Archive for November, 2010

Origami Santas

November 29, 2010

This weekend, I went out shopping for Christmas presents. I visited one of my favourite stores, Uniqlo, and was glad to find the +J item I wanted to buy with a 30% discount (for my previous posts on J+ please click here and here). But my surprise did not end there; when I went to pay at the till, I saw this brilliant santas made from origami paper.

I realised that there are a lot of YouTube videos on how to make your santa from origami paper, but they are not as nice as the santas on Uniqlo.


[image © LambdaPhage]


[Colors Magazine]*

November 26, 2010

I first came across Colors Magazine 17 years ago. At that time, I used to be fond of the United Colors of Benetton brand and would go to the stores at the start of each season to ask for catalogues. In Spring 2003, instead of getting just one catalogue, the store manager handed me two items: one of them was Colors Magazine.

I didn’t notice it much until I casually started checking it out with my friends. It wasn’t long before we realised that it contained disturbing photos of food with insects and pictures of naked men and women. It came as a surprise to the unsuspected teenagers of my age to stumble upon such disgusting and age-restricted material. Needless to say that my friends condemned the magazine and forced me to closed it at once. But my instincts told me not to throw it away…

The same situation continued for many seasons. I slowly started collecting Colors Magazines, but without noticing the content too much. Even though it was not as controversial as the one I first saw, the issues would, nevertheless, end up at the back end of my bookshelf cabinet, far away from prying eyes.

Almost two years passed and one day, after deciding to clean up my bookshelf, I came across my small collection of Colors magazines. Being free from my friend’s preoccupations, only then did I manage to appreciate the magazine’s content.

Colors was the brainchild of Oliviero Toscani, Benetton’s creative director at that time, and Tibor Kalman, who became the first editor-in-chief. The project belonged to Luciano Benetton’s Fabrica, the group’s communications research centre. The magazine idea was simply to talk “about the rest of the world”. Each issue was dedicated to a special theme and featured innovative articles and features around that theme. At the back of each issue, the yellow pages showcased a small directory of objects and other trivia scoured from around the world – from the most common to the most peculiar and bizarre. Colors magazine was published – and still is – quarterly and each issue was printed in English and another language, with choices among French, Spanish and Italian.

But it was for the content that I started loving the magazine. Unlike any magazine that I had read before, Colors was always approaching each thematical issue in an innovative way. It celebrated opinions and facts and insisted on diversity among people and places. Perhaps, no other magazine can claim to be more international than Colors.

From my small Colors collection, the issue that initially prompted the irrational reaction of my friends was issue 4, an issue about race, which made headlines for the doctored images of Queen Elizabeth resembling a black woman, Spike Lee resembling a white man and Pope John Paul II resembling an Asian person. But my most favourite issue was 13, the last issue published under Tibor Kalman’s creative direction. Instead of being full of articles, the issue was dedicated to pictures and contained only minimal text. Tibor Kalman’s editorial spoke about the power or pictures vs the power of words; probably the best editorial I have ever read in a magazine. It even prompted me to look at pictures like I have never done before.

And, thus, Colors magazine became one of my [obsessions]*.


[image © LambdaPhage]

Gummi roches

November 23, 2010

Regular readers of this blog should have noticed my recent post about the Roche card quiz game, presented in a box reminiscent of the design of the Roche drug boxes. It appears that the company has gone one step further in crumbling its brand identity. Roche appears to have produced its own version of gummi candies, shaped after Roche’s famous hegaxon logo. And instead of gummi bears, I have named them gummi roches.

Just another example of having fun with your corporate identity, despite being a huge multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical company.


[image © LambdaPhage].

Moss pencil

November 21, 2010

Last week, I left work to meet my old colleagues for a farewell party at a pub close to my old job. On my way there, I got a chance to visit one of my favourite bookstores, Magma, located at Clerkenwell Road. (I hope to be able to say more about this store on another occasion). When I was in my old job, I was visiting Magma almost every Thursday, to look at any new books and magazines and find out any new design items they had brought in store. Magma frequently stocks little curios that you can not easily find anywhere else: piglet or skull shaped earbuds, paper earrings and rings, badges for the rube with the motto “Wake me up at ________ station” and other interesting paraphenalia.

This time, I got one of my favourite magazines and when I went to the counter, I noticed a very strange looking writing instrument. It was just a pencil, but unlike any others I had seen before, this one was covered in a bright green fine fur. The “moss pencil” as it was aptly named by its designer, Sirampuch Eamumpai, was just an ordinary pencil with a twist. What probably caught my attention was that the pencil has received a Red Dot Design Award in 2008. It was only £1.5, so I decided to get one for home.


[image © LambdaPhage].

[Hermèssence – Ambre Narguilé]*

November 14, 2010

Hermès is a company synonymous to unparalleled sophistication and luxury. Many people believe it has the charisma to make objects of desire, not just mere products. Therefore, Hermès perfumes follow the same principle. Hermès is making two different lines of perfumes: those that are available from various cosmetic outlets and cater for common consumers, and a line of more exclusive perfumes for those who seek intricate smells. The latter is the Hermèssence collection, available only in selected Hermès stores. According to the Hermès house, the line has been created by the head perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena and is destined for “both men and women which touch the heart and speak directly to the senses”.

I came across the the collection at the small Hermès shop in Selfridges. The salesperson was kind enough to explain me the differences compared to the other collections and allowed me to sample some of the fragrances. One of them caught my senses with a very strong distinctive smell combining the amber of honey with oriental swirls: Ambre Narguilé.

That day, I went home clutching the paper tester and for the next few days I found that I could not keep myself from smelling it. It was that day it became one of my obsessions.

But the perfume came at a price. Hermès only makes a 100 ml bottle at £140 (or with a leather pouch at £345). Even though the price was justifiable if you consider the exclusivity of the perfume and the intricate bouquet of smells, I just needed a smaller bottle, since the perfume was too strong for me to wear on a daily basis.

Fortunately, I later discovered that Hermès makes those perfumes in 15 ml bottles and you can purchase a set of 4 bottles for £84, a price which was closer to what I was prepared to pay. The fragrances are also presented in individual pouches, suitable for travel, and are packaged in a Hermès signature orange box, perfect for a Christmas present. But the advantage of the gift box is that you can mix and match several perfumes from the collection, and experience better the Hermèssence collection.