On amazing packages that just take your breath away, Natalya Zahn’s book, Tropical Forest, just arrived in this stunningly illustrated mailer! How beautiful is that Takin? Natalya Zahn is a natural illustrator based out of Cambridge, MA and a selection of her work and other nature related discoveries are on her blog, i (heart) odd-toed ungulates… the book, Tropical Forest, contains text and illustration from her blog between 2010 and 2011. They look stunning printed in this Blurb book! Take a peek inside on the next page!
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Random sunday spontaneous drive landed me heading south to the new(ish) OC Mart Mix, a fashion/interior/foodie variation of the nearby Lab and Camp. There’s a nice write up on it over at the LA Times blog. Although some of the tenants have been around for over a year, others are quite new, and as you wander through the mixed use space both indoors and out there are lots of empties as well as people painting and prepping the next boutique to move in! Beautifully done, and lots to see (but far more to come) it sounds like friday and saturday are the best days (as most are closed on mondays, and quite a few closed on sundays) ~ it’s like a mini oasis amidst a sprawling ring of larger interior design showrooms encircling a large parking lot with the Mix hidden in the center (and all right up against the 405!) Fun find of the day ~ Savory Spice Shop. Based in Denver, they have franchises starting to pop up across the country, and the amount of spices, exotic seeds and chocolate powders, shelf full of salt, endless rub and marinades were mind boggling… and the gift set displays and packaging were so fun i couldn’t resist! Take a peek on the next page ~ (and excuse the cell phone pics from this random little excursion!)
Newest experiment, we’re playing with the new Square One from Pear Sports. It’s been interesting to play with and track the increase of technology to track, motivate, and train us through workouts from systems like Nike+ and Adidas MiCoach, to the FitBits and UPs ~ should be interesting to see how things shift more in this space! Pear Sports puts a coach in your ear as you run with their Training Intelligence. And it’s all about listening… their coaches listen to your heart rate and speed/pacing/etc through the heart and foot monitors… and provide SMART biofeedback and motivation to train you to meet your goals.
Simply put: Plug in your music, start running, and they provide a super-smart coach to whisper (or shout) motivations in your ear! It can be everything from your couch-to-5k coach or your marathon coach depending on what goals you set. You do an initial 20 minute Heart Rate Zone Assessment, which helps the system set up your fitness zones to customize the workouts to your level. Take a peek on the next page at what’s in the box, and the web UI…
OVM Love is the stunning new store and jewelry line from artist, James Jean. As his introduction explains, “Unexpectedly, I also started developing a line of fine jewelry, scarves, and objects with support from my friends in Japan. I traveled to Tokyo 5 times in the past year, before and after the tsunami, to shepherd OVM into existence. As I explored this new medium, motifs in my work found new expression in precious metals and materials. Drawing inspiration from forms in nature, OVM is a place of luminous fantasy and dark decay. Four major series of fine jewelry will be released this next year, along with textiles and design objects.” The pieces, the photography, and the packaging is beautiful! I can’t seem to resist the liquid motion he captures in sterling silver (both light and black rhodium) sometimes with a dash of diamonds. Each piece is handcrafted in japan. Even the cases they come in are a work of art ~ with what looks like milled wood beautifully “dripping” in the lids… take a look at the pictures on the next page!
Logitech Cube. I couldn’t resist… when these two adorable black and white little cubes came, a smile just spread across my face. They are so cute! And the unboxing was fun, as things got exposed layer by layer. Adorable packaging and product design… it’s all about the details. As for the eraser sized little presentation mouse device itself, i am not sure if i have much use for it regularly… but it feels great in my hand and i can’t stop playing with it… plug the usb in, turn it on, and sliding it around on the desk its a mouse with scroll… picking it up you can start a presentation and flip/click/etc to change slides. Though the little case for it strangely reminds me of a finger brace… anyhow! Adorable black and white cubes, fun packaging details and more on the next page!
The latest from our London-based editor, Justine Aw.
This evening I had the pleasure of attending “A Culinary Odyssey” with Bompas & Parr and KitchenAid to celebrate the launch of the new KitchenAid 6.9L Artisan Stand Mixer. The event was filled with science fiction inspired cocktails from the Experimental Cocktail Club (ECC), Kubrick inspired sets created by designer and prop stylist Rhea Thierstein, a levitating food device from Poietic Studio and futuristic menu created by Andrew Stellitano. Bioluminescent lollipops, a rum cola cloud chamber and cricket pasta were only a few of the incredible offerings. See lots of photos on the next page!
Toys (specifically Lego, Lincoln Logs, Duplo, Fischertechnik, K’nex, Krinkles, Tinkerytoy, Zome, Zoob, Gears Gears Gears, etc) + 3D printer + Free Universal Construction Kit = MORE ways to play with your toys! Picture the crazy structures you (or your kid’s) wildest imagination can flourish in as every piece can connect to every other piece… or how many more toys you will need to buy to fully utilize the Free Universal Construction Kit’s capabilities…
While the monster of a Universal Adapter Brick was quietly launched at Golan Levin’s Eyecode solo show at UCI’s Beall Center for Art + Technology a few months ago, it’s exciting to see the rest of the kit finally available! So, freshly launched this morning from Golan Levin at F.A.T. Lab and our own head of NOTlabs, Shawn Sims comes the Free Universal Construction Kit. It is “a collection of nearly 80 adapter bricks that enable complete interoperability between ten popular children’s construction toys. By allowing any piece to mate with any other, the Kit encourages totally new forms of intercourse between otherwise closed systems — enabling radically hybrid Constructivist play and the creation of heretofore impossible designs.”
You can see the full chart of all pieces, download the full .stl pack, find just the piece you need on Thingiverse, and even watch the 80’s style advert for Free Universal Construction Kit on the next page!
Next… if you have a 3D printer, and have fun toys, AND print out some pieces… i’d love to see what you (and/or your kids) create with them!!! Please share pics!!!
I love art as objects… there’s something fun about paintings and photographs as transformed into large pillows you can hug and squeeze… the change in texture changes the way you relate to the pieces (like these i’ve long loved from click for art)… the latest find are these beautiful pillows from East Camp Home Pillows featuring the creature photography of Valerie Shaff. The two initial collections are Exotics (Tigers and Crocs and Peacocks and such) and Fable (Doves and Snakes and Hawks and such)… see the gorgeous pillows on the next page!
Cupcakes are wonderful. While they have perhaps become a little over exposed in the last few years, they are certainly still a tasty treat. There are so many different kinds, different cakes, different frostings… it seems like there is one for every mood. Sprinkles has upped the ante by providing cupcakes for when you are feeling anti-social, hungry at 3am, nostalgic for automats, or for when you just want dessert handed to you from a robot with its own twitter handle. Their new Cupcake ATM has certainly captured the imagination of the Internet, Los Angeles, and now me. I too have succumbed to the siren’s call of that winning combination of fat, sugar, and machine. The Sprinkles Cupcake ATM even has its own twitter - @CupcakeATM and facebook. Take a peek at our cupcake adventure on the next page!
The latest from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw, who super awesomely went to check out this Muji event on her birthday! (Happy Birthday, Justine!)
Product Fitness 80 asks the questions “What would happen if we used 20% less materials and energy to make products?”. The clever exhibition pushes Muji craftsmen to develop products that use fewer materials and processing. You can catch the exhibition at London’s Design Museum from tomorrow, the 9th of March until next Sunday, March 18th. In the meantime, see more more photos on the next page!
Sugar! Sugar! SUGAR! I’ve been on a bit of a sugar high since this mysterious packet of mini packets of sugar samples arrived from Chambre De Sucre and i tore them all open to shoot/taste it for this post. SO much sugar. And it’s all so delicately pretty. Oh, and we also brewed quite a few cups of espresso to try them with. We’ve been buzzing over here.
These sugars from Chambre De Sucre are not just gourmet sugars… “The sugars are handcrafted by one of the oldest family-owned businesses in Japan with the highest quality sugar possible. They are over 270 years old and have provided the Royal Family in Japan with their sugar since the time of the Shogun. Japanese artisans still use traditional methods to create this luxurious sugar for your cup of tea and coffee.” Their about page tells you a heart-warming story of Lisa’s past and what these sugars mean to her through her childhood experiences in Japan. They are the first to import these sugars to the US! The assortment of sugar options are mind blowing as you browse their site, and the packaging looks beautiful for gifting as well… on the next page you can see close ups of the many little samples sent over as we tried our way through them!
On 5$ impulse buys… i couldn’t resist. Toy Boarders!!! You get 24 little skateboarders! (No girls though, perhaps in their future packs… or snow or surf packs to come?) A fun twist on classic toy soldiers these little plastic guys are made in china but come from super local San Clemente, CA! Adorable… they are skating around our whole office and house now… take a peek at the silliness in a bag on the next page! (The video is pretty fun too!)
Little feels as good as a good hot, bubbly soak in a gorgeous tub with a magnificent view. The relaxing feeling as stress simply floats away… makes these basins heavenly… whether in porcelain or steel… indoors or out… woody or marble… freestanding or built in… hard to believe over the last 7 years of NOTCOT, hunting for dream tubs has been surprisingly difficult! We’ve rounded up 10 favorites… and a bonus IGLOO snowy hot tub set up i’m currently dreaming about… see it all on the next page!
What is it about artisan goods being beautifully packaged and displayed? On a quick run over to brentwood country mart to get green juice and amazing tacos… got drawn in by the adorable glow of awesomely labeled goodies at the Farmshop’s Artisan Market, and then went iPhone crazy (being camera-less at the time) while shopping through it for grilling meat, wine, TENNESSEE WHISKEY ICE CREAM, and fresh peanut butter cookie dough… it was all so pretty and filled with inspiring packaging/label design i had to share… shop with us on the next page!
Happy March! We’re kicking off this month with an awesome giveaway and unboxing of the gorgeous porcelain limited edition Potamus Red Anarchy by Frank Kozik & K.Olin Tribu. We first wrote about these beautiful pieces back in 2010… and having one in person in front of me, it’s even more beautiful than i imagined. The packaging is stunning as well… and the detail of a porcelain disk and ribbon sealing the box as well as a porcelain CARD with a special web password as the certificate of authenticity. The details are incredible… both the figurine and the presentation box are made in Limoges, France.
… and the folks at k.olin tribu are generously giving away one Potamus Red Anarchy by Frank Kozik & K.Olin Tribu to a lucky reader who leaves a message on their Facebook wall sharing where you would put this awesome Potamus if you win! He will pick the winner on March 5th! You must be a fan of K.Olin tribu page to be eligible.
And as for now ~ take a peek at the unboxing and details on the next page!
p.s. free shipping with code NOTCOT on the K.Olin Tribu website during the contest!
Ok, so i’m sure you’ve seen this camera floating around all the design/tech sites. The new Pentax K-01 been hard to avoid… after all, it’s a new hybrid of dslr-like cameras ~ mirrorless, yet uses most of the Pentax lens line up ~ it has a 100-25600 ISO range, shooting amazingly in the dark ~ it even does HDR IN CAMERA ~ shoots 1080p video ~ oh, and it’s designed by Marc Newson. He even designed the super crazy thin pancake 40mm lens that goes with it! Ready to take a peek at our first look? To the next page!
It’s not everyday that you wake up to a doorstep with a basket of cucumbers, roses, and gin. Hendrick’s Gin of course… they are calling it “a most unusual bouquet for a most unusual occasion” as “The World’s Most Peculiar Gin Makes Fitting Arrangements to Celebrate Leap Day”… to celebrate the rare 29th of February, they’ve sent a fun arrangement of roses and cucumbers and the recipe for a Scarlet Petticoat! Take a peek at it all on the next page…
I’ve been obsessed with the adorableness of these little waters all over the hotel here in Rio. Aguas Ouro Fino ~ adorable nearly spherical little water bottles… reminiscent of the Ora Ito OGOs… turns out even their 5L jugs are big spheres! And you can even customize the minis… my favorite is that the “com gas” (bubbly!) red one looks kind of like baby squid/octopi… take a peek at them on the next page!
While exploring the Toy Fair, we ran into our old friends from Mimoco! They’ve come a long way since we first started posting about them in 2005! From a variety of artist Mimobots series, licensed characters, hoodies, and more… they have now veered into Mimomicros! These are new characters that have a flip out USB plug and you can put in any sized microSD card to use them as usb keys… or just use them to transfer info from phones/cameras/etc that use microSDs. Take a peek at the fun Mimoco toy fair booth (How fun are the turntable/record like displays you can really spin? Sadly no music plays though!) as well as close ups of the new Mimomicros on the next page!
While i’ve seldom had the traditional “family vacation” as a kid ~ talking to NOTlabs director, Shawn, i found out that he knows HomeAway well! Apparently his mom’s been booking everything from houses in the Rockies, French Quarter in New Orleans, and Utah Ski trips on the site ~ and they often associate family vacations with insane jigsaw puzzles and toys… so when HomeAway asked us to share some awesomeness around family travel… adventures at the NY International Toy Fair seemed like a perfect fit! There were SO many random toys in every genre you can imagine, so to narrow it down, here’s a selection of our favorites that are perfect to keep kids (both actually young and young at heart) occupied in the car/plane en route or curled up by the fireplace/dining table when just hanging out! Ready to see some crazy puzzles, fun magnetic building toys, turtles, mazes, paper animals, electronic experiments and more? To the next page!
Just visited with CW&T (Che-Wei Wang and Taylor Levy) who amongst many awesome projects are responsible for one of the most funded Kickstarter design projects… Pen Type-A. Looking to raise $2,500, they ended up with over $280,000… and 4000+ backers (including us!)… and from making a smaller batch of pens, they were suddenly faced with the daunting task of making a few thousand! Beyond the beautiful design and craftsmanship of this solid steel housing for the plastic Hi-Tec-C pen cartridges… it has been incredible to follow the hardships and exciting moments over the last 6 months since they got funded, and even more exciting to finally get our hands on the actual pen! (Spoiler: it feels incredible!) So take a peek at the details and unboxing of one from the first batches of CW&T Pen Type-A on the next page!
p.s. If you find yourself with one in person, you must pull the pen from casing quickly. It’s a great sound.
Breathtaking. Year after year, Stockholm Design Week seems to get better and better ~ and there’s just something calmingly minimalist, playful, and beautiful about the new designs that emerge… the mix of black, whites, and woods with refreshing colors and clean lines makes me want to update my house and NOTlabs! So, while we weren’t able to make it there in person this year, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite designs from the event on the next page… take a peek at the lamps, chairs, tables and more on the next page!
The iconic Moo “business” cards which can easily feature your whole Flickr/photo library have taken it to the next level… now you can get Moo Luxe Business Cards! What makes them so luxe? Besides the awesome new packaging with the magnetic box? Mohawk Superfine paper with Moo Quadplex technology to make a card of triple thickness and weight (vs most ordinary cards) with a rich seam of color within the layers of paper… Take a look at the unboxing of the set they sent over (which i quickly made a variation of my old shorter cards…) on the next page!
IKEA has expanded their Solvinden spring/summer collection of solar lights (can you believe we’ve been writing about these since 2009?!?!) to now include not only solar but WIND powered lighting!!! It’s a fun idea ~ and designer, David Wahl, tells us more about them (and shows them in action) in the video on the next page! These were apparently “Inspired by the playfulness and movement of amusement park lamps” and “The designers and product developers worked closely with the supplier - even driving around holding a prototype out the window - to test the wind-power until everything worked.” Fun! Can’t wait to try these out in person… take a peek at the video and more pics on the next page!