One of my highlights of this year’s 100% Design event would have to be finally seeing the amazing animal chairs from Maximo Riera in person! You may remember his octopus chair which we previously featured here and more recent rhino and walrus additions. These beautiful throne-like pieces of furniture are even more amazing to behold in person. The detailing on the animals is exquisite and incredibly realistic. Another feature that is evident upon seeing the chairs is their enormous size! Like the animals they are designed to reflect, these pieces are truly colossal. More photos of the beautiful walrus, rhino and octopus chairs on the next page!
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On great escapes, the Orient Express (and their Journey Like No Other) seems to know how to do it ~ this week in particular we’ve been hiding out at La Residencia in Deia, Mallorca, Spain in between trips (See the madness surrounding this escape and a peek at the views at night). I can guarantee your stress levels will drop ten fold even from the drive in from Palma (or via private jet)… the softly twisting roads bring you deeper into the island’s canyons and terraced lush green hillsides. The hotel and surrounding town have apparently changed little over the last few decades, and before joining the Orient Express family in 2002 was owned by Richard Branson since the late 80s, and a favorite escape for many high profile clients over the years. Luxurious accommodations, great service, and breath taking views… not to mention divine tapas… while you have multiple pools, tennis, spa and lots of hiking, sailing, and more available, it’s hard to beat taking a few hours curled up on the patio of our suite staring out at the mountains and ocean… so take a peek inside the Alfabia suite, our ridiculously large bathroom, luscious four poster bed (with tv that pops out from the foot of the bed)… in addition to a few other fun details ~ from the call buttons that are poolside… to the various donkeys, sheep, and olive groves around the property (which they make their own olive oil from!) as well as an organic garden next to the spa!
p.s. You have to see the amazing little cove that is a quick walk/hike down into the canyons to the water…
Here’s the latest discovery from Justine based in London!
20 Dalston Lane in the heart of East London seems an odd address for a farm. But Dalston’s FARM:shop is literally a farm in a shop. Once a derelict store, the shop is now a shop/cafe/meeting place and farm all in one. It is home to hundreds of growing plants arranged in every setup imaginable from a backyard polytunnel to hydroponics setup where plants are fed by the fish. It is even home to a flock of rooftop living chickens!
A perfect combination of public spaces/projects with urban farming, I knew this one would be right up our alley, and when I heard about the hydroponics and chickens on the roof, I knew it would be one not to miss. More photos on the next page!
Teaser from the Keystone Design Union just came through with these awesome designs featuring iconic creatures of the pacific northwest for K2 Snowboards’ 25 Year Anniversary Collection. I’m already lusting after all of the stickers and shirts ~ everything from owls and beavers ~ bears and deer ~ to bigfoot! Nice black and white, fun “Don’t Mess With The North West” slogan, and illustrations that just scream ROAR. Take a look at more graphics on the next page!
On fun emails ~ my dad just got back from Sitka and sent over some adorable Brown Bear pics. Turns out they are from one of his favorite non-profits that he visits a few times a year ~ Fortress of the Bear… “a 501 (c)3 non-profit education and rescue center with an exquisite three-quarter acre habitat for orphaned Brown Bear cubs complete with covered viewing areas.” Mind blowing that the tiny cubs he saw in the years past are now 300-600lbs cubs! And apparently these Sitka Browns “represent a distinct population, genetically dissimilar from any other bear. Research suggests these bears are remnants of a Polar bear population stranded in Southeast Alaska following the last ice age.” Interesting, right? Rumor has it they may have started as browns that turned white to adapt (and into polar bears of the region) only to evolve back to browns to adapt again… Regardless, it sounds like a beautiful, playful, peaceful space for orphaned cubs to call home, and definitely a better alternative to the usual reaction of shooting them! Some grow up to move to zoos around the country, others live out their days there… and all get delicious salmon and food from local fisherman, restaurants, and more! So, if you’re ever in Sitka, Alaska go visit (and support!) Fortress of the Bear! Take a peek at more of the pics he sent over on the next page.
Popped by Dwell on Design in LA today ~ highlight? CHICKENS! Particularly mod wooden chicken coops by 100xBTR and Chicken Co-op. Fun, playful, and perfect for your modern rooftops and yards ~ i love the seeing designs that enable more and more folks to expand their sustainable hyper-local/home grown possibilities… (without sacrificing their innovative design loving tendencies). Read to see the chickens and more of the fun little details (and full views) of these pre-fab chicken estates? To the next page!
Justine went to check out the incredible RCA 2011 Graduate show! Here’s a peek at what she found…
One highlight for me was the work of Jack Smith! My favorite of his pieces was the Birdbox, a flat packable birdhouse composed of two flat plywood pieces that assembles easily to form a cozy birdhouse. So beautiful in its simplicity, you simply must check out its pieces and how it comes together! See it all on the next page!
Justine was sharing this incredibly intriguing project she found happening in the UK… supposedly its like Farmville, but in real life… while still online… anyhow, take a peek below at what she has to share about it!
Last month, the National Trust launched the MyFarm project, which creates and bridges digital communities with the daily realities of farming. Although the project was heralded by the BBC and others as “FarmVille meets reality”, those behind the project are clear to stress that this is not a game. Instead, the community of 10,000 online Farmers have a direct impact on the workings of the farm at National Trust’s Wimpole Estate and are effectively working with farm manager Richard Morris to decide how it should be run. The first MyFarm vote took place last month, with internet farmers voting to grow wheat and that decision is already being implemented!
The project is a fascinating mix of real and virtual worlds and demonstrates a great use of digital and social media to raise awareness about the National Trust and British farmers. It also provides unrivaled access to a working farm. No matter where you are, you can follow the estate on twitter (@WimpoleEstateNT) as well as farm manager, Richard Morris (@farmermorris) as he goes on his rounds to check on the farm and reports on the many new arrivals (the last few days have seen many new piglets and calves!). They team have also just set up a dedicated MyFarm twitter account (@MYFarmNT) and an account for Emma who looks after the Shire horses (@EmmaMyFarm). The Shires are one to watch at the moment, with a new streaming cam for MyFarmers to be able to watch the pregnant Queenie and hopefully witness the birth of a Shire foal live in the next week or so!
In addition to being a fascinating project, the Wimpole Estate is an incredible place to visit. Located just outside Cambridge, it is one of my favorite escapes, with a beautiful stately home and gardens as well as the farm. It is also home to many of my favorite rare breeds. The home farm is a Rare Breeds Survival Trust approved farm park, home to a number of rare breed livestock including horses, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry. The estate also runs a great events/courses series. I recently learned to hand shear some rare breed sheep and may be back soon to try my hand at hedgelaying, blacksmithing or ferretting. The next MyFarm vote is coming up soon and is about a subject near and dear to me, SHEEP! So let’s get voting to save native breeds!
I love Helmut Lang. And i couldn’t help but share the ornithological aspect of their Resort 2012 collection when i was checking it out at Style.com. The imagery resembles X-Rays of the birds in flight ~ in a nice stark white on black… other pieces add a subtle touch of black feathers on their simple, architectural dresses. Visually mesmerizing, no idea how they’ll seem in person, but make for interesting pics. See close ups on the next page.
P.s. The model freaks me out a little, but when i tried to crop her head out it was even worse.
It’s begun! My Mushroom Kit is growing! Last night there was nothing (visible to the naked eye) ~ this morning? Shroom cluster popped out… somewhere between fascinated and having a hard time imagining these as food… had to get up close with it and share the beginnings with you… there’s even a second lower cluster starting too… take a peek at day one of mushroom madness on the next page.
p.s. and if you need a reminder of how this coffee ground brick in a cardboard box began…
Baby turtles!!!! Our good friend and zoologist colleague Dr. Rob Holbrook sent me some amazing photos of his recent adventures in Sri Lanka. Despite traveling for pleasure rather than a zoological field trip, he managed to encounter some amazing animals! Of course he returned with awesome pictures ~ these are from the Kosgoda Sea Turtle Conservation Project and the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. See all the pics on the next page!
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When American Express Membership Rewards approached us about sponsoring content around dream things we’ve been wanting to do ~ first thing to come to mind was GIRAFFE MANOR! Not sure why, but giraffes keep coming up lately (i blame the Petite Lap Giraffes) ~ and then the idea of hanging out in Nairobi… in a manor… where giraffes just pop their heads in? Fascinating, right?
When I first heard of Giraffe Manor, I wasn’t sure whether this giraffe lovers paradise could be real. The picturesque 1930’s manor house where you can get up close and personal with a herd of Rothschild Giraffe. The giraffes don’t just wander through the gardens, the may join you for breakfast or even visit your bedroom window like the opening scenes of the children’s cartoon 64 Zoo lane. Set within 12 acres of private land, Giraffe Manor is surprisingly easy to get to, only 20 km from the city of Nairobi. The hotel looks too amazing to describe in words, so check out more pictures on the next page (and the vintage archive pics are pretty amazing too!)
This all started with capturing special moments ~ but ALL moments are special! (And if not, you’re doing it wrong.) And as i tried to figure out what special moment to share, i found myself sitting outside on the grass… macbook air in hand, various cameras next to me, and started exploring with the usb microscope plugged in… turning the macbook air into my microscope screen! And as i played, i found this tiny flower of flowers… and kind of got lost in that moment exploring every little bit of it ~ when suddenly something RAN BUY. Yes, horror movie style. At 200x zoom, the tiniest things seem pretty huge. And i started trying to find it again! They must be teeny tiny aphids or spiders or something… and as i came up out of this random adventure with a bunch of pics all over my desktop, it hit me, how amazing it is that just playing around its so easy for us to capture images like these now! So take a peek at my little microscopic adventure on the next page, and don’t forget ever moment is special for some reason, and even the most mundane of things can become an adventure to share in pics! Ok go see the mini beasts!
On fun surprises while in London ~ Le Pégase d’Hermès Silk Twill Scarf designed by Christian Renonciat! With an architectural/blueprint look and inspirations from Da Vinci (backwards handwriting and all) ~ Hermès gives us a design to build a pegasus and some wings for yourself. Pretty enough to treat like art, i’m currently researching framing options, but until then wanted to share some of the pretty details with you! Unbox/closeups on the next page!
Just came across this absolutely stunning octopus print and skateboard design by ZSO (Sara Blake). Apparently it is a “charity piece for a skate deck art show happening in LA for Heal the Bay. I don’t know much about the other artists or even where it’s happening right now, but I was just happy to make a skateboard for something to help wildlife. Orginal drawing is pencil and ink. Board is a digital print on Moab Entrada rag bright with mixed media (acrylic, ink,pencil), and gel medium.” SO beautiful ~ see it fully and in sketch form on the next page!
Seriously, did you just think of the Petite Lap Giraffes? They are everywhere, right?
Well, kicking off this Saturday, April 30th, Thinkspace Gallery is showcasing ‘Elements and Oddities’ from Jacub Gagnon and Yosuke Ueno. And i’ve just fallen for these dark detailed animal meet objecty paintings of Jacub Gagnon. Beautiful! Can’t wait to see them in person ~ check out a preview of some of my favorites on the next page!
So you’ve seen how beautiful my dad’s window seat views flying in to Christmas Island were… well i just raided his SD card full of Christmas Island adventures, and there were so many inspiring nature pics, i had to share them with you! It’s amazing to see how crisp and clear the water is… Take a peek at everything from octopi and shrimp, to sharks and mantas, to frigates and puffers… and more on the next page!
Hello, jetlag! Europe back to LA is always a rough one… this one had me up around 4am unable to sleep… so while cooking breakfast, reading magazines, catching up on the internet, and looking for other jetlagged/insomniacs on twitter… the idea of Sun Stalking came up to give purpose to this eerie morning hour… found a few others who were up on this time zone in the dark too, and took some pics of the sunrise!!! Take a peek at my sunrise (many from the view of my skateboard swing)… and also some fun silverlake shots from @meganwest, and i’ll add more if others come in too! See what we’ve got so far on the next page…
p.s. if you’re into the idea ~ maybe we should start regular sunrise/sunset rituals! It’s just a nice way to force yourself to notice the passing of time, and the beauty of each revolution of the earth…
Petite Lap Giraffes! They have their own website!!! If you follow my silliness on twitter / Life.NOTCOT, you’ve probably noticed my post way back when i couldn’t resist screenshotting the DirecTV ad with the creepy russian and his adorable teeny tiny giraffe! Well, DirecTV, has given them their own website, complete with “giraffe cam”! Petite Lap Giraffes!!! Take a peek at some screenshots and also the two DirecTV ads on the next page!
I’ve always wanted one of Emilio Garcia’s Jumping Brains by Lapolab… remember the peek at the making-of the new Brain Hues? When i popped by The Toy Art Gallery to pick up Squadt ~ it was the Brain Hues launch day, and a few still remained… so i picked two up! Their pearlized finishes make them perfect to photograph in the sun out in the yard… So take a peek at my random little backyard photoshoot and the packaging/limited edition details!
The Grant Museum of Zoology has always been one of my favorites. Tucked away on Gower Street (near Euston Square tube), the Grant Museum is open to the public on weekday afternoons. The eclectic zoological museum is part of University College London’s teaching collections and one of only a handful of university zoology museums.
I’d visited the museum before and was amazed by the hidden gem, packed full of spirit collections and skeletons. When they closed 8 months ago for refurbishment, I have to admit I was worried about what changes it would bring. I have a soft spot for the quirky, cluttered, Wunderkammer style it had embodied. So when I re-entered the newly refurbished museum today, I wasn’t sure what to expect; but as you can see from the photos, they’ve done a fabulous job of creating a great space that plays to the strengths of their weird and wonderful collection. Take a little tour through the fascinating collection and space on the next page!
We’re so in love with and inspired by nature here at NOTCOT ~ Here’s another peek into the world of our resident zoologist and editor, Justine! So amazing and adorable to see how these little birds come to be! Oooh and you can follow her on twitter now ~ @NotCritters… say hi!
With spring on its way, it’s time to get ready for the bounty to come. Here are some photos of the adorable blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) family that made their home in a nestbox on my office balcony last summer. Take a peek at their growth from eggs to fluffy teenagers on the next page!
Justine has more fascinating and adorable creatures to share with us! She and i grew up surrounded and obsessed with critters big and small ~ while i found inspiration from them but went down a design path, she pursued an animal behavior/zoology phd. So, naturally, the more involved she’s been getting with NOTCOT, we can’t help but share all our passions and inspiration here! Also, just started her up on Twitter ~ follow her @NotCritters.
They may not have fur or feathers, but these little newt larvae still manage to be incredibly cute (between the big fluffy gills and four tiny little fingers and five little tiny toes, I’m smitten). These babies are Smooth or Common newts (Lissotriton vulgaris) that we raised from tiny eggs a few summers ago. See our family album, from egg to eft on the next page!
Beautiful minimalist posters by Mark Brooks for Santa Monica Legitimate Wear in Barcelona. My favorite is definitely the Turbulence poster above, and the Deer, Gorilla, and Giraffe aren’t exactly what you’d expect too! Mies is more takes a splattery look at the Barcelona chair… check them out on the next page!
Just in from the UK ~ Justine just showed me the most adorable pictures of a baby tapir she took, and i had to share! See what she has to say below…
The Bristol Zoo just had a beautiful new baby tapir and I couldn’t resist going to meet him. I had heard about the new arrival from Zooborns and just had to see the little watermelon striped baby for myself. The Brazilian or Lowland Tapir (Tapirus terrestris) is listed as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List. Find out more about them at ARKive and see some of my favorite pictures (including a tapir yawn!) on the next page.