A round-up of practical and pretty things, including a dog bowl that doesn’t go walkies and a baby soap that is a national institution.
- Papa Foxtrot/wooden ships
Four designers at London-based PostlerFerguson have turned to shipping lines for inspiration in the first line of toys for its new brand, Papa Foxtrot, which launches this month. “We are inspired by classical Scandinavian and Japanese wooden toys from the 1950s and ’60s and have given them a contemporary theme. We have worked from the technological diagrams as far as we could and simplified them,” says co-founder Martin Postler. These handsome teak, maple and birch ships are inspired by the world’s largest container ship, Emma Maersk, the liquid gas tanker Arctic Princess and the biggest oil tanker, TI Asia. Other colour schemes that will be gradually introduced will reference the liveries of major shipping lines. New products to look out for this year are windmills and space rockets.
Print-Process is the latest concept from Mark Blam, graphic designer and founder of online gallery Blanka (see Issue 13). “I wanted to create art in a more democratic way for customers to own,” says Blam. Each print is digitally made to order in one of three sizes and includes John Taylor’s minimalist reconstructions of film posters, including Little Miss Sunshine, and a collection of designs by artist Melissa Price based on motorway junctions.
- Bone and Rag/dog bowl and collar
Unable to find durable dog accessories that matched rather than marred the look of their period home in London, partners Alex Sullivan and Jeremy Cooper took matters into their own hands. “Our current collection of dog beds is inspired by the interior designer David Hicks,” says Sullivan, who took a break from a career in advertising to set up Bone and Rag. The firm prides itself on using the best of British craftsmanship. Dog bowls are made by pewter specialist Wentworth in Sheffield – the material was chosen because it is a heavy metal alloy and so bowls will not shift around while the dog is eating. The collars are made by The Heritage Belt Company in Northampton whose other customers include Mulberry.
- Ci/stà/bottle holder
Italy’s Legnotecnica does away with unsightly wrought-iron wine racks and balancing bottle holders. The company’s Ci/stà (“it fits” in Italian) containers are made from beech and feature a modular design that makes them easy to stack in the cellar. They come in three sizes so you can let that prized bubbly or Barolo rest easy.
- Dri Dri/ice cream
Genuine Italian gelato is now available in London at Adriano di Petrillo’s new store, Dri Dri, on Portobello Road. Dri Dri gelati use no additives or emulsifiers and its products are often lower in fats and sugars than other brands on the market – but just as sweet. Seven months of recipe development have gone into flavours such as fragola sorbet and pistachio, whose nuts are sourced from Bronte in Sicily. Even in the depths of the British winter, di Petrillo says sales are still the “same is they were in July”.
- Best Made/first aid kit
As well as manufacturing the finest made-to-order American axes, Best Made now produces a practical first aid kit comprising bandages, antiseptic, forceps and everything you need to deal with an injury. A standard US Forest Service-approved kit, its logo is a smart combination of the Best Made and red cross logos. Hang it on the wall when not in use.
The title of this slickly packaged and well-considered book refers to the discipline of large-scale graphic design within architectural environments. It opens with several beautiful historical case studies, which chart the origins of the topic, including Lance Wyman’s work for the Mexico Olympics. This is complemented with a comprehensive and colourful scan of more contemporary work, neatly rounded off with an addendum of interviews with industry experts and movement founders.
- Sea Island/coffee
Sea Island Coffee is one of Europe’s leading importers of specialist coffees. Known for its Jamaica Blue Mountain, which won the gold medal at the Guild of Fine Food’s 2010 Great Taste Awards, Sea Island also stocks rarer coffees such as Maui Island Single Estate and Philippine Alamid Kopi Luwak, produced from beans that have been swallowed by civet cats and are then collected from the jungle floor.
Footnote: Sea Island’s Maui Estate is the only farm in the world growing the mocha coffee variety commercially.
Ever since a local pharmacist conjured up a potion to ease his baby daughter’s skin problems in the 1940s, Israeli mothers have been bathing their babes in the “soapless soap” of Dermapon. Something of a national treasure, the daintily curved tub, sparse Hebrew typology, and delectably clean smell will get a nostalgic sigh out of any adult Israeli.
- Uniform Wares/watch
London watch brand Uniform Wares emphasises its English origins with dials inspired by wall clocks from the country’s factories. Its 200 Series timepiece comes in five finishes, including rose gold PVD, with a strap in naturally tanned calf leather or rubber. Its 300 Series Chronograph sports an aircraft-grade 42mm stainless steel case in three finishes (matt black, brass or brushed steel) with a Swiss 23 jewel movement, and is water-resistant to 5atm (units of pressure).
- Basil Racuk/bag
Californian designer Basil Racuk found his true calling during a soul-searching holiday on the Greek island of Hydra. Tired of designing menswear, he shifted gears and made the move into accessories. In 2008, he opened a small atelier near San Francisco to handcraft logo-free bags and belts from locally sourced hides, including a computer case (pictured) in full-grain leather with adjustable closing straps. Racuk says, “I strip away to get to the essence of the silhouette."
Dogfish Head, an exceptional craft brewery on the Delaware shore, is leading the US crusade towards high-alcohol beers and has begun dabbling in rum, gin and vodka. But the best sip this time of year is from an old perennial that Dogfish Head has churned out every winter since 1995: Chicory Stout, a rich seasonal porter brewed with roasted chicory and Mexican coffee.