Product Design

Duck Duck Goose » Cloudy with No Chance of Rain

November 20, 2012

Magis Me Too's Cloudy by Benedetta Mori Ubaldini

“The voice of children demanding,
insisting to have their own objects,
that correspond to their own world,
which is different from the adult one,
not only for its dimensions
but also for its values.”
— Eugenio Perazza, Magis president

Me Too, the children’s division of interior design company Magis, has been killing it with the kids wares for almost a decade now. This comes as little surprise. Magis’ president is well aware of the finicky taste of children: in no small part thanks to his discerning granddaughter Anna.

A delicate and artful addition to the Me Too lineup is this year’s Cloudy. The resin-covered chicken wire cloud is a whimsical alternative to the standard mobile and, based on your weather preference, can be hung solo or in a cluster of small, medium, and large sizes for an all-out overcast vibe. Artist Benedetta Mori Ubaldini is the creative force behind the object, and no stranger to working with the material: her body of work includes mesh giraffes, flocks of mesh bunnies, and scurrying mesh rats, amongst many other wiry characters.

Kawaii! » Haute Honey Pot

October 16, 2012

Jaime Hayon's Baccarat Zoo Bears

“Receptacle or Art Toy, every character exudes its optimistic narrative strength, full of magic and imagination.” Jaime Hayon

Jaime Hayon is on the fast track to completely winning over my heart. First there was his Green Chicken, with its childish, nonsensical spirit, and now, in collaboration with French glassworks legend, Baccarat, Hayon has created these spectacular crystal and porcelain vessels for a collection simply titled: Baccarat Zoo. Their tongue-in-cheek opulence is right on the money (a hefty wad of money).

I’ve got my heart set on the bears above: which is going to put Henri’s college fund back a few notches, but I’m sure he won’t mind as he wistfully stares at the cubs: perched faaaaar out of curious baby’s reach. If you’re more of a duck or monkey person then you’re in luck: the collection includes a few of those critters as well. Sorry. No giraffes.

Go for the Gold » Brass Takes the Cake

August 10, 2012

Oji Masanori Brass Paperweights


Set these paperweights down on the top page of your finished novel by the window on a breezy day…

Although brass is not a traditional medalling metal – and although paperweights belong to the class of less-than-necessary desktop equipment – we’re awarding gold to these exceptional objects by Japanese designer Oji Masanori. The solid brass polyhedra will oxidize over time, building up a gorgeous patina. They come in three different shapes, each with a satisfying heft and unfussy integrity. These paperweights are clearly made for more than holding down a stack of bills: they’re meant to be admired and held in the hand and set down on the top page of your finished novel, for example, by the window on a breezy day. Buy the set from one of our favorite shops for all things home, Toronto-based Mjölk.

Go for the Gold » Grin and Bear It

August 5, 2012

Frédéric Perigot Gold Bear Bag Large Shopper


Just the right size for a heptathlon
of Olympics-watching treats!

Care about the planet? Might as well be cute about it. Let your green credentials shine with this golden shopping bag by French designer Frédéric Perigot. It tucks away adorably into a little matching golden bear when not in use. We’d bust it out to shlep around our farmer’s market provender – or, better yet, to hold a heptathlon of Olympics-watching treats: Ritter Sports bar, Kind snacks, Volvic, TJ’s trail mix, watermelon, gum and Ella’s Kitchen squishies for the little guy.

The Perigot site is definitely worth a perusal, full of utilitarian-gone-chic household wares and minimalist bags made from one of our favorite materials, Tyvek!

Go for the Gold » Bust out the Bubbly!

July 31, 2012

Sieger by Fürstenberg Sip of Gold Champagne Tumblers


Congratulations, Michael Phelps! You’ve just won your 19th medal and become the greatest Olympian ever. So now what? Bust out the Champers and get celebrating! Of course, your victorious glass of bubbly demands a vessel that’s suitably elevated. You want nothing less than Sieger’s Sip of Gold collection. These sumptuous Fürstenberg porcelain Champagne goblets come in glossy white, black or silver – and with their rim and interior gilding of 24kt gold, they should quench any Olympian’s thirst (for decadence). Yes, even yours. Snag ‘em here for a modest $200 a pop.

Papercuts » To-Do’s Have Never Been So Fun!

July 26, 2012

Hi Mojimoji List-ItHi Mojimoji List-It

So you head out the door with the best of intentions: hard day’s work at the office, head to the gym, pick up a pint of milk on your way back home. But the following morning, when you reach for the 2% to complete your macchiato masterpiece – UGH – none to be found. Coffee FAIL. Similar scenarios: you’re out of diapers … dog food … beer … and you forgot to file a tax return. It doesn’t have to be this way! Thanks to the List-It by MOJIMOJI, you can keep your fridge stocked, your babies clean, your dogs fed and the IRS off your back. Just jot that pesky task down on a strip of List-It paper and wrap it around your wrist to gently (and fashionably) pester you for the day.

Eco-Friendlies » KeepCups in the Cupboard

July 21, 2012

KeepCups: BPA-free and non-toxic reusable coffee cups


So you’re a city dweller on the go. And a coffee fiend.  And a tree-hugger. You can’t do without your daily brew (or two… or three…), but you hate seeing to-go cups piling up in the recycling bin. What you need is a KeepCup – the nifty, reusable coffee cup from Melbourne, Australia.

Siblings Abigail and Jamie Forsyth were owners of a string of take-away cafés, and they worried about their contribution to our global trash problem (we have a global trash problem). Seeing no acceptable cup designs on the market (too big, too ugly), they set out to design and produce their own. The result is a line of slick cups, available in four sizes and totally customizable (so much time already wasted playing with color swatches on the super-fun site).

Our own cups will soon be making an appearance at our local Lula Bean (we ♥ you guys!). The itty bitty size, while great for YZ’s macchiato, is also perfectly toddler-appropriate. What’s more, your teething terror can chew on the rubbery bits. Not convinced reusing/reducing is for you?! Read these frightening facts and do your part already.

Found @ Etsy » Summer Brights

July 16, 2012

Rib & Hull Dijon Yellow Raw PurseRib & Hull Cognac Brown Leather Heirloom Tote
Rib & Hull Coral Canvas and Leather Tokyo ToteRib & Hull Violet Leather Oversized Clutch
top: Dijon Yellow Raw Purse and Cognac Brown Leather Heirloom Tote
bottom: Coral Canvas and Leather Tokyo Tote and Violet Leather Oversized Clutch

Rib & Hull’s collection of luscious leather goods is perfectly in line with this season’s celebration of all things neon. These Tokyo-style totes, carry-all wallets and oversized pouches – offered up at reasonable artisan rates – are just the right pop of color for this strict New Yorker’s grey-on-black daily attire.

Welcome Home » Glazed Over

July 13, 2012

B. Fiess Utilitarian Wares


Store your herbs (or herb) in these lovely pots by Minnesota-based ceramicist Ben Fiess. When this artist isn’t busy tending goats and raising barns he’s making some exquisitely colored ceramic jars and decorative pieces. His Utilitarian Wares are available at a select few boutiques across the country – and abroad: IKO IKO, Le Rocketship, Ship & Shape, LEIF, Third Drawer Down, and Gretel Home. Each jar has four parts: base, lid, strainer, and cap. With a touch of humor, a rubber band holds the whole contraption together.

Duck Duck Goose » Think-Inducing Toys for Tots

February 24, 2011

Little Sapling Toys Organic Number Blocks
Little Sapling Toys Brainbow Stacking Nesting ArchesLittle Sapling Toys Organic Rattle
Little Sapling Toys Organic Sapling StackerLittle Sapling Toys Organic Camera
top: Organic Number Blocks
top: Brainbow Stacking Nesting Arches and Organic Rattle
bottom: Organic Sapling Stacker and Organic Camera

As motherhood inches nearer, I find my mind is preoccupied: where to put the crib, what to put on the iPod for our (hopefully short) stint in the birthing wing of Roosevelt Hospital, whether little Pipsqueek will be as boisterous as his/her cousin Lir, the baby’s college fund, where we’re sending the little munchkin to preschool… Every parenthood-related article that comes my way is read and pondered. It’s clear: my priorities are shifting.

Along with this new lioness mentality comes my scrutiny of modern-day toys: what happened to the gorgeous and imagination-provoking toys of old? I remember this beautiful wooden duck I had when I was a child. I loved it… There are still a few purist companies out there: with toys that don’t require an army of batteries to amuse, that don’t just give it all away without evoking an ounce of exploration. Kid O (which we’ve reviewed here and here) is one. We were thrilled to find another: Little Sapling Toys on Etsy. Nick and Kimber’s collection of wooden teethers, blocks, rattles, and Montessori-esque puzzles are minimalist and beautiful, with delicately rounded corners and a lovely finish of jojoba oil and beeswax. Most of the inventory is available in maple, walnut, and cherry wood versions and now, with they nifty new laser engraver, personalized products are an option for those possessive babies on your list… Toys range from $12 for teethers to $80 for a personalized rocking horse!

“We plant a tree for every toy sold, use FSC Certified hardwoods, recycled content packaging and participate in our local green power program.” — Little Sapling Toys

Eco-Friendlies » Chop-Chop!

February 15, 2011

Geoffrey Lilge Walnut Culina Tray
Geoffrey Lilge Maple Culina PaddleGeoffrey Lilge Full Walnut Culina Tray
top: Walnut Culina Tray
bottom: Maple Culina Paddle and Walnut Culina Tray

The kitchen is such a happy place in our house: full of anticipation, tempting aromas and (mostly) great results – thanks to head chef YZ. I’ve always had quite the weak spot for kitchen supplies but, with my klutzy husband breaking most of the japanese glassware and ceramic treasures of my past life, I realize that my attention should now turn to accessories of a less breakable nature. Already a big fan of beautiful wood objects, cutting boards are a great culinary object to focus on.

For the absolute cream of the crop of artisan cutting and serving boards, look no further than Canadian Geoffrey Lilge’s sumptuous FSC-certified walnut and maple offerings. Use the x-large walnut Slab (love the huge hanging hole) to wow your dinner guests with an endless spread of charcuterie & fromage or whip out a maple Culina paddle if you’ve got some serious chopping to do. Each board is handmade to order and ships from Canada so expect about 4-5 weeks for delivery…. Hmmm, plenty of time to arrive before my birthday {ahem}.


“I happened to grow up on a commune in northern Alberta and first gained a feel for natural materials by sanding maple cutting boards in my mother’s woodshop. Growing up surrounded by woodworkers, potters and musicians introduced me not only to bushy nudists but more importantly to the gratifying acts of making and collaboration. The one object that I have held onto from that time is one of her boards, and I have come to appreciate what it symbolizes to me – the passionate spirit of the craftsperson.” — Geoffrey Lilge (read the full text here)


Geoffrey Lilge Long Walnut Hole SlabGeoffrey Lilge X-Large Walnut Hole Slab
Geoffrey Lilge Long Walnut Hole SlabGeoffrey Lilge X-Large Walnut Hole Slab
top: Long Walnut Hole Slab and X-Large Maple Hole Slab
bottom: Long Walnut Hole Slab and X-Large Walnut Hole Slab

Geekology » Attention Clutterphobes!

February 3, 2011

Bluelounge Studio Desk
Bluelounge Cable YoYoBluelounge Cable Clip
Bluelounge Cable DropBluelounge The Sanctuary
top: Bluelounge StudioDesk
middle: Bluelounge Cableyoyo and CableClip
bottom: Bluelounge CableDrop and The Sanctuary

As a design geek living with a music geek, I spend my days lost in an endless gaggle of wires: nests of audio-cables, tangled mouse-cords and — what the heck does this attach to!? Three cheers, then, for Pasadena-based design firm Bluelounge, who are single-handedly cutting through the technological gordian knot with a range of savvy clutter solutions. Their dozen-or-so ingenious gadgets are sure to inspire at least one holy-shit-eureka moment for every hard-working digital-age clean-freak. Our favorite is the CableBox Mini (very bottom right). This clever cord-stasher is available in five happy colors and comes with a 4-socket surge protector that neatly stows away inside it.


Bluelounge Space StationBluelounge Cable YoYo
Bluelounge Cool FeetBluelounge Cable Box Mini
top: Bluelounge Spacestation and Cableyoyo
bottom: Bluelounge Cool Feet and CableBox Mini

Eco-Friendlies » Bobble On!

January 28, 2011

Baby Bobbles

“Each year, nearly 1.5 million barrels of oil are used to make plastic water bottles. Most of those bottles end up in our landfills, in our oceans, littering our sidewalks.”


With stats like that, the fact that these water-filtering bottles are so slick is superfluous. A new generation of designers, which includes color-happy Karim Rashid, are helping the public ease into an environmentally friendly lifestyle. Make your first foray (or another seasoned step) into green design with Move Collective’s Bobble. For just shy of $10, you get a curvy small, medium, or large recycled, BPA-free bottle with your choice of brightly hued filter-cap. Each cap can filter up to 40 gallons of water before it needs replacing. And, just in time for the little Pipsqueek we’ve got on the way, the company is also making a baby version (above)!


Medium Bobble in PinkMedium Bobble in Blue
Large Bobble in YellowLarge Bobble in Green

Kawaii! » Learn your Emoticons!

January 25, 2011

Gung's Kaoiro Japanese Emoticon Stamp
Gung's Kaoiro Japanese Emoticon StampGung's Kaoiro Japanese Emoticon Stamp

Totally useless? Perhaps. The envy of any desk trinket collection? For sure. These custom emoticon stamps from Tokyo-based company Gung are ready to crank out more than 2000 Japanese-esque smilie faces. The stationary showpiece, called Kaoiro (which means “facial expression” in Japanese) is available in three finishes (natural wood, white, or black) for the {ahem} modest price of 2,700¥ – about 33 dollars. No one said frivolity was cheap.

( • – • )

Gift Guide » Buy the Best for Your Bookworm!

December 7, 2010

Blurb Gift Card
Established & Sons Landmark Table LampCampomaggi Leather Messenger BagTarget's Fish Bowl Bookends
Knock Knock Personal Library KitCustom Embossed Monogram SealMontblanc Fountain Pens
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David MitchelliBride Junior Polar Bear BookshelfOut of Print Tees The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
top: Blurb Gift Card
first row: Established & Sons Table Lamp, Campomaggi Messenger Bag, and Target’s Fish Bowl Bookends
second row: Knock Knock Personal Library Kit, Custom Embossed Monogram Seal, and Montblanc Pens
third row: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell, iBride Junior Polar Bear Bookshelf, and Out of Print Clothing’s The Catcher in the RyeTee

For some of us, the holiday season is about one thing and one thing only. Ok, two things. Ok, a bunch of things—all nicely wrapped and book-related. Because there is nothing more satisfying than winter reading, whether it’s the classic you know almost by heart, the novel everybody else already read six months ago, or the thriller you’ll never admit you couldn’t put down.

So check your friends and family. Who’s been stacking books around the chair beside the radiator? Who keeps slipping away for chapter-shaped intervals? Take note—and give them something from this list.


1Blurb Gift Cardvar.

Blurb Gift CardEverybody has a story to tell. Whether you’re sharing yours with someone you love, or you just want to give that gifted nephew his first chance to see himself in print, Blurb makes it easy to edit your own oeuvre.

2Established & Sons Landmark Table Lamp$835

Established & Sons Landmark Table LampGood books on winter nights require a good lamp. With the Landmark Table Lamp, Established & Sons sheds a whimsical light on even the most serious page. And should your eyelids flutter and your hand get heavy, guess where you can rest your book?

3Campomaggi Leather Messenger Bag$725

Campomaggi Leather Messenger BagTrain platforms, airport waiting rooms, the sticky chairs in take-out restaurants, the benches outside dressing rooms: the world is full of places where you’ll want a book. Have one always at hand in this elegantly rumpled messenger bag from Italian designer Campomaggi.

4Target’s Fish Bowl Bookends$30

Target's Fish Bowl BookendsWhile we applaud the idea of propping up Moby Dick with a goldfish, we’d probably repurpose these Fish Bowl Bookends from Target as terrariums, leaning a collected Keats against selected titanopses. Kudos to Target for always having something design-savvy at a super-reasonable price!

5Knock Knock Personal Library Kit$16

Knock Knock Personal Library KitMost of us have lent or borrowed books that never made it back. This
kit by Knock Knock is no guarantee that your set of Boys Own Adventures will remain whole in the future, but it may serve as a gentle reminder to some close, forgetful or unscrupulous friend that you know exactly where that volume’s gone…

6Custom Embossed Monogram Seal$66

Custom Embossed Monogram SealAnd even if you’ve resigned yourself to lending books that end up gifts, at least you can leave a subtle and distinctive mark on the flyleaf. There are endless sources on the web where you can have a custom seal made – just Google it! Or click here…

7Montblanc Pensvar.

Montblanc Fountain PensOf course a pencil usually does the trick. But sometimes we just give in to the pleasure of an extravagantly well-made thing. We all choose our excesses: mine’s a Meisterstück Le Grand rollerball: warm in the hand, smooth on the page, an engagement present from my fiancée.

8The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell$13

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David MitchellIn this case you can safely ignore the old chestnut about books and their covers. It looks and reads beautifully. Set in turn-of-the-19th-century Japan at the first, tentative point of meeting between Dutch traders and an isolated island nation, this new book is David Mitchell’s masterpiece.

9iBride Junior Polar Bear Bookshelf$1882

iBride Junior Polar Bear BookshelfFor readers of every age, a bookshelf (like this one by iBride) properly stocked is an object of wonder and adventure. We’re glad to see that, at last, form is following function. Two suggestions to start off a collection here: Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez and The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman.

10Out of Print Clothing’s The Catcher in the Rye Tee$28

Out of Print Tees The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. SalingerNot just another crummy t-shirt. Our favorites from the collection include The Catcher in the Rye, 1984, The Hound of the Baskervilles (priced six shillings) and, dare we say it, the Hardy Boys classic The Mark on the Door. More about Out of Print Clothing here…


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