Showcase Spotlight: Clean City

Sao Paolo’s streets and skylines are free of ads thanks to the Clean City legislation, but that hasn’t stopped local artists from doing what they can to spread other kinds of messages. This little piece of artwork pulled from the Sao Paulo streets (and posted on our Design Showcase by the lovely Bethany) would probably make Crispin Porter (who’s behind the Truth campaign) pee themselves; what an awesome way to combine a heavy message with total simplicity! No word on who the artistic mastermind behind this is (Phuong-Cac; is it YOU?), but should they happen to run across this post we’d all like to say: Please, oh please, keep this up!

Surface Tension's Arcade Coffee Table

My suburban childhood was marked by the Friday nights my parents would splurge and take us to a certain unnamed pizza chain for pipin’ hot pie. Those short trips out of the house also meant I’d again get to kick my sister’s ass at the tabletop PacMan game they had in the waiting area of the parlor, confirming my status as her superior (hey, I was 7 years old). Good times! All that came flooding back in a Coke wash when I checked out Surface Tension’s slick and super-awesome Arcade Coffee Table, which comes pre-loaded with any of 29 classic games, like Bubble Bobble or Space Invader. And, being that it’s 2007, Surface Tension’s made it multi-functional, installing an AirPort feature for streaming music to your stereo plus adding Internet capability, so when conversations come to a lull with guests, you can power up Firefox and show ‘em your MySpace page or all those pervy shots from last week’s party.

If everyone gets one of these, I don’t think we’ll need coffee table books anymore. Of course, with the price hovering at a pricey $5,000, I might hang onto a couple of my Taschens…


A few days ago, French studio Hellohikimori launched their latest site, and the newly brightened pages are doing wonders showing off the impressive portfolio of designers Nathalie Melato and David Rondel Cambou. The site allows users to easily navigate the duo’s rather expansive body of work, which includes outstanding work for clients like UNICEF, Computer Arts, and Nokia. In classic Parisian style, All of Hellohikimori’s output (web, print, and otherwise) proves to be quite the eyeball-feast, and further evidence of the studio’s nice bag o’ tricks can be found when you take the time to actually visit the sites they are responsible for creatively directing and designing. I definitely recommend heading over to take a look, partially because it’s Wednesday and I know you want to kill some time, but mainly because you’d be dumb not to. It’s that good, I promise.

Mimobots go Domo-kun

OhGizmo! has leaked a rumor about our friends at Mimoco launching a series of Domo-kun related mimobots. Domo-kun inspired stuff has been almost impossible to come by in the USA, while it’s reaching the masses in Japan and many parts of Asia — on my last trip out to Tokyo I saw Domo-kun figures, dolls, keychains, posters absolutely everywhere. My prediction of Domo-kun’s rise to success, fame and fortune in the United States is finally coming to fruition; only a few halloweens ago I dressed up as the strange, fuzzy, monster-like creature. God, I can’t wait to store my secret files on these incredible USB drives!

Related: Undoboy + Spear Collective Mimobots

Houses: They're Boxy But They're Good

While it’s more than likely that if you’re living in a city, your place of residence closely resembles a shoebox, it seems hardly likely that if living in the sprawling countryside one would want one’s abode to be representative of any sort of container…that is, until now. The University of Colorado Boulder sure can churn out some cool looking Architecture projects — from the same institution that brought you Trailerwrap comes this project from Rob Pyatt, who received a special recognition award for architecture for this research+design+build project in association with the University of Colorado Boulder from the YAAG back in 2006. “They’re boxy but they’re good” might’ve been a slogan for Volvo in the 1990 Dudley Moore film Crazy People, but it more than applies here to Pyatt’s remodeling of this 900 square foot home built in 1948 which he remodeled in order to “explore the adaptive reuse and recycling of existing housing stock in Boulder, Colorado”.

–Evan Kessler

Veer's Pitter Patter Umbrella

One could argue that umbrellas are more effectively used as weaponry on big city street settings; despite their eye-poking potential, one of the more pleasant aspects of toting an umbrella is the gentle rhythmic pitter-patter created by the different sized drops of deflected dampness. While the equivalent of a hippie drum circle is occurring on the upside of your own personal awning, the Pitter Patter umbrella from Veer uses more than 80 typefaces from their Umbrella type collection to reflect the surface action on the dry underbelly, so all of you typophiles can state your preference for Kingfisher over King’s Bakery in the midst of monsoon season (or torrential downpour). Go get yourself wet.

Via swissmiss

–Evan Kessler

ICFF '08

In case you didn’t notice this past year, ICFF is a pretty big deal around here. Here, of course, being both NYC and our cozy little blog. While I haven’t had the opportunity to check it out in person yet, I know Heather had a whale of a time wandering the Javits Center last year, sifting the rubies from the rubble. What I didn’t know is how people got invited or otherwise included in the exhibit. As it turns out, there’s an open call for a specific section of the ICFF called the ICFF Studio. “Conceived as a way to help young and promising designers with prototypes connect with the ICFF’s manufacturer attendees as well as the always news-hungry media, ICFF Studio makes the ICFF a truly practical venue for emerging talents.”

Entry is as easy as most design contests are — fill out a form and send in a few pictures of your stuff — so I want to share in case anyone’s cooking up something special in their basement that they’d like to show off to the world at ICFF ’08. Without further ado, the entry form can be downloaded here. The deadline isn’t until January 15, so you’ve got time to finish up those semester projects for your ID program or your “studio”, and the turn around is quick. Winners are announced on February 15th. The only catch? If you get a piece in the show from reading this here, I want a pass to come check it out!

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