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Very British Stamps

The Royal Mail postal service has created a special collection of stamps to celebrate the greatest hits of British design

Mini Forever
Mini Forever
  The collection, called British Design Classics, has been created in honor of the nation’s most iconic 20th Century designs. But, aside from the classic symbols that everyone associates with the United Kingdom, such as the phone booth or the red double-decker bus... can you recall any other British invention that’s traveled the world?

There’ve been many designs, but in order to choose those that were most emblematic, the Royal Mail postal service elected a committee of experts with links to the world of design.

The objects considered most influential by this committee included the miniskirt, created by Mary Quant in 1956, and the Anglepoise lamp by George Cawardine, which made even the darkest corners of every desk accessible thanks to its movable joint design.

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 on 15 Jan 2009 by Marta Reig in Art, design and architecture Comments Send this to a friend

Blow Up the Balloon

An aromatic balloon is the latest invention in the “air freshener aisle”. So simple, it almost seems like a joke.

If you don’t blow, it won’t go
If you don’t blow, it won’t go
  Although they were created to put an end to foul odors, most air fresheners are as nauseating as the stink they’re meant to combat. To date, no one has invented a revolutionary air freshener that’s pretty and inexpensive and also capable of eliminating the smell of smoke, stale air, or excess humidity without becoming a nuisance.

But this is not due to a lack of variety in air fresheners, there are all sorts of models available: suffocating sprays that smell like everlasting lemon, little vats of oils that won’t let you breath when you burn them, incense that penetrates the depths of your nostrils, overpowering air fresheners meant to look and smell like pine trees...

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 on 14 Jan 2009 by Marta Reig in Gadgets, inventions and prototypes Comments Send this to a friend

Designer Credit

A Japanese company has created a series of 100 designer VISA cards. These credit cards are just as much fun to look at as they are to spend with.

Cookies and chocolate, as tempting as money
Cookies and chocolate, as tempting as money
  They give us advances when we’re strapped for cash, allow us to make it from pay-check to pay-check without having to beg Mom to bail us out, and, thanks to them, we can own things we’d never buy if we had to pay cash. For some, the almighty credit card has become a synonym of happiness… while for others they are nothing more than the material manifestation of a giant debt with the bank.

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 on 13 Jan 2009 by Marta Reig in Art, design and architecture Comments Send this to a friend

Hand-made fonts

Although most fonts are created using computer programs, some craftier designers are making them by hand.

Use these glazed biscuits to write
Use these glazed biscuits to write
  In print media, fonts are as important as the images themselves, that’s why their design is carefully planned out and there is an increasing trend towards using original and unique fonts that no one else has used before.

Nowadays it’s quite common to commission a font and many graphic designers focus a mayor part of their work on designing new types of lettering.

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 on 12 Jan 2009 by Marta Reig in Art, design and architecture Comments Send this to a friend

Luminous Flying Books

These books that are suspended in mid-air are part of an art installation currently on display on a square in the city of San Francisco

At night, they look like birds
At night, they look like birds
  On another street in San Francisco, there’s a building with a façade full of ”suicidal” furniture. Armchairs, bathtubs, wall clocks and chairs decided jump out the window and escape by clambering down the building’s walls. Imagine getting home from work to find your furniture stealthily climbing down the façade? Although it would be fun (as well as disconcerting) to see your couch jump out the window, these pieces of furniture are actually part of Defenestration, a permanent installation by Brian Goggin, an artist who manages to bring everyday objects to life through his striking and provocative installations.

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 on 09 Jan 2009 by Marta Reig in Art, design and architecture Comments Send this to a friend

A New Bus for London

The Foster + Partners studio has won a call to tender for the design of a new red bus that will circulate around streets the streets of London.

It will be rounder in shape and more luminous
It will be rounder in shape and more luminous
  These buses are one of the city’s cultural icons and riding them has become a popular tourist attraction. Who hasn’t ridden one during a visit to London? But the red double-decker buses known as Routemaster were removed from the public transport network in 2005 because they are considered dangerous. Many users would get on or off and even jump from the rear platform while the bus was in motion.

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 on 07 Jan 2009 by Marta Reig in Art, design and architecture Comments Send this to a friend

The World of Mr. Toast

Mr. Toast and his friends inhabit the Imaginary World, a fictitious setting created by comic strip artist Dan Goodsell.

You won’t want to eat this toast
You won’t want to eat this toast
  Several years ago, California-based illustrator Dan Goodsell decided to bring this slice of bread known as Mr. Toast to life. He gave Mr. Toast arms and legs, drew a smiley face on him, and provided him with a group of rather strange friends, so he won’t feel lonely in the Imaginary World.

Mr. Toast’s gang of friends is made up of different objects and food products that the author has endowed with personality.

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 on 05 Jan 2009 by Marta Reig in Gadgets, inventions and prototypes Comments Send this to a friend

Solar Powered Toys

A new fad is making waves: toys that run on solar energy and don’t need batteries.

The Flip Flap plant will not grow without sunlight
The Flip Flap plant will not grow without sunlight
  Experts say it is the energy source of the future. It’s green energy, renewable, and clean. And it’s obtained directly from the sun. Solar energy is not just used for heating; it’s also used to run certain devices.

Installing solar panelsfor domestic use is becoming more and more commonplace and in countries such as Japan more and more devices are now designed to run on this type of energy.

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 on 02 Jan 2009 by Marta Reig in Unusual gifts Comments ( 1 ) Send this to a friend

Mamegoma

This charming little seal has a blog, a cartoon, a Nintendo DS game and is the main character at an anime series premiering this month in Japan

Basic version of Mamegoma
Basic version of Mamegoma
  Mamegoma is a seal character created by Japanese company San-X with the aim of becoming the next plush pet for Japanese children. Its feature sheet (like all Japanese dolls and toys, it comes with its own feature sheet and specifications) tells us that this is a "homey, around the house" seal; docile, meek and manageable. There are several styles, colours and breeds of Mamegoma; they’ve even created a hybrid between seal and panda bear called Pandagoma.

Though it hasn’t unleashed its own store yet, and it is not very well known or popular outside Japan; thousands of merchandising products have already been created, featuring its cute little face on them: cloths, plush toys, key-rings, school and teaching materials, suitcases, baby’s bottles...

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 on 31 Dec 2008 by Marta Reig in Japanese Culture Comments Send this to a friend

NYC on the palm of your hand

Build your own mini replica of the skyscrapers city out of a paper template

How long it took them to build NYC?
How long it took them to build NYC?
  Fans and enthusiasts of Woody Allen’s movies, architecture lovers, and handicrafts experts, they will all have a big time with this enjoyable puzzle hobby.

It is all about building Manhattan out of a paper sheet. We’ve already talked about the ReadyMech, figure toys which come folded as a PDF document for you to print, cut and fold with your own hands so that they take shape.

To get your own mini replica of the Big Apple you’ll need to follow the same procedure.

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 on 30 Dec 2008 by Marta Reig in Unusual gifts Comments Send this to a friend
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