Ok on aspects of this trip that i shamelessy geeked out on... did you know that's how champagne corks start? Before they get mushroomed? And the machine that mushroomifies them and puts the cage on is really cool? (Cool enough i had to make a video to share with you of course!) Also, there was definitely a warm fuzzy feeling that overcame me as Veuve Clicquot brought us to visit a tiny (relatively speaking!) grand cru champagne maker ~ Gatinois, a family-run business located in Aÿ since 1696, at the foot of the Montagne de Reims. While they have been selling half their crop to neighbor, Bollinger, they are producing more and more of their own label. It was infectious how passionate Pierre Cheval-Gatinois was as he shared his company's story and history and process with us (his son is starting to step in as the 12th generation!)... perhaps the biggest contrast was visiting his cellars compared to les creyeres of Veuve Clicquot... the shift in scale was amazing, and you must check out the exposed wires running the lighting (to fry yourself, just reach up and grab one in each hand)... Oh, and also, the amber blush tone of the champagne is gorgeous and it is extremely delicious... but unfortunately it they don't have a distributor in LA! Anyhow, on the next page you can see lots of pics, and the video of how the corks transform to magically to the mushrooms we associate with champagne!
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Veuve Clicquot was generous enough to bring me to Reims again this year to join their intimate harvest festivities (read: honored they let me come do a day of manual labor with their friends/family). I kid you not. I spent half a day in the beautiful hot champagne region sun from the break of dawn fighting jetlag clipping grapes and working my way through the rows while chatting with friends old and new. So there you have it, my excuse for why posts slowed down and got so quiet. Also minimal wifi. But really, it turns out that the best way to slow me down is tire me out! Because i certainly had no problem running around, drinking late, and still posting before bed on the last trip...
So on the next page you can take a look at my experience from sunrise to learning how to pick grapes, to wine breaks (at 9am!), to crating the grapes away, to seeing them pressed... all the missing steps from last year... it's fascinating really to see what happens between the fresh grapes and the bottling to spend time in les crayeres. And we were back at the Verzy country estate which has some of the finest grapes behind it ~ the grapes we picked will be in the 2019 Veuve Clicquot La Grand Dame if we're lucky, so far they are saying it is a phenomenal harvest! And if nothing else, they've at lease guaranteed that i will have to purchase a bottle (or case!) just to see where my grapes went! So see the process first hand on the next page!
I'm sitting at that desk, in that chair, as i write to you... I don't even know where to begin, as you know, i've been a bit quiet the last few days as i was whisked off from LA to Paris and driven to Reims as soon as i touched down to go meet up with Veuve Clicquot for the start of the harvest. Which means, packed to the gills schedules, lots of champagne, a day of manual labor picking grapes, incredible experiences with friends new and old, and so many photographs to share with you! So with hundreds of photos awaiting, running on minimal sleep and having just hopped a train over to London from Paris ~ i find myself trying to catch up in the stunning Hazlitt's in Soho. I'm going to walk you through things a bit haphazardly, but know there are MANY posts in progress to come! So first take a look at where i've landed to spend the day writing/photoshopping/processing my thoughts to share with you!
Huge thanks to Mr and Mrs Smith, they've helped me find a few hotels i may not have found on my own, and as my first stop, i'm blown away. Hazlitt's in Soho. There is something incredible about being surrounded by walls of old books and paintings, georgian period furniture... and nice speedy wifi, bluray players and flat panels hidden behind mirrors... coupled with a huge bath tub and a thrown like wooden toilet... and motorized shades and skylights... its fascinatingly comforting to step in from the midst of Soho and into another time period, but equipped with all the tech-infused modern amenities i couldn't survive without. Firstly, i'm just going to show you what you'll find inside my room (honestly, i'm so tired and have so much to do, i'm hiding out for a little while, so i'll go shoot and share some of the other amazing shared spaces later!) ~ but for a quick background... "Hazlitt's was created in 1986 from three unspoiled 18th century townhouses, built in 1718... the hotel takes its name from William Hazlitt, perhaps the greatest of all English essayists and critics..." He both lived and died here in the 1800s when it was a boarding house, and all of the bedrooms here are named after people who lived in or has some connection with these buildings... my room is named after Mrs. Teresa Cornelys ~ a viennese opera singer and lover of Casanova, with whom she even has a child! So while i get back to catching up, take a peek at the stunning suite ~ and i'm just so inspired and excited by all of the walls of books and clawfooted fixtures around the property!
On fun packaging that has recently shown up ~ how awesome is this Made Of Japan (TAB Exclusive Boxed Edition) by Onitsuka Tiger ~ the packaging is stunning with a laser cut tiger motif on the cardboard sleeve that i'm just itching to spray paint as a stencil to see how it would look... From the TAB site: "Exclusive to TAB: the book comes in a box with a laser-cut Tiger sleeve. Limited to 250 boxes! Onitsuka Tiger is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year - an event of major significance in Japan. Made of Japan is the beautiful result of a journey into taste: 260 pages presenting the brands' original sports heritage, its vision and evolution, and its influence as a style icon amongst fashion leaders, artists, athletes and sports fans around the world." Take a peek on the next page of the awesome packaging (the sleeve and box are gorgeous ~ and the binding style as well!) + some of my favorite pics from within!
Huge thanks to Limited Hype for sending this my way!
A winner has been notified... i'm waiting to hear back from him!
I know you've always wanted to throw some rocks in your favorite scotch. Chilled perfectly these Teroforma Whisky Rocks are handmade in Vermont out of soapstone will cool your drink down just enough to take the edge off without "closing down" the flavors according to the lovely ladies of Delight.com. In fact, they are even generous enough to GIVE AWAY ONE SET of these WHISKEY STONES! All you have to do is leave a comment with your favorite Scotch/Whisky... be specific! And i'll pick a winner on Monday Sept 14th.
As for the stones themselves, they come beautifully packaged, and were a lovely reason to pick up a bottle of the highly recommended Balvenie 21yr Portwood (omg. so delicious.) ~ while i wasn't sure whether they chilled it enough at first, i've been enlightened that "They do not replace ice - it would ruin the whisky or any other fine spirits to be taken down to a temp much lower than 45F." And the only dillemma i've run into ~ if you only get 9... and about 4 go in a glass... and you have a drink with a friend... and you want refills... you need more rocks! Right? Anyhow, go take a peek at the pics on the next page!
Beauty in Technology post series sponsored by Samsung’s new LED TVs! Final post in this series exploring random beauty in technology, NOTCOT style. Let me just take a second here to say a huge THANK YOU, SAMSUNG. As you may have noticed, they are doing quite a bit of sponsoring here on NOTCOT, and they've been making some impressive leaps and bounds on the design side of their tech lately ~ so it's been an honor to work with them, and have them support what i'm doing here! (Especially when they let me help do it MY way, have it look fun, and basically just further enable me to write about what i love!). So, Samsung, if you're listening, thanks for that. You guys have been amazing. Now on to that lustworthy porsche i've been drooling over for about a week...
I kid you not, i've been a bit behind and traveling, but since i laid eyes on that press release, this beauty has been open in my tabs, and every time i start getting a post together i get distracted by how cute it is... So on to the facts: Debuting at the Frankfurt auto show this month - 2010 Porsche 911 Sport Classic. Limited to 250 pieces, the Porsche Exclusive team has been fine tuning this one for 3 years - "Porsche Exclusive is Porsche's Specialist Department for the most outstanding customised versions of Porsche cars going beyond even the highest standard of the Company's regular production models." So are you ready to see more drool inducing pics and the full press release? Check it out on the next page... video too!
I always look forward to goodies from Artecnica ~ so much good stuff ~ and good for the world too! As part of their Design w/ Conscience initiative ~ TBWA (yes the advertising agency massive) approached them to help recycle their billboards... their solution? these adorably inspired Stretch Bags! I have written about a LOT of recycled bags over the years ~ everything from truck tarps to windbreakers to fire hoses to gymnastics horses... but it's been a while since one has been innovative enough to grab my attention like this one!
The Artecnica TBWA Recycled Billboard Stretch Bag is debuting this month and is part of the newest 2009 collection - "A single cut, without glue or a stitch, 100% billboard bag lies flat and weightless but transforms into a shoulder Stretch bag, that can carry up to 33lbs. Perfect for the beach, the gym or market." See more pics on the next page!
So far you've seen the close ups of the Standard + Quiksilver Boardshorts and vending machine ~ the packaging/experience/etc... but as i was photoshopping my way through my pictures, there were SO many more filled with fun absurdities, design details, quintessential LA... everything from the vintage incredible hulk wallpapered gym bathroom with green tinted mirror... to the number to call for encouragement... to the kids that perk up and pose in the pool... to the bikini girl with her red chanel bag traipsing through the downtown LA parking lot... to the red bed pods... to the tubs of flip flops which couldn't make a matching pair unless you had two left feet... to the huge twister board... and the photobooth with vintage mannequins... and so much more i couldn't bare not to share with you! So take a peek at this stunning LA saturday up at the roof of The Standard Downtown LA launch party scene with Quiksilver!
on unphotographed things... it was hilarious that beyond water guns and beach balls there were even cupcakes and jello shots circulating... good times...
There is really only so much you can get about an actual user experience, packaging, presentation of a product from press photos. You saw what i had to show you about the launch in the previous post... For the rest you just have to go play with them in their natural setting! So for part one of the posts from The Standard Downtown LA's rooftop pool party with Quiksilver to launch their boardshort collaboration ~ let's focus on the SHORTS! And the vending machine! And the people wearing them! And then on to the rest later... I was lucky enough to get a chance to sneak away from the party to play with samples in one of the Standard rooms ~ so actual close up pics of the adorable pouches and details on the next page too! Take a peek at it all on the next page!
I wish they had them smaller than a 30! The feel amazing ~ dry super fast ~ and are so cute with the retro upside down labels, pouches, special buttons, and more... the bikini is adorable too (subtle stripes, oh so soft, cutest buttons ever on your bum)... and to purchase them, its ok if you're not by the pool vending machine ~ they are also on the Standard online store!
I've never lusted for board shorts before, well not men's anyhow... but i must say these Standard Boardshorts by Quiksilver are tempting! Not to mention they are sold in VENDING MACHINES (which are really all the rage lately) ~ and come in an "odor resistant waterproof travel bag" ~ and much like the standard, the labels are upside down (and adorably retro styled too)... but perhaps most unique of all? Inside each waistband is a list of addresses... a quick tips city guide precisely curated by Natas Kaupas. With a limited edition of 250 of each product, and so much attention to detail, this premier collaboration between The Standard and Quiksilver is stunning.
Now as for the style itself, these are "based on the original retro design from Echo Beach era - New wave/post punk style first pioneered by pro surfer Danny Kwock." There is also a "Standard Issue" Bikini for us ladies, but i'm curious to see how the shorts fit girls too... You can find them at The Standard Shop, as well as the poolside vending machines at the hotels. Also exciting? "Official launch event will be a pool party on the rooftop of The Standard Downtown LA on Aug 8th and from Aug 8-16, the hotel will have "ECHO BEACH RETROSPECTIVE, 1978-1982: Surf Culture Art Exhibition" show. Includes art, photography, paintings, film, vintage beachwear, and surfboards curated by Will Pennartz of The Surf Gallery. Art show admission is free." ~ See you there! As for now, see lots of pics on the next page of all the gorgeous details!
A floor literally tiled with thousands of copper pennies... it's pretty surprising to look down and see them when you walk into The Standard Grill in the Standard Hotel New York, below the Highline. The design was selected by the restaurant's designers,
Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch of New York-based design firm Roman
and Williams. See some more peeks of it on the next page!
A Rolls Royce engineer's wife mentions that she doesn't know where to put her purse when she's in the car. Solution? A purse pop out section of the back seat complete with wings to support the width of the purse, and as soon as it senses your purse, it automatically has a piece that slides up to give it a little squeeze and hold it in place. Yes! I'm serious. There's a video on the next page to show you. And in case you are wondering, their design team is a tiny 10 person team in the UK, and the only woman is their color & trim specialist.
Ok so to backtrack a bit ~ this morning i was invited to the Rolls Royce 200EX preview in Beverly Hills. This concept car launched in Geneva and is currently making its worldwide debut city by city ~ and will go into production in 2010. While i've never quite been a Rolls kind of girl, i was impressed with the details, and it was fascinating to see and hear the design stories. So for this post, we'll focus on the details, and work out to the car and event itself through pictures on the next page...
I've written about quite a bit of packaging design, and alcohol packaging in particular often has some beautiful designs, but i think this is a first where the detail that grabbed me most was the cork! Once we popped this cork, i couldn't help but spin it around and around, and as we drank the bottle the question really became, who's chasing whom?
This is the cork of the André Balazs Sunset Beach Rosé ~ which is a collaboration with his long time friend and local Long Island winemaker, Christian Wölffer. Apparently vines planted at his Sunset Beach hotel will also contribute to future réserves. The label is also a fresh, beautiful water color representing that French Riviera/Miami lifestyle ~ lounging on towels with toes dipped in the water, raising glasses of Rosé as the bartender wades into the sunset behind with tray over his head? Cute label ~ rumor has it the girls on it are his daughters? Anyhow, take a peek at more pics on the next page...
I have so much to show you its hard to know where to start ~ especially when all i want to do is curl up in bed, stare at the view, and pass out! Sad to be leaving NY tomorrow already, but will definitely be back soon! SO, for starters, it only made sense to run a hot bubble bath to figure out what to write, and that lead to taking pics in the bath, and then of course i had to give you a peek into my favorite part of The Standard New York... while i did tour the facility (both open, and not - the roof is so awesome!) with Andre Balazs the other day, that will have to wait. Prioritizing, what you really need to see first is the TUB! You can literally open up the slats so from the tub you can watch the skyline ~ which is stunning whether its day, sunset, night, etc... or i guess you could watch tv too... or chat with whoever you have in the room with you. It's also such a deep massive tub you could easily sink into it, or fit a bunch of people in, whatever suits you.
So take a peek of the view from the tub ~ and around the room and various details that have caught my eye. While there are 16 different room layouts/color schemes in the hotel ~ of the ones i toured, this one is definitely my favorite! Take a peek on the next page, and view shots to come...
Sinking into my bed barely conscious, debating what to show you before i give in and pass out... been quite the night of wandering, but the most bizarre and not so design week related event this evening brought me back to those awesome Artek Shigeru Ban chairs i showed you... only instead of being on a tour... this was the The Standard SPiN New York Classic - for those (like me) who know little about the ping pong world - here is the SPiN bio: "SPiN New York is a 13,000 square foot ping pong social club on Park Avenue in Manhattan's Flatiron District. The club offers unparalleled table tennis courts with Olympic quality cushioned flooring and 17 individual tables, including a stadium-like center court. In addition, SPIN New York houses a pro shop, lounge, bar, private room sponsored by Fred Perry and over a dozen internationally known professional coaches and players who are available for private and group instruction." Intense, right? Did you know Susan Sarandon is a huge ping pong lover?
Anyhow, in addition to this party of a ping pong classic (don't get me wrong, there were some there extremely serious about the sport, and alongside were many party goers and an open bar) - the sunset out on the deck and in the background was absolutely stunning. Jaw dropping to say the least... so check out the many pics of this scene on the next page!
There are some things you can read about and only when you play with it and get to take it apart in person do you fully understand how awesome it is. It also doesn't hurt to first see it in an awesomely large grouping arranged like a sculpture on the 3rd floor deck of the The Standard, New York with all of NYC as the backdrop... and then again back down on the ground in a shipping container both intact and taken apart...
Of course i'm talking about Artek's 10 Unit System by Shigeru Ban! Both Artek and Shigeru Ban are known for their love of beautiful simplicity, functionality, and sustainability ~ so it's no surprise that this 10 Unit System emobodies all of those qualities wonderfully. "Systematizing, Standardizing, Making It Accessible." This is the chair who's motto is boldly "One chair is enough"... and being constructed of 10 identical L shaped pieces, one can create chairs of varying designs, stools, coffee tables, and even combine them for benches and more. When feel like a quick change, simply rearrange the pieces! These are made from ProFi, an environmentally friendly wood-plastic composite - non-toxic, sustainable, and recyclable, it utilizes the surplus materials from the label stock production of UPM. (Artek also used this material for the Artek Pavillion that was sold by Sotheby's as well as floor tiles.)
Take a look on the next page for images from the The Standard, New York deck ~ in the Playful New Finnish Design 09 shipping container ~ up close ~ press photos ~ and even the really fun propoganda cut/paste/photocopy zine looking booklet!
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."
Freshly back from adventures in downtown LA, with our excuse being the Unique LA VIP night ~ which was honestly a bit bizarre ~ lets get the weirdness out of the way first, most vendors less than friendly and not quite prepared, meh music, and a strangely super bright spacious layout ~ BUT, that being said, still found some really fun randomness i'm super giddy about, and it was an awesome excuse to finally meet up with our winter intern, Alyssa, in person finally after all her help keeping me afloat with the gift guides, giveaways, and coupons ~ and finally check out The Association (that new dark, moody, retro cocktail bar ~ delicious!) and grab a bite at The Standard... random animal sightings: massive rat trying to climb its way out of a trash can, and a mouse darting towards the car and into a drain....
Things i'm most excited about and possibly worth getting over to Unique LA for this weekend? Imaginary Friends Inc. with the gorgeous nature inspired prints, cards, clothes, and more... has a secret stash of overprints to pick from (you can see an example above, and a few more scans below)... and i'm trying to convince them to make more woody ones (also see below!)... Designer Poptarts from Cake Monkey ~ yum! The meringue samples were yummy too. I Heart Guts did not disappoint, adorably cuddly innards and really cute sticker packs (see scans below!) ~ anyhow, see pics of some other finds and an overview of some of the what you'll find there!
TO WIN: Leave a comment ~ about the best date you've ever had! ENTER BY 12/14. WINNER: Elizabeth in Berkeley, CA!
When it comes to luxurious pleasure objects, Lelo has always been at the top of my list... they are not only incredibly well made, but gorgeously designed and packaged as well. And that was my opinion before they launched their Luxe collection, which has taken some of their classics and brought it to a whole new level. Three of their products (Earl, Yva, Olga) are now available in Gold and Stainless Steel, packaged with a satin pouch in a lush glossy wooden box... In fact the Earl Gentleman's Plug even comes with matching gold or steel cufflinks!
Finally! An artist's twist on the usual city tourist t-shirt ~ a much classier more exciting gift for those who didn't get to go... Starting today, 3 limited edition t-shirts will be available at The Standard Hotels in LA, NYC, and Miami... Andre Balazs has commissioned three contemporary legends, Natas Kaupas, Eric Haze, and Jose Parla to design these t-shirts for their respective cities, and only 1500 of each design have been produced! When first described to me, i wasn't sure what to make of it, but upon seeing images, it is gorgeous black and white typography bringing out the feeling and culture of the cities ~ and especially when seen together you can really feel how different the vibe is of each... not surprising my favorite is really the LA one, NYC next... and for designs which are so blatantly screaming out the name of a city, they feel more like artwork than branding. Also adorable? The red pouches sporting the artists signatures that the t-shirts come in!
So check out the shirts and more about the artists and this collaboration on the next page!
Here's another one from the plethora of pics that have been waiting to become posts ~ while traveling with Veuve Clicquot in Reims, we had a special tour in the VCP Maison de Patrimoine (think: amazing archives of the history of Veuve since the 1800's in one room) by Fabienne Huttaux, the Historical Resource Manager. And amongst the many things she showed us (like the originals of the first shipment ever made, which was to Venice, and the first invoice to the USA, including some as movie props...) ~ i was most fascinated by the evolution of the labels! With full white glove treatment, we were shown this little book that housed every label variation since the beginning, long before the signature yellow label was even yellow... personally my favorites are the oldest ones, with elephants from the trading company logos distributing them. In addition to label imagery, you can also get a peek at the shelves and shelves of resources, as well as closer looks at some of the documents i mentioned, the typography not only on the documents but the spines of the archives were stunning, and make me wish we were still trained as thoroughly to have perfect cursive handwriting.
While recollecting my thoughts and trying to take a bit of a break ~ i've also found myself cleaning up my computer, and while doing so, discovered a lot of posts in the making... that never quite made it! So here's some more catch up. I spent most of yesterday running around LA (and the outskirts) hunting and researching for the house i'm working on (under construction! i get to move in soon!) ~ and in doing so, finding myself thinking about so many details i hadn't paid such careful attention to before, and things that reminded me about the Manoir de Verzy ~ the Country House of Madame Veuve Clicquot that we visited, and i'm ashamed that i hadn't gotten these pictures up for you sooner!
There were so many fascinating details to this house and its gardens and being able to visit the actual vineyards ~ consider this a photo essay of sorts taking you through some of my most memorable images while there. This house is where we learned about vintages (even tasting our birth years! mine was a delicious vintage in '82) and Dégorgement à la volée in the Vieux Pressoir with Cyril Brun, the wine communications head and wine maker ~ followed by aperitif and specially crafted, perfectly paired lunch with Stéphane Gerschel - International Communications Director, Andrea Crippa - International Marketing Director, Cyril Brun, Felix Bocquet - Quality and Environment Director, followed by a walk through the vineyards with the Veuve Clicquot Vineyards director, Christian Renard. (All before taking off to our surprise helicopter ride!). It was at this lunch that Andrea gave us that sneak peek of the Ice Cube and i showed you some of the tile i loved. Anyhow, so on house shopping, and all the little details that make a house a home, take a peek at some of the quarters where VIPs stay with Veuve Clicquot, and the beautifully inspiring views across the vineyard on the next page!
Stunning 2009 Ferarri California. Actually rather impressed with their site, and the videos and content provided ~ the "HEAR" section is my favorite so far. Few official pics on the next page, also check out the gallery at AutoBlog - they just saw it in Paris!
Porsche Design just launched quite a few new products for kids and the holidays, and they are adorable (and gorgeous)! Part of me is so glad i don't have kids to buy these for, and the other part of me wishes i were a kid, so i could properly enjoy some of these! This is a selection of my favorites ~ from the baby boxster (SO cute) to the 911 Pedal Car to the Bobsleigh and Sledge to the 911 GT3 RSR racetrack set... it all looks so fun. See close ups and more details on the next page!
I saw the Veuve Clicquot Globalights designed by Karim Rashid in their true light... honestly, seeing them in press photos and at the launch did not do the design justice... the juxtaposition of the sleek modern pink glow, with the ancient, history filled caves, give them an incredibly surreal context... they were absolutely stunning in the dark depths of the roman limestone caves that double as cellars underneath Reims for the delicious Veuve Clicquot... and as such, i couldn't help taking photographs of its mesmerizing light, as it provided an incredible glow as our hand held lanterns as we toured the caves and learned about the process in the perfectly cool (same temp all year round!) space... looking at the pictures, i'm amazed how incredible the lighting turned out for what seemed so incredibly dark at the time... now if only we could PLAN some incredible photoshoot down there to make use of the space even more creatively (in addition to making champagne, of course!)... see the photo spread on the next page!
unfortunately the only thing missing in these pictures is having an actual bottle IN the Globalight... ironically we were surrounded by bottles constantly though!