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Posted by Jeri Dansky  |  29 May 2014  |  Comments (0)


Living not far from some of California's best wineries, I have a number of clients who have bottles of wine to store. Some have just a few bottles, while some have quite a collection. And they all need storage—and something not as elaborate as the Spiral Cellar.

The terra cotta wine racks from Weston Mills Pottery provide a modular system for storing a few bottles, or a larger collection. The terra cotta helps shield the wine from temperature variations, and it won't deteriorate if placed in a humid cellar. It's also incredibly simple to "assemble"—more so than many other modular options. However, this is a heavy product, and would be a pain to deal with if the end-user was moving.


The modular wine rack from MuNiMulA, made from interlocking pieces of anodized aluminum. Although these pieces can be stacked, I'd be somewhat concerned about having a tall stack in earthquake-prone territory, or anywhere small children could pull at it. That's an issue with a lot of wine racks, unless they can be bolted to the wall.


The Echelon wine rack, made from extruded aluminum, addresses my concerns about stability. This is the retail, tabletop version—but there's also an architectural version, which has a wall bracket.


Posted by Jeri Dansky  |  22 May 2014  |  Comments (0)


As a professional organizer, I believe in having plenty of easy-to-use laundry hampers. Sometimes the reason the dirty clothes don't make it into the laundry bin is that the bin is down the hall, not in the bedroom!

This laundry hamper from Simple Human has a lot going for it. The open top makes it easy to put things into the hamper. The double bags allow the end-users to sort darks vs. lights, or regular wash vs. dry cleaning. (Not everyone has room for a double-bag version, so Simple Human also provides a single-bag hamper.) And the bags are easy to remove from the frame and tote to the laundry room. Some end-users say they come off a bit too easily—coming loose when jostled by a vacuum cleaner, for example.


Some end-users prefer to have a laundry hamper that isn't so open—so the dirty laundry isn't on display, so the cats can't get into it quite so easily, etc. These Brabantia laundry bins accommodate that preference while allowing laundry to be placed in them without removing a lid. There's a removable, washable laundry bag inside, and Brabanita sells replacement bags; that's a nice way to protect the end-user's investment in the bin in case the bag gets ripped or stained. There are plenty of ventilation holes in the bin, too.


These laundry carts from Crate and Barrel and Restoration Hardware would suit an end-user who likes the super-easy-to-toss-into open look—and who has a laundry room down the hall from the bedroom or bathroom. With baskets that don't go all the way to the floor, there's no awkward reaching for laundry at the very bottom, but the a limited capacity.


Posted by Jeri Dansky  |   8 May 2014  |  Comments (0)


As I work with clients to organize their offices, I often see them scramble to find everyday things such as pens, paper clips and sticky notes. That's one of the first things we fix, since it's a basic organizing principle to keep often-used items close at hand. And using the proper containers for those items makes them easy to grab when needed.

Especially if the desk does not have a pencil drawer, end-users will want to keep these frequently-used items on their desktops, in some form of desk organizer. Some of these organizers are a single piece, such as the Toolbox from Vitra, designed by Arik Levy. This design is nice for end-users who move between multiple work surfaces—or who work on something like the dining room table, where the desk supplies need to be removed when the table is used for other purposes. The Toolbox also could be used for plenty of other things if needs change and it's no longer needed as a desktop organizer. It's made from ABS plastic.


This desk organizer, from Less & More, consists of two pieces that join together. One piece has holes of various sizes, plus a compartment that would hold a wallet or something of a similar size. The second piece has slots to hold paper and notes, a separate slot that's the right size for a cell phone, and two magnets to hold a few paper clips. Here we see the space-vs-storage tradeoff: This organizer is 10 inches deep (compared to the Vitra toolbox, for example, which is 7 inches deep), which will be too large for some end-users. And the design creates some hard-to-use space in the areas to the left and right of the piece storing the papers and the cell phone—fine if you have space to spare, but not if desktop space is limited.


In comparison, this single-piece wood block desk organizer from l'Atlier d'Exercices is more compact, at only 2.25 inches deep, but it stores much less. There's one hole for pens, and five slots for papers—but nothing for items such as paper clips.


Other desk organizers are modular. These are the Rhombins from AMAC, designed by Eric Pfeiffer and Scot Herbst. Each of the three rhombus-shaped modules has a divider inside to separate items kept within. All sorts of configurations are possible, including a stacked one to save space—although that means the end-user needs to unstack them to get at certain things. The Rhombins are made of Cereplast, a plant-based bio-plastic.


Posted by erika rae  |   6 May 2014  |  Comments (0)


Last week, we spotted a couple of airplane interior designs from Paperclip Design LTD—aircraft armrests to seating concepts)—which address just a couple of the countless travel-related annoyances. But when you think about the worst that could happen in terms of travel plans, a delayed flight is probably pretty high up there, considering it can throw your entire trip into limbo.

My own personal interaction with major traveling hiccups takes me back to the age of 12, crying in the middle of Reagan International Airport terminal until some nice flight attendant took pity on me and let me tearfully call my parents on her brick of a cell phone. The one thing that might have made me feel better would have been a quiet place to nap and continue mourning my delayed flight home. Enter RESMO. The Red Dot Award winning design is a collapsible seat complete with a privacy shield made expressly for those trying to deal with a delayed flight by catching up on some much-needed rest. (For some of us, this might be considered a vacation in itself.)



Posted by erika rae  |  29 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)


Sure, there are a lot of ways to make your own cosmetics at home. Just hop on Pinterest for, oh let's say, two minutes. Many of those methods may feature infusing your own scents and flavors into home basics, like vaseline—but those recipes aren't always looking out for the well-being of your skin. Teardrop—a kit of tools and accessories for extracting beneficial properties from plants—focuses less on the finished product and more on the safety and sustainability of the homemade phytocosmetics (plant-based cosmetics) you're looking to make. You won't get a complete jar of lip balm from this, but you will be on the right track to avoiding the unhealthy ingredients like salicylic acid exfoliates and alcohol in your skin products.


Teardrop is a steam-based distillation system, which means it helps the user produce pure herbal water, which can then be used to create toxin-free cosmetics. (Enter: The never-ending fleet of Pinterest recipes.)



Posted by Jeri Dansky  |  24 Apr 2014  |  Comments (1)


Storage that's hard to reach—the rafters in garages, the top shelves of kitchen cabinets, bedroom closets and tall bookcases—is a common problem in homes, and sometimes in offices. As a professional organizer, I recommend step stools (or short ladders) to my clients all the time, so they can make use of the storage space available to them, without standing on chairs and risking their safety.

And different designs serve different situations. Sometimes the space allows for a step stool that does not fold, but rather sits out and becomes part of the decor. The step stool above, from Infusion Furniture, was designed for a loft-style apartment, for an end-user "who wanted a stool that was interesting and elegant enough to live in the kitchen and not in the closet." The handle makes it easy to carry around to different locations.


The Heaven stepladder, designed by Thomas Bernstrand and manufactured by Swedese, is made of lacquered aluminum sheet metal. There's no second side to provide support; instead, the base does that. This might make some end-users nervous, but others will love the look. That photo is by Fredrik Sandin Carlson.


And if we're talking about step stools that don't fold away, the Cramer Kik-Step has to be included. This one has been around for 50 years, and it's often found in libraries—but I know someone who uses it in her pantry. The Kik-Step has hidden casters to make it easy to move around on most floors; the casters retract when someone steps on it, and the stool locks into place. The bumpers keep it from scratching the walls. It's made of steel, and supports up to 500 pounds.


But many end-users, especially those in small spaces, will want a step stool that does fold up. The Lucano step stools, created by Metaphys and Hasegawa Kogyo Co., will each hold up to 220 pounds. The step stools are made of a combination of aluminum and ABS; end-users comment that the light weight makes them easy to move around. One drawback: The grooved steps are too narrow for some end-users; the bottom two steps on the 3-step ladder are just 2.75" deep.


Posted by Jeri Dansky  |  17 Apr 2014  |  Comments (2)


Timers might not sound like an organizing product—but as a professional organizer, I recommend them to my clients all the time. They're great for overcoming procrastination; end-users can set the timer for 15 minutes and do some dreaded task for just that amount of time. Or they might set the timer for 20 minutes and make sure, when it goes off, that they are still on task. And, of course, timers are useful when cooking and baking, or performing any task where keeping track of time is critical.

Yes, many of us carry timers around with us on our smartphones—but not all end-users have smart phones. And for some, the timer on a smartphone is harder to use than a physical timer. And do we want our smartphones exposed to liquids, grease and chemicals?


Both this timer and the one above come from Zone Denmark. The spinning top timers catch your eye, but the other timer has the advantage of being magnetic, so you can stick it on a refrigerator door (unless the fridge is stainless steel). However, the websites for these timers leave me wondering about many crucial design issues, such as these: How long can the timer be set for? What does the timer sound like when it goes off? Does it tick as it counts down?


This basic egg timer comes from Kuchenprofi, and a number of other companies have products that look similar. This one's an hour-long timer, which is pretty common. The company says it has a long, loud ring, which is important. With the simple design, wiping it clean would be a snap. And it uses a mechanical movement, so no batteries are required.


Here's another mechanical timer with a simple design: the minitimer, designed by Richard Sapper for Terraillon. You'll find this one in MoMA's collection; it's at the Brooklyn Museum, too. With this design, the remaining time is visible both from the side and the top.

Matthaeus Krenn had a red one, and he explained how to set the timer: "Twist the two red halves in oposite directions to load a spring on the inside. Then twist back to set the timer to the desired duration." Sounds easy, right? But I wondered how this would work for someone with arthritis.


Posted by Jeri Dansky  |  10 Apr 2014  |  Comments (3)


Bicycle owners with garages have an obvious place to store those bikes—but what about those without garages: apartment dwellers, etc.? Those end-users may want to store their bicycles in their living spaces, and they'll want their bike racks to look good. Since floor space will probably be limited, wall racks have a lot of appeal.

Designers are recognizing the need, and addressing it in various ways. The Bike Shelf from Knife & Saw is designed to be installed into wall studs, and will leave only screw holes when removed—another consideration for those in rented spaces. The shelf gives you a bit of extra storage, although I wouldn't put anything too fragile up there, since it seems like it would be easy to jostle things while putting the bike away. And one drawback which you'll see in many designs: the shelf works well for top-tube bikes, but not for diagonal-tube bikes or step-through bikes.


The Shelfie is an active Kickstarter project which has already met its funding goal. Juergen Beneke wanted a solution for all types of bikes, because he owns a range of them himself; he also wanted to avoid scratching the paint on the top tube and kinking the cables. The Shelfie addresses these concerns by using the seat to hang the bike. The storage compartment is large enough for a bike helmet, which is a considerate design touch—since the bike and helmet are used together, it's helpful to store them together. Shelfie comes with anchors for sheetrock, wood and concrete/block—and a paper-template with the hole-pattern, to make pre-drilling the holes easy and accurate. My one concern here is how stable the bike is; will a rambunctious child or an earthquake cause it to tumble?


The Bike All from Board by Design also uses the seat to hang the bike; it has hooks for hanging the end-user's helmet, messenger bag, etc. The top shelf has a cut-out, allowing end-users to run the cord from a cell phone (or anything else) down to an outlet for charging. One concern: If one wheel rests on the floor, cleaning the floor becomes slightly more difficult than if the floor is left bare.


Fluo makes wall-mounted bike hooks for a specific subset of bike owners: those who like minimal design, own a light sports bike (with a top tube), and have a wall that will work with its dowels. They're suitable for walls made of brick, concrete and masonry, for those ready to break out the hammer drill; they will not work with drywall. This is another design that would make me nervous if children, pets or earthquakes were likely to disturb the bike.


Posted by Jeri Dansky  |   3 Apr 2014  |  Comments (2)


Umbrella stands find a place in homes, offices, and retail establishments. They seem like such a straightforward item, but actually a number of design decisions come into play.

For example, let's look at the Ombo umbrella stand from, designed by Alberto Arter and Fabrizio Citton. It's made from black lacquered steel, covered with regenerated leather—so it should wear well, but it's definitely an inside-only item. And while it's a beautiful design, it won't work for people who use compact collapsible umbrellas rather than traditional full-sized ones.


Compare that to the gorgeously curvy Narcisco umbrella stand from Tonin Casa, designed by Davide Bozzini. It's made of powder-coated steel, and comes with a number of cautions [PDF]: don't expose it to sunlight, don't expose it to the elements if it's kept outside, and watch out for "dangerous objects" which could cause scratching—not the umbrella stand for household with small children. This one is also intended for traditional umbrellas only.


The Elic umbrella stand from Area Declic, designed by Antonio Lanzillo and Carlo Martinengo, is made from polyethylene produced by rotational molding. This is a super-practical design for end-users who aren't opposed to plastics. It's UV resistant, and OK for outdoor use. (But at only 8.8 pounds, and with a relatively high center of gravity, I wouldn't leave it outside in high winds—although, polyethylene being shatter-proof, at least it wouldn't break if it did fall over.) It has two spaces, one for short umbrellas and one for tall ones; if the end-user doesn't have short umbrellas, the short compartment could certainly be used to stash something else.


The Aki umbrella stand from B-Line, designed by Rodolfo Bonetto, is another one made from rotomolded polyethylene. It can be used indoors or out; as B-Line says, "It has no problem with water." Since it's only seven pounds, it's another one I wouldn't leave out in high winds—something we get a lot of in my part of the world.


Posted by Jeri Dansky  |  20 Mar 2014  |  Comments (0)


You know those desks you see in magazines and on design sites—the immaculate ones with not a cable in sight? I don't have a desk like that, and my clients don't, either. We have laptops, whose power cables slither to the floor when we unplug them. My clients often have desks which don't face the wall, so the unsightly tangle or pile of cords that might otherwise be somewhat hidden down the back is instead in clear view. And since most desk designs ignore the cable issue, we're left to deal with it through various aftermarket products.

A number of those products are designed to ensure that cables not currently in use don't slip to the floor. The one above is the MOS—the Magnetic Organization System. The magnets in the MOS will hold most cables in place, but there are also magnetic cable ties for any cables which need some help.


The MOS itself is held in place by a layer of non-sticky micro-suction padding. If you're designing (or using) a cable organizer, this might sound like the ideal way to affix your product to the desk—and in many cases, it is. Sewell even sells its AirStick tape, used in the MOS, as a separate product for other mounting uses. However, the MOS needs a clean, flat surface for that suction to work, and it won't work on something like unfinished wood, which is porous and doesn't allow the suction to form.

Also, think about the other materials you're using, not just the connection method. For example, the aluminum MOS looks fantastic—until it gets scratched up by metal connections at the end of a power cord. (The MOS also comes in plastic.)


The Bluelounge Cable Drops each hold a single cable. These attach to the desk with an adhesive, which means the drops cannot be repositioned—end-users will need to carefully consider where they want to attach them. Although Bluelounge provides instructions for removing the adhesive, people might still be hesitant about using this on an expensive desk or an antique one. And one more design consideration: These come in a variety of colors, including white—darker colors might be a better choice for a finish which can absorb dirt.


Sumo, also from Bluelounge, is described as a paperweight for your cables. Like the MOS, it uses micro-suction pads to stay in place and can be repositioned as needed. There are two grooves underneath to help keep the cables in place. This raises another design issue: How large of a cable should the device accommodate? Some people have said larger cables don't fit in the Sumo very well—but a product designed to accommodate larger cables might not grip smaller ones firmly enough.


Posted by Jeri Dansky  |  13 Mar 2014  |  Comments (0)


Previously: Part 1 - Hooks

Do you (or your interior design clients) want an easy way to hang up coats, scarves, bags, towels, aprons and more? Then hooks are the way to go. And rather than getting multiple single hooks, you may want a wall-mounted rack that provides those multiple hooks in a single product.

The Eames Hang-It-All is the most well-known wall-mounted coat rack, but numerous other designs are worth some attention. The Leaf hanger from Miniforms is made from laser cut sheet steel. Each hanger has three hexagons, and each of those is a different distance from the wall, making it easier to use all three at the same time.


Some hooks are designed to flip down for use—so there's nothing rough for anyone to brush against when walking by. The Knox products from LoCa are a nice example of this style.


Of course, you could go vertical as well as horizontal. Since the hooks are right on top of each other in this design, it may not work well for multiple long coats. But it could be just fine for a warm winter hat, a scarf and a coat—or various other combinations. To provide a lot of hooks in a small space, LoCa has an angled design with hooks on two sides.


Posted by Jeri Dansky  |   6 Mar 2014  |  Comments (1)


Hooks are one of my favorite organizing products—and my clients love them, too. It's just easier to throw a coat over a hook than it is to put it on a hanger—and easy is good, since it increases the chance that the coat (or whatever) isn't going to just get tossed on the floor. So hooks are worth considering for your own work spaces, as well as for end-users who may find them handy.

When I say "hook," you may think of classic hook designs, such as this double hook and robe hook—which are both perfectly good and useful, but there's no need to stop there. The opportunities for innovation within this basic form are nearly endless.


For example, here's the Kangaroo hook, cast of aluminum, designed for Cascando by Robert Bronwasser, in collaboration with Sander Brouwer.


Or consider this CNC router-cut wall hook from Grain, made from a block of ash.


Some hooks are designed for easy installation, without the need for sheetrock anchors, etc. (More on installation issues later.) Unihook from Pat Kim installs with a single nail—but due to its clever design, which spreads the load downwards along the wall from that one nail, it can hold an amazing 10 kilograms of weight (about 22 pounds).


Posted by Jeri Dansky  |  27 Feb 2014  |  Comments (3)


Previously: Part 1 - Blocks and Wall Racks

While knife blocks and wall racks work well for many kitchens, not everyone has the counter or wall space for these items—and people with pets or young children may not feel comfortable with some of those products. So how else can we solve the knife storage dilemma?

In my own kitchen, I store my knives in a drawer, using an in-drawer knife organizer—my cats get into almost everything, but they haven't learned to open drawers. Of course, people with small children will need to ensure those children can't reach (or open) the drawer.

The organizer above comes from Rev-A-Shelf; it's designed to be trimmed, as needed, to fit various drawer sizes and to accommodate the number of knives needing to be stored.


Posted by Jeri Dansky  |  20 Feb 2014  |  Comments (4)


When I work with clients to organize their kitchens, knife storage is one of the issues we tackle. Everyone has different needs and constraints—but fortunately, designers have given us numerous options to help meet those needs.


The Toro Legno (Kitchen Bull) shown above is a fanciful item: a knife block with 10 slots, a book shelf and a cheese board. For those with the necessary countertop space, it could be a great way to keep multiple items close at hand—and that cheese board could perhaps serve as a cutting board, something most people are more likely to need quick access to. The Toro Legno is made from renewable plantation pine, which may appeal to end-users with ecological concerns.


But let's back up a minute, and start with the basics. The slanted, slotted knife block, so commonly used, has numerous advantages: It can store a lot of knives, it makes them easy to grab, and it will usually fit under the upper cabinets. Such blocks also tend to be heavy enough, with a low enough center of gravity, that they are unlikely to fall over. One disadvantage is the slots may not match the knives the end-user has, unless the knives were bought from the same manufacturer. Looking at knife blocks from some top name brands, you'll see some variations. The 25-slot knife block from Wüsthof has rubberized feet to help keep it in position. The one from Henckels, on the right, uses horizontal rather than vertical slots for the steak knives, in order to allow the handles on all the company's cutlery to fit.


You can take the same basic design and give it a very different look, as Wüsthof does with this knife block.


Posted by Kat Bauman  |  20 Feb 2014  |  Comments (0)


No matter how modern, chic or technologically-forward you may be, everyone loves maps. Innate sense of navigation, likelihood of travel, and taste in worldly-looking decor have little to do with it—we just like to see space laid out, made more understandable, even as we stand still. Maybe it's a cultural value, the image of a globe carrying classy clout or educational nostalgia. Or maybe it's biological, an animal instinct to get the highest ground and the best available intel. (For more ascientific theorizing on the mind ask me how I feel about infographics. Or knolling.)


Whatever the rationalization, the behind-the-scenes look at the bespoke globes of Bellerby & Co. triggered my own love of old maps. According to founder Peter Bellerby, desk globes are still in incredibly high demand, but until his arrival on the scene, only one other company was making them (or at least by hand) as well. Bellerby started out in 2008 by trying to make a globe for his father's birthday (hey, how hard could it be?) and wound up spending over a year (and every subsequent year) working out the kinks in the incredibly labor-intensive process. His accidental move into the odd niche was apparently well worth the effort—their fans now include Martin Scorsese and the Royal Geographic Society.


Posted by Jeri Dansky  |   6 Feb 2014  |  Comments (2)


Are you designing an office for someone who needs a good way to hang drawings or documents on the walls—for reference while working on a project, or just to keep frequently used papers readily accessible? Does you own office need that kind of product? Or are you designing products for those with this kind of need? Here are some of the many ways to use the walls effectively while accommodating various personal styles.

Bulletin/cork boards, and the pushpins to go with them

Bulletin boards have one downside—you wind up with tiny holes in the papers. But if that's not a concern, they can work quite well. Note that anyone with pets or small children will need to be careful about how the pushpins are stored.

Bulletin boards can be made interesting in a number of ways. For example, you might cover them with fabric, as Pulp does.


Or you could use an unusual shape, as with this flower from Three by Three and this map from Luckies of London. But if you want to make the most use of limited space, you'll want to keep the shape somewhat close to a square or rectangle.


Another option would be to put the cork board in a colorful frame, as Maine Cottage does.


Posted by Michael DiTullo  |  17 Jan 2014  |  Comments (1)


Michael DiTullo is the Chief Design Officer at Sound United, Polk's parent company.

There is an old story about Picasso that goes something like this: A young woman recognizes old Pablo on the street and exclaims "OMG! You're Picasso! Would you draw me?" He replies "but of course!" and quickly scribbles something on a piece of scrap paper. Offering the sketch to her he simply states "That will be $25,000 madam." Shocked, she responds "What?! It only took you 30 seconds!" To which Picasso explains, "On the contrary, it took my entire life to make that drawing."

That simple notion—to encompass everything we have learned in over 40 years of making great audio in a single product—is the concept behind the Hampden. Polk got its start in Baltimore by a small group engineering majors from Johns Hopkins who loved music so much they started making speakers by hand. Beautiful, wooden cabinet speakers. The brand spent decades perfecting the art of making great home audio for those who shared their love for music.

This project began like most projects in our studio: as a simple user insight. While people love music just as much as they did in 1972, they now enjoy it very differently. We wanted to create something that brought our sound to the desktop with USB and Bluetooth connectivity and built off of our recently launched Polk Heritage Collection of speakers and headphones. We stated with an open competition amongst our designers. Our studio is set up similar to an auto studio where multiple designers participate in the research, ideation and design phases of a program. As the concepts are winnowed down through the design phase, the creator of the winning design becomes the lead designer of the project. I prefer running things like this because it becomes a very democratic way to assign projects. Designers being naturally a touch competitive typically ensures a relatively even distribution of projects.

Polk-Hampden-Concepts.jpgSome of the initial concept directions

Polk-Hampden-Sketch.jpgCameron Nielsen's selected thumbnail sketch


Posted by erika rae  |  14 Jan 2014  |  Comments (0)


Hyper-metallic cases and gaudy lighters are taking over smoking accessories. What were once carefully created pieces of functional art are now truck stop novelties and pass-me-downs. Not that we're looking to promote the act, but I recently stumbled upon a cigarette case with a noteworthy design. Even more, you can download the pattern and make it yourself.

SmokeBox-Materials.jpgA classic knoll shot because you know how much we like those.

Lance Green, a designer based in New York City, was looking to create a case using a single coin cell battery, one LED and miniature and simple, handmade mechanisms. SmokeBox features a interior mechanism that connects with an exterior screw for easy access to one cigarette at a time. When you're down to your last cigarette, a red LED light will fire up.

Green shares a look at the wooden case in action:


Posted by erika rae  |  10 Jan 2014  |  Comments (0)


If you're one of those people who love a good ironic product (like this office-supply inspired bag we had our eyes on last April), there's a good chance you'd be able to find a place for a shark fin lamp in your home or office.

SharkLamp-Beach.jpgThe Shark Lamp in its natural environment

We covered the design back when it was still a prototype looking for a manufacturer. Now you can snag your own lamp online from furniture and lighting manufacturer Moree.

SharkLamp-Sanding.jpgSanding the perfect fin


Posted by Kat Bauman  |   8 Jan 2014  |  Comments (0)


Everyone loves to back a winner. Eone Time brought the Bradley Timepiece to Kickstarter and the people of Kickstarter backed it to the moon and, uh, back. This slick watch was developed by Hyungsoo Kim, inspired by the surprisingly limited watch options for people with impaired vision and aided by simple design sense.


The Bradley Timepiece is made from machined titanium and powered by a Swiss crystal mechanism, but the brilliant point is the face. Two slightly exposed ball bearings representing the minute and hour hands are pulled around tracks by strong internal magnets which keep them in time and secure. Numerical positions are marked in relief, 12 is a bold triangle and quarter hours are textured to distinguish them from minor increments. As a result, you can tell time with a brief brush of the fingers.


Lego prototype


Posted by erika rae  |   7 Jan 2014  |  Comments (0)


We're no stranger to innovative clothes hanger designs. This time, we've been turned on to a design that consists a lot more than what meets the eye. UK-based homeware brand Gazel has introduced a sleek hanger that won't damage your clothes with some avant garde functionality.

The Gazel clotheshanger will look good in your closet and it actually looks like one of those products that holds true on the term "user-friendly." Read on to find out how this design might have the power to make you want to hang up your clothes.


Posted by erika rae  |  20 Dec 2013  |  Comments (0)


Homebrewing is a breeding ground for tiny recipe tweaks and entirely new tastes. But there are only so many variations you can put your favorite brews through before the process gets a little stale. Right in time for the holidays, we discovered Wood Thumb—an online retailer for all things wooden and awesome. Among their curated offerings of wooden products (like this tie), we stumbled upon a game to toss into your beer brewing regime. Most of us can agree that beer is great, but what's even greater is when someone finds a mathematical and design-savvy way to mess with homebrewing like Wood Thumb has.


Roll & Brew is a dice game for homebrewers. The game comes with a brigade of dice that dictate the ingredients for your next go-round, and the recipes have been professionally created and approved so you don't worry about ending up with strange brew. Wood Thumb's in-house brewer and founder, David Steinrueck—who studied under some of the world's most renowned brewmasters in Munich, Germany—took on creating the algorithm that insures you'll get a standout brew each time.


Posted by Kat Bauman  |  16 Dec 2013  |  Comments (0)


This one's for the Japanophiles and notebook nerds: Hobonichi Techo planners are finally coming to an English speaker near you. (Pronounce it "tetch-oh" or look a fool.) These addictive planners are one part sketchbook, two parts calendar, three parts diary, and 100% obsessed over in Japan. They've got the good bits you can't leave out of a decent planner: multiple attractive calendar views for your yearly/monthly/daily/hourly calibration, gridded paper with plenty of room for notes or drawings, and a binding tough enough to take a year of questionable treatment. They also offer niceties like moon phases, space to write weekly goals, printed month tabs for easy navigation, customizable daily timeline, and vital information like international sizing and global tea types.


To get pumped, I recommend this interview with the Hobonichi Techo designer Shigesato Itoi, in Ping Magazine. They cover the un/importance of note taking, writing all over Nietzsche novels, picking up girls by sketching floor plans, intentionally unhelpful design, and channeling Obama's spirit at funerals. Clearly your life plans are in good hands.

In addition to the rote duties of day-planning and life-organizing, people use them for all manner of art and expression. This absurdly adorable video covers some of the creative capacities you didn't know you needed in a calendar:


Posted by Kat Bauman  |   6 Dec 2013  |  Comments (0)


Here's a holiday project for those of us DIY-inclined and prone to self-supergluing/mixing up the salt with the sugar. These iconic ornaments, Legoized by Chris McVeigh, are available in build-it-yourself kits. If your house is already replete with plastic stackables, his site offers tons of free downloadable "recipes," too.



Posted by erika rae  |  21 Nov 2013  |  Comments (1)


Josh Woolliscroft, artist and corporate prankster, created a whimsical series of custom writing utensils from boring HB BIC pencils. After shaving down, cutting into and sharpening his purchases, he re-packaged them and contacted BIC France to share the specimens of "non-conformity."



In response, the company asked that he send the pencils in for investigation and paid for his postage. They've also thanked him profusely for bringing this to their attention. Check out screenshots of Woolliscroft's correspondence with BIC below.


Posted by An Xiao Mina  |  17 Sep 2013  |  Comments (0)

mebotics2.pngThe Microfactory is designed for small spaces and can even work on a desk. All images courtesy Mebotic.

Enter a making/hacking space in most parts of the world, and you're likely to find a wide variety of tools and machines to help you realize your creative vision. Given the cost and size of equipment, it often makes sense to visit a maker's space to run your prototype idea through their 3D printer, hammer something together or basically tinker and make.

The Microfactory is a new project out by Mebotics LLC in Somerville, MA. Concocted at the Artisan's Asylum maker space, the Microfactory is what it sounds like: a smaller, more portable 3D printer and milling machine in one self-contained unit. It's networked, quiet and—with a simple model starting at $3,195 through their Kickstarter campaign—vastly more affordable than more standard models. The machine even contains a computer within, complete with USB and Ethernet ports, and it cleans up after itself with a built-in vacuum.

"We believe the Microfactory would be equally useful for maker communities and individuals," noted co-founder Jeremy Fryer-Biggs in an interview with Core77. "But one thing about the Microfactory that's particularly great for individual makers is its networkability, which allows people working in garages or collaborating remotely to share equipment and ideas—bringing some of the benefits of a maker community home."