Sunlight Pills; A Dose of Summer

sunshine pills

It keeps on raining and raining here in Hong Kong. This morning I even had to put on the lights because it was so dark and gloomy outside. I’m in serious need of some sunlight pills to boost the spring-feel in this place:)! Would it help to place a whole pack up in the sky to substitute for an absent sun:)?

Paris-based design studio Vaulot & Dyèvre has created this fun concept ‘designed to help you keep pale skin and depression at bay’. The “Sunlight Pills” range of supplements are literally glowing with summer goodness. Each set of pills in the collection encapsulates the sunshine of a tropical location, such as Seychelles, Bahamas and Borabora. Obviously Hong Kong is NOT in that list:).

Bag for Emotional Baggage

emotionalbaggage

‘The trick is to learn to carry your emotional baggage stylishly’, tweeted philosopher Alain the Botton last week. He wasn’t talking about his latest philosophy book but he referred to this super cool bag that is for sale in the webshop of The School of Life.

The School of Life, based in London, is a place where you can step back and think intelligently about central emotional concerns. Inspired by ideas from the humanities – philosophy, literature, psychology & visual arts – the SOL provides ideas that exercise, stimulate and expand your mind.

Last year, a set of fascinating alternative self-help books was published by them with topics like ‘How to age’ and ‘How to be alone’. The aim of these books isn’t shallow success but quality of life, connected with philosophies of all ages. Love it! Check it out to find more Tools for Thinking.

First Banner Vending Machine

bannermachine

Many people will be familiar with the sight of families and friends lined up in the arrival hall of airports, anxiously waiting to welcome their loved ones, and displaying home-made banners to add an extra dimension to the occasion. In the Netherlands there’s even a complete tv-show dedicated to that. But… no need for DIY-banners anymore.. I spotted this banner-making vending machine at Schiphol Airport last week. I think it’s awesome!

Since we’re traveling back to Europe at least twice a year, there wasn’t anyone waiting for us. But I still cherish the welcome I got 7 years ago when I arrived dirty, skinny and tired at Schiphol after my first long trip in Thailand. “You see a lot of bed sheets with dripping paint lines,” said Oliver Janssen, who came up with the idea. Under the name BannerXpress, he and his friend introduced what they believe to be the only airport banner-making vending machine in the world.

Through just a few simple steps and within minutes your personal designed banner is printed. The banner machine offers several option to personalize the product. You can choose different sizes and themes and you can add your own image and obviously your message. Can someone make me a banner next time;-)? Just love it!

Trend: First One-Person Restaurant

eenmaal

Two more weeks and I’m off to my hometown Amsterdam. Yeahh! Unfortunately too late to enjoy this pop-up restaurant Eenmaal: the worlds first single-seating only restaurant. But the ideas behind this social design project, done in Amsterdam by Marina van Goor, are worth a blogpost.

Eenmaal is a double play on words in Dutch, it can be translated as ‘one-time’ or ‘one meal’. Marina’s aim is to deal with the stigma associated with dining alone, an act many look at as an anti-social: ‘Eenmaal tries to give a breath of peace and quietude to what can, on occasion, be a hectic (and loud) dining culture. The restaurant relates to the impetus for disconnecting and disengaging from the hyper connected world at large.’

I think the last quote is ‘spot on’. We’re going to see a lot more similar dining concepts in the future.

Urban Art Project Makes Chinese Cities Green

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Environmental issues in China… it’s a hot topic. Every day there seems to be a new horror-story in the news about toxic farmland, contaminated rivers or smog-filled cities. But this urban art project, done by Jody Xiong of DDB China in conjunction with the China Environmental Protection Foundation, is something really positive that deserves to be highlighted too.

This wonderful outdoor campaign created a subtle visual reminder of the environmental benefits of walking versus driving. By walking, people literally made their environment greener. Enormous white canvases with a bare tree were placed across 7 crosswalks in Shanghai. As pedestrians crossed, their shoe soles were imprinted with a small amount of green ink, leaving behind a trail of leaf-like footprints. The final posters were eventually hung as billboards in several urban locations.

Involving random people this way, resulted in a very powerful campaign. Love it!  (Via)

Work in Progress: Book Design

Healthy Booklet Shanghai

Working on the lay-out of a booklet about ‘how to live healthy in a polluted city like Shanghai’. This is my first design-proposal for the cover. I wanted to visualize the idea of a guide in the whole book. The skyline cut-outs in different fruits and communicate how the city can ‘eat away’ the much needed healthy ‘ingredients’ of our life. Like it so far;-)?

Guerilla Installations: Swing on Subway

swing on metro

Since I live in Hong Kong, I spend a lot of time on the subway. And although it’s very convenient and fast, fellow-commuters aren’t the most inspiring or cheerful company you can imagine, right?! A couple of years ago a group of people installed three swings overnight on a BART train in San Francisco. Look how everyone is laughing and connecting because of those swings!

I truly believe that change in the everyday monotonous routine, makes people happier, creative and more talkative! Unfortunately the Metro-people removed those swings almost immediately. But in the spirit of this guerilla installation, Caroline Woolard developed a DIY metro-swing. Disguised as a bag, you can take it with you wherever you plan to go and it can be hooked around the handrails very easily. Check out this little youtube movie.

Why I would like to try this in Hong Kong? Of course to connect with others in a fun way but also to make a bit more room for myself, when people violate my private space;-). A win-win situation, right?

Expressive Tape Concept

caroline koster

I just love the metaphor of this little project, done by Dutch designer Carolina Koster. It uses the features of tape (stickiness) to express the concept of getting attached to someone or something and being damaged when you have to let go the things that are dear to you (it can literally ‘tear you apart’).

At the end of 2010 Carolina Koster started this, as a bigger project MESSAGE SENT. The series contains designs (messages) in which language, object and space, form a relationship with one another. Check her out at: www.carolinakoster.com. And… if you have a hard time letting go (like me;-)), buy her tape, it’s therapeutic;-)

Graphic Stockings

Autumn has finally arrived big time. And although that means something totally different for me, since I live in Hong Kong (no heavy winter-coats but wearing light sweaters instead;-)), it still comes down to digging up my warmer set of clothes for the season. For people who want to add something meaningful to their autumn-outfits; this pair of graphic stockings designed by the super cool French brand Les Queues de Sardines, is literally gonna make you stand out.

I’ve always been an admirer of people who make interesting fashion statements. This print of butcher cuts is not only hilarious but it also challenges people to think about how we sometimes view other beings as consumable. I’m not a die-hard feminist but I do think this piece of clothing addresses the leg-staring of some men in a very witty but effective way. Tasteful I would say;-)