December has slapped us in the face with no apology. Being cooped up in a suburban box for most of my waking hours should not be an excuse for the lack of action on ‘the Gallery.’ (I am quietly willing this nickname to get catchier every time I use it.)
With the season of gift-giving in our midst, a list is in order and better yet, a list of gifts that I would like to receive. They are the only gifts worth giving unless you prove me otherwise.
This SIWA Backpack by Naoto Fukasawa is made in Japan. The material is wash-suki paper which is quite deceiving because it is resilient, waterproof and become softer with the wear and tear of commuting. Ideal for the urban nomad in everyone. $250 at Mjölk.
The iPad has been a game-changer since it was introduced to the market in 2010. Carrying one everywhere has been a constant for the person who is always on the go. Once you’re home, wouldn’t you like to have your sidekick come home to a nice cradle? I have been crushing on this iVictrola for iPad designed by Matt Richmond. It’s like the composite creature in Mary Shelley’s novel without the monster stigma. There is an old repurposed Magnavox horn from the 1920s to be used as the speaker with a handcarved walnut base. If you’re lucky enough to run into one, I know who has two thumbs and would like to find one under his tree. This guy. $985 from Design Within Reach.
Since it’s the holidays, we think about our friends and loved ones and how we can spend more quality time with them. It is all about being efficient with time and being always prepared for last-minute parties or dinners (maybe some that might have slipped one’s mind until about an hour before the appetizers). The Mini Cooper Coupé 2012 is a present that will keep on giving. Impromptu visits to the parents, aunts and uncles are on my list of resolutions. Please help make this possible. Starting at $25,950 at MINI.ca.
Around this time of the year, a design-hungry hog would be salivating about the thought of going to Salone internazionale del mobile where designers, manufacturers and consumers congregate to see what is in store in the very near future. The thought of being in the same room as the jewels of some of our time’s brilliant minds could induce short bursts of euphoria akin to Beatle-mania, if only those hyperventilating were full-grown adults, with refined tastes that are only be appeased by limited edition Eames chairs made from recycled bamboo chopsticks. I must confess I took the liberty in inventing this particular collector’s piece.
Not even an unpronounceable Icelandic volcano could keep the design-obsessed away. Last year, patrons and enthusiasts risked being grounded in Europe just to behold innovative products in design. What heaven does one live in where being stuck in Europe is the worst thing that could happen? Sign me up. Please.
The previous weeks have left me with a lot to juggle and my baby, Urban Peanut, has been left with nothing to feed on.
I am currently in New York and it is definitely a city like no other. With so many exhibits at the MoMa, and Brooklyn as a new place of urban exploration, one is left with close to no energy when one needs it the most: on a Friday night.
Muji is easily one of my favourite design stores with affordable offerings, without sacrificing quality of taste. My life in Paris involved coffee, food and Muji. There is nothing with a logo in the store. Subtlety and minimalism are keywords during the conception process of all of Muji items. I am packing up on their refillable pens and stationery. When are you coming to Canada, dear Muji? Good design is for the people!
My holiday is going very well with a trip to a Warhol exhibit in the Brooklyn Museum and a whole day of picnicking in Park Slope. I will let you know how it goes with photos. Brrrrup!!
Simon Warne with his Brollii
Smart design takes into account has an object’s ultimate purpose in mind. The rain that has taken residence over Toronto today has me thinking of how many umbrellas I have bought and how many have faced either of the two fates umbrellas usually have: breakage or loss. There are too many to recall.
The umbrella is such a great design concept in itself. I can imagine our cave-dwelling ancestors using a giant leaf for the same purpose, raising suspicions of witchcraft from the elders. Anyways…
Simon Warne, a Brunel University industrial design student in West London had an idea for an umbrella design that is ‘unbreakable’ and safe to open when other people are around.
The Brollii is an upside down umbrella that opens from the top. Imagine an umbrella that will not hit your neighbour’s face or worse, their eyes. Apart from the obvious advantage of not inflicting injury on others, the Brollii might also find a niche market in over-cautious people who fear legal suits in overly litigious communities.
So here I am, taking refuge in a café because riding a bike home in the rain is less attractive than writing about design and having a green tea. Maybe one day, someone will design an umbrella holder for bicycles, preferrably an unbreakable one. Capes do have a limit.
The pearl of wisdom above was uttered by one Pierre Dinand, the famous perfume bottle designer. He designed Yves St. Laurent’s Opium bottle.
Packaging makes a big difference especially with stiff competition in the market. It is precisely the case for scents. One’s palate has to be quite delicate to distinguish the different layers of aroma of a given perfume. Most of us usually are swayed by the ads printed in the Vogues of the world, and sometimes the celebrities who have helped ‘inspire’ the perfumer. (Hello, Celine Dion!) I know that I am not alone in equating the value of the scent with the attractiveness of the bottle.
Chanel No. 5 has to be the most recognizable perfume that the market has ever seen. The simple elegance of the bottle, designed by Coco Chanel herself was the first in an age where elaborate kitsch dominated. Think round bottles with etchings of lace, tassels, vaporizers and metallic accents that were too much for the eyes. The word ‘subtle’ does not come to mind. The No.5 bottle has been a pop culture mainstay and Andy Warhol’s silkscreen prints of the bottle in his trademark bright, gaudy colours do not disprove this claim.
Alexa Lixfeld‘s bottle design reminds me of the same elegance and simplicity through the incorporation of concrete bottle tops that remind me some of Anselm Kiefer’s installations. There are three scents, distinguished by the varying shades of gray concrete slabs. Please have a look at her site, if you are curious. And until technology allows for it, I will assume that her scents will just be as gorgeous as the their bottles.
Memory has become a more multi-faceted concept. Ten years ago, the word meant vivid captions of moments outside of the physical. Today, it means storage.
Information has become our most prized possession because everyone owns, at the very least, some. It is a matter of what value someone else attaches to yours. We can generate information with a click or a snap and the internet has become a digital rendering of people’s minds either at work or at procrastination mode. You choose.
The Power USB key above was conceived by IMM Living, a firm of young OCAD graduates. They have a whole lineup of design pieces without the exorbitant prices that everyone has come to know. Their Totem cups are beautiful and well-made. My birthday is coming up, hint hint. In October.