In addition to my growing porcelain fascination this ICFF, i have also been noticing a lot of Foosball Tables going more high design. During the Conran Shop's Rojo opening (incredible! Definitely worth how wet i got in the rain to get there)... i came across the bright red metal RS Barcelona RS #2 foosball table designed by Rafael Rodriguez... and then saw the white one downstairs in the shop... the silver one at ICFF... and the coat rack versions in both the Conran Shop and ICFF. Really what stands out about this one is the bright metal frames and the arms and expressions on the player! Their faces scream "pass it to me! pass it to me!" with that excited/alert look... and their arms make them look like they are always on the go... which is admittedly, even funnier on a coat rack. There is also a hilarious stumpy super-buff silver and black set of players on another table i found at the Conran Shop that you've got to check out on the next page (and maybe one of you knows who made that one?)... see all the pics on the next page!
Entries tagged with: toys
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Finally! At the Designboom Mart, i had the pleasure of meeting Reiko Kaneko of the Egg Soldiers i had posted back as .org #7028! Fun thing was to finally get to poke at these in person, and check out the playful packaging!
"Egg Soldier Eggcup - Battle on the breakfast table: It's early in the morning..... Having been for a dip, the EGG quietly prepares for another day. Suddenly, from the end of the table, an army of BREAD SOLDIERS starts to approach. The MODEL SOLDIERS, fearing for the safety of their EGG, close in. They work hard to protect the EGG but one after another, the BREAD SOLDIERS just keep coming...." Images from the designboom mart at icff on the next page!
On more sneak previews of ICFF launches, how adorable is Hanno the Gorilla? "From the deepest jungles comes Hanno the Gorilla! Like Hanno the Navigator, the Greek voyager who discovered gorillas 2,500 years ago, your Hanno is brave, strong, and curious. Hanno's powerful hardwood frame can hold many poses. His elastic-band muscles and durable wood limbs make him almost impervious to breakage. Hanno cannot fly and is vaguely afraid of heights. Hanno is made from sustainably harvested new-growth beech wood." He is the brainchild of David Weeks, and will be available from Areaware's new AREAWARE jr. (their new children's division) starting in Sept 08. Check out a close up of this guy on the next page!
Fluffy Sheep! I'm gearing up for Design Week in NY... and somehow have gotten backlogged enough with everything other than posting... anyhow, i digress... Fluffy Sheep!
I first fell giddily in love with these at the Danish Crafts space at ICFF last year - and just noticed that this year they are launching in hot pink and black (and also an unpictured brown and grey)... these are designed by Povl Kjær, more pictures and the story behind the sheep on the next page!
i'm so excited about heading to NY this week for nearly 2 weeks.
Really. A free classic for download on the Hermes site... i thought it was bizarre when Fendi went all DIY with its white canvas baguette that came with Pantone markers, but to see Hermes release Hermes Branded pdf's of DIY cut+glue models of Kelly bags... i just had to laugh. Then press print. Then post.
How do you feel about it? Is it awesome that these luxury brands are reaching out so strongly to a younger demographic? Embracing the DIY/customization trends... taking inspiration from dunnys and paper craft trends? Or does it cheapen the brands? Honestly, i'm pretty out of it, and not sure what to make of it. But first impression is certainly that these could be cute (cheap) branded place cards for a girly dinner party quite easily... See more screenshots and the pdf on the next page!
Naef makes the most incredible wooden toys that transcend age... with vibrant colors and unlimited possibilities, they are good from childhood through adulthood - being both toys, desk sculptures, and perfect for coffee tables/waiting rooms! I've obsessed on them before, and Dan has even purchased a few... but i recently rediscovered the Rainbow, which was designed by Heiko Hillig.
Rainbow is not only a wooden stacking toy - that opens up the possibilities with its bright colors and playful curves... but add the mallet to it, and each piece becomes its own tuning fork! It has received numerous design awards including the Bundespreis for product design in 1998, Germany and the German Design Award Wooden Toys in 1997. And although its pricey at $175 - i can see this being a great gift for parents of new borns... or any designer regardless of age...
Orbit Baby ~ if i were to have a kid (unlikely, anytime soon), i can't imagine having one without this system. In fact, my back, sanity, and kid's safety would demand it. This company is based right in east bay up in norcal and it's nice to see such a sweet group of Stanford product designers leave IDEO to pursue their dreams and apply their skills to something that really needed some updating (full story here)...
I encountered Orbit Baby while at CA Boom V... this and the Nomad Yurt were the two things i walked away raving about. The Orbit Baby system is so modular that you have one main soft handled baby carrier (good for the day you leave the hospital), which docks into the easy car seat base as well as the quick collapsing stroller... and also with the simple eames rocker matching rocker base. And as your child grows, you can upgrade to the toddler stroller seat (still works with your stroller and car seat). And for those who like basinets, you can also go for the basinet option which also docks into all the bases, and even comes in a new organic super soft 'green' edition.
I know it seems silly, that i'm raving about a kid system that i couldn't possibly have any use for, but the thought that went into every design detail and the incredible quality of the whole system were irresistible in person. I also even attempted my first vimeo video below from the show (vimeo, wow, sidetrack, but i'm loving their incredible user experience). As for design details worth noting... this system even comes with an easy adorable bag that stores nicely under the stroller! It has two cup holders (aka perfect cellphone holder?)... and the handles even adjust/rotate to your comfort position. Coolest thing of all... (other than making life easier on the parents) - "zoo viewing mode" since you can rotate any of these seats on the base... you can have a sideways facing stroller, which seems perfect for walking around a zoo/aquarium, and perfect for not taking up the whole aisle in a crowded restaurant like many new parents seem to.
Tons of pictures and a video after the jump!
Candy and Nicho, are the Aussie duo that make up Noferin. Exciting news i recently received from them - they are coming out to Santa Monica (from Carrara Island, Australia!) for their solo exhibition at Copro Nason on April 5th! I've been begging them for a sneak peek at what is to come... and studio pics and perhaps some paintings in progress coming soon... so far i've got a sneak peek at the Pecanpals (which you may remember from .org #7556) - made up of Fanelli, Pecan, Pandacake, Claudius and Jac Jac (read their bios on the Noferin site). These little guys are entirely made from wood, hand crafted, hand painted, and limited to 200 per character! The final versions may vary slightly from these prototypes, but i hope not by much, since they are pretty perfect looking as they are! See closeups of the whole set after the jump! I love all the little sidekicks... the grass cuttings, elephant, and dumbells are definitely my favorites.
A+R is the closest thing out there to a NOTCOT store... and the novelty has yet to wear off, since Andy keeps the place stocked with far too much that makes me feel like a kid in a designer candy store. Aside from the Theosauruses that i showed you earlier... i fell for this Puzzle Dinner Tray from Royal VKB designed by Wendy Boudewijns. In a nice unbreakable melamine, this tray helps kids get used to what goes where... and having loved puzzles of all sorts growing up, i just know my mom would have gotten me one of these had it been around when i was a wee one. Although i'm sure i've seen this around the web, playing with it in person won me over to post about it... see some hands on pics below!
You can't go wrong with Magis, the products both large and small have had me lusting since i was a kid... and tonight in particular i've been rediscovering their Me Too children's collection (many of which have been on NOTCOT over the years)... one that i hadn't noticed before is this Alma and Linus stacking chair and table set from Spanish designer, Javier Mariscal. The most incredible part is seeing the patterns on the back up close, i love the trees filled with the birds in their leaves! Made of injection molded Polypropylene with glass fibre, this set is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. Below, see not only a close up of the detail of the back of these seats, but also a few other Mariscal pieces for the Magis Me Too Collection (like the crazy angler fish looking play thing!)
The Puppy now comes in a sky blue! This was the first thing to grab me at CA Boom V at Santa Monica Airport's Barker Hangar today... the Magis Me Too Collection's booth is filled with all four sizes of the puppy in the four colors - green, white, orange, and now blue! This piece by Eero Aarnio is quite the iconic and irresistible kids piece that i would love to have around... see more pics below!
p.s. can you believe i first wrote about this puppy 3 years ago? (and for those who need a refresher, Aarnio is the man behind design icons like the ball chair and the bubble chair!)
Happy Pi Day ~ and for all of you who wonder where all these crazy posts and ideas and inspiration come from... well for the sake of my amusement, here's something silly i ended up with tonight (blame the lack of sleep and insanity that is LA this week... also Linhchi brought me a sun jar and combine that with my vinyl cutter.... ) Naturally all the craziness that you see propagating across the network comes from somewhere! But where? My glowing jar full of NOTCOTs! (Whatever a NOTCOT may be, that, as surprising as it is to most, is still quite unknown). So for today's random project, NOTCOTs are like fireflies, visual manifestations of all the crazy inspiration lighting us up?
Ok, so basically, Sun Jar+ Vinyl Cutter = Jar of NOTCOTs (and this will probably continue to evolve into other ideas...) Also, on Sun Jars, although i've gifted and recommended these solar powered glowing jars often, this is the first time i've been gifted one! And i must say for the next one i gift, i will ditch the packaging, personalize it in some subtle way for the recipient, and present it as simply the jar, with a beautiful ribbon to tie a notecard on. See more pics below! (also the dissection of my sun jar...)
Every feel like your brain is just hopping all over the place with ideas? Combining my love of brains, frogs, and toys... check out Emilio Garcia's Jumping Brain RGB set by Lapolab! And as you can see from the sneak peeks below from the thread on Solson Toys, the hemispheres even separate! I think i'd have to get the set and mix and match them all. What would i ever do without Vinyl Pulse?
Brio. Their logo always flashes me back to childhood and makes me imagine those woody tracks that interlock, and the adorable, simple, primary colored, magnetic train cars that you could link up... But it seems like they have headed more towards Playsam with these adorably bright, glossy, lacquered toys. Remember the shape sorting box was on NOTCOT.org a while back? Well, in addition to that, you can also find matching glossy building sets, rattles, and the coolest little race cars! Can you imagine a prettier kids gift for designer moms and dads? Even if you outgrow playing with them (is that even possible?), they'd look beautiful as part of the decor. Also see the pull toys and push cars after the jump.
NOTCOT Note: I'm excited to introduce you to Jenny Lemieux and Leo Corrales, of HERO Design Lab! Old friends from my Milan grad school days, they were nice enough to show me Toronto, and we had so much fun all weekend, that they've even written some posts for you! Starting off check out this awesome behind the scenes look at Monster Factory (who has had much love across NOTCOT over the years)!
We dropped by the Monster Factory factory today, as I'm dying to get my hands on one of their super cute little kid-friendly guys, and of course, we wanted a sneak peak at how the monsters come into being.... We chatted with partners Bliss Man and Rhya Tamasauskas (Adam Dunn wasn't in) and some of their team. The coolest, gentlest people, I have to say, which only makes sense. We got a behind the scenes glimpse of how they turn their concepts into patterns, then various prototypes, before stitching together the 65 kinds of monsters. We love that they do the whole thing in Toronto, and hire local fashion grads to lend a hand. See the many pictures after the jump!
A new entry in the bottled water market, Y Water, comes fresh out of Venice Beach ~ has a playful bottle designed by Yves Behar ~ and can be built into crazy structures... oh, and they are also targeted at kids, and are organic, low calorie drinks chock full of vitamins and minerals! "Y Water's attention-getting names—Muscle Water, Bone Water, Immune Water, and Brain Water—communicate the idea that the ingredients are the building blocks of healthier bodies." And there's the green angle too: bottles are 100% recyclable and 100% reusable as a creative developmental aid... And perhaps just as fun, are the crazy illustrations all over the Y Water site. See images of all after the jump!
Ready for a slightly more adult version of Spin The Bottle this Valentine's Day? Well Jimmyjane has you covered. This Valentine's Day from 6pm-8pm at the Gerber Group Bars and W Hotels Worldwide for the Spin Me Launch Parties. SPIN ME: Game of Mischief - "Remember “Spin the Bottle”? Well, we thought we’d raise the stakes a bit. The game of our youth lacked a bit of variety, so we’ve added a few plot twists. Some of those twists are G-Rated; others are closer to R or even, well, let’s just call it NC-17. To play: SPIN, READ, OBEY and REPEAT." See closeups below ~ an example game is "Let's Mingle: Take your SPIN ME game over to another table and ask them to play."
I've wanted a black viewmaster since the "Gifts for your Indie Ninja" list from my ThisNext days, but alas, i've been lazy and forgot to buy one... so when i saw that the latest issue of Arkitip, No. 0044 HIGHMATH ~ is a collaboration with one of my favorite Danish collectives, Wood Wood... and comes in a box with "1 Exhibition catalog, 3 image reels, 1 3D viewer"... i grabbed my credit card. How could i give up a chance at a black viewmaster (with white Arkitip, Wood Wood, and Nike branding) as well as fun art? Perhaps we need to get some branded NOTCOT Viewmasters, and every month/week/random whim we can send out a mysterious reel of inspiring imagery?
On simple toys often being the best ~ To Be Us' A Matter Of Toys (what a company/product line name) cars are adorable. AND handmade... (pictures of the making of after the jump!)
From the To Be Us site:
"Handmade in Italy - To be Us is craftsmanlike product, entirely handmade. A one size block of wood, a single cut that shapes the sports car, the romantic one, the pick-up, the saloon , the security van. To be Us products are made of cedar of Lebanon: a dense, spicy and long-lasting wood. Its peculiar scent has a natural anti-moths effect. Wheels are made of mahogany: a hard, dense and yet easy to work wood showing also a very fine and precious grain. No paints are used on To be Us toys. To be Us products are designed by Matteo Ragni, Giulio Iacchetti and Odoardo Fioravanti. and handmade by Master Giovanni."
The King Of The Deadbeats - aka Rex beta vulgaris mortem by Joe Ledbetter is too awesome. That's the blue walrus guy with a head on a stick. This is just one of the new 8 figure blind box series dropping from StrangeCo, and it's their new multi-artist mini figure series, The Vivisect Playset, featuring Anthony Ausgang, Luke Chueh, Peter Gronquist, Thomas Han, Joe Ledbetter, Greg Simkins and Amanda Visell! Quite the lineup ~ Luke Chueh's is perfection as well... that classic near tears look that lives beneath the glossy made up facade we parade around in - Mugs Bunny - aka Lepus polypersonas. For those in LA ~ the big Toy Release party (really its like a fun gallery opening where we can all afford to buy the goods) will be at Gallery 1988 on Jan 26th! See more pics of the full set packaging after the jump.
I've always found the most intriguing puzzles to be those that look beautiful as objects and cause people to over think the solution. And this Bubble Trouble glass puzzle fits that perfectly. The goal is to move the single air bubble into the center chamber of this glass vial. It's elegant in design and solution, and i love the typography on the packaging as well. Tempted to purchase this one to leave on my desk and watch people tilt it up and down and all around in hopes of achieving their goal. Ok, and if you simply can't stand not knowing, solution is below.
Q-BA-MAZE - you may have noticed this new designer twist on the old school 3d wooden marble mazes on the gift guide. Well i played with it a bit before then, but only had enough free time on my hands tonight to build more silliness with it and take a few quick pics... I must say there is something calmingly mesmerizing about playing with all the ball bearings ~ and the quality of the pieces are far nicer than i expected just looking at images ~ my only complaint would be that sometimes they dont hold together as well as i'd hope, and in building my silly nearly 5ft tall twisty single helix/staircase tower some of the core center pieces weren't clicking together and it came tumbling down once... Also, some of the best packaging ever, i love that they managed to put the packaging together so that you can actually flip the box over to reset the balls to roll down the maze in the box! It's fully functional to play with before it even gets opened! Anyhow, take a look at the huge images below, and to find out more, go watch the videos at Q-BA-MAZE!
The Pingmag holiday delights post had these crazy little Kaomoji characters from Yojin on them, and i had no idea what to expect when i clicked through... one thing's for sure though, i didn't see the super crazy animation coming! These Kaomoji are part ascii art, part emoticon, and part crazy japanese toy character... more images of them below!
Twilight Turtle is another baby/toddler toy i came across the other day. Made by Sleep Sheep and Friends or Cloud B ~ this turtle is cuddly under its shell, lights up in various colors, and projects the night sky on to the ceiling (or your tent, fort, etc). "Choose from three soothing color options – blue, green, and white – to create magical, tranquil environments that are ideal for helping children of all ages ease into a restful sleep." And it projects 8 constellations for kids to learn. Also interesting is their Sheep Sleep, which plays 4 sounds that comfort babies ~ Mother's Heartbeat, Spring Showers, Ocean Surf, and Whale Songs. You can actually control the volume and it auto times out after 23 minutes. This one even now has a stroller/to-go version. More images of all below!
Honestly, with both of these being priced in the 25-40$ range, they've totally made my list for new parent gifts!
Pleo's two week stint here at NOTCOT is up, so just packaged him back up to ship him home... its been an interesting experience having a baby robodino wandering around as i work. So what's my final conclusion about the user experience of having him around? Honestly, its a really cool robot. An extremely unique experience for people of all ages, but i'm not sure that he has what it takes to hold your attention after he captures it with his inexplicably adorable sounds and behaviors that tug on your heartstrings. I found he's most amusing when treated like a lap cat... he sits and whines and basically purrs and howls happily if you just pet him constantly, tickle his feet, etc. When left to his own devices he kept wandering *very very slowly* around the room, finding objects, rubbing up against them, eating the air, calling out for more attention or else falling asleep. The hardest part about any robotics right now, is throughout your playtime with him, it is impossible to forget that he's a robot. As cute as he is batting his deep blue eyes at you, the sounds of the gears grind on constantly ~ although more quiet than most, its still hard to ignore. Also impressive is that he really is one robust little guy, he can probably survive some of the worst of kids and still keep doing his thing (with the exception of his skin perhaps which doesn't seem to be on quite the same level as his robotics). I wasn't able to yet play with programming my own behaviors and personalities for him, but when that happens i can certainly see the amount of time you'd spend futzing with him increase dramatically, but for now i did check out his *guard dog* mode which was pretty hilarious... pop the personality on an SD card and into his slot... and suddenly he barks at anything that moves!
Bottom line? I'm glad he's wandered through my life for these few weeks, and i've had friends and family all amused by playing with him, its fascinating to see how far the tech has come for this... and with a $350 price tag, he's certainly an *it* toy worth owning for the kids and gadget lovers who have it all... especially when the ability to really hack him up and give him personalities and behaviors of your choosing is ready! And are you curious about seeing what's beneath Pleo's rubbery exterior? More below...