Inspiration in the randomest of places ~ ART IS MEDICINE! I remember vaguely seeing pictures of these little Zee pill toys by swiss toy makers, URFabulous (whose website is sadly no longer up!) years and years ago, but only just ran into a case of them yesterday and couldn’t resist the adorable little blind boxes. The packaging and pharmaceutical-esque copy heavy “instructions” that accompany it are even crazier than most you will get with real medication! See more pics and a full unboxing on the next page!
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Remember that stunning illustrated octopus skateboard a while back? Well illustrator Sara Blake (aka ZSO) has just sent over one of her stunning new SCARVES! The Tantrum Scarf is a limited edition of 50 100% silk twill, hand rolled hemmed, 35” x 35” scarves that just became available. And while i hate admitting to feeling a bit like the pouty faced grump in the Tantrum artwork, being sick in bed is making the graphic feel all too perfect at the moment! As Sara explains on her site, “This project has been over a year in the making, from initial illustrations, to sampling silks, to the photoshoot, to creating custom packaging and the printed lookbook. The launch of the Tantrum Scarf is what I hope to be the first of many more projects and products.” Take a look at the gorgeous details on the next page!
Renting a vacation home versus going to a hotel often means foregoing the convenience of room service… and if you were to pick a gorgeous remote spot, you may not be able to find all your gourmet favorites either! But this doesn’t necessarily mean giving them up, instead, when we day dream a NOTCOT team getaway somewhere like Big Sur, we think it would be the perfect excuse to try all kinds of packable gourmet treats and condiments and other experiments on vacation! See some of the fun we’d love to play with on the next page!
New show just went up at Gallery 1988 Melrose: MEMES! Yes, all the ridiculous internet silliness inspiring art! My favorite… Leontine Greenberg’s two pieces, Oh Noes and They be stealin’ my bucket”, inspired by the LOLrus and Bucket meme… see the original on the next page… and the full show here.
“Officine Autodromo was founded to recapture a romantic era of motoring. It was a time of Gran Turismo when driving from city to city wasn’t just a matter of hopping onto an expressway. It meant slipping on your driving gloves for a high speed jaunt through the great roads of Europe with a powerful, sweet-sounding engine propelling you into new adventure, and maybe even a little danger. Autodromo watches and accessories draw aesthetic inspiration from the world of mid-century auto racing. Our products have a vintage feel, alloyed with a clean, uncluttered modernist design philosophy. Each new product is conceived as an artifact that might have existed in the past, but is equally at home in the world of today.”
Autodromo’s newest timepiece, the Vallelunga, is a minimal chronograph inspired by 60’s and 70’s Italian Prototype and Grand Prix tachometers. Named after the challenging road circuit outside of Rome designed by Piero Taruffi, the Vallelunga offers a dual-hand timer offset from center and date just above 6’oclock. This would be even more awesome for recording times if you were driving this beautiful Alfa or Lotus Eleven through France like their photos. The optional black or white dial comes with a brushed steel case and a perforated black leather band reminiscent of a vintage Italian steering wheel. Take a look at the beautiful details and packaging on the next page…
On fun inspiration discovered at Adventure 16 ~ with a fun display with art and stickers and pins around a bunch of fun graphic tees, board shorts, hoodies and more… HIPPY TREE!!! And they are super local, right out of socal! Take a peek at more of the fun designs i love on the next page ~ i love their octopus! (And how cute are their sticker packs?)
p.s. Not sure if their webstore is having problems, but tried to place an order and it threw some errors… waiting to see if it gets sorted out!
There seems to be an endless assortment of water bottle designs… and while i’ve played with everything from traditional Nalgenes and Camelbaks to KORs and Bobbles… i’ve yet to find the right bottle… until perhaps this Stanley Nineteen13 1-Handed Water Bottle. The design details of the whole Stanley Nineteen13 Collection is a nice modern twist on sleek metallic containers and canisters. The 1-handed water bottle in particular has a simple push button spout which can be drunk from 360 degrees, a nice rubbery ring and loop to attach to a bag, etc ~ and it even fits in bike cages and car cup holders. Take a peek at the water bottle details on the next page!
The perfect camera bag is hard to find. I even have categories of them ~ functional for travel (hand carry and/or check in) ~ perfect incognito bag (usually a big purse!) Lately i’ve been needing a good solution for the travel/hand carry side of things. Something padded to carry my usual amount of tech and basic purse essentials when paired with a roller carry-on for quick (or efficiently packed) trips. Intrigued by the Incase Camera Collection, i was also overwhelmed and baffled by the sizing and options… when narrowing it down, most alluring were the DSLR Sling Pack and DSLR Pro Sling Pack. But was the Sling big enough? Was the Pro Sling too big? The pictures on the site were hard to decipher for sure… SO ~ the kind folks at Incase sent both over for me to compare and share! Take a peek at the sizes and how they seem as i cram things into them on the next page!
Tortex picks have been my favorite since long before i strummed a guitar. When the nice men at guitar stores would find me wandering around waiting for my dad and staring at all the picks and offer me one, i always picked Tortex. The turtle logo is just adorable! And that nice matte feel… and fun colors!
Well apparently Jim Dunlop Tortex Picks are turning 30 this year, and Lovely Package has some awesome picture of the new packaging that highlights the logo and turns it into a sticker! Take a peek at more pics on the next page as well as a fun “Tortex: More Than A Pick” video!
p.s. Have you see this packaging in person yet? I want to find some!
I have to admit it’s been a while since i’ve swung some golf clubs… but a recent turn of events seem to have me landing at the driving range/golf course more! As i catch up on what else is new in the golf world, naturally the design/technology advances have been catching my eye… TaylorMade just sent over their fully customizable R11S driver and hilariously named RocketBallz metal woods. Both clubs have a beautifully bright matte white club head, and with the provided torx key you can adjust the Loft (with Flight Control Tech), Face Angle (with Adjustable Sole Plate Tech), and Flight Path (with Movable Weight Tech) of the R11S driver. Take a peek at the design details (and the R11S’ little skull) as well as a video on the naming of Rocketballz on the next page!
I’ve been mesmerized by the pics of these new Nike Free Running Shoes since i saw them on Acquire… there’s something so… naturally inspired about them… and/or the way they are photographed… also glowing… i think they remind me of nudibranchs when they swim, it’s that shape and the colorful nature of them. (Can you imagine Nike Frees actually inspired them?) Anyhow ~ back to the DESIGN! I’ve been loving my grey/red Nike Free, so light, comfy, and packable (it’s fun watching shoe design evolve as everyone goes superlight lately!)… and the details of this latest edition of the Nike Free designs keep those, and take it even further. Take a look at the pictures on the next page as well as videos with their designer, Mike Miner, discussing the creative inspirations and process behind the latest!
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!
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!