This month, the natural world brings wood, leather and rare essences to the fore and creates unexpected combinations with chocolate-and-caramel tea and a vodka that starts life with a cow.
- Lovebench/Foldable bench
Louis Vuitton has been making luxury luggage since 1854. To honour its tradition the brand has created Objets Nomades, a new 16-piece collection of travel accessories and objects by international designers. Clino Castelli’s bench is made from leather and wood shaped with a slight incline, bringing sitting lovers even closer.
- Mr Wobbles/Lamp
However hard you knock down Mr Wobbles, it pops upright thanks to the cork capsule shape and weighted base by industrial designer Jonathan Fundudis and mechanical engineer Renko Nieman of Snapp in South Africa. Its durability makes it perfect for kids or just for those who battle alarm clocks (or whatever’s nearby) in the morning.
Ambessa, or “lion” in Amharic, is sure to add some spice to your brew. The new line of tea developed by Marcus Samuelsson, chef and owner of the New York restaurant Red Rooster Harlem, is a nod to his African heritage and Scandinavian upbringing. Flavours include Safari Breakfast, a mixture of Kenyan and Tanzanian-grown black teas, and Choco Nut Blend, an homage to Switzerland with dark chocolate, caramel and nuts. The four blends were created in collaboration with gourmet brewer Harney & Sons.
- Herbivore Botanicals/Bath salts
Every product sold by Colorado-based Herbivore Botanicals is handmade by owners Julia Wills and Alex Kummerow. Having left their jobs in counselling and design, the couple make everything from lip balms and skin scrubs to soaps created from Siberian clay. “Everything we use is 100 per cent natural,” explains Julia. “These bath salts are sourced from the Dead Sea, Hawaii and the Himalayas.” The salts are infused by hand with a range of aromatic herbs and essential oils, including clary sage, lavender and ylang-ylang.
- Alburno/Wooden toys
When Biella-based creative Nicolò Bottarelli launched his design brand Alburno last year he wanted to add an educational strand to his collection of handmade wooden objects. He came up with Last, a series of animal figurines of extinct species including critters such as the dodo and the Tasmanian wolf. Made of beech and maple sourced from Italian forests, the toys have a wheeled base so kids (and adults) can easily manoeuvre them across tabletops or office desks.
- Flow/Cooling carafe
Homeware designer Emsa has long been synonymous with German practicality and innovation. It is these qualities that inform the thinking behind its Flow carafe, a sleek remedy for the problem of keeping drinks chilled at the table. Equipped with a freezable cooling pad concealed within a stainless-steel coaster, the hand-blown glass carafe is able to preserve its temperature for up to four hours, negating the need for bulky coolers and buckets of ice. Removed from its coaster, it converts into an elegant decanter ideal for serving red wine.
Beirut-based Ideo Parfums revives the tradition of royal perfume makers, creating personalised fragrances. “I realised there was a gap for tailored perfumes the day I was in an elevator with a person wearing the same eau de toilette as me,” says founder Ludmila Bitar, who learnt her craft at Takasago and L’Oreal. Working with artisans in Grasse, Sidon and Florence, she has created a line of candles, soaps and eau de cologne. In development for this summer is a pomegranate liquid soap and this candle made with oud, a rare essence from the Arabian desert.
- Black Cow/Vodka
Dairy farmer Jason Barber uses a secret distillation process to make Black Cow vodka out of nothing but milk from his 250-strong herd. It’s the world’s first pure-milk vodka, and it’s made on site at Barber’s dairy farm in Dorset, England. This is no country rube’s moonshine, however. Barber was inspired by tales of the nomadic Tuva people of Siberia whose staple tipple, araka, is made from fermented mares’ milk, and set out to perfect his own recipe. He takes the whey from his herd’s milk and ferments alcohol that is then distilled, blended and triple-filtered. The result is an exceptionally smooth spirit that tastes as good as it looks in its gold-topped, milkman-style bottle.
- Casa Bosques/Chocolate
The team at Mexico City’s multidisciplinary design firm Savvy Studio have a sweet tooth; to ease their craving the Monterrey-founded company decided to make these chocolates under the Casa Bosques (CBB) project. The chocolate collection will feature 12 different editions, each flavour produced according to the change of the seasons. The concept came together after a journey through South America in search of the best chocolate producers, whose wares were then combined with a range of seasonal spices. The first edition kicked off in Mexico (with pink pepper) and continued south. For its fourth launch, CBB is inspired by Peru, pairing Criollo cocoa with cardamom seeds.
- Oud Immortel/Fragrance
Founded in 2006 by Ben Gorham, Stockholm-based fragrance house Byredo’s Oud Immortel has a seriously woody smell with notes of limoncello, incense and cardamom mixed with tobacco leaves. The scent is bottled in the firm’s signature thick glass with a magnetic wooden cap. Byredo’s full range is available at its Stockholm store, Barneys NYC, London’s Liberty and Colette in Paris.
- Camille Tanoh/Shoes
Launched in summer 2012, Camille Tanoh’s The Saturday Afternoon Man Shoe is a desert boot available in black and brown leather and in blue and green poppy suede. Tanoh has found inspiration through her association with Pierre Hardy (as well as in working for Paul Smith and Balenciaga). Next up, heading on through the week: The Monday Morning Man Shoe, available from September 2013.
- Ideal & Co/Backpack
Ideal founder António Vieira was only 14 in 1935 when he began cycling Portugal’s Candeeiros mountains to buy and sell leather. Last year his granddaughter, Rute, and her partner, the designer José Lima, resuscitated the business with a contemporary identity and a line of leather pieces, each handmade and signed by a local artisan. This is the versatile Candeeiros backpack that can be worn on the shoulders or across the body.
- Deutsche & Japaner/Bicycle accessories
Deutsche & Japaner is the Mannheim design studio behind A Darling Accessory, a selection of beautiful handmade items that include knitted-wool headbands and a leather drawstring bag. This bike lock and key ring are made with Italian calf leather. “All leatherwork is handmade by a local saddler,” says German-Japanese Ina Yamaguchi, one quarter of the team behind the project. The red stitching and golden hot-foil finish lend an understated elegance to the perfect kit for the style-conscious cyclist.
- 33 Wines/Wine journal
Made with 100 per cent recycled paper from the Pacific Northwest and US-grown soy-based inks, 33 Bottles of Wine is for wine-lovers who want to keep track of bottles tickling their taste buds. Developed by Dave Selden, co-founder of BS Brewing, this pocket-sized booklet allows you to note qualities such as grape, region and origin while wine tasting.