First stop into vegas... UNICA HOME! The showroom/shop! Stepping into their new 3 month old 12,000 sq ft space felt like going to design heaven ~ so many things i've written about... beautifully laid out for hours of oooooohs and ahhhhhhs followed by debating and purchasing... i'm currently debating the Artimide Melampo Lamps! Unica Home in person manages to strike a delicate balance between being incredibly accessible and touchable, while still feeling as if you're in the presence of a museum like space versus a store, as silly as it sounds, you can feel the care that is taken in showcasing the products with the utmost respect. When you meet founders Bonnie & Hugh, you'll quickly grasp their passion for each and every object in the store, and their excitement over what is yet to come is infectious! And really, 12,000 sq feet is HUGE! They have one of their two warehouses in the back of the store, so don't hesitate to ask if there's something you've been eying online that you're curious to see in person... The Detroit natives have been running Unica Home for 10 years, and have surprising backgrounds ranging from molecular biology, advertising/marketing, and antique sales as well as serving on the board of the legendary Neon Museum... and Hugh pointed us towards some off the Strip spots to check out... you'll see more about Frankie's Tiki Room when i get the next post ready... but first ~ click on to the next page to see a tour of the incredible Unica Home, there are over 30 pictures!!! There was just far too much to show you! This is definitely a MUST SEE when you're in vegas!
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UPDATE!!!: CONGRATS to Lisa in Clifton, Colorado who won the Steelcase Leap Chair!!! And huge thanks to everyone that participated!
CES time! And since i'm off to vegas in the morning, i wanted to leave you with this fun giveaway! Maybe if dan takes over and does some driving, i'll even have time to approve some comments on the googlephone on the road!
The nice folks at Steelcase were so excited about the post about the Leap chair that they've offered to give one away to a lucky NOTCOT reader, and with generosity like that, how could i say no? This is pretty much the perfect gift/upgrade to kick off 2009 with ~ especially if you're just getting back to work... this Leap might help make the work weeks go by a little more comfortably (and ergonomically!) While the base model retails at $850 and really its an investment in our bodies when we're overworking at our computers... here's your chance to win one!
So for this first giveaway of 2009 ~ i ask 3 little things of you ~ 1) What would you do with the massive box (it's big, i could totally make a fort with mine!)? 2) What is your New Year's Resolution? 3) How will the Steelcase Leap improve your life? For question 1, you should definitely check out the pictures on the next page... for a chance to win, you have until the 31st of January to leave a comment!
UPDATE: Some have asked for more details on how you win ~ well if you answer all three questions (yes, actually answer them, no gibberish or skipping some!) ~ you're in the running!
Remember the Too Late watches that surfaced as .org #16568? Well a few were sent over, and the packaging and product itself was pretty interesting.... firstly, i LOVE that they package these little watches in adorable screw top jars! And then, instead of replacing just the battery, you actually purchase a whole new tiny watch mechanism, which is micro-blister-packed! The watches themselves were thicker than i imagined from the website, being just shy of 1 inch wide, and there isn't much stretch to them, so make sure you get the right size, or else it might be a bit rough on your hand getting it on! Being waterproof ~ i suppose these are perfect for swimming/diving or even working out? I could totally see stretching one to use as a grip on my water bottle! Only issue i had with them is the buttons are pushed and time reset far too easily ~ the slightest bump and they seemed to be flashing and changing modes! They come in quite the range of colors ~ and it seems like they are constantly adding new ones! Apparently these Italian watches are taking off in the younger circles ~ and kids are wearing them in bunches! (Also perfect for the multi-time-zone jetsetter?) Take a peek at the pics on the next page to see closeups of the jar, the watches, and the tiny mechanism running it all!
UPDATE!!! Saw these in person (but no pics, b/c they were shutting down the booth) ~ they are incredibly light! (that was the main question i was getting asked when discussing it with some diving buddies)
Heading to vegas tomorrow ~ CES time already! And so far, one of the things i'm most excited about seeing in person is the latest from Liquid Image ~ the ProHD350!!! Seriously, an awesome jet black dive mask that shoots 5.0 megapixel stills and HD video up to 30fps (with audio!)... it even runs on 4 AAA batteries! has 64MB internal, but takes up to a 32GB microSD/SDHC... and has light attachments (both on the sides and/or headlight)!!!
I know, it seems silly, but the more handsfree you can go while scuba diving the better ~ and to take what look like pretty awesome images without too much added hassle sounds ideal! Oooh and best part, the Pro model is good up to 330ft/100m!!! Well i wrote about their original model about a year ago ~ and since then, they are launching a few other models as well ~ ranging from working at depths to 10m/33ft, 5m/15ft and with and without HD video shooting... but really, the ProHD350 is definitely the most appealing! See more pictures and info on the next page!!! It would be awesome if there's a demo to play with this at CES!
Wow. OMG Posters just turned me on to the amazingly inspiring and beautiful posters and illustrations of Jay Ryan and The Bird Machine ~ his incredible print shop of Skokie, IL. His latest work is this pair of NYE posters for HUM (and they just went on sale this morning!) ~ and i was so smitten by the gorgeous color palettes and sketchily playful yet serious potrayal of all the creatures (with a paul smith like striped background), i just wandered through his 13+ years of portfolio gallery...
I've found that his animal works are the most inspiring to me ~ so i've rounded up a bunch of my other favorites on the next page for you to browse ~ his 7 poster series for "Our Planet is a Blue Planet" is just beautiful! Also amusing as his animal stacks... from walrus heads to towers of farm creatures...
On recent obsessions ~ Nathan Jurevicius' Peleda Owl Wind Up Blind Box Toys by Toy Tokyo!!!! You saw the original version as .org #17153... and alyssa mentioned that there was a special urban outfitters exclusive edition as well... so while the new Space 1520 in Hollywood, i finally saw them in person and was so taken by the packaging as well as the windups owls themselves! (Mean urbn guy wouldn't let me trade whatever was in my box for the demo black one that was just sitting out!!!) Sooooooo, as a result i started researching them all and rounded up all the pictures i found of them as well as close up photos of our glowing and magenta ones and they great packaging graphic design! See it all on the next page!
Nathan Jurevicius' may sound familiar because he's the aussie illustrator behind Scary Girl.
The Steelcase Leap has been literally supporting me through this holiday season. Amongst the chaos and overworking it's been looking out for my back and posture, and its comfy! I also love that it comes in a stool version, perfect for those architectural sketching desks... and then a lounge version too with a leather ottoman to match! Check out the whole Steelcase Leap collection.
So here's the deal, while my back can't talk and tell you quite how comfy and supported it's felt ~ and although the holidays are coming to a close and most are getting back to the office soon... here's the perfect post holiday gift to help yourself (or your hard workers) have a little more fun at work (Steelcase claims that increased ergonomics increases productivity.... and in between there i assume everyone just feels better and happier too!). So here's my review/closer look through lots of pictures on the next page ~ including the inspiring GIANT cardboard box! And pictures that can't be missed on the next page... besides the closeups... pictures of their test models! They look like fantastic crazy contraptions from medieval times meet today's office chairs! Check it all out on the next page ~
Favorite holiday card that has come this year is definitely this adorable one from our friends at Busy Beaver Button Co.! I've been discussing ideas with them for ages now, but between the holiday chaos haven't had time to execute on some of our ideas... so perhaps 2009 will finally see new button designs and perhaps even some fun glow in the dark button contests on NOTCOT? Although after seeing this card, now i want buttons that all fit together on some crazy background... hrmmmmm, so many ideas! See a close up of their new 2" square buttons on the next page...
Wordlocks! "Use words, not numbers" is their slogan ~ and honestly when i was first playing with them and chatting with their PR, it really brought out the inner child in me... they said you shouldn't be able to make bad words with them, so of course for days they became my desk fidget toy as i'd work on things and try to find some... i did find quite a few strange ones even! (anyone on my facebook probably saw pics of these) BUT, that's not the point... I'm not sure about you, but i've always been TERRIBLE with combination locks, not just remembering the numbers but trying to open them even! These pad locks, luggage locks, bike locks, and more make it a bit easier if you come up with a word that works... or better yet, an acronym? I can just imagine coming back to your gym locker watching people playing games trying to guess the word on your lock!
But to geek out for a moment, what i found most interesting is the background behind the Wordlocks... "After 20 years in the technology business as an engineer, most recently at Apple, Todd Basche and his wife Rahn (a Clinical Social Worker) quit their jobs and started Wordlock Inc. They expanded the family of products and created bike locks, TSA-approved luggage locks and recently launched the industry's first Spanish-language padlock. Not only is the design of the lock patented, the algorithm that Wordlock created that allows for 100,000 word and letter combos on the padlock is as well. Wordlock has patented a number of software algorithms that maximize the number of words the lock can spell on its five dials (note each dial has 10 letters or 9 letters and a blank space on it)." Apparently the apple engineer and his wife have spent ridiculous amounts of time on algorithms to figure out the best letters to put on those wheels for the optimal number of possible "real" words in both english and spanish! The locks remind me of old physical word puzzles i had as a kid where you'd spin the rings to make the words... now if only i could rearrange the rings on these Wordlocks and invent MORE word options! But lets be honest, its not like we don't have enough passwords to remember from everything online to root passwords to voicemail passwords to.... well maybe having words for bike locks and gym lockers and mysterious storage containers would help? See more pics of them all on the next page, as well as scanned in pages of possible combinations they recommend.
*Phew* Merry Boxing Day ~ what a season it's been!!! Apologies for the slow down in posts, just been trying to catch up with my life a little after the gift guides, giveaways, and more the last month or so! As a result you'll be seeing a few more playful posts from my everyday life (like the ZOO posts!) I just spent most of today hanging out at the new house/NOTCOT HQ which is nearly ready, and luckily ready enough for me to move my first conference/dining/pool table into!!! I somehow ended up hanging out there from about 10am till 9pm... delivery didn't happen until closer to 3pm, but luckily Dan was there to keep me company! And then we naturally had to play a few games both before and after grabbing dinner with a friend! And now i couldn't resist sharing some pics with you! But first, these are overview/snapshots of the building of the table, because once i got home i realized that in the excitement of PLAYING, we forgot to take more pics... so more pictures of the awesome design details to come.
So, remember Fusion Tables by Aramith? Wayyyy back as .org post #8996 that Laura Sweet posted? Basically its one of the first unique designs for pool tables that leans super sleek minimalist modern, and quickly hides in plain site as a dining table or conference table. To achieve this, Aramith (Belgian maker of incredible pool balls... "Without being familiar with the industry, very few would guess that nearly 80% of the billiard balls used worldwide come from a small village in the countryside of Belgium. For over half a century, the company SALUC SA has produced in the secrecy of its premises in Callenelle the unique and well-known Aramith phenolic balls, making this miniscule village the world's capital of billiard ball production." from their history), has designed the Fusion Tables, with a special lift system to adjust the table from dining height to pool table height easily, spandex pockets solve the problem of needing pockets that show when viewing the table from the side, and it still has a single slate, and incredibly high quality felting! Really with the table top on, you'd never guess there was a pool table hidden within! Anyhow, with the new house/office nearly ready, and the need for a dining/conference table ~ i couldn't resist once i saw one in person! So take a peek at the set up of the table on the next page... and more pics to come!
Villainess Soaps just popped up on NotCouture ~ and while at first i simply crossposted it to .org... i quickly realized there was too much awesomeness to show in one 250x250 image... so here's a proper post on their incredible packaging! Granted i have no idea how their products are... but they've won me over with their vintage pirate like feel... its like the Lush i'd imagine pirates/wenches would use! With hilarious naming, great graphic design, and an incredible clawfoot bathtub display at the Den of Antiquities... you have to take a peek!
From Villainess Soaps: "Our catchphrase is "redefining bad." We're also taking significant steps to redefine the way skincare is formulated, manufactured and marketed. We love gentle, environmentally conscious, and animal-friendly components as much as anyone. But we're not interested in helping perpetuate false dichotomies or marketing ploys." Who can't avoid gifting bars of Ennui, Grundy Swamp Mud, Gloop, etc... See lots more images on the next page!
Kiki de Montparnasse reached out to us, and being quite taken by their incredible user experiences ~ both in store and online ~ and being in the holiday spirit ~ i couldn't resist sharing their generous holiday offer with you. They take pleasure to a new level, and each and every piece they offer is carefully curated and impeccably designed ~ so even if you're done holiday shopping, i'm sure your lover(s) could always use a few more surprises...
Here is your exclusive NotCouture holiday offer from Kiki de Montparnasse. "Notcouture and Kiki lovers will have a 40% discount off any online purchase from now until the new year when they enter the promo code NCLOVE at checkout. You will also enjoy free shipping on all domestic orders. We are also offering an exclusive gift just for Notcouture readers: Receive a complimentary bottle of Kiki Body Oil with any purchase of $75 or more until the new year. This holiday season, give the gift that really counts: love."
Take a peek on the next page of a few of my favorites from their holiday collection ~ i'm still lusting after those silk ties covered with the delicate handcuff prints (remember i wrote about them here a while back?)... and that candle (so tord boontje)... and those goblets... *swoon*... enjoy!
Holiday roundup~ as you know Best Buy is sponsoring our roundups the last few weeks ~ and since its been so COLD (yes, even here in usually sunny socal) ~ here's a NotCouture roundup of things to keep you warm (and stylish) through this chilling season! Click the images to find out more!
I have a thing for messenger bags and a fascination with bags made of out unexpected recycled materials (i think it started with Freitag in high school) ~ and throughout the life of NOTCOT, we've looked at so many... from truck tarps to sea sails to parachutes to jackets and more... but when i spotted this at Springwise, i did a double, triple, quadruple take...
Zirkeltraining ~ is a german line of bags, wallets, laptop sleeves, etc made from recycled vintage 1950's gymnastics equipment... from pummel horses to floor mats to rescue nets... with some truck tarps thrown in as well... Their photography is also eery but captivating... and the whole thing fascinated me until someone mentioned how many crotches have been on 1950's pummel horse leather... but still... i had to share it with you... so see more pictures on the next page!
TO WIN: Leave a comment ~ with something space related! ENTER BY 12/21. WINNER: Kathryn in Indianapolis, IN!
This is quite possibly the coolest baby playmat EVER ~ well, if i for some strange reason popped out a kid today, this is the one i'd buy. Doesn't matter if its for a boy or a girl, it is gorgeously colorful, intriguing, and has ufos and rocketships! Part of an exclusive collection by Skip Hop for Babies'r'us ~ this is the Skip Hop Outer Space Activity Playmat. So this 33rd giveaway goes out to the babies (do we have any playmat sized readers out there?) and their parents or expecting parents or expecting aunts/uncles/etc! You can read more at Skip Hop as well ~ and more pics of these goodies, as well as my other favorites from the collection (i swear alien rattle looks like a flying spaghetti monster) on the next page!!!
For a chance to win ~ leave a comment with something space related!
TO WIN: Leave a comment ~ telling us what you geek out about! ENTER BY 12/21. WINNER: Mikayla in Toronto, Canada!
Well we're up to Giveaway 32! And this one's super fun! After all, who doesn't need more ninja in their life? Especially a bright red GEEKY NINJA? And some stickers and buttons and a comic book too... and that's not counting the special #1 Ninja Con comic and badge too!!! From the super awesome Shawnimals ~ for a chance to win this giveaway... tell us what YOU geek out about! We all have something...
See more pics on the next page ~ and a coupon too!
TO WIN: Leave a comment here ~ with something to make the other commenters smile! ENTER BY 12/20. WINNER: Collin in Plattsburgh, NY!
Well, here we are at the final of the 5 Giveaways from our official Holiday Gift Guide Sponsor, Seagate! (and Giveaway #31!!!) ~ this is the top of the line FreeAgent external hard drive ~ the Seagate FreeAgent XTreme ~ in a sleek black case, this is 1 Terabyte of "blazingly fast data transfer" with USB 2.0, FireWire 400, and eSATA!
Sooo, since its been a loooooong day/week/month, and its completely grey, super cold, and pouring rain here, and we're closing in on all the holiday shopping panic for those who are lining up at post offices to get things there by xmas ~ how about leaving a comment that will make people smile? Something fun and silly to amuse the other commenters?
P.S. You guys are the best ~ thanks for all the awesome comments so far (and on ALL the giveaways!!!) ~ i hope you have as much fun reading them as leaving them!
Inspiration + awesome web design + mind blowing packaging design + wine + customized moleskine + education + amusement? Does it really get any better? I don't even know where to start talking to you about how impressed and fascinated i am with the Francis Ford Coppola Encyclopedia site KnoWine.com ~ or the fact that they are making wine even more accessible by TEACHING people about it, with a playful site filled with videos, info, and a grade school feeling lined notebook paper on wooden desk feel! Super cool is that they sent people off to various regions for 30 days to learn about the wines and document their adventures in text, pics, and videos.
But seriously, lets talk packaging. Who knew making the "largest screwcap in all the land" could be so beautiful? As soon as i pulled the bottles out today i was already scheming ideas for what i could do with the gorgeous carafes... so, giant screwcap + awesome carafe bottle shape, it feels like an Erlenmeyer flask meets decanter... just enough glass details to keep it interesting (from the ridges to the text around the base... and that really sweet chemical structure of reservatrol, the antioxidant found in the skin of grapes)... not to mention the branding of using stamps with the countries the wines come from instead of labels! Oh, and then there's also the inspiring quotes on the lids of each bottle that can't not bring a smile to anyone's face when they are about to open it! And to top that, they sent over a few customized Francis Ford Coppola Encyclopedia customized moleskines! And they go beyond the usual cover art ~ they actually stickerize the inside cover with the stamp/labels from each region as well as stamp quotes and more randomly throughout!
I think they said it best: "Simply stated, wine is discovery. From how it's made and where it's made to why we drink it when we do, wine is not just wine." So take a look at MANY pictures on the next page, from close ups to the bottles and notebooks to screenshots and diagrams of their design choices.
Fresh from the UK ~ Justine (aka RUGenius) just sent over a bunch of pics of the new CIA Super Hero Calendar for 2009 that just showed up! It was seen as #17226 ~ and we featured their *free* weekly calendar last year too ~ demand was insane last year, so we don't blame them for making this year's weeklies a mere 5 pounds for brits.
The theme this year? Super Heroes!!! Nothing like a perfect desk sized weekly calendar filled with inspiring art to brighten things up! Take a peek at some of our favorite images on the next page!
Ok, honestly, not much to say here other than, i'm kind of obsessing over Chanel's ability to make such lust worthy nail polish colors ~ There are galaxies of possibilities in these colors, and i almost want them all!
"La Collection Paris Moscou ~ from Russia (via Paris) with love: Three limited-edition, jewel-toned nail shades that evoke the riches of the Russian Empire - the inspiration behind the new CHANEL PARIS-MOSCOU Fashion Show, designed by Karl Lagerfeld." *swoon* So, which color to get? See the names/screenshot on the next page...
p.s. its driving me nuts that they so clearly photoshopped the colors... if only they made the effort to mess with the swirl patterns ever so slightly?
On long overdue and super amazing things that have shown up recently ~ 8/9 of the 1800 Tequila Limited Edition Artist Bottles arrived, and i can't bring myself to open them, i just kind of sit and stare at how gorgeous they are ~ honestly, if you haven't seen them in person, you must! Because i've seen pictures, from high res to billboards, for some time now, and they were far more incredible in person! They are like gorgeous drinkable works of art... basically it feels like they are screened on to the backs of the glass bottles, which results in a nice matte feel on the back, and the art looks like its floating in the bottle of tequila... perhaps my favorite detail besides the art work itself (and the fact that the cap is a shot glass) ~ each bottle is numbered (out of 1800), has the name and bio of the artist, and their signature in silver! Really i can only ramble so much about this, but what you really need to see is all the close up pics of the bottles themselves! So click through and browse them on the next page!
Not sure what to bring for a last minute party, gift, etc ~ i think its pretty hard to go wrong with one of these... SO pretty!
TO WIN: Leave a comment ~ telling us about your favorite green thing! ENTER BY 12/19. WINNER: Tom in Sunset, UT!
Hey ~ sorry ~ today kind of escaped me between the new toy and a bunch of businessy/ad related work/panic that kind of took over my day ~ the kind of takeover where you suddenly realize its midnight and you're still working... Anyhow! To catch up we're going to do two giveaways today! So first up is the 30th NOTCOT Holiday Giveaway (can you believe it's been 30?!?!?!) ~ from our eco-friendly friends at Branch Home ~ they are literally going green with this giveaway, having given us 4 pairs of these gorgeous Felt Swallows! So 4 light green and 4 dark green, and they hang on a simple, shiny, satin ribbon ~ made of 100% eco-certified felted wool in Germany, these birds are about 6" and ready for anything from decorating your tree, to hanging in your car, adding to a present's wrapping, or even letting the kids customize with their names, glitter, and more!
So to win this bundle of eco-friendly felty birdies, leave me a comment with your favorite green thing. (Yes, that is intentionally vague, anything green, from kermit to your recycling bin...) and don't forget the coupon from branch on the next page!
Eep! It's here! I'm so so giddy right now that you'll have to excuse these sloppy pics, but i've been bouncing up and down (despite the ridiculously dreary, rainy, weather) ~ but fedex came by with the best xmas/bday present ~ Canon 5D Mark II!!! And EF 16-35mm f/2.8 lens!!! Basically i'm writing this post to buy myself more time while anxiously waiting for the battery to charge... So check out unboxing pics, and side by side comparison pics with my 40D (and since these are IN the shot, they are taken with the TX1)!
TO WIN: Leave a comment ~ sharing how cold it is (aka why you need these?)! ENTER BY 12/17. WINNER: Carol in Gaithersburg, MD!
Here's a special giveaway ~ perhaps most exciting to me because these gloves are the by product of trend blogger, Josh Rubin, of Cool Hunting ~ and his dad! Who is a second generation glove maker! Here's the father-son story behind these Freehands gloves to help you use your tech in the winter...
Josh Rubin, the New-York-City based designer of Freehands and founder of CoolHunting.com, realized there was an opportunity in the glove category last winter when he found himself answering his iPhone with his nose to avoid taking his gloves off. The hassle of the glove-or-phone conundrum came up at dinner with his father, Stanley Rubin, who conveniently manufactures and sells gloves. In a matter of minutes, sketches were drawn, the scissors were out, and the Freehands glove was born.
As a professional interface designer, Josh has been designing the way people use web sites and mobile phones for more than ten years. Throughout his career he's sought to blend usefulness, usability and beauty--a goal he continues to pursue at the design firm he co-founded, Bond Art + Science . Stanley grew up in Gloversville, NY, where his father was a glove manufacturer. Stanley (like his brother and nephew) followed suit, and it's fair to say that he knows a few things about gloves. Freehands represents the melding of their experience, sensibilities and design aesthetics.
See more images on the next page ~ and for a chance to win a pair in the material/size of your choice, leave comment telling us how cold it is (aka why do you need these?)!