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Play for Creativity

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Everyone has their own tools and methods for getting out of creative ruts. Disruptus is a great new game, made purposely for clearing up cobwebs in the brain. Based in principles of disruptive thinking, players roll dice to either: Create; Improve; Transform; or Disrupt. Then, 2 cards are chosen, and players apply the verbs to the images, coming up with the most creative and original ideas possible in under a minute. Could be a great way to train your brain, whether for work or pleasure.

Tiny House

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With so many star architects creating bigger and flashier buildings, it’s refreshing to see Renzo Piano’s new project with Vitra, Diogene, a self-sufficient, minimal house as tiny as can be. At 8.2 feet wide by 9.8 feet long by 11.5 feet high, Diogene’s small footprint makes a big impact. Light, airy with a wood-clad interior, two windows and a skylight, the house efficiently functions with just enough space for a bed, desk and chair, complimented and supported by photovoltaic cells and solar modules, a rainwater tank, natural ventilation, and triple glazing. Currently a prototype on the Vitra campus, the house will be available for purchase in a few years.

Celebrate America’s Food

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Happy Fourth!
Small, artisinal food purveyors have popped up all over the country over the last few years, creating high-quality, delicious new takes on everything from pickles to candy. Mouth, a new e-commerce site, collects all of these goodies in one place, making Los Angeles’ best small-batch jams available to those in Maine. Browse by region – New York, the Midwest, Texas, and the Southeast are all included, or grab one of their great gift collections (Indie-pendence Day taster shown above). They also include great profiles on all the makers, with pictures and bios, so you know the full story behind your new Jalapeno peanut butter from Better off Spread in Brooklyn, or your McClure’s Spicy Pickles from Detroit.

Scientific Ice Cream

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We are always eager to try new kinds of ice cream – whether hand-churned or made laboratory-style via liquid nitrogen methods. The Fabulous Frozen Factory in Mexico’s San Pedro Garza García recently opened (cart shown above) with a carnival-lab design, complete with bright pastel stand mixers attached to liquid nitrogen tubes, so visitors can stand by and watch their treats be made. Similarly, at LA’s new Ice Cream Lab, each scoop is made to order using liquid nitrogen techniques, with flavors like Salt Lick Crunch – organic vanilla ice cream mixed with pretzels, caramel, and topped with sea salt.

Read + Shop

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Great blogs curate news and information, developing their own style and eye as they go – so why not curate a complementary shop of goods as well? Two of our favorite blogs recently made this leap – with the “Colossal” Shop and “This is Paper” Shop, each with its own well-rounded selection of items recommended by the site. The Colossal Shop is a collection of art and quirky objects, like an adorably-squeezable cloud eraser, and wooden skyscrapers by artist James McNabb. This is Paper’s shop is a representation of the blogs’ belief in simple, well-made and sourced items, created for longevity. They designed and created their own line of bags, and include useful everyday goods like wool slippers and wooden kitchen tools.

Car Talk

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One day soon, our cars may be able to bypass us and communicate with each other and infrastructures, preventing accidents and mishaps. This is the near-future that Ford presented in Frankfurt as the results of a four-year joint research project, simTD Germany (Safe Intelligent Mobility Testfield). An “electric brakelight” was presented, which transmits a signal from one car further afield than another, warning of traffic or accidents ahead by lighting up a signal on the car’s dashboard.

Vuitton Atelier

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Our neighboring Louis Vuitton store recently expanded into the space next door, providing a little more transparency into their hand-crafted process with an atelier. In an upscale workshop-like atmosphere, visitors can watch as artisans hand-detail the brand’s famous luggage. Leather trunks and bag can be personalized with hand-painted or hot-stamped initials, bags can be expertly repaired by hand, and the overall care and focus that go into each piece is on display.

Magazine Entertainment

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Pop-Up magazine is a terrific new take on the magazine format – removing it from printed or digital form, and putting it into performance mode, on stage. For one night per issue, a talented collection of writers, artists, filmmakers, etc perform and share new work. One of the most interesting things is that no images or recordings are taken, allowing each performance to be captured only for those present in the audience. Past contributors include: writer Alice Walker, design writer Allison Arieff, radio host Roman Mars, Michael Pollan, and illustrator Jason Polan, who sketched Issue 6 as it happened, and sold the results at the closing reception (shown above).

MoMA Goes Local

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The MoMA Design Store’s “Destinations” series has been a great introduction to new designers all over the world, focusing on one geographical region, with additions to the shop from local designers. Past locations include Seoul, Japan, Portugal and Brazil, but we’re especially partial to their current Destination: NYC. All 5 boroughs are represented in the expertly curated 200 products available, all of which are designed in NYC, made in the USA. The terrific selection and range of products includes party designers’ Confetti System’s dip-dyed geometric party decorations, a stool kids can use to learn to tie a knot, and a beautiful rainbow of Massimo Vignelli’s classic mugs (shown).

Tracing Fashion

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We are increasingly more aware of and interested in where products we use and consume come from – whether food, home goods, or clothing. So online retailer Everlane is a welcome new concept in transparent retail. The company offers a pared-down, carefully edited range of basic clothing and accessories – all made in the U.S., and also reveals the whole process and cost of production of each item. The focus is on quality goods from trusted sources – using manufacturers that have been thoroughly vetted – and Everlane hopes to establish trust with customers by keeping prices low, being honest about how.

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