've included all my pics of their booth and product sheet on the next page!
Wishbone Bike from Skip Hop ~ with thoughtful, beautiful design for such playful, fun kids products, Skip Hop has yet to disappoint! Their latest addition is gaining distribution rights to New Zealand designed: Wishbone Bike, a 3 in 1 starter bike that grows with kids... from the stable lightweight tricycle, to pedal-less running bike, to normal bike for kids up to 5! It is also environmentally sustainable design and a Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association 2008 Innovation Award Winner! See more pics on the next page!
As you know by now, there is nothing standard about The Standard ~ their logo likes to be upside down, their decor unexpected, their store schwag designer... is it any surprise that their Staff Calendar this year resembles a retro yearbook? Well, a yearbook where everyone is incredibly attractive and calling out all the stereotypes... from the prom queen and the stoner to the jocks and nerds... which were you?
Well while you ponder that ~ jump over to the next page where you can watch a fun little video where all the characters unfold ~ followed by a candid "making of" the video and calendar shoot!
There are only 500 copies of this 4th annual calendar available, and while traditionally they were only sent to say thank you to their most regular guests... this year and they can be found in The Standard Shop! "Shot at on location at The Standard, Downtown LA by Michael Elins, this year's is perhaps our favorite yet. Staff flew to LA from each of the Standards' home towns after being cast for the shoot. Designed as a desktop or bookshelf calendar, it measures 7.5" tall by 3" wide when folded, and about 6" wide when assembled."
This has been a strange strange trip ~ in a nutshell, its been the least CES-y ces trip ever ~ and to be honest, we never made it to the main show floor (just ran around the sands part for an hour or two) ~ but with the extensive coverage just about EVERYWHERE online right now (yes, we too are lusting after the Palm Pre), i feel like we've been seeing the best of's all over! Instead we ended up indulging in some exploring of vegas, meetings/dinners/etc... so to everyone i never got a chance to meet back up with at the main show floor ~ apologies! Next time, perhaps?
So back to the random adventures around Vegas ~ i've seen the highway signs for Alien Fresh Jerky for years... so we went on the way back to LA! It is like a highway stop Alien 7-11 filled with jerky, alien paraphernalia, honey, nuts, hot sauce, you name it... there was a ufo crashing into it, and a family of aliens parked in the parking lot... and clearly they've been having a LOT of fun with their packaging/branding! So see the pics on the next page... and you can even order online for the next time you need some Alien stocking stuffers...
Here's what i love about vegas ~ you just never know what or where you'll end up ~ tonight led us on an adventure into the vegas off-strip suburbs where we ended up tossing the latest ioSafe Solo external hard drive into the color changing rock fountain pool... pulled it out by a cord... then set it on fire! Only to cool it (with clouds of steam) with a hose... and take it all apart to show off the pristine hard drive contained with in... and of course we also cooked a standard hard drive as well, which didn't fare quite as nicely...
Beyond the obvious fascination and amusement from the demo itself ~ it all lent it self perfectly for some fun photographing and video too! Luckily dan came with ~ so we have full video of all the excitement for you to see on the next page, and i've summarized the whole scene in a gallery of pics as usual! Fire in the dark is SO fun with the my new 5D ~ and as for the ioSafe Solo external hard drive, i think i'm sold. In this line of "work" i can't imagine losing all my files... lifetime of photos... design work... the websites!... you name it! Granted its one of those problems you hope you never have to worry about, but if there *were* to be a flood or fire, i'd certainly feel better knowing my data would most likely survive it! While ioSafe is primarily known for their enterprise level products (massive, hefty "disaster proof hardware") ~ this is their first introduction into the consumer space, and the pricing is impressive ~ the 500GB ioSafe Solo external hard drive is only $149, and the 1TB is $199 and 1.5TB is $299!
Go see the pics and videos as well as more details on how they work on the next page! (The first video shows the destruction of it... the second one shows you how to get the hard drive out of it after!)
The 8 exclusive ceramic tiki mugs of Frankie's Tiki Room are exquisite by any tiki loving standards. I showed you the space here, and the mugs and stirrers deserved a post of their own! So here are some close ups in the hotel room, and on the next page you have to check out their backs, close ups of the stirrer, images of all of the mug designs, and the adorable menu illustrations of them too!
The exclusive tiki mugs are purchasable online for $15 each! And really they are so so awesome we might have to buy more. But if you go in you can get them for $20 with a drink (drinks normally $8)
First stop into vegas... UNICA HOME! The showroom/shop! Stepping into their new 3 month old 12,000 sq ft space felt like going to design heaven ~ so many things i've written about... beautifully laid out for hours of oooooohs and ahhhhhhs followed by debating and purchasing... i'm currently debating the Artimide Melampo Lamps! Unica Home in person manages to strike a delicate balance between being incredibly accessible and touchable, while still feeling as if you're in the presence of a museum like space versus a store, as silly as it sounds, you can feel the care that is taken in showcasing the products with the utmost respect. When you meet founders Bonnie & Hugh, you'll quickly grasp their passion for each and every object in the store, and their excitement over what is yet to come is infectious! And really, 12,000 sq feet is HUGE! They have one of their two warehouses in the back of the store, so don't hesitate to ask if there's something you've been eying online that you're curious to see in person... The Detroit natives have been running Unica Home for 10 years, and have surprising backgrounds ranging from molecular biology, advertising/marketing, and antique sales as well as serving on the board of the legendary Neon Museum... and Hugh pointed us towards some off the Strip spots to check out... you'll see more about Frankie's Tiki Room when i get the next post ready... but first ~ click on to the next page to see a tour of the incredible Unica Home, there are over 30 pictures!!! There was just far too much to show you! This is definitely a MUST SEE when you're in vegas!
UPDATE!!!: CONGRATS to Lisa in Clifton, Colorado who won the Steelcase Leap Chair!!! And huge thanks to everyone that participated!
CES time! And since i'm off to vegas in the morning, i wanted to leave you with this fun giveaway! Maybe if dan takes over and does some driving, i'll even have time to approve some comments on the googlephone on the road!
The nice folks at Steelcase were so excited about the post about the Leap chair that they've offered to give one away to a lucky NOTCOT reader, and with generosity like that, how could i say no? This is pretty much the perfect gift/upgrade to kick off 2009 with ~ especially if you're just getting back to work... this Leap might help make the work weeks go by a little more comfortably (and ergonomically!) While the base model retails at $850 and really its an investment in our bodies when we're overworking at our computers... here's your chance to win one!
So for this first giveaway of 2009 ~ i ask 3 little things of you ~ 1) What would you do with the massive box (it's big, i could totally make a fort with mine!)? 2) What is your New Year's Resolution? 3) How will the Steelcase Leap improve your life? For question 1, you should definitely check out the pictures on the next page... for a chance to win, you have until the 31st of January to leave a comment!
UPDATE: Some have asked for more details on how you win ~ well if you answer all three questions (yes, actually answer them, no gibberish or skipping some!) ~ you're in the running!
Remember the Too Late watches that surfaced as .org #16568? Well a few were sent over, and the packaging and product itself was pretty interesting.... firstly, i LOVE that they package these little watches in adorable screw top jars! And then, instead of replacing just the battery, you actually purchase a whole new tiny watch mechanism, which is micro-blister-packed! The watches themselves were thicker than i imagined from the website, being just shy of 1 inch wide, and there isn't much stretch to them, so make sure you get the right size, or else it might be a bit rough on your hand getting it on! Being waterproof ~ i suppose these are perfect for swimming/diving or even working out? I could totally see stretching one to use as a grip on my water bottle! Only issue i had with them is the buttons are pushed and time reset far too easily ~ the slightest bump and they seemed to be flashing and changing modes! They come in quite the range of colors ~ and it seems like they are constantly adding new ones! Apparently these Italian watches are taking off in the younger circles ~ and kids are wearing them in bunches! (Also perfect for the multi-time-zone jetsetter?) Take a peek at the pics on the next page to see closeups of the jar, the watches, and the tiny mechanism running it all!
UPDATE!!! Saw these in person (but no pics, b/c they were shutting down the booth) ~ they are incredibly light! (that was the main question i was getting asked when discussing it with some diving buddies)
Heading to vegas tomorrow ~ CES time already! And so far, one of the things i'm most excited about seeing in person is the latest from Liquid Image ~ the ProHD350!!! Seriously, an awesome jet black dive mask that shoots 5.0 megapixel stills and HD video up to 30fps (with audio!)... it even runs on 4 AAA batteries! has 64MB internal, but takes up to a 32GB microSD/SDHC... and has light attachments (both on the sides and/or headlight)!!!
I know, it seems silly, but the more handsfree you can go while scuba diving the better ~ and to take what look like pretty awesome images without too much added hassle sounds ideal! Oooh and best part, the Pro model is good up to 330ft/100m!!! Well i wrote about their original model about a year ago ~ and since then, they are launching a few other models as well ~ ranging from working at depths to 10m/33ft, 5m/15ft and with and without HD video shooting... but really, the ProHD350 is definitely the most appealing! See more pictures and info on the next page!!! It would be awesome if there's a demo to play with this at CES!
Wow. OMG Posters just turned me on to the amazingly inspiring and beautiful posters and illustrations of Jay Ryan and The Bird Machine ~ his incredible print shop of Skokie, IL. His latest work is this pair of NYE posters for HUM (and they just went on sale this morning!) ~ and i was so smitten by the gorgeous color palettes and sketchily playful yet serious potrayal of all the creatures (with a paul smith like striped background), i just wandered through his 13+ years of portfolio gallery...
I've found that his animal works are the most inspiring to me ~ so i've rounded up a bunch of my other favorites on the next page for you to browse ~ his 7 poster series for "Our Planet is a Blue Planet" is just beautiful! Also amusing as his animal stacks... from walrus heads to towers of farm creatures...
On recent obsessions ~ Nathan Jurevicius' Peleda Owl Wind Up Blind Box Toys by Toy Tokyo!!!! You saw the original version as .org #17153... and alyssa mentioned that there was a special urban outfitters exclusive edition as well... so while the new Space 1520 in Hollywood, i finally saw them in person and was so taken by the packaging as well as the windups owls themselves! (Mean urbn guy wouldn't let me trade whatever was in my box for the demo black one that was just sitting out!!!) Sooooooo, as a result i started researching them all and rounded up all the pictures i found of them as well as close up photos of our glowing and magenta ones and they great packaging graphic design! See it all on the next page!
Nathan Jurevicius' may sound familiar because he's the aussie illustrator behind Scary Girl.
The Steelcase Leap has been literally supporting me through this holiday season. Amongst the chaos and overworking it's been looking out for my back and posture, and its comfy! I also love that it comes in a stool version, perfect for those architectural sketching desks... and then a lounge version too with a leather ottoman to match! Check out the whole Steelcase Leap collection.
So here's the deal, while my back can't talk and tell you quite how comfy and supported it's felt ~ and although the holidays are coming to a close and most are getting back to the office soon... here's the perfect post holiday gift to help yourself (or your hard workers) have a little more fun at work (Steelcase claims that increased ergonomics increases productivity.... and in between there i assume everyone just feels better and happier too!). So here's my review/closer look through lots of pictures on the next page ~ including the inspiring GIANT cardboard box! And pictures that can't be missed on the next page... besides the closeups... pictures of their test models! They look like fantastic crazy contraptions from medieval times meet today's office chairs! Check it all out on the next page ~
Favorite holiday card that has come this year is definitely this adorable one from our friends at Busy Beaver Button Co.! I've been discussing ideas with them for ages now, but between the holiday chaos haven't had time to execute on some of our ideas... so perhaps 2009 will finally see new button designs and perhaps even some fun glow in the dark button contests on NOTCOT? Although after seeing this card, now i want buttons that all fit together on some crazy background... hrmmmmm, so many ideas! See a close up of their new 2" square buttons on the next page...
Wordlocks! "Use words, not numbers" is their slogan ~ and honestly when i was first playing with them and chatting with their PR, it really brought out the inner child in me... they said you shouldn't be able to make bad words with them, so of course for days they became my desk fidget toy as i'd work on things and try to find some... i did find quite a few strange ones even! (anyone on my facebook probably saw pics of these) BUT, that's not the point... I'm not sure about you, but i've always been TERRIBLE with combination locks, not just remembering the numbers but trying to open them even! These pad locks, luggage locks, bike locks, and more make it a bit easier if you come up with a word that works... or better yet, an acronym? I can just imagine coming back to your gym locker watching people playing games trying to guess the word on your lock!
But to geek out for a moment, what i found most interesting is the background behind the Wordlocks... "After 20 years in the technology business as an engineer, most recently at Apple, Todd Basche and his wife Rahn (a Clinical Social Worker) quit their jobs and started Wordlock Inc. They expanded the family of products and created bike locks, TSA-approved luggage locks and recently launched the industry's first Spanish-language padlock. Not only is the design of the lock patented, the algorithm that Wordlock created that allows for 100,000 word and letter combos on the padlock is as well. Wordlock has patented a number of software algorithms that maximize the number of words the lock can spell on its five dials (note each dial has 10 letters or 9 letters and a blank space on it)." Apparently the apple engineer and his wife have spent ridiculous amounts of time on algorithms to figure out the best letters to put on those wheels for the optimal number of possible "real" words in both english and spanish! The locks remind me of old physical word puzzles i had as a kid where you'd spin the rings to make the words... now if only i could rearrange the rings on these Wordlocks and invent MORE word options! But lets be honest, its not like we don't have enough passwords to remember from everything online to root passwords to voicemail passwords to.... well maybe having words for bike locks and gym lockers and mysterious storage containers would help? See more pics of them all on the next page, as well as scanned in pages of possible combinations they recommend.
*Phew* Merry Boxing Day ~ what a season it's been!!! Apologies for the slow down in posts, just been trying to catch up with my life a little after the gift guides, giveaways, and more the last month or so! As a result you'll be seeing a few more playful posts from my everyday life (like the ZOO posts!) I just spent most of today hanging out at the new house/NOTCOT HQ which is nearly ready, and luckily ready enough for me to move my first conference/dining/pool table into!!! I somehow ended up hanging out there from about 10am till 9pm... delivery didn't happen until closer to 3pm, but luckily Dan was there to keep me company! And then we naturally had to play a few games both before and after grabbing dinner with a friend! And now i couldn't resist sharing some pics with you! But first, these are overview/snapshots of the building of the table, because once i got home i realized that in the excitement of PLAYING, we forgot to take more pics... so more pictures of the awesome design details to come.
So, remember Fusion Tables by Aramith? Wayyyy back as .org post #8996 that Laura Sweet posted? Basically its one of the first unique designs for pool tables that leans super sleek minimalist modern, and quickly hides in plain site as a dining table or conference table. To achieve this, Aramith (Belgian maker of incredible pool balls... "Without being familiar with the industry, very few would guess that nearly 80% of the billiard balls used worldwide come from a small village in the countryside of Belgium. For over half a century, the company SALUC SA has produced in the secrecy of its premises in Callenelle the unique and well-known Aramith phenolic balls, making this miniscule village the world's capital of billiard ball production." from their history), has designed the Fusion Tables, with a special lift system to adjust the table from dining height to pool table height easily, spandex pockets solve the problem of needing pockets that show when viewing the table from the side, and it still has a single slate, and incredibly high quality felting! Really with the table top on, you'd never guess there was a pool table hidden within! Anyhow, with the new house/office nearly ready, and the need for a dining/conference table ~ i couldn't resist once i saw one in person! So take a peek at the set up of the table on the next page... and more pics to come!