Natural skincare products, a digital radio and an ingenious paper shredder are among Monocle’s most coveted items this month.
- IDEA/paper shredder
With identity theft rife, a handy paper shredder is just what you need to ensure that confidential documents never get into the hands of the wrong people. Designed for IDEA International by Japanese firm one tenth – a collective of environmentally conscious designers who hope to reduce the usage rate of natural resources to a tenth of its current level – this battery-operated shredder is called “Bridge” as it sits perfectly on top of a rubbish bin.
- Matt Pugh/wooden owl
Working with a small team in a workshop outside Bath, England, Matt Pugh makes playful furniture and accessories out of sustainable materials. These ornamental wooden owls made of European oak and American walnut are the brand’s signature pieces. There are 12 in the range, including gold leaf, red, blue, green, white and pink.
- Poketo/balancing blocks
For hours of guilt-free fun, Fort Standard – Designers & Makers has come up with these environmentally friendly balancing blocks, which are stocked at Poketo in LA. Specialising in product and furniture design, this recently established New York-based design outfit handmakes these blocks from scrap wood that it collects from furniture shops.
- Work/life: Uppercase Directory of Illustration/Uppercase
This directory of 100 illustrators from around the world is published by Canadian Uppercase, a magazine and book publisher based in Alberta. Monocle contributors also get a look in, including Brent Couchman’s “modern vintage” sketches from San Francisco and Madrid’s Blanca Gómez. An entertaining visual guide to global talent.
Family-run Sivaris has been cultivating rice in Valencia’s Albufera Natural Park for generations. The packaging by Spanish designer Pepe Gimeno is as multi-hued as the contents –15 different rice varieties including black and red make up the catalogue. The company also supplies Michelin-starred restaurants, such as Lasarte in Barcelona.
- Ursa Major/men’s face products
Disappointed by the offerings of natural skincare on the market, Oliver Sweatman and his wife decided to take matters into their own hands. In 2009, they moved out of New York to the quieter Vermont and focused on creating a natural skincare product line to rival synthetic products. Ursa Major cleansers, toner, shave cream and face lotions nourish the skin with minerals, vitamins, proteins and essential fatty acids to keep you looking your best.
- Trikalinos/mullet roe
Although keen foodies have tried Italian bottarga grated onto pasta and Japanese karasumi with sake, many are not so familiar with its Greek equivalent – avgotaraho. All three are preserved mullet roe – a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids – and one of the world’s best manufacturers of this prized delicacy hails from Greece. The Trikalinos family has been producing the stuff since 1856 and exporting it all over the world – preserving it in layers of beeswax to keep it fresh.
Realising stationery cupboards needed a spruce up, UK designer Michael Sodeau teamed up with Japanese company Suikosha to create this canary yellow stapler. Also available in white, black and orange.
With the portable XDR-S16DBP portable radio, Sony has finally jumped on the DAB+ bandwagon. It offers both digital and FM reception with presets for storing your top radio stations and comes with a sleep timer to ensure you can drift off to your favourite broadcasts. There’s also a headphone jack and LCD display. And all in a retro natural wooden finish.
- Geoffrey Lilge/chopping board
Harking back to a childhood sanding maple cutting boards in his mother’s wood workshop, Canadian Geoffrey Lilge set out to create the ultimate chopping boards. Following four years of prototypes from his Alberta studio, his hand-finished collection is made up of eight shapes and finished with four coats of natural oil and beeswax. Unusual and pleasing forms in walnut and maple include a series of charcuterie boards that he developed for his wife’s restaurant Culina Highlands. For research purposes Lilge admits he made his way through a lot of charcuterie on the way.
Thanks to Amsterdam-based studio Jansen+Co tea-time is a colourful occasion. This company specialises in making domestic products less ordinary, as seen in this porcelain set of espresso cups and teapots by head designer Anouk Jansen.
Situated at the base of the Italian Alps, the spa town of Merano is known for its health-giving waters and another reinvigorating liquid made locally: espresso. Set up in 1890, family-run coffee roaster Schreyögg toasts Arabica and Robusta beans. Select from its filter coffee range, decaf roasts, or full-bodied blends to prepare cappuccino, café crème or macchiato.
- Field Notes/notebooks
Fans of memo books that evoke the glory days of plain and simple pocket ledgers turn to Field Notes. The Chicago-based firm has a series of limited-edition notebooks called Colors that are released each quarter. A highlight is the “Dry Transfer Edition”, where users can have fun customising their notebooks with dry transfer lettering. The next Colors edition is released in early June. Get queueing.
Following the popularity of its fragrance line, New York retailer Odin has launched a matching set of home fragrances and introduced its sixth scent at Barneys in May. The four candles include hand-poured slate-coloured wax. Delicate smells include “Owari” with its refreshing notes of mandarin, crushed grapefruit leaves mixed with Cubeb pepper and Tonkin musk.
- Portland General/beauty products
Without any formal chemistry training and taught by a book of vintage cosmetic recipes from the 1920s, Lisa Brodar and Troy Tyler hand-make sweet-smelling essences and thick toning balms using raw ingredients. Marula oil and organic rooibos are said to maintain healthy hair and skin and help restore their natural oils. Pampered environmentalists will be pleased to know that the “Thick” shampoo is paraben free and vegan-friendly.
A former Evisu designer, William Kroll’s brand Tender focuses on handmade detail and its UK provenance – from belt buckles that are cast in the country to leather that is tanned in the only oak-bark tannery left in the world in Devon. This hand-cut bag is made from an untreated whole cowhide and his belt pouches are modelled on the Metro- politan Police handcuff pouch.