El Casco: Pencil sharpener
Founded as a pistol manufacturer in 1920 in Spain’s Basque country, El Casco as forced to diversify after the Great Depression, and it built a stationery hardware business based on its gun makers’ techniques. Revered by those in the know as the best stationery hardware producer in the world, the company meticulously polishes and adjusts each component of its products, such as this pencil sharpener, by hand.
Normann Copenhagen: Wooden toy
Until the designer of the FF Signa font Ole Søndergaard came up with this toy for Normann Copenhagen, he was busy designing signage for public buildings in his native Denmark. His latest creation offers lots of aeronautical fun and doubles up as a mobile.
Thanks to Japanese company Funfam, children never need be flummoxed by silver service again, particularly if they’ve grown up with chopsticks. The eco-friendly bamboo trays are marked with stained wooden logos to designate which cutlery goes with which course. Each knife, fork and spoon fits perfectly into the tray’s indentations just like a jigsaw puzzle, ensuring no confusion and an educational eating experience.
The Energizer Hard Case Tactical is as hardcore as pocket torches get. Used in the field by soldiers, it has an infrared light that amplifies visibility when using night-vision goggles and a built-in strobe light that provides the “identify friend or foe” functionality, just in case.
MH Way: Pencil case
Milanese luggage manufacturer MH Way became famous for making portfolios in lightweight materials in the early 1980s. Its Piuma line was inducted into the permanent design exhibitions at the MoMA in New York and the Pompidou in Paris. This new glasses case doubles as a pencil case for your El Casco- sharpened implements.
Club-Mate: Energy drink
Club-Mate, a tastier German competitor to Austrian energy drink Red Bull, is full of the South American herb mate and low on sugar content. The beverage (topped up with plenty of vodka of course) is currently giving Berlin dance floors their swing. We think an all-out international export plan should be on brewer Brauerei Loscher’s 2009 agenda.
Jakob Wallsten, founder of Swedish clothes detergent company Care&s, is taking a pragmatic approach to reinventing one of life’s essentials. “You spend a lot of money taking care of your skin, your hair and even your car, but the things you use every day, your clothes, you treat with simple products that gradually destroy them,” he says. So, he created Care&s tablets that are fabric friendly, better for the environment and mighty finely designed.
Ichizawa Hanpu: Camera bag
Tucked away in one of Kyoto’s back-alleys is Ichizawa Hanpu, a family-run business that has thrived for over 100 years, despite a recent family feud. It started life making clothing for local clerics, then provided bags for tradesmen delivering sake bottles and ice. Now it uses durable cotton canvas to make these coin purses as well as rucksacks and handsome camera bags for professional photographers.
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