Year: 2011

Animal Boxes

These hinged Animal Boxes by American designer Karl Zahn for Areaware can work as a toy, treasure box, sculpture, or lucky charm. Made from sustainably harvested, new-growth Beech wood, the line includes a Bull, Rhino, Whale, Llama, Walrus, and Polar Bear to represent “power animals” or totems. Native American, Chinese, and other cultures associate certain animals with symbolic meaning; one could represent wisdom or creativity, for example. As a working mother, I’m going to go with the llama, as they are beasts of burden known for their endurance. Available in the U.K. from the British design house SCP  and in the U.S. through Areaware.

D’E-Light Lamp by Philippe Starck

In addition to being an awesome ’90s house band, D’E-Light is a new task lamp from the Italian lighting manufacturer Flos that houses a USB socket above the light diffuser to charge and display an iPod, iPad, or iPhone. By combining a charger with a high-efficiency, polished aluminum lamp, designer Philippe Starck helps clean up the desktop and bedside surface areas that are getting a bit crowded these days with electronics. Retailing for $396 USD, D’E-Light will be available next month in limited quantities in the United States through the company’s New York City showroom at 152 Greene Street.

Brinca Dada Blocks

These irregular, sculptural blocks from New York-based Brinca Dada are hand-carved from teak hardwood. According to Brinca Dada founder and CEO Doug Rollins, the blocks aren’t meant to be used in just one way but are “a puzzle with infinite solutions.” What I like, is that this means the set will still work even if you lose a piece or two (which happens constantly with small kids). Better yet, it’s not something that kids (or parents) will get bored with easily. Ideal for aspiring architects and artists of all ages, the sets are available at the Brinca Dada site for $59.00 USD.  

Microplane Twist N Grate

When I went to Stockholm in 2001, I got a little carried away in the NK department store’s housewares department and bought one of those bulky cowbell-shaped cheese graters to bring back to the U.S. This wasn’t an extraordinary grater, but it was solidly made and I felt compelled to buy it there, among the Swedish housewives and other shoppers, even though I could have easily picked one up in New York. I thought of my unusual Swedish souvenir when I spotted Microplane‘s Twist N Grate at an International Housewares Association event a few weeks ago in Manhattan. This tapered, conical, two-sided grater, conveniently nests into itself to save room in your drawer, countertop, or in my case, luggage. Dishwasher-safe, Twist N Grate comes in red or white with a comfortable handle, and houses ultra coarse and fine stainless steel blades. $19.95 on Amazon.

Maharam Agenda

Have you ever picked up a book and felt an instant urge to protect it from harm? Maharam Agenda, by Michael Maharam, is one of those books. This beautiful new monograph documents the evolution of a 110-year old family textile business that grew from one man with a pushcart selling remnants on the Lower East Side to one of the most design savvy textile companies in the world. Before it transitioned to commercial textiles, the Maharam Fabric Corporation was a textile supplier to Broadway, contributing fabric for costumes and set designs. The 375-page book includes drawings of these costumes, as well as archival photography, ads, and engaging images of the re-editions, collaborations, and graphics the company is known for in the interior design community. Designed by A4 Studio, the graphic design arm of Maharam (in collaboration with Lars Müller) Maharam Agenda features an embroidered cover and spine (available in four variations) by designer Hella Jongerius that truly conveys the Maharam spirit. Published by Lars Müller Publishers, the book will be distributed in America by Prestel. It is $65.00 from …

Kendo Cutlery Center

A well-balanced meal on the plate sometimes means preparing foods that don’t play well together when raw. To help prevent food borne illnesses caused by cross contamination, the United States Department of Agriculture suggests the following cutting board etiquette: Use a clean cutting board (hoping you didn’t need the USDA to tell you that one…); replace boards that are worn or have hard to clean grooves; and if possible, use one cutting board for fresh produce, and others for raw meat, poultry, and seafood. Introduced during this week’s New York Tabletop Show, the Hampton Forge 11 piece Kendo Colors Cutlery Center helps keep your food safer with a set of color-coordinated cutting boards and high carbon stainless steel knives. In case the color coordination isn’t enough to help you find the right match, the boards and knives also feature icons to help to identify their roles. While this is a good start, I hope in a few years that cutting boards will evolve so they can warn us if the food we are preparing has …