Form & function

Package Play

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Whimsical designer Matali Crasset has designed a new use for cookie packaging – as building material for kids’ toys. The Parisian designer was asked to rethink the packaging of the iconic butter cookies Le Véritable Petit Beurre. Newly-designed packs will come with pictographic instructions on how to make the little toys, with additional variations available on their website.

In London

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If you happen to be in London this week for the Design Festival, be sure to check out designjunction – a showcase in its third year “presenting an edited selection of leading global brands and emerging enterprises.” The events and programs organized around the show look particularly interesting – with a lecture and panel series curated by design critic Aidan Walker; guided bike tours of London on tokyobikes; and Brooks saddles demonstrating the production processes of their beautifully crafted leather bike seats.

Sea and Space Toys

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Papafoxtrot is a wooden toy company that creates great, educational, well-built, toy-size versions of some of the large, elusive machines that make our world go. They currently have two series – “Space” and “Sea,” each of which include beautiful, simplified wooden models. “Space” is a series of satellites currently orbiting the earth (“ORS-1”, a small tactical satellite, shown); “Sea” is a series of industrial and container ships currently sailing the seas.

108 Seconds of Herman Miller

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It’s been passed around the web a bit, but “108 Years of Herman Miller (in 108 Seconds)” is worth a few minutes of your day. The video is a wonderful animation created by Dutch group Part of a Bigger Plan to celebrate the launch of “WHY,” the furniture company’s peek into their history and process. The engaging video walks you through the origins of the company, its unforgettable shift to modern design icon in producing work of George Nelson, the Eames, and Alexander Girard, into its role in workspace design today.

Surprising Light

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French designer Julien Carretero created a series of beautiful, minimal lights, exploring various metals and their finishes. Carretero experimented with aluminium, brass, steel, stainless steel, copper, and bronze, using varying techniques such as mirror polishing, lacquering, brushing, patinas, and more. The results are gorgeous, sculptural objects, some with beautiful lacquered colors, others emphasizing rusted or anodized patinas. All will be shown in Brussels at the Victor Hunt Gallery through September.

Easy Gardening

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A new product is helping anyone with a 4×6 plot of land easily create a garden full of fresh veggies. Recently funded on Kickstarter, the Nourishmat is a roll-out soil cover that provides a blank canvas and color-coded garden map for growing kale, tomatoes, peppers, onions, herbs and flowers. When rolled out and staked into soil, it creates a weed barrier, and graphically shows users where to plant the included seed bombs. It also includes irrigation ducts, to easily be hooked up to a hose for watering. And for every Nourishmat purchased, four meals go to hungry children in the U.S.

Mystical Ceramic

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Brooklyn artist Michele Quan creates beautiful bells, birdhouses, flowers and garlands with ceramic, infusing a magic and mysticism into her simple forms. She paints beautiful Eastern-inspired, graphic florals and seeking eyes, or Day-of-the-Dead skulls on some, and beautiful rainbow shades on others. Quan creates lovely, spiritual worlds with her work, recently installing a piece in a tree as part of a show at Canyon Ranch in Massachusetts, complete with cotton garland wrapping the trunk, ceramic bells hanging, and beaded garlands draped from branches.

Mini Camp

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For those who pack light (and small), but still want comfort (especially while camping), MINI just unveiled a series of adorable add-ons and accessories (all concepts) allowing you to camp in tricked-out style. One in the series is a roof-top pop-up tent, which opens to create a cozy, lofted room atop your mini (shown). Another, the Cowley Caravan, is a vintage-inspired towing caravan, complete with room for couples to sleep including wood-paneled storage and a fan, and a complete camp kitchen when the hatch is open.

Set Color

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For this year’s London Festival of Architecture and The Bloomsbury Fete in June, ADA – a collaborative architecture practice and workshop – created a dreamy set for “Europa,” an architectural opera with composer Adam Donen. For the unique performance, the stage “becomes the lead actor,” in which ADA built an ambitious arrangement of colorful wood shapes and forms, reminiscent of a giant children’s board game. Actors could “play” with the components, stepping into large tubes and cubes, interacting with each element to make it come alive.

All Secure

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Canary is a new, interesting, simplified home security system that goes beyond your typical break-and-enter detection. It includes a sleek black and white central system that can be plugged in and set up anywhere at home, complete with motion-detection, video capability, wi-fi, a speaker, a microphone, and temperature, humidity and air quality sensors. All combine to alert you on your smartphone if anything is out of the ordinary – whether smoke or movement is detected, allowing you to access the camera to view your home at any time. Canary surpassed its funding on Indiegogo, and is now available for pre-order there.

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