Going through the many pics filling up my laptop, i keep coming across so much i want to share with you! So here’s a weekend dose of inspiration courtesy of vintage Mercedes-Benz graphics and products… it was mind blowing to be whisked by so many incredible original posters and advertisements for the early models… and then walls filled with Mercedes-Benz branded products… from powder compacts to mother of pearl handled pocket knives… and fascinating cases of all of the model emblems… really, i could have spent hours just going through the visual language of the branding and extension of Mercedes-Benz in there! Will definitely have to go back and do it slowly one of these days! But for now… take a little peek into a few of the cases and unexpected design inspirations that caught my eye on the next page!
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While it seems almost sacrilegious ~ this is in fact, a post all about a sliced up Porsche. Or a few. Or a few in various stages, demonstrating the design process of a Porsche in the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany. “How very Damien Hirst!” ~ is the first reaction i got showing the pics to a friend… it’s also one of the most beautiful and concise ways i’ve seen car design summarized! Mixed with videos at each station about the process as well of course too! And fun that they managed to fit in 3 stages of clay refining in one slice even… absolutely mesmerizing to see even the seats and first aid kit all sliced straight through… and even more fascinating to look at the way it made people of all ages stare in wonder… see images of the installation on the next page!
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 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)…
I forgot how lovely it is to just wander in Milan ~ spent a few hours today walking all over, and inevitably stumbled across a few things too inspiring and fun not to share. Like these Hermés window displays i ran into on Via Spiga! Inspired by fables and fairytales this series of beautifully intricate overdressed animals coming out of gilded frames ~ love the way the colored paper is juxtaposed with the black and white storybook illustrations! See more on the next page!
The Mercedes-Benz Museum ~ you’ve seen the elevators and tornado and while the cars and exhibitions are amazing, there are so many parts of the architecture that were surreal and beautiful! From the way they play with the constant combination of sun and artificial lighting, to the way the building is constantly leading you to swirl downwards from past to present, to the engraved concrete markings to denote what section you’re in, to the horse ~ the first… pre-automobile? It’s much like a car museum meets history museum meets sweeping art gallery filled with surprising textural juxtapositions at every turn… so take a peek at the next page for a full gallery of images ~ it’s less about the cars and more about the amazing images the space creates for you.
The Mercedes-Benz Museum houses an incredible amount of automotive history, unexpected surprises, and is in and of itself an absolutely mind blowing architectural space. That being said there are a million and one different posts i could write about it, and none would do it justice fully. So, let’s do this my way and start with my favorite detail… the ELEVATORS are amazing! When you enter the space, you can see straight up to the roof (and a peek at the sunlight coming in) as floors spiral all the way… you could even say the ceiling has a Mercedes-Benz star inspired shape… and then you notice what look three like vertical tracks going up… and these awesome metal pod (with abstract ghost like eyes/shape) moving up and down… it’s surreal. A bit overly concrete feeling (gave me a similar vibe to Oakley HQ’s entrance)… there was something very sterile/scifi feeling about the entrance space. I could have stood there and stared up at the mesmerizing symmetry of it all for ages. So see more close ups of it in action on the next page!
p.s. Also amazing are those giant panels… the ones that look like concrete? they arent. That’s how they move cars into the various floors.
p.p.s. Additionally, when it comes to ventilating the space and quickly dealing with a fire/etc… this building is the official world-record holder for the World’s Largest Artificial Tornado! It’s over 100ft, generated from the center of the roof… i’ve just updated the post with a few videos on the next page…
As with most car design studios, Mercedes-Benz’ Stuttgart Design Studio has a room with huge lustworthy displays, their Powerwall ~ which allows for 1:1 scale high res imagery of car images and renders, video conferencing with their studios around the world, and more. The most unique and beautiful aspect of their setup is their custom physical interface for Autodesk Showcase, which allows you to control the 3D renders! A light table with objects each encoded on the bottom… you can swap cars on the table to change colors, spin the car to spin the model, zoom/pan/tilt, and even change the clear acrylic blocks to swap the scenery… amazingly fun and beautifully executed! See more images of it on the next page.
p.s. Sadly, photography isn’t allowed in the studio (yes. they took our phones and cameras!), but we did have one awesome photographer indulging even some of my randomest requests… So images courtesy of Mercedes-Benz…
Aston Martin’s Rapide touts itself as “The World’s Most Elegant Four-Door Sports Car”… while it is certainly entering a growing market of 4 door luxury sports cars… and you can read quite a bit about it all over the web, what struck me most about it in person were the tiniest details. Some found on quite a few Aston Martins, others quite Rapide specific… if you’re ready, take a peek at the details that grabbed my attention… most notable are definitely the tiny sphere of a trunk opening button and the +/- cut matte metal and leather paddle shifters… and what an aggressive face it has when you look at it straight on! Also while from the exterior it doesn’t actually look all that much bigger than the others, yet once you’re inside its ridiculously spacious ~ and the rear seats fold flat! Anyhow, take a peek at all the best details on the next page from my tour at the Aston Martin Factory!
I’ve been thinking of a million and one ways to start this post over the last year… So, here goes! In Nov 2008, i was in talks with Aston Martin’s London agency and it came up to have a post looking for someone UK local to go to the Aston Martin Factory in Gaydon for NOTCOT. That was supposed to happen a month or two later… and between scheduling and the economy shifting and Aston Martin’s tumultuous year… a lot changed for them, and for the winner… and so, it’s been a year and a bit, but they happened to have a last minute opening around their customer tours, and we were finally able to squeeze in a visit to the Aston Martin Factory while i was in London. And Tom, thank you for being so understanding!
Ok, so all that aside ~ how sexy is that curve where the One-77 body flows to the side mirror? Putting the iridescent color shifting periwinkle/grey aside, there’s something very batmobile aggressive to the look of the One-77… even more so in person than those initial press shots. Not yet in production, and already sold out for its limited run of 77 customizable supercars priced at $1.5-2 million a piece… it was fun to get to take a look at some of the design details of this prototype up close… take a peek at my favorite details on the next page… as well as a video of it in action!
Going through pictures from the London trip… i have so many i’ve been meaning to share from Aston Martin. Sadly, i wasn’t able to take pictures inside the actual factory other than some super glarey diagrams on the walls… and the lighting for most of the cars was a bit difficult, but lots of details and overviews to share! Unsure of where to start, this saddle jumped out at me when i was going through the pics… it’s like a picnic basket meets a horse saddle… for the hump in the backseat of your Aston Martin DBS… Apparently each saddle is individually handmade by Robin Coleman in Warwickshire. Each saddle takes two craftsmen 28 hours! It has room for everything including your bottle of wine! See more pics on the next page.
On gyms with views ~ had a chance to check out the gym at the Standard NY while i was there (it wasn’t open when i stayed last time!) ~ and wow. Filled with mirrors, super empty, lots of brand new equipment… and amazing views! Not to mention fun super red drinking fountain… and you can even see the statue of liberty out of the port hole by the bathrooms! Take a peek at more pics on the next page!
On fun additions to the world of the Standard New York ~ their new store is like a wonderland of practical and playful designer goodies. Greeted by a giant ALL FOR YOU made of ring pops ~ you discover a hotel store filled with everything from forgotten amenities like meds and toothpaste in card catalog drawers to power adapters and magazines… and then fun gifts like the beautifully bound penguin classics to giant dunnys to glossy apples and stunning jewelry… and of course there are even naughtier gifts like vibes and condoms that you can wrap in raunchy double sided wrapping paper and pair with chocolate! See lots of pics on the next page!
On unexpected surprises… did you know the Soho Grand Hotel will provide you with a roommate? An adorable little black goldfish? Strangely though, no food… i guess i will have to trust that housekeeping comes by and feeds the little guy? Their cheeky website says “If travelers cannot bring their pets, the Soho Grand offers surrogate animal companionship in the form of a goldfish in your guestroom.”
For those that asked on twitter ~ no i haven’t named it. No need to get attached, i don’t think i get to bring him with me to london… But i do wonder if there’s a mysterious room in the hotel somewhere with wall to wall goldfish bowls… do they really have enough for EVERY room? Or if you have two kids, can you request two? Or can you ask for two in the same bowl just so they dont get lonely while you’re out? Cute idea though ~ providing a bit more life to often sterile feeling hotel spaces! See more pics on the next page…
So after a bit of hotel horrors ~ and bouncing in and out of the vitale over the last week ~ with sf gift fair and macworld happening, SF hotels seem a bit packed… just decided to check out the Clift Hotel in San Francisco which is part of the Morgans Hotel Group (with those awesome “The world needs to discuss it over drinks. The world needs more interesting.” ads i adore.)… they were nice enough to upgrade me to experience one of their suites, and i’m currently working at that “through the… orange… looking glass” feeling table above… and really, between the bizarre world within it and the stunning city views here, it’s hard to focus! It’s also incredibly calming and relaxing with it’s lavender entry way, light grey carpeting, and light wood furnishings… exactly what i needed after quite the crazy last few days! Go take a peek into their fun, spacious, suite i’m living in for the next few days on the next page!
Looking down out this huge concave window in my Hotel Vitale room, has been strangely mesmerizing and inspiring to stare out of… from the spiderweb mess of bus cables to the curved arcs of the road and diamond of the cross walk and just watching the traffic/people flow through it… it kind of looks like a math or physics diagram…
Anyhow, Hotel Vitale has been one of my favorite spots to hide out in San Francisco since i moved out of this city… and while i’ve been in quite a few different rooms, this is definitely one of the most unique. I sleep better than usual in their beds… this room has a nice tub with a view… and this ridiculously large window! As well as the usual nice huge desk space to work at… and chaise to lounge on. Take a peek at a few pictures of the view in both day and night, as well as a peek at the room!
This post is the second in a series of 4 posts sponsored by Syfy’s Caprica focused on Future Technologies. As usual, our fun advertisers enable us do our thing around a theme by trusting us when it comes to content!
Ryan Mc Sorley just sent over some images of his product design final project at Central Saint Martins - Skin by Chanel. While at first glance it seems bizarre and perhaps even more low tech on the surface than you’d expect for a “future tech” post… it really sparked some playful conversations on where skincare may take us in the future. But first, here’s his concept! It plays with the idea of skincare and branding ~ looking at the skincare market and how far people go to primp their skin, “Just as we can define ourselves through the brands of clothing we wear, or the brand of mobile phone we have, we can now define ourselves by the brand of skincare product we use. If you are using skincare by Chanel, you want people to know that your skin is by Chanel, in the same way that Chanel handbags have clear branding, why shouldn’t our skin.” In his design, in addition to your cleanser, toner, lotion, you can also leave a logo impression on your skin! Yes, the type that appears when you sit in short shorts on a rattan chair for example. It fades in a few hours, but you look pretty silly until then.
While i can’t say i buy in to the logic, nor do i love overly branded goods, it did get me thinking about the future of branding and technology. Imagine if the lotion itself had the ability to create those branded impressions. Or if the samples created a brand on your cheek… unlocking the full version gave you the full experience brand free? Much like software? Or what if tattoos came in creme form? Or imagine if you are what you eat, and small symbols appeared on the skin of your wrist showing what you are made of ~ fun motivation to get some eating healthier? So many random ideas keep popping up… see more picture of Ryan Mc Sorley’s Skin by Chanel project on the next page!
So i’ve been getting a little double, triple booked lately ~ trips overlapping ~ but all so tempting i try to do them all. Until i can’t. So i’m trying to find some help! Thank goodness, NOTCOT’s new features editor + giveaway coordinator + writer + friend + inevitably more to be added to this list shortly, Marcia Simmons, was able (and willing) to pop over for two nights in Paris with a mere few days notice. While we’re still working on finding a nice pretty new way to show you posts my friends share with us on NOTCOT, for the moment, we’ll first get you the great content ~ and time + energy permitting, we’ll transition in to some new way to denote it. For now you will have to just bear with silly introduction notes from me! So on the next page, we have a bunch of pics and stories from Marcia of her whirlwind adventures in Paris for the first Maison Martin Margiela Perfume launch! And i’m already envious of the amazingly packaged press kit (with flowers!!! and feather pens!!! and books!) ~ and the stunning presentation of the new perfume. I’ll have to sniff the goods myself next time i see her in person!
p.s. i adore that they went all dot matrix ascii art print out on the press kit. TOO FUN.
Mmmmm. Doing that bicoastal commmute again, this time thanks to the Macallan folks who have brought me out to NY for an event tomorrow night, more to come on that later though. Long day of travel ~ popped over on JetBlue (i miss Virgin America, they spoil me with wifi. I thought i might be happier without it when flying, but i was wrong) ~ luckily i feel like i’m at home away from home as i slipped in to The Mercer Hotel ~ another Andre Balazs property, this one in the heart of Soho… and i absolutely adore it. Got in, got room service, and got to work! Well, after taking a bunch of pics of all the little design details that grabbed my eye. Also bonus points to them for super fast room service and bringing me some benadryl at midnight. They’ve been so kind and taking such good care of me here already! And so many details of this room make me want to go home and remodel already… Ready to take a peek?
Click for Art has branched into Cups & Saucers ~ and i'm totally smitten by the Nanami Cowdroy Suspended Animation black and white goldfish one as well as the Si Scott Lovebirds. Can you imagine cuter cups to serve espresso in? Staring at these just makes me dream up the most adorable little cafe ~ with an outdoor patio of course. And we haven't even started to look at the packaging! Such a lovely gift idea ~ and they are each a limited edition of 250 - shipped with a sequentially numbered mini art print signed by the artist and a Certificate of Authenticity! See more pics of my favorite two on the next page...
I showed you my dad's experience at the Mercedes AMG Driving Academy at the Laguna Seca track in Monterey... but as i went through his pictures, this carbon fiber wrapped Mercedes AMG SLS really deserved a post of its own. It's stunning! It's so overwhelmingly carbon fibered! Biggest downer for anyone lusting after it enough to try to purchase one, they aren't for sale, but i'm sure you can get someone to get it done for you, or even DIY it yourself if you're feeling handy. I can't seem to stop staring at the pics on the next page... see for yourself!
I'm jealous. Above is a pic of what my dad just told me is the "US-Spec AMG SLS for us to play with on the drag strip, slalom course and time trials." So, while i was traveling, my dad (i blame my jetsetting inclination on him) took off to the Laguna Seca Raceway up in Monterey for the Mercedes AMG Driving Academy. He got to drive the brand new AMG SLS and was lucky to be one of the first to experience the new AMG Driving Academy launched in the USA. 16 cars were specially flown in from Germany to accompany the 20 full time cars availble for the course. Luminary driver/instructors included: Tommy Kendall (USA), Bernd Maylander (F1 pace car driver) and Susie Stoddart (Mercedes DTM team driver from Europe). Basically i came home to emails of his incredible adventure... from giddy stories about how mindblowing the drives were (teasing me how much fun i would have had going 160 around the track in one of those beauties) to tales of the chef grilling alongside the track for lunch to inside looks at the stunning carbon fiber drive shaft to the amazing friends he made on the trip and stories he heard... bottom line? The course was totally worth it, and he'd do it again in a heartbeat... in fact, there are 5 levels of courses happening around the US as well as Europe... i think he's caught the bug, since he's already dreaming about Sweden. I think i might have to try and convince him to take me along next time! But for now... i've convinced him to let me share his pictures with us ~ take a peek on the next page to see the experience!
There is also the amazing carbon fiber wrapped car that looked amazing ~ pics to come of that one soon!
Half awake in the airport lounge at Arlanda ~ going through pictures, and since i'm not over it yet... more chandeliers that grabbed my attention at the Grand Hotel, Stockholm (that became my home for the last 4 nights!). According to their website (and everyone i encountered in Stockholm), it is "Scandinavia's leading hotel and much appreciated meeting place. The hotel opened in 1874 and has a long and fascinating history." And it truly is quite the opposite in style of the Lydmar Hotel next door which i adored. Part of what made this trip so fun was the stark contrast between the two! I must admit they took incredibly good care of me, had lightning fast wifi, and all the rooms (peeked into a few others!) were quite unique ~ but all with a consistently luxurious historical atmosphere... so on my last night when i ran out in hope to get some pictures of the black cube, i also got distracted by some of the crazy abs on the men holding up the building, the amazing glow of the building itself, and the chandeliers i couldn't believe i'd missed as we rushed between events! Can you believe it was dark out when these were all taken? That image above still blows my mind when i stare at it and realize the sun had fully gone down by then... see more on the next page!
Biggest tease was that the full spa and pool are opening in 10 days!
I know. I go rather quiet for a few days as i travel far too much the last few months, still not sure what day or time zone i'm in most of the time, but one thing i'm sure of... it's 5:30 am and i should be sleeping, but i'm staring at such an awesome bathroom here in the Lydmar Hotel, i just had to share it with you before i go sleep. The slate tiles floor to ceiling... the incredible lighting... the way the fixtures all seem to float... the contrast in textures... the hardcore thick grey blinds... I suppose the part that i'm smitten with most is the inset mirror that then doubles as a shelf, as well as a beautifully lit frame (only lit by two strips of light along the sides), and everything on the shelf looks so dramatic! So take a look at more details... including the packaging of their Byredo Parfums Tailor's Cotton line of toiletries...
you also have to see the room key... it looks like a car key... and they all have different keychains!
Neiman Marcus Christmas Book. Yes. I do believe it is the first week of October. Isn't that a bit early for holiday festivities and shopping to be kicking in? If i'm sick of Christmas before halloween, that's just sad? Also a little disappointed nothing in the book got me too excited this year, but the front and back COVERS are another story. So excited that they got awesome paper artist, Yulia Brodskaya to do her thing with santa's beard and hat... see close ups on the next page...