Inventory No. 38 - Issue 38 - Magazine | Monocle

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The Swedish design trio Front has created this new collection of ceramics for Höganäs. If the forms seem strangely familiar, that’s because the collection is still made in Sweden, based on the classic Höganäs jar. But it comes with a modern look: both mat and shiny finishes and a carefully selected set of colours, designed for mixing and matching liberally. “We wanted to create a series with simple forms that evoke memories and at the same time fits in with the way we live now,” the group says.


Produced by locals in Honduras, this magnetic wooden toy set is made up of 52 blocks to create a multiple of fun shapes. The US firm Tegu has a social conscience – it donates a percentage of its profits towards preserving the Honduran rainforest. According to its creators, Tegu is so addictive it’s as likely to be found on office desks as in children’s toy-boxes.

Jacqueline Evans/hand soap
Free from sulphates, parabens and artificial preservatives, Jacqueline Evans’s handmade organic products feel like a walk in The Secret Garden. The sweet orange and cedarwood hand soap is combined with moisturising oils.

Channels/wooden bottles

British designer Samuel Chan’s latest collection for his design company, Channels, includes these elegant oak and walnut turned bottles. Chan has taken the trumpet leg as the starting point for his new designs and named the collection Gillespie, after the jazz trumpeter Dizzy. It’s the pleasing shapes and the Jens Quistgaard references though that’s music to our ears.


Trained as a barrister, Englishman James Heeley swapped his legal robes for a lab coat and uprooted to Paris to become a professional perfumier. His line includes Cuir Pleine Fleur, a leathery scent with birch and Atlas cedar base notes. Fragrances are packaged inside high-density foam, which is reusable as a vase or desk tidy.

Victoria Ladefoged/ elephant and dog

Fashioned from discarded road-barriers in Denmark, these animals are inspired by toys that designer Victoria Ladefoged’s grandfather used to make. Trained as a men’s tailor, Ladefoged works with recycled wood and textiles and her handmade elephant and dog draw on Danish craft traditions.

Héctor Serrano/hand puppets

The age of the sock puppet is over. Maverick product designer Héctor Serrano has created a series of quirky instant tattoos for analogue kids. With a splash of water they transform hands into a menagerie of animals, monsters and robots, and they wash off easily.

retaW/body wash

As much as we hate pointless wordplay on products we’ll give retaW (“Water” in reverse) the benefit of the doubt. The Japanese have always messed with English words to tart up their tinctures and this body wash from the Tokyo-based skincare specialists is so good it blows any moniker misgivings out of the soapy water.;


Since 1880, Sicilian chocolatier Bonajuto has used traditional methods to make its sweets, mixing only ground cacao, sugar and spices such as cinnamon or vanilla for flavouring. “It’s chocolate in its original form,” says owner Pierpaolo Ruta, who sources the company’s cocoa from plantations in Ecuador and the island of Príncipe.

Normann Copenhagen/corks

Conceived by Copenhagen-based French designer Aurélien Barbry for Danish brand Normann Copenhagen, this wine stopper and pourer set is the perfect table accessory. Available in four shapes, the stoppers are made from compressed cork to ensure bottles are tightly sealed to preserve the wine’s quality. “My designs are based on the simplest things in our daily life. I redefine them and find new shapes and expressions to give a new life to the object,” says Barbry.

Caroline Flueler/hot water bottle covers

Based in Canton Zug, Swiss textile designer Caroline Flueler creates custom fabrics for everything from socks to scarves. On winter nights in the Alps, her merino-wool hot-water bottles make bedtime a cosy affair. Look for Flueler’s latest collection of blankets next year in the first-class cabin of Swiss International Air Lines.

Reiko Kaneko/beer and sake mugs

London-based half-Japanese and half-English designer Reiko Kaneko was inspired by Japanese drinking vessels for these takes on sake cups and beer tankards. “I decided to use the very English material of bone china for an item that was very Japanese,” says Kaneko.

James Michael Shaw/ dustpan and brush

Recent graduate James Michael Shaw’s dustpan and brush is an exercise in making everyday household utensils precious and long-lasting. The handcrafted ash brush has natural bristles and slots into a hole in the sheet metal pan. It can be hung on a nail thanks to a small hole on the end of the brush – too cute to keep in the cupboard.

Outlier/cycling shirt

For cycling clothing that doubles as casual wear turn to New York-based Outlier. The firm produces tailored cycling and outdoor gear including this shirt made from 100 per cent Swiss woven cotton. It’s sweat - and even spill-proof.

Seventy Eight Percent/bags

Shai Levy relocated from Tel Aviv to Hong Kong seven years ago, after switching from flying cargo planes to making leather and canvas bags. The yellow Gustav Messenger is part of Levy’s new Harrison Ford collection, which also features attaché bags, belt bags and rucksacks in vegetable-tanned Italian leather and waxed Japanese cotton.

Karl Zahn/wooden animals

Brooklyn-based Karl Zahn has designed everything from furniture to yo-yos for Brazilian yo-yo leader Vulto. At September’s Maison & Objet, his beech “animal boxes” were getting buyers excited. His collection of six carved animals includes a walrus, whale and a regal-looking llama.


Dutch firm Quasso specialises in refined handmade wallets. Using polished alligator skin from Louisiana and natural calf leather from Valencia, they are finished with neat stitching. For the more daring, electric colours are available.

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