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Sunday, 27 January 2013

Gin Mare - Designed for Cool

Once the preserve of Queen Mother sorts, gin is now firmly established as the urban tipple of choice on a warm day in the capital. Enjoying something of a renaissance in recent years, graphic designers with skinny jeans can't get enough of small-batch brands distilled in gritty corners of the Capital.

But far away from converted loft apartments, and far removed from tiresome vintage branding, Gin Mare is designing a difference. Spotted at this year's Snow Polo in St. Moritz, fur clad models and heli-skiing millionaires were opting for Mare.

Distilled from olives, thyme, rosemary and basil the Mediterranean spirit was being served up with 1724 tonic - made with organic quinine, hand harvested in Argentina. With an effortlessly smart 'wave' design, it looks like Gin Mare will be equally at home on board yachts in Santorini as it is on the slopes of St. Moritz; which is just as well, as that's where said heli-skiing millionaires are likely to be this summer.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Nippon Typographic Domino Co.

I have no idea where these tiles came from, or what they were used for. Actually, that's a lie, they came from a dusty wooden tray in the Sone Chika vintage furniture store in Meguro, Tokyo. Who knows what they were used for. But who cares?! With all that Nippon typographic goodness in New York Taxi Yellow on a grained background reminiscent of Dunhill's Sidecar leather, these little dominoes win all day long.

The Elemental Miller

The brilliance of Sir Johnny Ive and the design team at Apple is due largely to simplicity. Simple design, uncluttered interfaces, good honest white shiny goodness. The same can't be said for the myriad of Apple accessories from manufacturers keen to dunk said industrial design in rubber cases, covers and protectors.

Not Miller. Based in Singapore, Miller men [Colin Chen] cut leather, hammer in a button or two, engrave a name and that's it. Hand-made, man-made, cable tidies, wallets and card holders that'd make even Monocle blush. The tan leather in particular, is a rich and elemental addition to anything Apple.

Couture Coffee - Agnes B. Gaultier

Porcelain shouldn't be messed with. The iconicity of a plan white plate has a simplicity not to be messed with. White dinnerware puts the food and drink centre stage - the same is as true for a mug of builders tea as it is for fine dining from Heston.

But what if your builders are French? or you live on a submarine and you're having your walk in wardrobe extended to accommodate this season's range of stripey blue t-shirts? In such instances, and in such instances alone, Design Trawler deems it permissible to deviate from the formula of plain porcelain. Serve up couture chamomile in these smart mugs from the Agnes B. cafe found in Taipei's Eslite.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Material Reflections in 2013

This year, Design Trawler is once again putting its chips on metal. In the new year we're going to see a progression of the popularity of copper, gold and brass in to fabrics. Taking inspiration from the rather smart Ambassador Suite in Sheraton's new Macau hotel and casino [pictured], reflective fabrics add a richness long embraced by designers like Andrew Martin and Candy & Candy.

Reflective silks, velvets and satin, previously preserves of feminine boudoirs are set to 'man up' in a big way. Think teal, petrol blue and gunmetal grey. Bright reds and oranges carry over the golden metals theme evoking Ozwald Boaeting suit linings and metallic macs from Burberry.

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