A competition to design a new version of the Little Free Library touches on two of my favorite things in the world — product design and books. If you aren’t familiar with Little Free Libraries, they are small containers that are installed in front yards, community centers, and public spaces all over to world to help people exchange books for free. There are nearly 40,000 of these structures worldwide, and Chronicle Books. Little Free Library, and AIA SF are inviting architects and designers to rethink the structure and solve some problems cited by users in the field. Challenges that the new design should try to overcome include keeping the doors shut, making it accessible at night, keeping it water-tight and heatproof, and perhaps my favorite, serving small children and tall adults alike. The jury includes architects, editors, and designers, and the prizes include an architecture library from Chronicle Books and other goodies. If I designed one, I’d love a little solar panel on top that lights it up at night when the door opens and …
Labor Day has come and gone which means it’s back to school – a bummer for most kids but a massive relief for most parents. Kikkerland, known for their quirky gift designs, has put together a round-up of some of the best new products for making back-to-school a little more joyful, including a range of fun options for lunch time. Here are a few of my favorites: All images courtesy of Kikkerland.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the Japanese design firm Nendo has announced their latest venture into chocolate. Following their recent experiments with chocolate made in different textures and in the form of a paint set, Nendo’s chocolamixture consists of little flask-shaped chocolates that come with five different flavors in miniature-sized test tubes: freeze-dried mango, freeze-dried raspberry, a popping candy that bursts in your mouth, three colored heart-shaped sugar candies, and chocolate puffs. Even the lids of the chocolate flask are made of white chocolate that has been smoked to develop a cork color. As with many of Nendo’s edible delights, these chocolates are unfortunately only available for purchase in Japan. Photos by Akihiro Yoshida.
Two new Bluetooth-enabled speaker skateboards from the San Francisco-based audio technology maker Boombotix and the Australian board brand Globe were designed to help eliminate the isolation of skating with headphones and let users more easily share their music with others. The GSB Blazer, a mini cruiser board and GSB Pinner, a long board, are outfitted with a custom wireless speaker module that plays continuously for two hours with a full charge and at full volume. At 70% volume, the music lasts for up to six hours or more. The dust, water, and standard-impact resistant boards were engineered to retain their rigidity, while allowing for the audio components. The boards feature a vibration easing system and a high-impact ABS construction. They charge with a 6′ USB cable and work with any Bluetooth-enabled device. A custom 5W amp with an integrated passive radiator lets users feel the bass as they ride. Can speaker-friendly snowboards or surfboards be far behind? $249.95, Blazer; $299.95, Pinner Images courtesy of Globe.