1. The Ideal City: Exploring Urban Futures
With the pandemic putting a halt to international travel, I’ve dedicated more than a few daydreams over the last several months to mull over which cities I hope to (re)visit once free travel returns. In the process I’ve also been thinking about the successes, shortcomings and growing needs of urban centers around the world, factoring not only the global implications of a post-pandemic world, but also the developing challenges attributed to climate change. The Ideal City: Exploring Urban Futures offers a hopeful and holistic view of the roles architecture, design, technology and governance each play toward the realization of urban centers that meet these challenges head-on, delivered with a buoying optimistic spirit. What I most enjoyed about SPACE10’s curation within the pages of their book is they’ve dedicated a great portion of the book to real world and completed efforts from around the globe, offering numerous adaptable solutions while also recognizing there are no single one-size-fits-all approaches to realizing an ideal city.
2. UMÉ Mini Soaps
The eroded and angular silhouettes of these hand cast soaps remind me of earthen skyscrapers…and a little bit of the shape of lip balm/lipstick after it’s been used regularly. The marbled swirl of the Lavender soap is my favorite in color of the bunch, but Dirty Grapefruit – scented with white grapefruit, honeydew melon and mango seed butter – reads off like my ideal list of aromatherapy scents.
3. Andy Apps
I can’t be alone when I say after years of seeing the same app ideas being regurgitated with minimal effort and attention to the aesthetic experience, I’m ready for apps designed to abandon the trappings of flat 2D graphics while also not fully returning to the skeuomorphic tropes of early web and app development…something like the playful dimensionality proposed by this small suite of info apps: Weather, Times and Calculator.
4. Minimum Design 3D Printed Planters
When I’m not behind the keyboard, more likely than not, you’ll find me tending to the garden, caring for my collection of house plants or shopping for plant-related accessories. I’ve recently “dressed” some of my chlorophyll-powered family in a pair of sculptural 3D printed planters from Minimum Design. The sculptural designs are haltingly different than planters found at garden centers and look captivating with or without plants. Printed in France using a bioplastic composed of recycled wood and cornstarch, they reminded me of the pleasing pleated passions of another designer I’ve long admired.
5. ESPRO Cold Brew Coffee Kit
With warm weather back I’ve switched from using a Chemex pour-over to preparing my morning cup of good morning using this cold brew system. I like it because it requires minimal effort to make a ridiculous amount of cold brew concentrate that tastes brilliant poured over ice (or in some instances, shaken in a bar shaker with a large ice cube, a tablespoon of sugar and some cocoa powder). The results are a low key epiphany, with the overnight 12-24 hours cold brew process coaxing out subtle and sweet notes while leaving harsh bitter and sour flavors somewhere in its 2-filter system.