First stop at SDCC this year ~ the Squibbles Ink + Rotofugi Booth ~ which as soon as preview night opened, had quite the line for coarse Omen Blink Hoot + Hush Owls (as well as Ferg’s Playge Misfortune Cat)… and the packaging and owls are ADORABLE! These 3.5” little owls (limited edition of 800 each) have the following story - “After the last rays of the sun dip behind the forest’s edge, two pairs of eyes burst open. Hoot and Hush warily stand together keeping watch over a nest of unhatched eggs. Gazing up into the night, they wait in silence until the voice of the Void breaks through the darkness and orders them where to go.” Take a peek at all the packaging and toy details on the next page!
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On a fun combination of swings and iconic chairs… here’s the Fermob 1900 Hanging Armchair! A part of their classic french bistro/outdoor furniture collections, it’s a playful, unexpected twist. Also awesome, is the video tour inside their factory ~ it’s hard to miss how happy their workers seem, as well as how optimized their system is… check it all out on the next page!
Happy Meals come with toys… kid’s cereal comes with toys… but this is the first WINE i’ve seen that comes with fun toys! While in Sitka, AK at Ludvig’s Bistro, we had Torres’ Sangre de Toro and it came with a little plastic bull toy adorned on the side! It got even more interesting when the second bottle arrived, and the bulls were different! Then the waitress gave us a third from their house bottle, and it was different too! On the back of each bull is a number, and so far, we’ve seen them go up to 7, but who knows how many there are? Can you line them all up on a disc and spin them to animate a running bull? Also, out of curiosity i picked up another bottle at Bevmo when home, and between that and quick internet searches, it looks like the bulls and the ways they are attached evolve regularly. Take a peek at the bulls and packaging shifts up close on the next page!
Fun surprise of the day ~ package from RMJ Tactical arrived with a Loggerhead Tomahawk! Beyond being just a tomahawk, there’s a skull crusher on the base that unscrews to give you access to the sharpening stone (which you could also probably use to hide other things)… Also the warning it comes with is pretty epic and a funny read! Their cautionary tales are no joke. When shawn did his research, these guys are the best of the best when it comes to design, quality, and functionality. This present was ordered 7 months ago, but was worth the wait. Made in Chattanooga, Tennessee, this father and son team have been making tomahawks for over 24 years, and have a nice balance between incorporating the designs of historical reproductions and utility/camping axes with the modern needs of a tactical tomahawk user. (A good thorough read on their “Our Tomahawks” section.)
I especially appreciate their design philosophy. From their FAQ - “It takes more than an aggressive look or a gray and black finish to make a tomahawk a tactical tomahawk.” So true… also, “A tactical tomahawk should be easy to use and carry. A well-designed tomahawk feels like a natural extension of the arm. The use of it should be intuitive. It is interesting to note that people throughout history have been naturally inclined to “hack” with a bladed object. As for the tomahawk scabbard, it should securely hold the tomahawk in place while making it easy to draw the tomahawk out. Also, the modern scabbard should have multiple carrying options. Finally, the modern tactical tomahawk should be able to perform as an efficient tool and weapon for the many tasks soldiers and officers encounter. We are proud to make tomahawks that meet these requirements. It is not by chance; it comes from many hundreds of hours of design time, customer input, customer requests, and testing, testing, testing.” Take a look at all the details and unboxing on the next page (as well as making of and demo videos!)…
With 2 hours before we had to head to the airport in Nashville, i had to get a peek at Imogene + Willie having seen their store online for years! Unfortunately, armed only with my cell phone (no proper dslr this trip since it was supposed to be a music/vacation/non-NOTCOT trip!) i still couldn’t resist snapping pics of this stunning little store nestled away in an old gas station. From their beautiful denim line (with quite the history! see the touching video on the next page…) to their expansion to include home goods and accessories, many of which will feel familiar to you ~ from Baxter of California and Tanner Goods to Japanese charcoal, terrariums, and much more… it is definitely worth popping in when in Nashville, TN! Next time I have more time in Nashville, will definitely have to get a proper fitting… and they’ll even help cut you the perfect jean shorts! And on lovely gifts ~ they seem to have perfected the bandana! It is so soft, subtle contrast stitching, and a nice minimalist modern print… made in japan, packaged in a cloth bag stamped in Nashville. Take a peek inside the recently redone store (Matt told us that not so long ago, all the sewing machines were still in there!) on the next page!
On fun surprises, it’s hard not to smile when the box from Byrd’s Famous Cookies (since 1924!) shows up! With large text saying “May your cookie jar never be empty” to a big picture of their iconic cookie jar… and that Savannah, Georgia ribbon graphic… it just makes the experience of unboxing and the anticipation that builds even better. Inside the box are a precisely packed cookie jar and lid filled with a pound of their quarter sized little cookies. The Cheddar Pecan ones are addictively delicious, and i’m hearing good things about the key lime too. You can refill your cookie jar by the pound, but to make your gift even more delicious, you can gift someone Byrd’s Never Empty Cookie Jar that will have refills sent for 3, 6, or 12 months. Take a peek at the unboxing of the goodies on the next page!
p.s. Their history from 1924 to now is a fun read too.
WOW. On technological/product design advances in the work out/training space… 110% Play Harder is doing interesting things combining both compression wear and portable/modular ice therapy. Essentially creating compression leggings, shorts, socks, sleeves and more with special pockets to target just about every muscle paired with special ice packs (which are impressively thin and flexible once filled/frozen)… Beyond the design and materials used (70% Polypropylene/30% Spandex, Antimicrobial Silvertech Fabric, Superior moisture wicking, and 360° 4 way stretch) ~ the branding is fun and striking, the copy is playful, and using the thermal bag as packaging is just smart! Not to mention the details, like having a branded carbiner on the thermal bag, and giving it a nice easy ziploc like top to keep your ice packs cool inside and your stuff dry outside. Whether you’re a hardcore athlete, or simply need a better solution to icing your soreness… this is definitely something to look into. It seems that some people work out in the compression wear, others wear it later to recover, some combine it with icing post workout instead of an ice bath and manage to run errands/pick up the kids in them… and while using it during workouts (without ice!) you can use any of the many pockets to hold your phone/etc as well. So many options… and the packaging is pretty fun. Take a peek at all the details and unboxing of the Juggler Knickers on the next page.
So, to be totally honest, i was shopping for a soft water bottle that could be easily hidden in the hydration pack section of my pack… whether to hold ice, other liquids, etc. I remember having one of the simple, cheap feeling, water pouches with a pull cap top that screwed on and a little carabiner from Volvo from frankfurt autoshow years ago, and while exploring i was excited to find Vapur’s sleeker, updated design - the Vapur Eclipse!
With darker colors and a matte finish, it is definitely far stealthier. And i love the updated cap that feels far more solid, has a nice o-ring to keep it from leaking, and the cap is easy to flip open and drink from. I still feel skeptical about how the plastic holds up over time, but they are part of their Explorer Series, which also includes a water filter you can add on, and they have quite the team of adventurers using them, from arctic explorer to rock climber, kayaker to skier and more! When it arrived tonight, i was also smitten by the graphics and simplicity of the packaging ~ especially with details like the soft touch coating ~ so i couldn’t resist sharing an unboxing/detail peek with you! Check it all out on the next page!
Parlour Lighting from Donna Bates. This playful series of lamps was inspired by the designer’s early years growing up on a farmyard near Ballyronan, Co. Derry. They look rather industrial and reminded me initially of lab glassware, but actually trace their origins to the milking parlor! The shape of the lamps is taken from the forms of receiving jars which are used to collect milk in the dairy. I love the rural, yet industrial inspiration! More photos on the next page.
Something are fun in pictures, but even MORE fun when you climb inside! When we walked past Dedon and i saw the Mini Nestrests hanging in the window and a huge Nestrest just inside the door, we had to pop in… and when the man there told me i was welcome to climb in… how could i say no? The Nestrest is designed by french duo, Daniel Pouzet and Fred Frety. It is far comfier than i expected, and with the way they lit it, it was a magical little oasis to curl up in! Also, far more spacious feeling than you’d expect. The minis are pretty much cat/mini-dog sized… and imagining them popping their heads out while hanging from a tree makes me smile. And their photography! The contexts in which they shoot the Nestrests are pretty funny ~ from being carried around in them, to next to a flock of ostriches and more. From the original pictures, i somehow assumed that they would be made of bent wood, but turns out it is all made of an “especially strong DEDON fiber” which is 4cm wide instead of their usual 2, weather/UV/cold+heat/pool+sea water resistant, high density polyethylene that is maintenance free and easy to clean. It is also environmentally friendly, being 100% recyclable and toxin-free with love carbon emissions. I’m tempted! It would be amazing hanging from the tree in the backyard, to curl up and swing gently… take a peek at the playful photography, view from inside, and more details on the next page!
Alessi Il Tempo della Festa Timbale Moulds are a set of 6 architecturally inspired silicone molds that come in black, white, and three transparent colorways designed by Mario Trimarchi. As they describe, “Ever since the end of the 1500s the shapes of desserts, cake moulds and timbales have been evolving, often imitating or reproducing forms found in architecture and nature. Mario Trimarchi, with this series of six Timbales for sweet and savory preparations.” Depending on what you’re making, you can layer in different colors and substances to create surprising jello shots, cakes, and more! Take a peek at sketches, initial molds, and more on the next page!
Spotted at ICFF, these Kamina & C Stools designed by Takeshi Sawada are too cute ~ pictures really don’t do them justice. They are ADORABLE! And fuzzy and cute and perfectly little kid sized. Coming in Bambi, Sheep, and Cow variations, Bambi is by far the cutest, sheep at a close second… take a peek at the pics on the next page!
On booths that make you feel from afar like you’re quick approaching the enthralled crowd around a mind blowing street performer as you come down the aisle… Oswalds Mill Audio’s ICFF booth had that effect. Only as you approach, you realize the group of (mostly guys) are clustered and staring at the beauty and silently listening to the sounds of their impressive speakers! While their loudspeakers, amps, record players, and more are all stunning, the OMA Mini’s beauty was burned into my memory ~ so naturally i had to share that with you first!
Their speakers use a beautiful proprietary conical horn, “designed for the neodymium compression driver selected to achieve optimal performance, and cast in aluminum by a foundry in Pennsylvania,” and it’s perched on the woofer enclosures (either birch of bamboo), all designed by David D’Imperio, on a solid carbon steel stand! You can also pair the set up with a Mini Sub, whose face feels slightly hannibal mask like. As for the technical audio details, “The Mini is a very high efficiency speaker, at approx. 95db/1w/1m, and is 8ohm. This means you can use just about any amplifier with the Mini, from very low powered single ended triode amps (SETs) to high powered solid state amps, as the Minis uses professional drivers, not HiFi drivers, which distort at lower levels. These types of professional drivers offer far greater performance, and bullet proof reliability.They do not extend to the first octave, as hifi drivers do, and so you will not get deep bass extension and output to 20hz from the Mini.” Ok, now you totally have to see the other stunning pictures of the OMA Mini on the next page, as well as a peek at their booth…
Wow what a day ~ it’s nearly 4:30 in the morning, and i really ought to sleep before ICFF in a few hours… but i wanted to share the fun at Wanted Design with you before i got a quick nap in… i’ll fill in more about what’s what later, but take a peek at the things that jumped out and inspired me so far on the next page!
Shawn and i keep falling for the Verso Shelf by Mikko Halonen for One Nordic Furniture Company everywhere we go (well, so far at Home In The Woods and WantedDesign)… It is a beautiful ladder-esque bookshelf that allows you to showcase your books both spine out, or cover first with the addition of simple shelves that slip on. It comes in two widths (one that looks more ladder like, and the other more bookshelf like) an three finishes (black, white, natural). It was the winning design in a competition for a series of classic pocket books at a local publishing company. Apparently it can also be used for clothes, accessories… anything really! Though i’m not sure whether you can actually climb it as a ladder… Really the nicest detail in its simplicity is that the rails alternate sides, giving it a lovely side profile, and creating the perfect depth for your books to lean. Take a peek at all the details on the next page!
Some lights just pull you in, and you can’t help but to peek inside them! Loïc Bard’s Capside Lamps do just that… their faceted woody shell and colorful rope cord are hard to ignore, but when you get glimpses of the bright colors within, you have to peek inside! And as an added bonus (for those who love the details) the inner frame looks like CNC milled wood holding on to the subtly beveled facets… And they can be suspended like pendant lamps, or placed as on one of their many sides for directional, ambient lighting. Take a peek at the stunning lamps on the next page!
Spotted at Home In The Woods NYC exhibition (which you can see our coverage of here), here’s My Precious Companion by Lilian de Souza and Martin Altwegg of Nooktu is a stacking pear wood and leather set of containers created to store your precious treasures. The stack is reminiscent of asian bamboo steamers, and the designs of the inserts are stunning. Take a peek at the details and making of on the next page!
Kicking off NY Design Week ~ the Home In The Woods NYC: from Swedish Modern to New Nordic exhibition created by Maria Larsson is beautiful! They describe it as “a story that shows sustainable craftsmanship through innovative historical and contemporary creations. Exploring the artistic boundary with nature as a material and inspiration.” The pieces are displayed in eight curated chapters: luft [air], eld [fire], kol [cox], glöd [glow], jord [soil], aska [ashes], grönska [growth], and vatten [water]. Each chapter is a mix of fashion, art, objects, and more, and each day will have a specific topic for their ‘daily talks’ and the sequences highlighting the sections will be launched day by day on their website and through their social media. Take a peek at some of my favorite pieces from the exhibition on the next page!
Progetto Barrique: A new life for wood project from SanPatrignano - “The project is about new starts - both for the wood reclaimed from 230 litre casks and for the young people at SanPatrignano who, thanks to the initiative, have been able to also learn a trade which is dying out. In addition, they have been able to challenge themselves, putting themselves putting themselves to the test with 30 of the world’s best known designers and architects who conceived the design pieces.”
Of the projects, i’m currently smitten with Angela Missoni’s Miss Dondola. A beautiful mix of colorful padding and playful string connecting the wood staves of the casks to form what looks like a fun swinging chair. See the details and making of on the next page!
Remember the upcoming Squadt Assembly show at Rotofugi I told you about earlier? Well, while i couldn’t make it out to Chicago for it… got lucky with the online lottery and got to build my own! Also Ferg posted a bunch of amazing pictures of the show! So take a peek on the next page of my unboxing of my latest Squadt and his arsenal… as well as the incredible show at Rotofugi!
When grabbing late lunch at the Mitsuwa in Torrance, i couldn’t help pausing by the J.Sweets case of Mochicream’s rainbow of mochis… but more curious, the donuts… that didn’t quite look like donuts… they were a bit glossy, a bit overly precisely placed, and we were intrigued… Turns out these “donuts” are Mochidos! Mochi donuts! They have a coating on a ring of mochi filled with cream/sauce depending on the flavor! So naturally we couldn’t resist trying some… and they are delicious! And beautifully gift boxed! Take a peek at the next page…
Melbourne artist, Valissa Butterworth, aka The Mod Collective’s porcelain pieces are such a beautiful splash of colors created by a thoughtful mix of 3D printing and hand moulded/cast colored porcelain. They remind me of Maria White Mebane’s pieces… the porcelain which creates such an unusual and lovely glow when illuminated. As Butterworth explains - “My porcelain tableware is a fusion of technology and traditional ceramic techniques. Each concept is developed using Design software then printed on 3D printers in various mediums. From here the pieces are moulded and cast by hand using coloured porcelain. The porcelain is coloured using raw pigment at the slip stage, should you chip a piece you will not see the telltale white body you would get with coloured glaze. This process allows me to achieve a rich bold colour range not attainable with glaze. Having said this I am now using coloured glaze on a small number of pieces to highlight the texture and pattern and add another contrasting element to the range. This process also appeals to those who prefer the feel of fully glazed pieces. Each piece is made by myself in the studio, the result is a collection of beautifully unique pieces that retain the small marks of the hand made process.” They look absolutely stunning in pictures - and i can only dream up the possible color/glaze/pattern combinations you could create with her custom options! Take a peek at more closeups on the next page!
It’s that time of year already, where everyone’s designs for Milan Design Week are flooding the design world… and the latest from BD Barcelona and Jaime Hayon have made me far too giddy today! The Gardenias Garden Collection is just so playfully Hayon, and with the stunning LA weather and all the work i’ve been doing in my garden, i can’t help dreaming up where i’d put some of these! Take a peek on the next page at the outdoor furniture, watering can, pots, and more!
Today i found myself in sunny Venice Beach, tucked away in house twenty six and a half on a walk street… playing with snow ready winter sportswear and exploring the studios of the freshly launched Coldsmoke Apparel - as they say, “Coldsmoke collaborates with some of the most advanced performance fabric mills along with highly regarded finishing companies to create collections that offer the best of both worlds. Our fashion is functional, performing at the highest level whether you’re on or off the mountain.”
It was great to get to explore the collection in person, and hear about the inspiration behind their inaugural collection by CCO, Imani Lanier (who is quite the seasoned designer). What struck me most was definitely the inuit symbols, design details (love the zippers and the subtle mountains stitched into pocket flaps, etc!), and the quality of the materials… also that all of the products were surrounded by quite the curation of vintage goods! The hats are displayed on stacked vintage cots… there are old skis, fishing poles, gas masks, shovels, and more strewn about the studio and they will all be for sale someday in the Coldsmoke Vintage Collection. Take a peek inside their studio and at some of the fun details of the upcoming collection, inspiration sketches, and their playful lookbook on the next page!