In this month’s rundown of life improvers, we have some desk accessories to get you sorted, Brazilian cosmetics to keep you smelling sweet and the best après-ski liqueur we’ve tasted.
Born in Sweden/Mailbo
Founded in 2007, Born in Sweden focuses on functional, sculptural design. Its latest offering is a chirpy fire-engine red mailbox. Hand-made with fibreglass and manufactured with a process used in building boat hulls, its periscope-like curvature reminiscent of nautical design is precisely angled to keep rainwater from blowing into the opening.
German Authentics teams up with top designers such as Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby, Konstantin Grcic and Martí Guixé to produce simple, industrial products for everyday use. The latest addition to the inventory are these travel boxes by Polka Design to help you organise your luggage in a neat and efficient way. They come in an assortment of colours for a mix and match effect.
Genepy is the popular name given to the fragrant mountain herb, artemisia glacialis. Found above 2,000m, the Alpine plant has long been used in Italy’s Valle d’Aosta region to make liqueur. Local distillery Levi’s libation is our favourite of the lot. Drink it neat après-ski or sip an ice-chilled glass as an after-dinner digestif.
Merchant no.4/Tracing paper holder
This nifty little tracing paper holder designed by US Obrian Muehleisen architecture studio comes in four finishes – walnut, cherry, oak or maple and has 15 pen slots. An essential desk companion for an architect, it also doubles as a handy key, pen and change holder.
Normann Copenhagen/Cup & carafe
Championing craft at September’s Maison&Objet in Paris was Danish firm Normann Copenhagen. For the new kitchen line “Mormor” it plucked a fresh-faced Gry Fager straight from the Danish Design School even before she had graduated. Fager’s first designs to go into mass production are inspired by the clichés of a modern kitchen using patterns that echo those of traditional dishcloths. The Mormor range also includes plates, bowls, egg-cups and jugs.
‘Thinque Funky: Upgrade Your Thinking’/Book
The mind-improving book Thinque Funky: Upgrade Your Thinking by Anders Sorman-Nilsson is a labour of love. Its eye-catching layout is thanks to its designer based in Buenos Aires. The cloth for the jacket was sourced in Holland and the book was hand-made and produced on a 1920s book press in an old Sydney book binders. Nilsson says, “It was designed both as a manifesto and as a notebook for creative outlets.”
Almo Nature/Pet food
So choosy is our feline friend Mortimer that he turns his nose up at anything but Genovese cuisine. Almo Nature manufactures pet food without “by-products” and founder Pier Giovanni Capellino and his little “helpers” Shabbat, Chocolat, Shang and Dr Salento create dishes such as tuna with clams and ragout with lamb and beef.
Klaus Lichtenegger/Cooking utensils
Austrian designer Klaus Lichtenegger’s hand-crafted cooking utensils that smell of the forest are made from reclaimed Tuscan wood including cherry, juniper and olive. To retain their smooth texture Klaus recommends you don’t wash them but sand lightly then rub with a drop of olive oil. klauslichtenegger.com
Granado, one of the most traditional cosmetics companies in Brazil, was founded in 1870. Early clients included the Brazilian royal family. Nowadays it’s better-known for products that use native herbs, flowers and fruits and new product lines such as Linha Pet for animals.
¿Adonde?/Stationery holders French firm ¿Adonde? made it into the Monocle Design Directory’s Best Products of 2009 with its modular tableware but now we have our hearts set on its latest cardboard stationery holders. Each box fits neatly inside the oblong “mother box” and helps you keep your pens, paperclips and Post-it notes in check. The cardboard boxes come flat-packed in an A4 envelope with beautiful graphic instructions on how to set them up.
French label Meilleur Ami makes men’s accessories that are meant to be as indispensable as a best friend. The ingenious 080 scarf (made in an atelier in Paris) is a loop that doubles neatly around your neck and comes in silk, linen, cashmere, wool or cotton. And then there is the supple, limited-edition Meilleur Ami bag made at a Picardie factory, which also supplies the French Army. Each season the bag is produced in a new colour and material or it can be customised on demand.