Just because walls are flat doesn’t mean billboards have to be. IBM and Ogilvy France have launched a series of outdoor ads, each with a different shape and purpose. (Good spot, Jamie.) There’s one you can sit on. Another you can shelter under when it rains. And another that makes dragging your bag up steps that little bit easier.
The ads are part of IBM’s People For Smarter Cities project, which encourages ‘smarter thinking’ when it comes to city planning and design. But they’re not the only ones with the big ideas – while you use the ads to sit/shelter/roll, you’re also encouraged to go online and share your own ideas for the city. Clever.
See Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/67570047
It’s always a nerve-wracking moment getting your new watch wet. Does waterproof really, really mean waterproof?
To prove to discerning customers that their diving watches do what they say on the pack, Festina is selling their timepieces in clear bags filled with distilled water. (Cool spot, Jamie C.)
Built to survive years of deep-sea diving, the Festina Profundo range proves its worth to discerning customers before they leave the shop. (And long before they accidentally keep it on when they get into the bath.)
Everyone knows about the ridiculous mark-up on certain food and drink (popcorn, anyone?). But it’s much trickier to know what you’re paying for when it comes to fashion.
To try and change this, new Californian fashion retailer Everlane has made all its pricing completely transparent. So instead of just showing the price, infographics outline the cost of materials, construction and transport, as well as the mark-up and where it was made.
For example, Everlane’s Weekender bag sells for $95. But before parting with your cash, you’d see that the true cost is only $38. That might seem like a big difference, but their mark-up of 2.5 is apparently much less than that of other brands, which would sell a similar bag for around $300.
That’s not to say Everlane uses cheaper materials or lower quality processes. The brand uses the same materials as luxury brands – including cashmere from a top-end mill in Scotland. But by only selling online, they ‘eliminate bricks and mortar expenses’ and pass on savings to savvy shoppers.
Today, trainers. Tomorrow, track.
Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe programme takes old athletic shoes and turns them into Nike Grind, a high-quality sports surface used in courts, turf fields and tracks.
It’s all part of their vision to make ‘closed-loop’ products – things that use the fewest materials possible and can be taken apart and recycled into something new.
Since 1990, Reuse-A-Shoe has transformed 28 million pairs of shoes and 36,000 tons of scrap material into Nike Grind, which is used in 450,000 locations around the world. Time to dig your old trainers out from under the bed and give them a new lease of life.
Dip into Little Women. Borrow the Little Prince. Follow Gulliver through Lilliput. All from the teeny weeniest library you’ve ever seen. (Good spot, Lyndal.)
Designed by Stereotank, the ‘Little Free Library’ is a project by The Architectural League of New York and Pen World Voices Festival. There are ten of the yellow pods in New York, each stocked with tomes donated by the local community.
The libraries are made from upside down plastic tanks and wooden frames, creating ‘inhabitable’ spaces where people can immerse themselves and take time to browse, borrow and exchange. When you take a book, you’re also encouraged to leave one behind, meaning the selection will be different every time you pop your head in.
Best of all – there’s not a strict librarian in sight.
What will your dog do for food? Roll over? Shake hands? Bark a tune?
To show the lengths dogs will go to for a bite to eat, pet care brand Bakers set up the world’s first vending machine for dogs in a London park. (What a good boy, Jamie C!)
After tugging on a toy bone, the machine launched a tennis ball from its roof. When dogs returned the ball, the machine dispensed a free pack of dog food into a doggy bowl.
Now someone just has to teach them how to open it…
What comes to mind when you think of Absolut? Dark bars? House parties? Ads with clever wordplay? Chances are, the brand’s Swedish heritage isn’t top of the list.
But to get back to its artistically-inclined, sustainably-minded roots, Absolut has introduced a new premier vodka made with traditional Swedish techniques: Absolut Elyx.
Painstakingly handcrafted in tiny volumes, the concoction is distilled in a vintage rectification still, with copper columns, pumps and hand-forged pipes, and extra copper packets for even further purification. It’s made from only the finest Råbelöf-sourced wheat and blended with water from Absolut’s own natural underground springs.
The result? According to Absolut, all this hard work and meticulous attention to detail leads to an ‘outstanding vodka’ with ‘silky textures’ and a ‘clean, slightly fruity taste’. Perhaps best not to mix it with Coke.
No more scrambling to switch off your phone before meetings. No more interrupted meals. And no more panicking about the Marimba blasting out during your child’s school play.
Blokket is a slim pouch made of a silver and nylon material that blocks cellular signals while your phone is inside. Designed to help people – literally – switch off from technology, it also protects against identity theft, as chipped ID cards and passports inside the pouch can’t be accessed by unauthorised RFID readers.
Blokket comes with either a pink or yellow band, and the choice of two little messages: ‘My phone is off for you’ or ‘Goodbye phone, hello world!’ Get yours from the MoMa Store for $38 and prepare for a bleep, ring and vibration-free day.
At first glance it might seem like your average cocktail list. But take a closer look, and you’ll see these ingredients are designed for the bath, not the bar. Concoction is a new beauty service that lets you create made-to-measure shampoos tailored to your hair type, colour and condition.
Inspired by the art of mixology, customers start by picking one of four fragrances: rosemary and mint, lemon and verbena, black pepper and citrus, and Bakhour. They then select a shampoo base, and finish the mix with up to two vitamin-rich serum boosts. Completing the collection is the Crème de Concoction Conditioner, designed for all hair types.
You can get your personalised shampoo from The Concoction Mixology Bar in Selfridges, which is open for two weeks from 25th July. Expert mixologists will be on hand to guide you through the 256 possible combinations. And once you’ve called the shots, they’ll shake, stir and bottle your Concoction while you wait.
These days, it seems more and more brands are owned by a bigger daddy brand. Kiehl’s is owned by L’Oreal. Pringles is owned by Kellogg’s. Converse is owned by Nike. And… the list goes on.
That’s all well and good, but what if you want to avoid one of the big giants? The ‘Buycott’ app lets you do just that, by cross-checking your purchases against parent companies with a barcode scanner. (Nice one, Harl.)
It also lets you trace any company all the way back up its family tree (L’Oreal is part owned by Nestle, don’t you know). As well as checking any product against a pre-saved list of your beliefs, you can start your own cause which get’s added to the app once its gained enough support.