everydaysparks

Stuff I see, which you might not.

In the hot seat

Gizmag is a fantastic site full of innovation and interesting ideas – some more practical than others. I’ll let you decide which camp this design falls into, but after I saw it last week I knew that I had to share it with you…

Firstly, do you remember those Hypercolor t-shirts that changed colour with your body heat, so you could do something totally crazy like leaving your coloured handprint on someone’s shirt, only for the shirt to return to its original colour minutes later? Just in case you’ve forgotten (or you never knew the magic of Hypercolor back in the day), here’s a pic and a link to the Wikipedia site. (This also shows that there really is a Wiki for almost everything, yes?)

Oh, Hypercolor - you so crazy!

Oh, Hypercolor – you so crazy!

Anyways, back to the Gizmag find. It’s a variation on the Hypercolor theme – furniture for your home that changes colour when heated. Yep, if you put mugs on your table, they’ll leave a mark (which will then disappear when the area cools). If you are someone who insists that everyone uses a coaster, this concept may really freak you out – I’m sorry. Of course, it also means that your body heat will leave its mark – a handprint, your arms leaning over the table and, of course, your bum when you sit on the bench.

Thermochromic is the technical name for it, apparently. The mugs and hand prints are cool and fun to look at, but I really don’t want to be taunted by the size of my bottom, highlighted for all to see after I get up from the bench. Especially if I had a second helping of tiramisu for dessert. But I think the idea behind it is very clever and I like Jay Watson’s work very much.

Your mugs will leave their mark. [Pic from Gizmag]

Your mugs will leave their mark. [Pic from Gizmag]

Handy. [Pic from Gizmag]

Handy. [Pic from Gizmag]

It's almost spooky - there you were. [Pic from Gizmag]

It’s almost spooky – there he was. [Pic from Gizmag]

You can check out the Gizmag post here and the ‘Linger a Little Longer’ collection (amongst others) on the Jay Watson design site here.

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EverydaySparks CEO, Idea #274

I’ve posted quite a few times about my brilliant ideas that I will implement when I am the CEO. The CEO of what? Dunno. But the organisation will be pretty cool, don’t you worry about that. Today, I wanted to share a possible office design for EverydaySparks Inc, via the awesome Cool Hunter website. Located in Bangkok, the headquarters of telecommunications company dtac has got to be one of the best office spaces in the world. And my professional HR opinion is that any job that you do would have to be more fun if you did it there. Don’t believe me? Check out these pics…

Now THAT’S a breakout area. Who needs a desk, I say.

Oh the bookshelves, the bookshelves!

And there’s a ‘FunFloor’, featuring indoor soccer, table tennis, and concert & performance spaces. Oh, and a running track. Uh huh.

Run away from annoying colleagues.

You can read more about the incredible dtac office on The Cool Hunter site here. And I am accepting applications to join EverydaySparks Inc, if you’re up for an undefined role in an unclear organisation. With rockin’ office space.

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Honey, I’m home

First of all, a big shout out to my virtual pal Emma of the fantastic blog Out of the Birdcage who first told me about this amazing shop in London via a post on her blog. Even the name suggested that I was going to like it immediately: Drink, Shop & Do. Located near Kings Cross Station, it’s a combination of shop, cafe, bar and craft workshop. And it’s incredible. I want to live there. Although, when I told the girl at the counter that, she just laughed nervously and glanced towards the door.

Started by two high school friends, it’s pretty much the place I would love to open if I had the courage and cash to open a place. Set in a large open space, with a shop selling funky designer crafty stuff and a range of sweets (painstakingly weighed out on an old fashioned scale). And then there’s the cool cafe/bar area – with an extra function room at the back, complete with some sort of tents and a giant disco ball. There’s a sky light and some colourful fiesta-style paper chain action on the ceiling. There are also colourful kites all over the walls. And some crazy furniture. I’m sure you’re getting the idea now. During the day, they offer a wide range of cakes as well as afternoon tea. And the staff are all very pretty too.

For breakfast, we chose a caramel macadamia cheesecake. As you do when you’re on holidays. We figured that with the calcium, protein and all-round energy provided by this breakfast treat, it was practically the same as a bowl of Special K with skim milk.

They also offer afternoon tea – and there’s even a special ‘manly’ afternoon tea, if scones and darjeeling just aren’t your thing. (It features beer and pork and some sort of pie, I think.)

For the ‘do’ part of the shop’s promise, they offer a range of activities including musical bingo, adults only scrabble, colouring competitions and other creative options. Most of them are based around cocktails, which sounds like a pretty clever idea.

I really could go on all day about this incredible place, but I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, so will leave it at that. There are more photos and info on the Drink, Shop & Do website here. I highly recommend a visit (and the caramel macadamia cheesecake) if you’re in London.

 

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LEGO art

I could happily post about LEGO (that’s not me shouting, that’s the proper way to write it – I checked) a few times per week. There are some very clever creative types building amazing things out of little coloured bricks. More than just kids’ stuff, this is genuine art – and not being a real fashionista, it’s my kinda colour blocking. Today, I wanted to share some of the work of Thomas Poulsom. Tom is a LEGO artist/builder based in the UK and he has an amazing collection of his work on Flickr, including a whole range of rare, colourful birdies. ‘Twas Norman, the Northern Cardinal who first caught my eye in the designboom feature post on Poulsom’s work, but I’ve included some other highlights here. Just remember, these are all made FROM BLOCKS. (Ok, that was me shouting that time.)

Stormy the Snow Owl
(c) Thomas Poulsom

Kingsley the Kingfisher
(c) Thomas Poulsom (via designboom.com)

Tiago the Toucan
(c) Thomas Poulsom (via designboom.com)

The Woodpecker
(c) Thomas Poulsom (via designboom.com)

There’s just a taste of Tom Poulsom’s work – you can check out more of his stuff on Flickr here and the designboom feature is here. Poulsom’s birds are also posted on the LEGO CUUSOO site – it’s a pretty cool place, where you can share your LEGO project or product idea and if you more than 10,000 people support it online it will be reviewed by those little men in bowl hats at LEGO HQ and might become an official LEGO product (earning you 1% of total net sales as royalties). How’s that for inspiration to get building, peeps?

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Fashion buzz

The Ecouterre website is all about ‘eco fashion’ and ‘sustainable style’ – I think it’s always an interesting virtual place to visit as some of the ideas are very clever. Of course, some of the ideas are very wacky, which is ok with me too. Like these Pollinator Frocks designed by British artist Karen Ingham. Apparently the population of bees and other pollinating insects is shrinking, which causes all sorts of problems for the global food system.

So why not create a dress that features “electron-microscopy images of pollen”, treat them with “a nectar-like sugar solution that attracts and nourishes bees”? Sure. Now I know exactly what you’re thinking – what about all those other insects that come out at night? Well, Karen has thought of that too – the day-wear frocks are designed to attract bees and butterflies, while the evening-wear frocks are for “nocturnal critters such as moths”. So it seems that moths aren’t just attracted to nice woolly jumpers, or the wallets of stingy people who keep a tight reign on their spending.

Karen worked with a range of scientists and engineers to develop her so-called “wearable gardens”, which closely mimic the aromas and materials of the flowers that attract insects.

I have visions of people wearing their garden frocks to work and being swarmed by bees as they wait at the bus stop. And on the way home in the evenings, moths gather around the fashionista like flies at a picnic. But then I read that Karen encourages people to hang the frocks on their washing line to attract bees, and I am confused. Are they meant to be worn as moving feasts for our insect friends, or are they so powerful that it’s safest to just hang them on the line and leave it at that?

I guess the choice is yours – but I wish you all the best if you decide to buy one and prance around like Mother Nature. Please let me know how it works out. In the meantime, you can read more about the Pollinator Frocks on the Ecouterre website here.

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Really short films

I love movies. From the classics, to quirky arthouse films, to those sort of pathetic teeny flicks where the smart, funny girl gets the dream guy when she removes her spectacles and takes down her ponytail and OMG SHE’S STUNNING. Yep, those ones. So I really like these prints, which I found on Fab.com. Here’s the story: Cooper Blacula, named for the great typeface and even greater movie, is a print series of classic films summed up in one brief and broken sentence and typeset in Cooper Black. These posters, sold exclusively through Fab.com, are museum quality prints on enhanced matte cover stock and printed with archival inks. All posters float in a quarter inch white border. Like so…

So much more than a handyman, Mr Miyagi.

And nobody puts baby in a corner.

Who ya gonna call?

Save Ferris.

And little Drew Barrymore screams.

Oh Maverick, you’re a goose.

You can check out the range of prints at the Cooper Blacula site here. And the collection makes me realise how many more dodgy films I have yet to see!

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Light it up

Sarah Turner in the UK makes incredible works of art. The fact that they’re also functional lights to hang from your wall or ceiling is just a bonus. And then they’re made from recycled materials, which is pretty much the cherry on top of the icing on the cake.

Here is Ella – over 1 metre wide, this amazing chandelier is made from 310 plastic drink bottles. Sarah says that she collected the bottles from local cafes and homes, cleaned them and sandblasted them to turn white. Ella got her name from her umbrella-like shape. Isn’t she pretty?

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And here’s Sprite 10, a table lamp made from ten old Sprite bottles. Morphed into an unrecognisable beautiful floral design. The lamp comes in traditional green, or the sugar-free blueness of Sprite Zero bottles.

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Daisy is another one of my favourites – again, made from sandblasted drink bottles and available in a wide range of colours.

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And another stunner – Cola 30 is made out of 30 recycled 1.25 litre Coke bottles. I try not to think too much about the sugar that was consumed to create this sweeeeet design. At least the people who drank the contents of the bottles were technically contributing to the greater good of Sarah’s amazing upcycling into art. And it’s almost impossible to tell at a glance what this ceiling light is made from, which makes it easier to forget about the source!

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You can check out more of Sarah Turner’s amazing work on her website here and these and many others are available for purchase (wherever you are in the world) in her etsy shop here. Love your work, Sarah!

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Bag lady designs

I like bags. And if they’re cute and clever and good for the environment, then so much the better, I say. And I’ve found these very cool canvas shopping totes on etsy, made by Pamela Fugate Designs, and I reckon they fit the bill.

Like this slightly more highbrow version of that famous Sir Mix-a-Lot quote…

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Or this, for fans of Fifty Shades of Grey. Yep, really.

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And for the bakin’ homeboy or homegirl in your life, there’s this bag.

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There’s this classic Mom/Mum bag, which I’m guessing is meant to stop any pesky children asking too many questions. But I wouldn’t recommend bringing it along to your local farmer’s market as it feels in conflict with the relaxed, organic, herbal kinda vibe. Unless of course you are the organic farmer selling your produce. In which case, you might want to sell these bags in answer to questions like, “Why does that organic clove of garlic cost $32?” or “How do you know that heirloom tomatoes are worth 500% more than regular tomatoes?” or that sort of thing.

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There’s also a range of customised wedding totes – I’m not really sure how they work though, to be honest. As a bridesmaid, I’ve never received a show bag of treats from the bride (not complaining, I have been lucky to receive much nicer gifts from the lovely brides I’ve maided for). And I’ve not been to a wedding that gave away a goodie bag instead of a small memento that you could take home in your handbag. But each to their own on their big day!

You can check out the range of bags (and shirts and baby outfits) at Pamela’s etsy shop here.

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Here’s looking at you…

I’m all for different creative ideas to liven up your walls with quirky works of art. And if you want to add a little science to your art, then so much the better, I say. And if you want to add a little bit of yourself – literally, in this case – to personalise your art, well then, go nuts. Which is kinda what the good people at DNA 11 have done.

Exhibit A: their DNA Portraits (TM) series. According to the website, here’s how it works: (1) Customise your artwork (choosing colour, style, size, frame), (2) Order your DNA collection kit, (3) Collect a cheek cell swab using your kit [uh huh], and (4) send the sample back and let the DNA 11 people work their magic. Whether you want your genetic code artwork to look like the sparkling lights of a big city, or perhaps golden rays of sunshine, there is an option to suit you. You can also get a print made of your pet’s DNA, if you prefer.

Or maybe you’re not a huge fan of DNA, incredible though it may be, but you still want some sort of personalised art on your wall. How about a fingerprint? Yep, there is a Fingerprint Portraits (TM) series. In a similar process to the DNA series, you purchase a Fingerprint Collection Kit and then print away til you’re happy with one, which you then send back to make your artwork with your chosen colours, size, style and frame.

And then there’s the KISS Portraits (TM) series. With this series, you get a gift with purchase – a lipstick, of course. Again, you order the Kiss Collection Kit, ‘apply the provided Revolution Organics lipstick’, then you ‘kiss the kiss sheets till you make the perfect lip print’, send it back and you’re set.

A unique gift idea for someone who has everything. A different twist on personalised art. A way to make sure that prints of you (well, parts of you) last forever. Whatever your motivation, this is definitely an interesting idea and the DNA 11 website is well worth a look. And don’t worry, they ship fingerprints, DNA and kisses all around the world.

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Pop Charts

Some people need charts and visuals to really make sense of the world. I see how it can sometimes be helpful to reduce the confusion of something big or complex into a series of connected boxes on an A3 piece of paper. In the corporate world, accountants have their ‘mud maps’, HR people have their ‘org charts’, management consultants have their ‘stakeholder maps’ and marketing people tend to have something brightly coloured and written in code, so that it doesn’t make sense to outsiders. But that’s just work. What if there were clever people who used their charting prowess to help us navigate and better understand the real world? Ta-da, here’s Pop Chart Lab.

The Lab began a couple of years ago, founded by a book editor and a graphic designer who joined forces with one modest goal in mind: to render all of human experience in chart form. Uh huh. Their range is amazing – they have tackled everything from beer to culinary devices to the story of a boy’s migration to a town called Bel Air. Here are some of my favourite prints (they also print their charts on t-shirts, in case you want to educate the masses).

(c) Pop Chart Lab

Oh yes, from Bill Haley in the top left to Lady Gaga in the bottom right corner, this is indeed A Visual Compendium of Notable Haircuts in Popular Music. It’s a signed, limited edition print that is sure to get people talking. And if you like this, you’ll probably like its cousin: A Visual Compendium of Notable Haircuts in Hollywood. (That one even includes Chewbacca’s impressive ‘do, along with several cast members of the Harry Potter franchise.)

(c) Pop Chart Lab

And here’s the chart that I think is my favourite – a collection of 13 pie charts about pies. Yep, they’re breaking down the ingredients that go into those delicious desserts and it is just as scary as you might imagine. All the old favourites are there – including Fig. 12, Peanut Butter Pie, which is full of gooey goodness: by my calculations, almost 50% peanut butter, around 20% Oreos and almost as much butter, with a fair dose of heavy cream, vanilla extract and bittersweet chocolate. God bless America, I say. (If pies aren’t your thing, you might like The Delectable Kaleidoscope of Candy Bars – a pretty, colourful and super-detailed examination of the common ingredients and textures linking a bzillion different types of sweet treats.)

(c) Pop Chart Lab

And finally, Constitutions of Classic Cocktails breaks down nearly 70 famous drinks into their constituent parts. Apparently, this is the most elaborate chart that the Lab folk have ever made – it is beautifully designed and unbelievably detailed. Whether you’re looking for inspiration to get shakin’, know a dedicated barfly with a birthday coming up, or just like the design, this is a good ‘un. I love it because to me it looks as though the cocktails are at the centre of a mysterious sort of galaxy. Or perhaps cocktails are like the Wheel of Fortune. And let’s face it, when the drinks are flowing, both of those statements are generally true.

If you’re thirsty for more info, you can check out many more educational works of art at the fabulous Pop Chart Lab site here.

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