I’ve moved: please visit Creative Wanderings

February 7th, 2010

hutong02.jpgApologies for the lack of posts. I’ve been getting my life together for a big move to Beijing. Find out more at my new blog!  I’ll be leaving this one behind as I start on some new adventures. Please continue to enjoy the content that resides here at Dine. Travel. Design. More importantly, please visit my new home to keep up with my posts and join me in some Creative Wanderings! Cheers!

Image via Good  

Wine Labels: rebirth of authentic Chinese design?

January 21st, 2010

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I must admit (and ashamed that), I’m not well-versed in Chinese (or Asian) art/design history, but this short article from PSFK, got me connecting some dots. It looks like China’s on the verge of a new design revolution (of course, among other things), where the Chinese embrace their cultural heritage and contemporize it.

Not too long ago, Chinese wine connoisseurs had a diverse range of wine selections with amazingly intricate and detailed design packaging. But after foreign imported wines began entering the Chinese market, many of these wine brands died off, along with their special wine design aesthetic.

Just look at the ingredients of these wines, there’s grape, rice, sorghum, millet, and even more rarely seen these days are Chinese gooseberry, sweet-smelling osmanthus, cherry, longan, apple and tangerine flavors.

The thought of these unique labels and ingredients remind me of an LA Soda Pop Shop, who carries over 500 varieties of naturally sweet and flavored sodas, free of high-fructose corn syrup.

As creativity and confidence creeps back into the minds of Chinese designers, it’s possible that a distinct Chinese wine label aesthetic will once again bloom and quench the thirsts of those who remember when wine had flavor and beauty.

Ditto.

via PSFK

dilemma of craft vs. cheap

January 4th, 2010

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When I was at mall last week in search for an inexpensive dress for New Years, I saw a very familiar knit ‘hat’ in one of the teeny-bopper stores. It was the EXACT SAME style, hand-knit hat that I had bought just last year around Christmas time from Volang, during my (seemingly annual) trip to Union Square, NYC.

Of course, this mass produced product, selling at the mall was less than one-third the price of hat from Volang where, at the Christmas stall, I was able to chat with the craftswoman who made the very hat I wear during these cold months. I suppose this goes hand-in-hand with knock-off and counterfeit luxury brand items. But, at what point does one go for quality and personal touch over price? People want to be fashionable, yet purchase items that are affordable. And even if items are affordable and supporting independent artists and designers, they’re hard to locate. There are very few outlets other than Etsy, which has been saturated with “junk” where people can purchase or browse independent designs. You could try checking out Supermarket, but the best part of experiencing the craftsmanship is actually getting to touch and feel the products! Oh the dilemma…! end rant.

On a side note, the reason I really enjoy shopping so much when traveling is because it allows me to explore new (or old) cities, while hunting for specialty items.. (outside of touristy areas, of course!) Can’t wait for the new adventures that 2010 hold 🙂 Stay tuned!

ABC (Already Been Chewed) Cookie Cutters and Uniqueness

January 3rd, 2010

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Hoping that everyone had a great holiday season and a wonderful new year!

I was itching to make this post earlier, but couldn’t give away the gift I used for my family Secret Santa. So, here it is -adorable holiday cookie cutters by WorldwideFred that were found during holiday shopping in NYC. Oddly (or not so oddly), I found them at Henri Bendel, located at 712 5th Avenue.

Initially, I would have never expected such a quirky gift from a prestigious fashion retailer, but after being delighted to have found a unique gift, I made the connection –uniqueness. Retailers are constantly on the search to differentiate themselves and be trend setters. They need to offer clients and customers a reason to come back. Is that reason pure product quality? Affordability? Luxury? Variety? It’s a combination of a many differentiators which range from the convenience of a one-stop-shop or being a specialty store to selling the customer service experience. Regardless the exact strategy at Henri Bendel, I was happily surprised and excited to have found WorldWideFred products there and would certainly go back to find that ‘special’ gift. It seems like a mission accomplished for both retailer and gift-hunter.

Merry Christmas!

December 25th, 2009

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Bryant Park, NYC from my trip a few weeks ago 🙂
Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday!

Betsy VanLangen photos = people + materials

December 19th, 2009

Betsy VanLangen has some provocative works with a great mix of materials (and food) with people in her portfolio. Very creative. Love it!

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Read the rest of this entry »

Sushi as an iconic shape

December 19th, 2009

Apologies for the lack of posts this past month! I’ve been busy doing some pre-holiday travel to Hong Kong and NYC to visit family and friends. Now, on with the post…

A recent giveaway on NotCot reminded me of some links I had been collecting. First off, Japanese food is one of my favorite cuisines and as I was catching up with RSS feeds saw this Do’s and Don’t of sushi etiquette. A few things I definitely learned here! Like, dipping the fish and not the rice into the soy sauce. Hmm.. this would make an interesting place-mat for a sushi restaurant…
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via TheWorldsBestEver

Sushi has been a constant trend in both the design and culinary worlds. As a very recognizable and iconic cuisine, the shapes, contents, and form of sushi is easily transferable to other objects. Even by changing the materials and contents of the ‘sushi’, we can still make the association through form and color… what do you think? See a collection of sushi toys after the jump and share your thoughts in the comments! Read the rest of this entry »

Hotel in a Bag

November 13th, 2009

hotelinabag.jpg This is such a brilliant concept- to make the inflatable mattress inviting, packaged, and easy to transport. Straps, like a sleeping bag, help to roll up the mattress in addition to towels and sheets. It doesn’t look like there’s any extra bag to use as a carry case, which the mattress is stuffed into (like the other products out there). Clever. You can have your own Hotel in a Bag for 198Euros (?!) via SwissMiss Anyone have special travel plans this weekend?? 🙂

vintage travel posters: love the graphics

November 9th, 2009

vintagetravelposters.jpgHunting in Poland c1961 – Design by Wiktor Gorka  Paris-Orly for Air France c1962- Design & Illustration by Jaques Nathan Garamond 

How about [a] virtual tour around the world to start off the week? I dug up a handful of travel related posters from 1950s-1970s for all the desk jockeys that are itching to get out of town.

Love these gorgeous, old school graphics and totally itching to get out of town! It’s fun/ funny to interpret the message of the posters. In Poland: our deer will hunt you, you can’t hunt the deer… And the vibrancy of Paris expressed as beautiful stained glass in historic architectural buildings. As much as I enjoy photography, vintage imagery is refreshing in comparison to today’s photographic/ photoshop advertisements.

via Flavorwire and see a couple hand fulls more at GrainEdit

Packaging: snails in snail poop?

November 6th, 2009

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Seriously? Packaging from snail poop?

Product designer Manuel Jouvin partnered with Sylvie Pierru, a snail farmer in Picardie (France), to create this “Dejection Molding” packaging. The packaging, used for cooked snails, is created by feeding colored paper to the pre-cooked snails which changes the excrement color and then molded into a container.

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During my researches, I pointed out that colored paper has an influence on color snail excrements. In partnership with Sylvie Pierru, a snailfarmer in Picardie (France), we created packagings made of snail excrements and destinated to cooked snails. They are envisaged in the molding cellulose process by replacing recyclable paper by snail dejections.

A lovely expression and use of the full life cycle of a simple little snail.

via Dieline

off topic: A Better World by Design ’09

November 3rd, 2009

The Association for Community Design has posted my article about “A Better World by Design” conference that happened last month! Re-posted below:

The 2nd annual “A Better World by Design conference” hosted by RISD and Brown University from Oct 2-4, 2009 in Providence, RI surpassed expectations, particularly for a first time attendee. The conference was fully organized and run by students, who are already actively engaged with projects that change our world. With a diverse speaker list and panel discussions, conversations ranged from affordable housing and architecture in the developing world to clean energy, emerging markets, and social entrepreneurship. As described on the website, “A Better World by Design brings a global community of innovators to Providence, Rhode Island, to reach across disciplines and unite under a common goal. [The event] is an immersive experience that deepens our understanding of the power of design, technology, and enterprise to reshape our communities and sustain our environment.” Themes of cross-disciplinary collaboration, contextual projects, and the future of community empowerment were apparent.

Read the rest of this entry »

‘Fresh Label’ food packaging is brilliant

November 2nd, 2009

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Fresh Label uses the hourglass to represent time that food has been packaged. When ammonia is released from the food, the label where the barcode is located changes color and can no longer be scanned at check-out.

False labeling on food is a worldwide concern. Many consumers carefully check the food labels, however, expiry dates typed on the labels in characters are easily faked and there is a limit for its reliability.

To solve such problem, we suggest a food label which changes its color by reacting to ammonia given off by food when it is becoming spoiled. When the food is no longer edible, the food label makes a barcode non-scannable and non-purchasable with pattern. This food label is reliable and difficult to counterfeit since it directly reflects freshness.

Learn more about Fresh Label and To-Genkyo via PSFK.