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Friday 26 December 2014

Max Lennaárd's Modular Flames

Swinging by the Formex design exhibition in Stockholm, where the number of dead animals rivalled even the Man Cave [#1 #2 #3], I spotted an outstanding set of modular candle holders by Max Lennaárd.

Nominated as one of the 'Formex Formidable' 20 best in show, the precise CNC machine-milled forms allow owners to live like Brancusi and create their own unlimited forms in the metal of the moment.

Saturday 20 December 2014

Shoe Horn? or Sculpture?

Not the first time a Sex and the City prop has found it's way on to the pages of DesignTrawler.com, this shoe horn sculpture from the lauded Manolo Blahnik is part of the Collector range from Habitat. Re-released for R.O.O.M. in Stockholm's PUB Store, the original met it's fate in 2011 along with the retailer founded by Sir Terrance Conran. Excellent for brogues, girlfriends or unwelcome intruders.

Sunday 7 December 2014

The Gentleman's Valet Company

From handyman to gentleman - Sam Brown is a furniture maker that has been inundated with the requests of well turned out City sorts for his bespoke valet stands. The Gentleman's Valet Company produces beautifully crafted valets for made-to-measure cloth starting at around £2,000.

Eccentrically stylish details include suitably Hirst carved skull hat stands, and union flag lampshades that take up to four days to fashion from oak and walnut. Sam's wall mounted valet in particular should be mandatory in every man's bedroom/hotelroom and is a natural companion to open rail thread storage.

Saturday 22 November 2014

Designer Handyman L:A Bruket

Thinking about London's Cornwall Terrace townhouses which each feature three kitchens; one for boiling an egg at a dinner party, one for the caterers, and one for the rest of the staff; a £40m home should probably also have multiple utility rooms. In fact, all homes should probably have multiple utility rooms.

The meticulously presented 'master utility', for when owners wish to personally fetch another man candle or box of bathing seaweed, should be outfitted by Swedish firm L:A Bruket [pictured]. From said edible bath treatments, to [less edible] lime & mint dog shampoo; all far too smart to be stored in the staff utility.

Friday 14 November 2014

Man's Best Friend by Gavin Coyle

Man's best friend. Intelligent, loyal. The last thing you see when you leave home, and always the first to greet you when you're back. That warm fuzzy felling of companionship when it's around, that unique character, that charm. Yes, it demands attention, and yes it'd be far cheaper to buy a goldfish, but this is man's best friend. Not man's mate Dan, or his girlfriend. Iconic, unmistakable. I'm talking about design.

But for those animal lovers, this fido shaped magazine rack from Gavin Coyle is exceptionally smart too.

Friday 7 November 2014

Tell Me More... Actually, Don't.

Unless your vanilla is Madagascan and organic, harvested under a full moon by a pack of native tribesman, and transported by carbon neutral means, I don't want to know. Or at least that's what many brands seem to think we expect when it comes to product and their descriptions. Particularly when it comes to scent.

Swedish firm Tell Me More's candles are numbered one through nine and have a corresponding fragrance ranging from ginger & lime [one] through to amber [nine]. So if your guests ever ask if that's ylang ylang in the bathroom, tell them that it's an invigorating blend of the number five, and to stop being so pedestrian.

Friday 31 October 2014

Design Trawler Acquires... the Colour Yellow

Yes you heard correctly. Design Trawler, or rather it's globetrotting ambassador, has just acquired the colour yellow. Not just any yellow, the colour yellow. That's right, the most famous yellow in the world, moniker of DesignTrawler.com and preserve of Pantone Corp, 'Pantone Yellow C', has a new owner.

Okay, so laying claim to a colour is a bit far fetched, and in the interests of keeping myself out of court, Pantone Yellow C translates as #FEDF00 on Unicef's Own a Colour website. A brilliant initiative, Unicef is offering people the chance to 'own' one of 16.7 million colours capable of being displayed on a computer. A design led alternative to sponsoring would-be bathmats and help save a child's life. Buy yours here.

Thursday 16 October 2014

DesignTrending - Golden Metals in 2012

With the new year imminently approaching, DesignTrawler.com takes a moment to think about what themes and materials are going to prove popular in 2012. This teak calendar from Mucu [MoMa Tokyo] sums up the predictions.

We're already seeing brass growing in popularity as a material. With the rise of the steampunk set and austere design ethic [we're in recession apparently] raw materials like bronze, copper, teak, and dare I suggest it, pine, represent honest elements that have fallen off the designer's radar. Golden metals in particular look set to replace chrome and brushed steel, as we tire of facsimile showhome furniture and gear up for the gold, in this, London's Olympic year.

Thursday 9 October 2014

Chandeliers hit a Glass Ceiling

Visiting the modernist 97 Park Avenue this September, this fantastic aircraft [with working propellers] was suspended from the ceiling in the main stairwell. A brilliant use of space, which would probably find itself housing a chandelier or feature pendent if part of a designer's brief.

While there is many an artful chandelier on the market, the functional need for a sculptural fitting to hold candles bulbs is quite redundant these days; not least in Mancaves. Using ceiling space for more dynamic art or sculpture and lighting it appropriately represents a modern day solution to 'filling the void' that seems far more relevant.

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Need for [Noble] Steed

Trawling around town between openings and appointments this week got me thinking about transport. After our homes, for most men at least, cars tend to be de facto objects of desire. While man’s best friend may have evolved from ‘four legs and a tail’ to ‘four wheels and a gear box’ the similarities between Fido and Fiat are still very present.

Supporting Design Week, Aston Martin rolled out its sport saloon, the Rapide, and new city concept, the Cygnet. Fantastic for thrashing around town, the Cygnet is definitely the excitable terrier to the Rapide’s racing greyhound. Trumping them both however was Addison Lee’s chauffeured motorcycle service. In city congestion, two legs wheels are definitely better than four; making the Honda Pan-European the  fast and nimble Kangaroo of the group.

So there you have it; a terrier, a greyhound and a kangaroo; modern-day man’s new best friends.

Friday 12 September 2014

If Kevin McCloud did Goldfish Bowls

It's hard to think of a pet more iconic than a goldfish in a simple glass goldfish bowl. I previously mentioned that artifacts, plants and animals lend a powerful 'anti-design' balance to an interior and those 'down' with their feng shui would agree - goldfish symbolise wealth and prosperity in ancient Chinese culture.

While companies such as Biorb have attembeted to bring the humble goldfish bowl up to date (with a not-so-humble price tag), Canadian designer Teddy Luong's Fish Hotel is a home that any prosperous goldfish would approve of. Upscaled with aquarium lighting, black bauhaus cladding and located in the kitchen for super-quick goldfish sashimi.

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Designer Bubble Bath for Blokes

Admittedly, bubble bath for blokes is a bit of a hard sell - there isn't an immediate resonation with the Mancave locker room coolness. Nonetheless, I recently spotted this £30 masculine brown glass bottle on the shelf of Sir Terence's Marylebone hangout and was instantly hooked.

The scent of prehistoric amber is described as warm, musky, rich and honey-like. While true, I think the scent of, what is essentially an expensive rock, conjures up images of teak, brass and crisp £50's in vintage leather. Also available in eau de toilette, home fragrances and a variety of other formats.

Thursday 21 August 2014

Big Game Hunting - Last of the Battlecats

I first heard about artist Robert Burden from uber-blog Uncrate in May 2008. Burden's stylised idolised portraits of toys and action figures from his youth have a 'big kid' boyish coolness perfect for any aspiring Mancave. Battlecat, He-Man's fearless sidekick, is the best of the bunch and fuses an iconic pop style with powerfull 1920's glamour.

I dropped Burden a note asking to be informed when Battlecat was nearing sell-out. A year later, I receive a message that there is one left. The opportunity to take an edition out of circulation is instantly attractive; appreciating as soon as it leaves the gallery it validates the success of the artist, the edition and comes with 'big game' trophy status.

Thursday 14 August 2014

Mixology on the Menu

How the humble cave has evolved. From a simple place to sleep at night to a place to live and entertain at all hours. The Mancave has come to symbolise gastro pub, members club and cocktail bar - complete with bistro blackboards, Swiss mechanical timers and, of course, the remarkable Bang & Olufsen wine machine.

Keeping track of all of the best beverages required to qualify for Mancave status, however, becomes a little tricky. Enter, some commercially sourced bespoke bar menu's with embossed logos and Moleskine stock for easy updates.

Wednesday 6 August 2014

Smoke & Mirrors - Experiment #2

I previously mentioned how bespoke cut mirrors can add depth and dimension to an interior; particularly when applied to irregular wall profiles. Using the same principle, I wanted to see what effect using mirrors on the inside profiles of recessed windows would have. Reflecting back the face of the window makes it seem significantly wider; increasing light and window real-estate by up to 50% (depending on the depth of the recess) at virtually no cost.

Friday 18 July 2014

Fred Waring - Set Your Blender to 'Molecular'

Kitchen products with the 'professional' moniker attached to them tend to signify quality and performance. While Dualit and Gaggia make fine 'professional' products, this week I stumbled across a brand called Waring - Founded by musician Fred Waring with his famous 1938 blender (pictured).

The website lists three main product groups; 'professional', 'commercial' and... 'laboratory equipment'. That's right, if you want an explosion resistant blender or micronizer to make inhalable Sunday lunches, Waring's your man. With the popularity of Heston Blumenthal, it's only a matter of time before lab-quality appliances man toys like these start finding themselves in to our modern day mancaves.

Friday 11 July 2014

Experiments with Smoke & Mirrors

I've recently been experimenting with bespoke cut mirrors. I want to see how mirrors and reflected light can add depth and dimension to an interior. A successful example is this full-height shard which lines an irregular wall profile in the Mancave. It adds a fantastic richness and complexity to the room; reflecting back different materials and textures in a 'vertical slice' as you move around the space.

Friday 4 July 2014

Give Up Bad Design For Good


New Year's Resolutions; flawed by design to fail miserably before January is over; and primarily the reason that for many of us, resolutions rarely ever make it to the drawing boards in the first place.

This slogan from Danish design house Bodum recently caught my attention. Like a revolutionary campaign poster, this plastic bag calls consumers to arms with an intelligent and powerful message; Give up Bad Design for Good!; a brilliant resolution for the year ahead.
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