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Sunday 18 December 2011

Upgrade 2 : Kettle 3 - Matti Does it Again

Unlike toasters which, over time, gentrify from unbranded beige boxes to shiny steel Dualit's, there is no single culinary icon of design for the kitchen kettle. A surprising design peculiarity for an object that's found in every home.

Not to be confused with Ketel One [but none the less European] the brilliantly designed Kettle Three from Stadler Form is a bold attempt at future design classic. Stadler Form's third and most expensive tea maker, Kettle Three is also Matti walker's third contribution to contempoary Mancave living after the Lilly fan and Henry air purifier.

Masculine Storage for Used Threads

It was 1985 when a handsome American chap walked in to a laundrette wearing a pair of Blue denim jeans to the soundtrack of 'I heard it though the Grapevine'. Ever since, Levi's 501's and laundry in general have retained a masculine iconicity that defy domesticity.

Unless your wardrobe consists entirely of blue jeans and black t-shirt's, a rather more practical solution to laundry might be required. While laundry baskets are suitable only for French bicycles and strawberry picking; barrels, trunks and crates win the Mancave storage seal of approval. This vintage wooden crate found in Shimokitazawa, Tokyo fits the bill perfectly with a City-esque charm perfect for storing your used threads until laundry day.

Saturday 10 December 2011

How to Build a Container House

Browsing recently in the excellent Livraria Cultura bookstore in Sao Paulo, I came across Container Atlas. Billed as 'a practical guide to container architecture' the 250 page bible is a fantastic read. Published before Design Trawler's Isomodal Townhouse was conceived [and unfortunatley therefore an incomplete collection of container architecture]

In a curious turn of fortune however, publishers Gestalten will be responsible for publishing Arigato; a 240 page retrospective of Tokyo Designers Week; including the bowing Dom Arigato house by Design Traweler's designer duo. Available in March 2012, stay tuned for the inevitable book launch party at the Mancave. Signed copies on request.

Degrees of Separation - Black Interior Doors

The one thing that links a £10m London penthouse with a £10 a week London bedsit are interior doors. While the former may have gold handles, it's highly likely that both properties will have interior doors that are white in colour. 

The boutique hotel has long understood the bold effects of a wenge door; usually coupled with swathes of Malmaison style velvet in ghastly shades of plum. Satin black interior doors however, with chrome hardware and white frames dial things down; adding a smart degree of separation between the Mancave and those oh-so common penthouses.

Tuesday 29 November 2011

Bus Blinds in the Bathroom

The vintage bus blind seems to be on trend at the moment. While the jury may still be out on it's appeal post the 'Keep Calm and Carry On' bubble [it will come], classic typography in moody hues is an easy win for masculine spaces. This vintage style pharmacy towel from H&M deliveres functionality and the same feel without sandwitching a fabric bus blind behind glass. Shown with steel vase from Sevens in Dusseldorf and silk branches from Habitat.

Praise for Meguro's Design Community

Design Trawling is often tricky in cities as vast as Tokyo. While similar types of stores will inevitably tend to co-locate, seeking out design gems can be hard work [not least because of the often independent nature of design and designers]. The Meguro Interior Shops Community, or MISC, is pulling together the 60 or so design retailers, workshops and galleries along the 5km throughfare with a comprehensive directory, website and maps.

There are plenty of stores serving up furniture and accessories in the masculine/utility style perfect for Mancaves. Best of the best are Lloyd's Antiques [pictured], ACME [who have two stores], Blackboard, and Geographica.

Catch me if you ADK Can

It's an inevitability that I've come to accept when visiting New York, Seoul or Tokyo - More often than not, I'll return with more luggage than I came with [owing largely to an over indulgence in design related acquisition]. My fifth trip to Japan introduced me to the excellent ACME Furniture company where I spotted this iconic valise.

Commissioned in 1938, the Zero Halliburton suitcase was originally made from aluminium aircraft engines. Alongside steamer trunks by Vuitton and Goyard, the Zero is the very definition of luggage. A trophy of the jet age traveller, this rare 'ADK' monogrammed case was the envy of every Tumi-wielding management consultant at Narita.

0 to Designer in 100 Articles

18 months ago I wrote an article about a chrome baloon dog, Jeff, that I picked up in Tokyo. It seems fitting then, that 100 articles later, I'm back in Japan. This time not as a casual shopper, but as an exhibited and soon to be published Designer.

It's been a great journey to the 100 article mark - BBC film crews, world famous penny floors and contact from Foster+Partners, LVMH and Hackett - not to mention 15,000 readers from dozens of countries.

There never was a 'grand plan' for DesignTrawler.com but I can't wait for the great designs, perspectives and opportunities to come in the next 100 articles.

Monday 31 October 2011

Dom Arigato - A Bowing House for Tokyo Design Week

As part of the Arigato Project initiative for Tokyo Design Week, the Japanese Design Association has called for submissions across nine creative categories under the theme of Arigato / Thank You. The second collaboration from the designers behind the Isomodal Townhouse, Dom Arigato [The Bowing House] has been selected by the Panel at the Design Association to be exhibited at Tokyo Designers Week. Over 100,000 visitors will see the design alongside projects from Absolut, DoCoMo and Dubai Futures before it is published in the spring.

Drawing influence from the iconic form of a bow of thanks, the name Dom Arigato is also a play on the Japanese phrase ‘Domo Arigato’ meaning thank you very much, and ‘Dom’ the Latin word for house. Humble in its proportions, the house uses simple materials that respect Japanese heritage and modern aspirations.

The only project in the architectural category to be selected, Dom Arigato won praise for its environmental credentials; specifically designed with the urban Japanese landscape in mind. Solar cells are optimally positioned to capture energy from the sun while a living wall attracts wildlife and provides urban areas with greenery and oxygen

Blown Away by Designboom

In a little known corner of Moscow, just of Stretenka Street [which shares a name with Stretenka Design Week; the little brother to Moscow Design Week], is a shop/cafe/lounge called Designboom. Trawling out the best of Russian design inevitably led me to this place, and on first visit I was a little underwhelmed.
A credible smattering of European designer classics and smaller Russian pieces on the ground floor was only a front to the veritable Aladdin's Cave on the lower floor [and very easy to miss; as I did until a second visit was propmpted].

If there was ever any doubt about it, Russia gets design. The volume, quality and breadth of the collection at Designboom trumps anything I've seen in London, New York, Seoul or Tokyo. A bold statement and utterly deserved.

Back to Basics @ Moscow Design Week

I recently spotted this innovative straw bench as part of the Organic Dwelling exhibition at the Moscow Museum of Architecture. Curated by Lidewij Edelkoort for Moscow Design Week, the exhibition explored how designers are influenced by primal instincts; "like animals, constructing architecture based on lifestyles, affected by geographic influences, and inspired by local materials and perfected skills."

Nice to see the concept of Mancaves acknowledged by the pillars of the design world then. As for the bench, it was surprisingly comfortable and easily convertible to a commercially viable domestic design.

Noma Bar - Big Dog in a Bigger World

Isralei artist Noma Bar is a big dog in graphic design. He has published 600 illustrations, two books, and over 60 magazine covers including designs for Time Out, The Economist and Wallpaper*. Noma's big dog status has been super-sized in his latest exhibition with an iconic dog shaped die cutting machine.

The signature dog design from the series is masterful in a variety of levels. Using negative space, the canine portrait consumes a cat, which in-turn consumes a mouse. A poignant reminder of the relativity in which we all exist: At face value our focus is on the big dog; but the cat gets it's mouse too; the big dogs of this world ceasing to exist without it.

Friday 30 September 2011

The House of Montecristo


What would happen if I were to suddenly and inexplicably turn in to a cigar? It's a question that daunts many of us. Where would I live? How would I occupy the hours before my slow and smoky demise? Ever the public service, Design Trawler provides some reassurance that life as a cigar isn't all bad.

First and foremost you'd need to find a nice humidor to live in. The Viscount David Linley could help you out with burr walnut veneer boxes ranging from £1,450 through to £25,000 for the colonial Partagas edition for you and 99 of your friends. Pad acquired, British manufacturer Billiard Room Ltd will happily supply you with the minimalist 'curve' pool table (pictured at Decorex 2011). Throw in some 1920's props (literally), the knowledge that some cigars age for 80+ years, and it's Lagavulins all round.

Design Ninja @ London Design Week

With 280 events held in the space of a week, the London Design Festival turns the Capital in to a veritable candy store for fanciful design enthusiasts. In much the same way that candy stores seem to attract a fat kids with little more than pocket money, it wouldn’t be Design Week without Hoxton sorts wielding skinny jeans and NUS cards.

This year, a new breed of guest infiltrated the openings, launches and previews. Design Ninja arrives without a bright pattern shirt and without green jeans. Unsuspecting, in a sombre suit, Design Ninja bypasses the air-kisses, the canapés and complimentary drinks [well, in most cases]. Identifying and shooting the best of the show with a view to serious acquisition - before silently slipping out, unnoticed, fully informed and only moments after arriving.

Highlights of 2011 included the brass Jackson floor light (pictured) by Portuguese manufacturer Delightful, and SCP’s masculine Timberly Hall Rack by design studio Rich Brilliant Willing.

Coffee on a Podium - Democratising Design

The other week I hopped along to a TED style talk organised by Creative Morning. Billed as a 'monthly breakfast lecture series for creative types', the initiative currently runs free sessions in 15 international locations. On the podium was super-designer Chris Bangle, former Chief of Design for BMW and widely acknowledged as one of the most important auto designers around today.

Bangle made an impression with the observation that designers and the design world seem to exist on a podium; dictating design to the masses on the basis of their wise and worldly judgement. While our tribal instincts make being part of a respected group desirable, it's our wider contribution to society that drives our evolution from caves to man caves. Watch the full video here. Sketchnotes by Eva-Lotta Lamm.

Tuesday 20 September 2011

Metroland Modernist - 97 Park Avenue Ruislip

Kicking off the London Design Festival this year, Open House London flung open the doors of over 700 of the capital's best buildings to the public. Many private homes, flagship offices and civic spaces welcomed journalists, nosey neighbours and Saab driving architects with goatees and/or elbow patches for guided tours.

Representing DesignTraweler's stomping ground and brave new world of Metroland was 97 Park Avenue in Ruislip. A modernist beauty built in 1936 complete with roof terraces and lashings of Bauhaus goodness. Just add hot tub and attractive young things for instant Man-Villa [Saab and/or elbow patches optional]

Wednesday 31 August 2011

Design Trawler's Container Townhouse for the BBC

What happens when a 25 year old with no experience decides to design and build a luxury home using industrial shipping containers? The Isomodal Townhouse is the result of two years design and development for a low cost, ultra efficient, high specification home. Created in part for a new BBC television series which has since been put on hold.

The Isomodal Townhouse draws its influence from shipping containers loaded on to a freighter; its poured concrete ground floor representing a ship's hull with containers loaded on top. The rusty cedar side tower figurative of a container crane and wide circular skylight echoing nautical chimneys.

Container architecture isn't new, however the Isomodal Townhouse is unique in that it represents a high specification build that embraces the industrial forms of intermodal containerisation. Unlike other container projects, the design neither pokes fun at containers as a design gimmick, nor disguises the modular container DNA.

Featuring three full sized bedrooms, separate formal and informal living areas with double height ceiling, gym/cinema, office with concealed entry and 20ft roof terrace, the home has 225m of high specification living space.

Excluding land and design fees, the luxury container home is anticipated to cost £135,000 and take 16 weeks to build. This represents a 40-60% reduction in construction costs for conventional projects of a similar size.

Sartorial Sketches by Jeremy Hackett

How nice of Jeremy Hackett, the founder and Chairman of the iconic British outfitter to send his best wishes. Following DesignTrawler.com's Twitter debut this month, I found out from Mr Hackett's Mr Classic Blog, that 25 of his signed sketches would be generously gifted to anyone polite enough to ask. The drawing by Jeremy Hackett features three well turned out chaps and will be presented to a select number of his clients in Tokyo this September.

Sunday 21 August 2011

Harrods Pot Noodle - The Oligarch of All Snacks

Widely believed to be a spoof when announced in 2008, the Harrods Pot noodle was a limited edition charity design coloration purchased to support Action Against Hunger. The posh 'poulet et champignon' ramen noodles come in a kitsch flocked green and gold leaf cup - colours that are synonymous with the opulent Knightsbridge store.

While the opinion dividing snack was launched as part of the rather more serious Harrods Design Icons series, credit has to be given for the light hearted (yet peculiarly relevant) fun poking of the iconic edition of 100. No other photos exist of the product and it's unknown how many of the, um, 'artworks' have been eaten by drunk students collectors.

Narcissistic Cafetière Demands £5,000 Coffee

This is the Bistro Coffee pot by British designer Nick Munro. Made in the UK, it exudes continental charm and has a fantastic playful charisma - imagine a portly Belgian serving up a strong hot chocolate from a terrace cafe in winter. Its asymmetric ebony handle, quirky cafetière press and defined 18/10 stainless steel body made it an easy favourite.

When it came to photographing it however, its quirks and charms were quickly and mysteriously replaced with a modernist self-assertion bordering on the narcissistic. Short of commanding its own pedestal at the V&A, I felt strangely compelled to replace the Lavazza with some wild Kopi Luwak coffee at £5,000 a kilo... as not to offend it.

Sunday 31 July 2011

Design Trawler for the BBC

For the past 18 months, Design Trawler has been filming with the BBC for a brand new prime time television series. The eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed that Design Trawler isn't 18 months old - This website was a product of the journey toward the multi million pound series and the 3 year production schedule that accompanies it.

Stay tuned next month for further updates and insight into the main product of the Design Trawler journey.

Saturday 30 July 2011

£140m Penthouse - Comes with £16.50 Dachshund

I'll try not to be smug about this one, because I do admire Nick & Christian Candy. The design and development empire created by the two brothers is responsible for the world's most expensive penthouse (the £200m La Belle Epoque in Monaco), and more recently, London's most expensive pad, the £140m penthouse at One Hyde Park.

Flicking through the marketing materials from One Hyde Park, I noticed a cheeky yet familiar silver dachshund perched on a side table (pictured). Familiar because the same one lives on a bookshelf in the Mancave. Cheeky because 'Daki' isn't a solid silver Asprey prop, but a £16.50 thrill from Chelsea retailer India Jane. Busted.

Sunday 24 July 2011

Nendo Kotoli for Ruinart - It's all in the Box

Designed by Japanese design house Nendo, this gift box for champagne Ruinart is a secret trunk of design treasures. Kotoli means 'little birds' in Japanese and the two stemless crystal glasses are designed to perch on the telegraph-pole handles and chrome branch stopper that accompanies the bottle from champagne's oldest Maison.

Such is the conceptual excellence of the Kotoli gift box, that the highly prized paulownia wood drawers reflect the delicate nature of the Blanc de Blancs, and are designed to slide apart in the style of traditional Japanese screens. Masterfully assembled and remarkable value, the 'litte birds' are sure to 'fly off' the very few shelves that'll host them.

Blomus Copo Teapot - Design Failure

Unlike the original Blomus steel 'soap' at MoMa (pictured right), the Blomus Copo teapot fails dramatically in both form and function. Official photos present a well scaled, streamline design balancing clean ceramics and modern steel. In reality the Copo is poorly scaled and bulky; suffering from a footprint that is too large and too flat, poor visual balance of materials and a disastrous spout that sends sencha dribbling down the side after every serving. Fail.

Thursday 30 June 2011

Best of the Best - Masterpiece 2011

"From Bugatti to bronzes, Cartier to Cognac" - That's what the organisers of Masterpiece 2011 promised guests of the luxe collector's fair. DesignTrawler.com was invited to a special pre-preview this week before it opened to the public.

Here's what we found. After navigating through huddles of people air kissing, thier children playing hide and seek in between gleaming vintage Aston's and of course ninja waiters intent on keeping the Ruinart flowing as freely as the number of cheques being written... there were one or two gems.

Simon Khachadourian's Pullman Gallery was the clear knock-out featuring his vast collection of rare bar and smoking accessories, automobile bronzes, trophies, motorboat models and original 1920's transport posters. Pullman's new 6,000 square foot by appointment gallery space in Chelsea (pictured) has already been hailed by the international press as the ultimate Man Cave. Expect a full investigation from DesignTrawler very soon!

Saturday 25 June 2011

Henry the Air Purifier

Another gem from Stadler Form's Matti Walker, the Henry Air Purifier is an ultra-modern machine for making sure that the air in the Mancave is nothing but perfect. Packed with manly sounding filtration methods like a titanium filter, plasma generator and ultra violet lamp, Henry sits quietly in the corner of the bedroom and does his thing.

The strangest thing about sleeping living with Henry is that the quiet, but audible, 'HVAC hum' places my mind in the environment of an aircraft cabin or hotel, effortlessly ready to drift off. As a frequent traveller, I can think of few other places that give me this sense of well-being, safety and reassurance.

The [Big] Kid's Got Style

Far be it from the Mancave to start entertaining thoughts of adding a second children's bedroom, I recently spotted this interior at Restoration Hardware. Clearly Jack's a lucky boy. Even as adults however, we're big kids at times and can certainly take a number of design cues from the 'all American' style. In particular I like the classic panelling, 'utility' nickel drawer handles and sporting references throughout.

Thursday 23 June 2011

Glencairn's Ultimate Whiskey Tumbler

'The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection' - That's the enigmatic motto for Japanese luxury car maker Lexus. Just like the Japanese who also appreciate a fine whiskey, I've been searching for the perfect lowball tumbler for some years now. The ultimate whiskey tumbler needs to be heavy and exhibit ice-cube coolness with the right balance of angles and curves. A few month's ago I found it. The monogrammed Walker & Son crystal tumbler from Glencairn in Scotland.

Upon enquiring I was told that the glasses were used for Blue Label tastings and were not for sale. After pouring on the charm and pulling a vulgar stunt with a Brown Amex, the Harrods Wine & Spirits Manager deemed the glasses to be worth £20 each if purchased with the accompanying Blue Label limited edition gift set. *wince*

The equivalent of buying a Lexus because you want a coupe of monogrammed wheel nuts. Anyone need a ride?

Tuesday 31 May 2011

Birthday Wishes for DesignTrawler.com

Whilst trawling in Brazil this month, DesignTrawler.com turned one year old. Like a fine cheese, whiskey the mancave is known to get better with age. Depth, complexity and richness all take time to develop, and the patina of time has benefited one design feature more than most.

A spontaneous autograph from a visiting Tokyo Trawler left a lasting impression. The bistro blackboard transformed in to an oversize guest book; charting the comings and goings of an eclectic mix of international guests over the year. Here's to you guys; until next time!

You Know it's Time for a Bigger Cave...

This month, Design Trawler hit Rio De Janeiro to seek out the best in moden Brazilian art, design and architecture [sun, sea and samba had nothing to do with it honest]. Alongside the fantastic buildings by Oscar Neimeyer and iconic Romero Britto artworks, was this mamoth modernist beauty.

Almost two meters long, this painting exhibits a cool South American sombreness; perfect to sit above anything by Corbusier or in a Grand Design with polished concrete floors. Sadly, the current cave isn't large enough to display it. Several Brazilain Real later and I'm now looking for a larger cave... or gallery space.

President Obama is DesignTrawler.com Fan!

That's right, DesignTrawler.com has been appointed as special mancave envoy to the White House. The Røros Tweed blanket previously featured on the site has been snapped up by President Obama as a fitting addition to the Washington mancave [the Museum of Modern Art in New York swiftly followed suit]

While around 1,500 Design Trawler readers hail from across the pond, it appears that the big man himself is also one of them. What else could explain Obama's decision to specifically opt for the monochrome design pictured? Pope Benedict probably has a cheeky Argentinian cowhide tucked away somewhere too...

Sunday 8 May 2011

Damien Hirst | 松久 信幸 for Nobu / Japan

My first Hirst. This week Nobu Matsuhisa closed his London restaurants to the public to host a charity dinner for the victims of the Japan Earthquake. Young British Artist and enfant terrible of contemporary art, Damien Hirst designed a special edition of the Nobu West cookbook for the event.  The edition of 400 is triple signed by Hirst, Nobu Matsuhisa and head chef Mark Edwards.

Like a signature dish from the top notch eatery, the composition is masterful. Hirst is Britain's richest living artist and Nobu is one of the world's most successful culinary business people. Both have been subject to their fair share of controversy, have a penchant for seafood, and both both blur the lines between art and enterprise. Whatever your views, the stylised cookbook contributed to raising over half a million pounds for the Japan Earthquake Appeal.

Saturday 30 April 2011

Tread Softly. You Tread on my Dreams.

Months in the planning and a weekend in the making. 7,500 hand placed one penny coins create a monumental kitchen floor; the flagship of all Mancave renovations to date. In celebration of the Royal Wedding, boosting the UK economy by holding currency out of circulation, and a tribute to W.B. Yeats

"But I, being poor, have only my dreams; 
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams."

The Multi Storey Mantle - For High Life Living

As fireplaces become increasingly less common in modern design, shelves and window sills have stepped in to replace the traditional mantelpiece. When one mantelpiece just isn't enough, a second sub-mantle creates extra display space and makes a natural distinction between anything on the 'top shelf'.

Pictured alongside Jeff the Dog, a Concept GT sketch from Bentley exterior designer Dom Najafi.

Armchair Golf - Par 5.1 from Sony

In keeping with my belief that AV technology should be heard and not seen, these ultra compact format 5.1 surround sound speakers from Sony measure in at just 4cm tall; the same size as a [square] golf ball.

And like golf balls in the rough, they can practically disappear from sight, allowing the magnificence of a well designed championship course mancave to take centre stage, and the roar of a crowd of hundreds to fill the atmosphere. Hiding the clubhouse sized amplifier [not pictured] is however another matter.

Allaire's [Pan Am] Cool Blades

I last mentioned Matti Walker's acrylic fan as a great example of a well designed alternative to Dyson's Air Multiplier (it's also now on sale for £50 at the Conran Shop). For those with a preference for something a little more traditional this summer, this 8" Allaire brushed nickel model does the job nicely.

It's cool and functional steel blades wouldn't look out of place with a Pan Am logo and wing flaps - which is just as well because this $99 beauty flew over to London from the Restoration Hardware store in Miami.

Thursday 31 March 2011

The Life Enhancing MoMa Pill

A cheap thrill at a couple of dollars, I picked up this pill box at the MoMa in New York. I like it's simple, iconic representation and thematic links to some of Damien Hirst's work.

Designer multi vitamins now have a suitably designer, go-anywhere tote, reminding you to stay pepped up daily. A great example of better living through every day design.

Caverne Pour Homme - by Demeter NY

Design is a discipline that is fundamentally multi sensory. It's not just about what we see. Texture, taste, audio and aroma are scientific factors that contribute to our perception of the environment we inhabit.

The scent of Mancave then, needs to be masculine, single origin and instantly recognisable. Demeter Fragrance Library NY bottles real world scents such as grass, pipe tobacco and 'thunderstorm' that are intensely complex and inexplicably addictive. Cologne for the home with a suitably premium price tag.

The FRIDGE: Gallery of Contempoary Art

One of the world's most influential gallery franchises, FRIDGE: has millions of international locations.

Exhibiting an eclectic and accessible range of frequently changing contemporary artwork, FRIDGE:Mancave is currently exhibiting the pictured work from Wallpaper* in collaboration with Tokyo Trawler's locally sourced magnetic sushi sculptures. Fridge's highly anticipated next opening promises to feature eggs, milk and cheese from British heavyweight J Sainsbury.

Monday 14 March 2011

Mancave Turns 3 - Gains 2,000 Years

Today, marks three years to the day that contracts were exchanged and the Mancave officially came in to being. There have been many a purchase and renovation project along the way, but my favourite isn't a shiny new toy, but rather something a little less contemporary...

The pictured artifact is a pottery warrior head from the Chinese Han Dynasty. That makes it around 2,000 years old. It's remarkable to think of any object having such provenance, especially when it's not behind glass  in a museum. Sir David Tang would certainly approve. I think alongside plants and live animals, artifacts like these lend a very powerful 'anti-design' balance to overly constructed interiors.

Forever grateful to the friend and colleague who very generously gifted it to me.

Monday 28 February 2011

Master of Ceremonies - A Toast to Toast

How man has advanced. From toasting toast on open flame, to toasting toast in a streamline steel temple of all that is good and holy with bacon and ketchup on a Saturday morning.

A toast then if you will, to the time when every fist toaster owner upgrades their toast to Dualit. Like the 'topping out' ceremony marking the intermediate completion of a building's structure, a kitchen's first Dualit toaster marks a coming of age. Unlike a topping out ceremony however, purchasing a Dualit is unlikely to appease the tree-dwelling spirits of displaced ancestors (unless they like bacon sandwiches).

Sunday 27 February 2011

Storm Shutters - For Storms [& Showers]

I don't know when or how the trend for interior shutters landed in the UK. Fantastically functional if you live on a Caribbean plantation, but perhaps stretching it when installed on trendy terraces in Clapham.

The sun is never strong enough in Britain and our windows tend to have glass in them; rendering interior plantation/storm shutters a bit of a pretence. Unless of course you invert the principle entirely. What if the storm was on the inside or you needed to shade the outside? Fully waterproof shutters have a natural (and functional) home in the shower. Made to order in 12 weeks by the California Company.

Saturday 26 February 2011

From the Desk of DesignTrawler.com

It makes sense that the work environment of DesignTrawler.com (or any entrepreneurial caveman) should be flawlessly designed, relentlessly practical and powerful enough to send shuttles in to orbit.

Enter desk of DesignTrawler.com - Smoked glass with 25 plywood veneers; based on Carlo Mollino's £7,050 Cavour writing desk. Coupled with a desktop-grade HP HD workhorse and panoramic Xerox+Matrox displays for some 300% more screen real-estate. This trawler's now ready for takeoff...

Tuesday 8 February 2011

Ikea Flexes its Muscles - Be Afraid

The news that Ikea may be on the edge of a fundamental shift in it's design ethos started to circulate in the design press last week. It's pictured 1,000sq ft kitchen took Gold in the Toronto Interior Design Show and there's a reason designers are concerned.

Ikea is the quirky cousin of interior outfitting; they have a 'nice' design ethos and a produce affordable kit for students and newlyweds. But when the tolerated relative turns up with New York style machine cabinets, heavy duty accessories and wall mounted antlers; they're muscling in on Mancave territory.

Monday 31 January 2011

Networked Digital Heating: Bluetooth. Green.

As cave-like as a traditional log fire may be, burning trees isn't the most convenient way of heating a room. The Mancave uses a wirelessly networked 'wet electric' system of energy efficient radiators. Linked via Bluetooth, each device can be pre-programmed to maintain a set room-temperature to within 0.1 degree for any given minute of the week.

Resembling a conventional steel design, the radiators are self contained and filled with a thermo-dynamic gel that retains heat in a more efficient way than clunky storage heaters. By only using the energy required and taking advantage of new wet electric tariffs, the system saves money and trees.

There's a Cow in my Hand Luggage!

Everyone knows the best steaks come from Argentina - or at least that's what restaurant chain Gaucho tells us. So when it came to finding a cowhide for the American black walnut flooring, I hopped on a plane to Buenos Aires to find the best.

I stumbled across a small warehouse in the wholesale leather district run by a old man called Carlos and his teenage son who did the translating. Carlos was up a ladder throwing down various hides and we found this beauty. Named in honour of the old man and flown back to the Mancave in my hand luggage.

Modernist steel coffee table frame found in Edinburgh. Restored in London with bespoke smoked glass.
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