Form & function

Squishy Sitting

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New Colony Furniture’s “Squishy Sticks” Chair is just that – a traditional wood chair frame, with “cushions” of pieces of soft foam masquerading as wood. Debuted at this year’s ICFF, the collection of chairs all have seats and backs that first appear to be made of hard wood. Upon sitting, however, the user finds that each piece is made of forgiving and comfortable foam, painted or altered to look like branches or cut geometric shapes of wood.

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.

With a Match

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The delicate nature of butterflies, dragonflies, and beetles is captured eloquently with Kyle Bean’s matchstick sculptures of the insects. Bean’s intricate replicas of the creatures show off his precise hand, as they sit suspended, constructed entirely of tiny matchstick pieces glued together. Bean is a master of building incredible likenesses from a series of small, unexpected parts – like his chicken made from broken egg shells, and amazing portraits from pencil shavings.

Japan-Inspired Lamps

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For a new show at Galerie Kreo in Paris, Dutch designer Wieki Somers traveled to Japan for inspiration for a ‘family’ of seven floor lamps. Inspired by the country’s customs and traditions, Somers created a collection of Samurai-flag-like light poles, many with simple wood plank bases with wood or metal poles heightening the “flag” light form. One, based on geisha’s sun-shielding fabric, takes the form of an abstract black umbrella, while another takes its abstracted form from a traditional doll, dancing with several hats. All convey the lightness and simplicity in form, along with elegance and attention to detail, that much of Japanese culture is known for.

In the Bag

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Take some of the stress out of traveling, and put it in your bag. Partnering with T-Mobile and Rimowa, Airbus announced a prototype of a “smart luggage” model, with sensors and an RFID chip. From the moment you are packing the bag, it can sync with your smartphone to tell you how much your bag weighs, and give lists of acceptable carry-on items. At the airport, it can communicate with airline check-in systems, indicating whether the bag has been re-opened once you retrieve it, and via GPS, showing where its located.

Camp in Style

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There are now varying levels of “glamping” – from luxurious spa-like accomodations in cabins, to designer gear. On the gear-end of the spectrum, British company Field Candy takes the classic tent form, and spruces it up with designer-created graphics. Dutch designer Tord Boontje applied his trademark illustrative, forested style to his tent. And for those lovers of the classic VW Bus, it can also now be had in tent form – car camping at its best.

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).

Buzz Away Pain

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A friendly bee helps kids (or adults) who are afraid of shots stay calm and forget the pain. Buzzy, created by a pediatrician/mom, uses natural pain relief methods of cool numbing and tingling vibrations to confuse pain nerves. The cute bee shape straps onto the arm against an ice pack, blocking sharp pain in the same way that cool running water soothes a burn. Kids barely recognize the poke of a needle, and the doctor’s office becomes a less painful place.

Roll With It

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Taking the term ‘mobile home’ literally, the British circus and theatre group Acrojou created a conceptual wheel of a house. The large metal wheel, adorned on its interior with various turn-of-the-century household items – stools, suitcases, clocks, clothing, and various knickknacks – is operated by two acrobats who twist and turn and push their way around, in order to roll the wheel along. Their stage becomes part of their act, as they perform and interact with it. Check out the video here.

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