In this month’s rundown of vital life improvements we have a two-faced candle, a three-legged stool and 12 notebooks to get you through the coming year.
- Hundreds Tens Units/wall clock
A trio of designers called Hundreds Tens Units graduated in 2008 and decided to produce items that champion a Made in England ethos. This clock’s aluminium face was screen printed by Bedford Dials in Tenbury Wells, which also makes dials for Rolls-Royce, and the 1.5mm hands are by Grainge & Hodder in Birmingham. “We’d rather compete on quality rather than price,” says co-founder David Horan. We approve.
- Staffan Holm/Milk stool
“Four legs is just one too many, so I opted for three,” says Gothenburg-based Staffan Holm of his take on the traditional Swedish milking stool. The solid ash creation debuted at this year’s Salone Satellite in Milan, which showcases up-and-coming designers where the stool caught the eye of French furniture company Ligne Roset.
- Sojirushi/cleaning utensils
Head back to basics with this cleaning set by Japanese designer Masanori Oji. “People put their cleaning products out of sight but I wanted to create products that were also nice to look at,” says Oji, who teamed up with Tokyo-based broom firm Shirokiya Denbei to produce this set using 19th-century methods – the paper dustpan is coloured with antique persimmon dye. This broom is made from rattan rather than the standard bamboo.
- Yuen’to/music balloon speaker
Yuen’to is a project led by Japanese product designers IDEA International. Yuen means “reason” in Japanese and this group plans to produce “goods and things” and “seek the best possible solutions for daily life, environments and people”. This playful balloon speaker is surprisingly powerful, comes in five colours and plugs into any music player jack.
Shiseido was one of the first western-style pharmacies in Japan when it opened its doors in the upmarket Ginza district of Tokyo in 1872. Its chemists have spent the past seven years researching four new products that launch this month. All part of the Future Solution LX Range, the packaging of the cleansing foam, softener, day and night creams harks back to the company’s century-old corporate heritage.footnote: The Future Solution LX products contain a patent-pending amino acid derivative called Skingenecell 1P that supresses the production of Serpin b3, a major trigger of skin degeneration.
- Typographic Desk Reference/book
American graphic designer Theodore Rosendorf has edited and designed the “Typographic Desk Reference”, a comprehensive hardback about symbols, diacritics, marks and various forms of typographic furniture in Latin-based writing systems. Published by Oak Knoll in Delaware, a nerdy house specialising in books about making books, TDR is a fascinating peek into the mind of our art department.
- Natasha Daintry/ceramics
Ceramicist Natasha Daintry’s current works are a far cry from the ashtrays she designed in the 1990s for the Ritz Club in London and The Palace Hotel in St Moritz. Having studied Japanese at Cambridge University, she moved to the Royal College of Art to turn ceramics. Over 750 of her slip-casted pots will be at Knightsbridge’s two Egg shops from 25 September.
natashadaintry.com, eggtrading.eu Footnote: Daintry influences: Sebastian Blackie, (UK), Ryoji Koie (Japan), Geert Lap (Netherlands) Dame Lucie Rie (UK), Longquan & Ding Ware ceramics (China).
- Diptyque 3 Kuntzel 1 Deygas/candle
Candlemaker Diptyque’s aesthetic appealed to the Parisian illustrators Kuntzel + Deygas as Florence Deygas says: “The project Oliver and I developed – La Belle et La Bête [Beauty and the Beast] – is based on two different personalities, as the name Diptyque also references the meaning of double.” The La Belle candle has top notes of rhubarb and Egyptian geranium, while La Bête has Indonesian patchouli and Java vetiver. The packaging is embossed with illustrations. It’s a limited edition of 4,000.
- Nava Design/stationery
Contemporary Milanese stationer Nava Design commissioned Alessandro Esteri, photographer and head of creative agency Hand Made Group, to design a set of notebooks. His solution was One Year of White Pages – 12 monthly jotters, each with a right number of holes punched through them books to denote the month.
- Charlie’s Soap/detergent
The US family-run company has been running since 1976 when Charlie Sutherland Jr began making a soap to clean the machines at his father’s textile company. According to his father, “Charlie’s soap cleans everything from false teeth to diesel engines”, and over the years has been refined to include delicate laundry powder (pictured) and all-purpose household cleaner in old-time green-printed linen bags. charliesoap.com
- Tancho wax and Yanagiya pomade/hair products
Japanese company Mandom, which manufactures that staple summer pocket accessory the Gatsby Facial Wipe, created Tancho hair-styling wax in 1933 and it has been flying off the shelves ever since. Another popular staple of yore, complete with old-fashioned green packaging, is hair pomade by Yanagiya – a company established in 1615 and famed for its hair tonics and creams. No wonder Tokyo’s estimated 10,000 hairdressers look so good. mandom.co.jp, yanagiya-cosme.co.jp