1–On your own time
Perfect for the creative or competitive sort, Montreal’s Furni has introduced a new DYI clock parts kit. The popularity of the firm’s Knox, Alba and Gator clocks spurred a charitable auction earlier this year, where 30 handpicked artists were invited to decorate a clock. After travelling as an art show, the results were auctioned off, with proceeds going to Skate 4 Cancer. Now Furni is offering a kit, comprised of the clock’s electrical components, which can be used to create your own casing and a whole new design. Photos of the results can be entered in a competition, and the winner will have a chance to be included in the company’s next collection. Deadline for the competition is Jan. 1, 2008. www.furnicreations.com
Die Electric is an online exhibition of whimsical prototypes for energy-conscious designs. Any one who’s seen Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth might recall that leaving unused appliances plugged in is a major energy waster, accounting for up to five per cent of domestic energy use. In answer to the issue, “freelance electrical engineer” and inventor Scott Amron created this line, which uses a non-conducting material to form whimsical pieces that fill empty electrical sockets. Die Electric offers a range of wacky stuff for the environmental friendlies on your list – such as shelves, planters, vases, and even a chair. Perfect for that “razor only” outlet, this toothbrush holder is made of a pliable cord that allows the shape to change to accommodate a rinsing cup, or perhaps an extra brush. www.dieelectric.org
Up and coming on the Alberta design scene, the Fat Crow Design team is one to watch for. The young design collective recently launched a new super-cool, super- Canadian collection called White Moose Brand. The line includes 12 furniture and accessory pieces, ranging from big-ticket items, like occasional chairs and seating sets; to small, like the Fauna magnetic coasters (shown), printed with pixely animal silhouettes. All the pieces in White Moose Brand’s awesomely photographed catalogue are now in production and avilable through the company’s website www.whitemoosebrand.com
4–Just what you’re looking for
For every question that comes up in an interior design project, there’s a different source to look to for an answer. Color Space and Style: All the Details Interior Designers Need to Know but Can Never Find is a new book that attempts to put some of these essential answers in one place. Broken down into six sections – Fundamental, Space, Surface, Environments, Elements, and Resources – the easy-to-use format makes this book a great time saver in the development of projects large and small. A handy resource for interior design students and professionals alike, the book includes interviews with top practitioners.
Brent Comber’s Vancouver studio produces sculptural objects and furniture with sustainable practices, using wood like cedar, Douglas fir and maple from already harvested or fallen trees – which would otherwise become woodchips or waste. Shattered is a piece, both sculptural and functional, that is constructed by assembling and juxtaposing different shapes and sizes of split wood. Comber describes the pieces as being “inspired by process and the human urge to create order form chaos.” Available in four sizes (two square, two rectangular), Shattered is sold in two finishes, natural or Scorched, which is literally burned with a flame, and then sealed with a clear finish. www.colorspacestyle.com
6 & 7–Perfect figureS
For the kitchen, the Tripod trivet (6), from Alessi, looks more like a piece of jewellery when dangling from a hook (as it’s intended to be stored). Featuring two chromeplated, six-pointed pieces (think jacks) at either end of chain, Tripod can simply be tossed onto the table and used to prop hot dishes up off the table’s surface.
Or for a more traditional holiday gift, check out Alessi’s new “Figure” project, which includes the angelic Lieto and Celestino, Christmas Cowboy and Hal Freddo (7), as well as less Christmasy guys, such as the alien-like Marzio. www.alessi.com
Umbra is a great source for gifts of all kinds, and for all occasions. The 2007 catalogue offers pages of cool items, such as the limited-edition Treasure Clock, the molded-rubber Playmate chess set, and the Torsia side table (shown). Designed by Umbra favourite Matt Carr, the table is composed of layers of layered wood pieces, around a solid wood base, allowing the user to customize the shape. Available in brown and natural finishes, Torsia is from The New Wood laboratory, part of the 2007 Design Collection. www.umbra.com
Vancouver-based ceramicist Laura McKibbon incorporates her interests in printmaking and photography into the colourful, practical, handmade pieces from her studio, cul de sac design. Each of the dishes and platters are food, oven and dishwasher safe, and feature a range of printed images, created with photo emulsion silkscreens.
Her newest work includes this line of cups, ideal for hot or cold beverages and decorated with bird and twig motifs. Or for a more personal touch, she also does custom pieces, such as platters with inscriptions on the underside. Available through select retailers across North America, cul de sac will also be at the One of A Kind Show in Toronto this November. www.culdesacdesign.com