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!
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While minibars are often used to numb/relax the mind ~ and some have stimulating energy boosters and/or “toys” for your pleasure now ~ i love the idea of adding some intellectual stimulation as well. In addition the The School of Life Daily Aphorism cards that Morgans Hotels leave on your pillow each night, they have also come up with the Minibar for the Mind, and what better place to test this than at the gorgeous Redwood Room at The Clift in San Francisco? Inviting a few friends to truly explore the “Conversation Starters” over martinis… before they even sat down, the Daily Aphorism cards got us talking ~ “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” - Douglas Adams & my personal favorite “Between two evils, I always pick the one I haven’t tried before.” - Mae West. Words to live by, no? Inside each set, you’ll find: CONVERSATION STARTERS: A box set of 250 cards featuring questions, quotations and provocations to start tongues wagging. COLLECTED THOUGHTS: A volume of the best columns written by The School of Life’s faculty and friends. READING PRESCRIPTIONS: Two tailor-made reading prescriptions housed in corked test tubes, designed to evoke moods of relaxation or seduction. DREAMS & FEARS NOTEBOOK with WRITER’S BLOCK PENCIL SET: A notebook to write down your dreams and fears, and inspirational pencils to get you going. I think The School of Life and Morgans are on to something here… the universal nature of forcing us to think differently, reassess our surroundings, push boundaries… while not always easy, are fun and freeing and make for passionate discussions, be it with friends or strangers!
So, while i have gone through all 250 cards, and the STACK of daily aphorisms, i tried to pick out my favorite thought provokers to get you going, and even then, i ended up with FAR too many to share in one post. So, on the next page… see pics of some of my favorites, as shot in the candle lit inspiration of the Redwood Room, while sipping a Mandarin Lemongrass Martini (deliciousness!)…
Oh, Project Squadt (A collaborative effort between Ferg and ThreeZero, brought to you by Jamungo). Amazing creatures ~ beings? ~ with masks, and faces, and interchangeable eyes, and some bad ass weaponry. I’ve always wanted one… never quite made the lightning fast online limited edition sales… so when i stumbled upon some in the Toy Art Gallery Store, i couldn’t resist. And upon realizing they were right here in LA ~ popped over to the store to pick it up! While i still wish i could find one of the gas mask guys ~ for now i’m playing with Squadt NKD Jack + QPMNT PAC 1! Complete with bathrobe, various arms, tactical knife, tactical chest rig, sUMP, sMK23 with holster, and long sleeve shirt. They really are so photogenic too… see him in various set ups and unboxing on the next page!
p.s. how awesome are the dogs?
Exploring Lowe’s the other day to pick up epoxy, rope, and do some power tool “research”… i came across this pack of pencils… with a DRILL BIT PENCIL SHARPENER! The C.H. Hanson Pro-Sharp™ Finishing Pencil Carpenter is apparently the “world’s first chuckable drill powered pencil sharpener” and “produces a fast, consistent pencil point every time”. And so far it has lived up to its name. Honestly, it’s falling quickly into the, “how have i not had this my whole life?” category… it’s so FUN. It makes me want to sharpen through the whole box… totally understand how that reviewer on Amazon went through 144 pencils in less than 15 minutes. Anyhow, it’s fascinating, so stupidly simple, and has given my drill a whole new usage… pencils don’t stand a chance. See more on the next page, as well as a video of it in action!
London always has the best windows! And Justine just did a little exploring and came back with great pics!
Here’s a look at Gorgeous Guerrilla Gardening window series at Selfridges’ Orchard Street side, which launched March 4th. They are filled with gardening goodness, from NOTCOT favorites like seed bombs and the Carrie bike basket, to floral grenades, seeds that burst from umbrellas, old bikes upcycled into transport contraptions, and more! To find out more check out Selfridge’s own press release for the new Spring 2011 windows and the Wonder Windows page at Guerrilla Gardening. Check out the amazing windows on the next page!
New Lapolab Jumping Brains in a whole colorwheel of spectrums: Brain Hue. These 2” pearlized vinyls will be released monthly, starting today, March 14th! The series is limited to 20 collections! ! See the making of on the next page, and a peek at them too…
Unboxing time! This time, it’s something i impulse bought off a NOTCOT.org post… I’m a long time Geneviève Gauckler fan, and we’ve had many a post about her work on NOTCOT, so when stephanie brought my attention to the new Domestic coat hooks, i couldn’t resist! And the new Sleek Identity store being based right in Venice, CA ~ meant they showed up lightning fast too! Of course a little digging over at the Domestic site led me to the other set of Gauckler Hooks - “Hang On To Yourself”… also tempting. But first things first ~ take a peek at the quality and details of these Potatoe creature hooks on the next page!
I was curious. I couldn’t resist. And my dad has fallen for the iPad. So how could i not upgrade him today? Luckily we unboxed and got it all set up together! It really is fantastically thin. and there’s still something kind of magical about playing with vidchatting on such a portable (yet nicely sized) screen. And i’ll admit, the magnetic case was a draw… interesting to see how it worked, though in real life, it doesn’t work as well as i’d hoped. While playing with it and using the ipad normally, it awkwardly came off a few times! Anyhow… the form factor is the most fascinating change… i couldn’t help stacking it with the original iPad and my beloved Macbook air as usual! For some reason in a black and white kind of mood today… go check out the close ups and unbox on the next page!
Hotels are where real life happens… and sometimes it’s dressed up like an escapist fantasy from your reality, but bottom line, they are a great way to explore the usability of objects and spaces… it’s like extended shopping? Staying in hotels begins to feel more like that childhood fantasy of hiding out/living in a department store or museum (From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, anyone?) ~ i’m waiting for the moment when i can buy the furniture, wallpaper, faucet fixtures, etc as easily as the bed, robe, and alcoholic minis… Hotel stays are experiments in living. Imaging designing experiences from the furniture to the layout to the closet filled with clothes (like The Tourist when they check into Hotel Danieli and open the closet door) to a living room and desk with gadgets for the perfect party (or meeting)… A way to slip right in and try on what your life could be like. And of course everything is purchasable. It’s one thing to have artists paint a mural… but another to create, could-be-real experiences…
A perfect example is this weekend’s adventure with the Four Seasons Los Angeles and Jawbone Jamboxes! This is the only location in California where you can live with a Jambox before you buy. While Jamboxes have made quite the splash over the holiday season across the design/trend/gadget sites ~ and the packaging is beautiful (see the full poolside unboxing here!) ~ it is a fascinating partnership that Jawbone and the Four Seasons Los Angeles have. Upon checking in to a suite, you are offered one to play with for the duration of your stay. They will even show you how easily it pairs and what you can do with it when you get up to the room! (Seriously, i’m impressed how easy pairing was with my various devices!) And it boosts an impressive 85 decibels ~ perfect for everything from relaxing on the patio, to blasting tunes from your laptop, or watching youtube videos from your phone… all via bluetooth (or headphone jack)… or you can use it as a super speakerphone when bluetoothed to your phone, since it has a mic too! It’s a fun way to try it before you buy… or in my case, fall for it and buy during my stay… luckily the front desk has them in a few colors ready for guests who decide they need one too!
Now… interesting from a design side, they had custom cases made for the Jamboxes, a simple discrete little zip pouch carrying the Jambox and all its cables, as well as instruction manual… take a peek at the Jambox in Four Seasons’ context on the next page!
Meetings just seem like they’d be far more fun around the Duffy London’s Swing Table… especially outside! And now imagine something fun and viney, or some bougainvillea half covering the top, allowing for playful shadows to be cast on the work on the table? Such a fun idea, more pictures of it in red and from different angles on the next page!
There is a beauty to twitter’s ability to connect you instantaneously with people/brands that fascinate you… it’s almost magical. It’s how i “met” Jawbone, who then introduced me to Four Seasons Los Angeles… which led to chats about the Jamboxes being available to their suite guests… which has led to me curled up in a big suite bed tonight having one of my first little vacations in Beverly Hills. (Silly as it feels to be a few minutes from home!)
Now, before i get to the Jawbone Jambox service at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, you first need to see the poolside unbox! Slightly out of order, i had so much fun playing with the in-room Jambox, i decided i needed to own one to bring home, and since you can buy them from the front desk, i had one sent up to the room! And being Jawbone, of course the packaging is physically, ecologically, and graphically gorgeous ~ so naturally an unbox was called for! The Jambox made quite a splash this holiday season, and it claims to be “simply the smallest, best sounding wireless speaker and speakerphone on the planet.” And while that sounds bold, it does in fact sound impressively awesome, and it’s ability to be shared with hotel guests proves just how easy it is to pair! But more on that later, for now ~ unbox! Click on to the next page…
Clean vectory iconic goodness, i always have a soft spot for the work of Ryan McGinness. And his latest to launch today is an installation of Women: The Blacklight Paintings (being put up now!) and vinyl installations at the Standard New York’s Shop and Le Bain presented by Country Club. This latest project is a follow up to his Miami Art Basel show. Just received some pictures of the vinyl installations, and they make me want to run over to my vinyl cutter and cover my windows and blank walls with stickers! Fun playful imagery of women, almost abstractly tribal in their varied curviness. And of course, there are also limited edition posters and silk screened print of the Blacklight Nudie playing cards. While the Playing card print is a bit pricey for most, no worries, the actual Blacklight Nudie Cards will be released in LA in the Spring and available across all Standards. Take a peek at them 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!
That - up there - became a chair. As beautiful as the Tokujin Yoshioka Moon chairs for Moroso are, its the initial water color sketches that inspired the chairs that really grab me! There is a messy simplicity i just can’t resist… anyhow, starving and really ought to get to lunch, but wanted to share this one before running out! See how the chairs turned out on the next page, as well as more watercolors!
Swedish, String Furniture, designed by Swedish architect Nils Strinning has been “modern since 1949”. I’ve been quietly lusting after their shelving systems for years now, even tempted to carry them back from Sweden! Somehow there doesn’t seem to be a US distributor/store listed (hint hint, awesome design stores?) ~ but upon noticing some of the smaller systems available at Finnish Design Shop that ships to the US, i couldn’t help delving into all their gorgeous options… which have beautiful photos on the String site! So take a peek at the really fun shelving as it fits in to so many scenarios, colors, and lifestyles on the next page!
Beautifully packaged in black and white… and a bag of all black rubber bands… which are made of recycled bicycle innertubes… from Switzerland! Awesome! I found these Plattfuss rubberbands by tät-tat and designed by Brigitta and Benedikt Martig-Imhof at Seed People’s Market. Take a peek at the packaging, the bands, and the story scroll hidden within on the next page!
Packaging based impulse buying at the market kind of day. But i was craving fresh cookies too… and while killing time at Mother’s down in Newport Beach… the packaging on the Eat Pastry vegan cookie dough jars sucked me right in with their playfully complex graphic label. The San Diego based line has a few flavors of cookie dough (Choc Chunk, Vegan Gluten-Free Choc Chunk, Peanut Butter Choc Chip, Chocoholic Chunk, Cinnamon Ginger Spice, and Oatmeal Raisin Choc Chip) ~ and its really the speakeasy-esque eyes peeking over what is either an open book or a mustache on the front as well as the fun fonts that lured me in first. And of course there’s the lady with the monkey on her shoulder ~ both enjoying cookies. And the mustache shaped barcode that can’t be ignored! Take a peek at the lovely packaging on the next page… cute branding continues to the Eat Pastry website as well. And i have a few cookies coming out of the oven in a few!
I love books. I love the feel of print. And with ebooks growing in popularity, design and packaging of print is as important as ever… and there are still irresistible books i’ll run into… in the case of Penguin’s Great Ideas series, i wanted them all. They are so adorable, so classic, and so gorgeous with their beautifully designed covers with that letter pressed texture that you can’t help running your fingers over. I had restraint and only bought two last night when grabbing tacos at Brentwood Country Mart when i couldn’t resist a quick look in Diesel, A Book Store. But of course with the two i purchased (a combination of content and cover design went into the decision of course) ~ i came home to look up the rest of the series and covers and my favorites are on the next page. The concept behind the series really is such a lovely idea as well: “Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization, and helped make us who we are.” ~ see all the loveliness on the next page.
I know i’ve posted this before, i’ve gift guided it, and wishlisted it even. Well, i finally gave in an impulse bought it for myself. And inspired in part by how horrible the images of the Futurama Complete Collection are on Amazon, and also because it was just so over the top awesome i had to share the madness with you… this is the cutest and most bizarre DVD unboxing i’ve ever done. And the note tucked in the box with the giant head filled with DVDs is just so sweet as well… so, if you were considering the set too, trust me… it’s even awesomer in person. Go take a peek at the madness on the next page!
Gorgeous sunny day out, package arrives full of impulse bought Futurama and Dexter’s Laboratory from a nostalgic cartoon watching session over the weekend while catching up on life - emails - the internet. And the graphics on the Futurama Season 5 packaging were too pretty not to share. As much as my instant gratification side loves downloading, there is a definite packaging loss to the experience! So take a peek at the fun details on the next page!
I don’t throw dinner parties, but ‘Dressed’ created by Marcel Wanders for Alessi makes me want to. This white porcelain table set and stainless steel cutlery are just stunning. He always fine that delicate line between modern minimalist and ornate, a strangely over the top yet still simply refined feel. And the photography of the settings with painted porcelain dolls is rather cheeky and playful.
Mmmm, simple amusements. Adorable little design/art bookstore (La Valise in Mexico City) ~ cute little glass case ~ filled with ~ FLIPBOOKS! And not any flipbooks… but adorably cheeky beautifully illustrated ones that end with a twist that makes you giggle, then turn and make anyone around you watch it as you flip it again and again. Silly as they are, these are my favorite little goodies i brought back from the trip, and i’ve been dying to share them with you!
The Deportistas series of 4 flipbooks from Tumbona Ediciones by the awesome creative studio Eramos Tantos. AND, i was absolutely giddy when i found the animated version of all 4 in the series (Diving, Fencing, Hurdling, and Weight Lifting) set to music! (Previously i was trying to figure out how to make videos to show you as i flipped through them.) Truly an awesme homage to Tex Avery ~ we need more of this in our lives! So take a peek at the video, pics of the real flip books, and screen grabs on the next page!
Exploring La Roma, stumbled upon Guru ~ a gallery and shop filled with low brow/surrealist/playful art, it was filled with so many NOTCOT favorites (both artists and products!) So, as i hunted to learn more about similar mexican artists, i discovered them putting up some beautiful black vinyl sticker silhouettes for an opening tonight by a Mexican creative collective, Cría Cuervos, in the back room. Being only two blocks away, i couldn’t resist popping by tonight to check it out ~ and it was beautiful! And packed! There was even a cop on the corner across the way watching/waiting… as people overflowed into the street. But about the show… Amor des Amor is an exposition of tshirts ~ each of the 11 artists (Ángeles Barajas, Cristina Medrano, Alejandra Aguirre, Ernesto Alcántara, Luis Flores, Jonathan López, Allan G. Ramírez, Miguel A. Cárdenas, Alejandro Gómez, Erick Knobl and Abraham Solís) designed a tshirt, which is hung in a gilded frame over the black vinyl stickers on the white walls… with the love/valentine’s day theme, it was the perfect shopping opportunity and people were snapping up the shirts quickly! Take a peek at the scene and designs on the next page!
The new Lladró Lithophane lights that launched in Paris at Maison et Objet are stunning. Something so fun about the way the cluster of porcelain lights glow from afar, and as you get closer you see the wintry scenes with deer… or the parrots playfully adorning them. These new lights of Lladró porcelain can be displayed in so many ways, i love the modular potential, from more traditional chandelier like hanging, to twisted in clusters, they can change the mood of any room. Take a peek at some closeups of the two on the next page…
I first wrote about Manymals by Marcus Diebel and the incredible packaging just over a year ago when i procured the amazing Bat that is still one of my favorite necklaces. The weight feels incredible, and they are so sleek and beautiful! Well mid last year he also introduced a Koala to join the bat, sloth, bulldog, and gorilla… and now there is a Manymals Boa! Sleek, slithering boa coiled do elegantly on a chain… take a peek at more pics on the next page!