Inventory No. 57 - Issue 57 - Magazine | Monocle

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Why are books about graphic design so often badly designed? Publishers Unit Editions have bucked that trend with latest tome Lubalin, an all-encompassing documentation of the work and life of graphic designer Herb Lubalin. His playful style and punchy typography earned him suitors from all quarters, allowing him to switch between TV titles, magazines, typeface design, posters and everything else print had to offer. The book was two years in the making and is a masterclass in order and restraint, yet it has just the right amount of colour and graphic vernacular to complement this amazing portfolio of work.


Another Country


Manufactured using sustainable techniques, this dining table is part of Another Country’s Series One and built using solid oak. Also available in lacquered chestnut, from twentytwentyone shop.;



Ceramic birdhouse

Interior designer Nieves Contreras has overseen the creative direction of Sagenceramics since the company’s launch in 2004, continuing the region’s centuries-old traditions in ceramics making. The firm produces pieces with local and international talent including French product designer Elise Berthier and Spanish studio Nadadora. Covered in glossy paint with a wooden perch, this Oronetes birdhouse is also available in blue, yellow and green; its shape allows for multiple units to be put side by side.


Herschel Supply Co.


Founded by brothers Jamie and Lyndon Cormack in 2009, Herschel Supply Co. was named after the tiny Canadian village of Herschel in Saskatchewan, where their great-grandparents migrated to from Scotland in the early 1900s. Made of waterproof cotton and nylon, the iPad sleeve and wallet are part of the “Classics” collection, drawing on US mountaineering traditions. Shown here in butterscotch and olive, they also come in black with brown; the range also includes briefcases and travel bags.


Blackcreek Mercantile and Trading Co

Polishing oil

Made from natural essential oils and pure vegetable varnish, these oils will give cutting boards and wooden cutlery a great polish. Add a delicate layer to your beaten cooking tools and see them glow again, leaving lemon and rosemary aromas in the air. The bottles (manufactured by Joshua Vogel in his New York studio) are a cool addition to your pantry.


Mateo & Bernabé


La Rioja is a region famous for its bold red wines, but Alberto Pacheco’s artisan microbrewery is changing that with Mateo & Bernabé, his two craft beers that he named after local saints. Alberto recommends drinking from a wine glass to get all the goodness of the brew. Mateo 21 is a wheat beer with hints of fruity flavours, while Bernabé 11 is a lighter tipple.


Machidukuri Yamajo


In Kanagawa, Machidukuri Yamajo handcrafts Japanese brooms the way it has been done for more than 200 years. They are made from an organic type of corn that is then worked by a team of five artisans to make 1,200 brooms a year. Available in various sizes, suitable for everything from brushing the floor to cleaning your desk.


Polkka Jam

Tea towel

From its studio in Turku, Finnish firm Polkka Jam has been producing paper goods (printed on 100 per cent recycled cardboard), cushions and tea towels since 2002, with designs inspired by nature and everyday life. “There is a personal experience behind every collection, something from our own lives,” says Kristiina Haapalainen, one of the partners. “Sometimes small and quiet things turn out to be something exciting and spectacular when you take a closer look,” she adds; that’s certainly true in the case of the beautiful tea towel pictured below.




Based in Barcelona, Mermelada Estudio has been in the Catalan creative scene since 2010, having collaborated with some of design’s heavyweights: brands such as Kvadrat and lighting company Almerich. The three-member team that co-founded the studio really spread their wings at this year’s SaloneSatellite design exhibition, showcasing products such as their “Birds” knife set. The set of six blades was inspired by birds’ beaks, from a hummingbird to a goose, and each one is finished with a wooden handle that sits snugly in the palm of your hand.


Happy Pots

Tea set

Jonathan Gomez’s Happy Pots are made of bone china and feature a practical heat-isolating beech plywood handle allowing them to be easily carried even when filled with hot drinks. The three-piece set was designed to convey a sense of warmth, inspired by Gomez’s childhood memories. “I believe that objects made from natural materials bring joy and happy memories to people,” he says. “If you simply smile when you first looked at my work, it means I succeeded at what I wanted to achieve.”


Milk and Honey

Drinking set

A Polish poet once described his country’s landscape as “bulging with milk and honey”. The founders of the Beza Projekt studio, Anna Loskiewicz and Sophia Strumillo-Sukiennik picked up on the idea for this drinking set. The duo was commissioned to commemorate the Polish presidency of the European Union in 2011, and created this limited-edition set of wild honey, a ceramic cup and a teaspoon (the latter in the shape of a quill pen as a nod to said poet). If you’d like a taste of the traditional milk-and-honey drink, drop the designers a line; they might still have some left.




During the Prohibition era, Canadian bootleggers were famous for quenching the thirst of Americans in search of a subversive tipple, becoming specialists in the art of distilling. This heritage can be seen in Spicebox’s vintage label as well as the contents of the bottle. The whiskey is made from a blend that’s aged for three to six years in bourbon barrels, a process that provides a unique smokiness allied to vanilla and pepper flavours.



Fire-roasted pasta

It’s not everyday that you come across Swiss pasta, but this is no ordinary pasta. Made with spring water and organic durum wheat sourced in the Apulian region of Italy, Ppura pasta is prepared following traditional recipes dating back to the 19th century. This includes letting the pasta dry for up to 72 hours; industrial pasta is usually dried for a maximum of three hours. The fire-roasted pasta is a darker, chunkier version of the traditional kind, loaded with smoky and nutty flavours that make the perfect pairing for thick Ligurian pesto.


Rakafuki Friends


The product of a partnership between Dutch lighting company Lemnis and California firm Celery Design, Rakafuki Friends are efficient, warm-toned LED bulbs (each lasts up to 30 years) packed with eco appeal, dressed-up as a pig, a kangaroo and a chicken. “We created the Rakafuki project as an experiment in new ways to package green technology,” says Rod DeWeese, Celery Design’s co-founder. “Companies usually present sustainable products in technical or financial terms. Why not appeal instead to everyone’s inner child?”


M2 City

Wooden toys

We like toys that don’t rely on technological wizardry – how many iPad apps does a toddler need? Budding urban planners can use the M2 City building blocks to engineer the perfect metropolis. Made by Italy’s Milani, the toy set includes 100 pieces made from beech, as well as green felt (to represent grass) and a cotton cloth.


Black Sheep

Travel guides

Formerly a lawyer, Santiago Sanz never hid his passion for good food and travel. “My friends would always ask me for restaurant recommendations – that’s when I had the idea,” he says. “What started as a list for my acquaintances was then published as guides in 2011. “We feature places that aren’t found in mainstream travel guides.” The first collection includes Madrid, Valencia and Seville, while Jerez and Granada are almost completed. Plans are also underway to grow the series to feature a number of cities in Europe and Asia.

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