Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Give Them a Hand

Charles & Marie show such an incredible selection of design items, it would be impossible for me to discuss them all.  But their booth was one of a small number at the show that inspired me the most, and Marcus, the guy who spoke to me, was extremely nice, helpful, and seemed excited to be there--with good reason.

One of the things I liked most was just a prototype; they tell me its in production now, but so there are no images of it yet.  When it comes out maybe I'll do a quick update.  But it was brilliant on so many levels.  They're called Fountain champagne glasses.  It's a set of six beautiful champagne glasses, each one about an inch shorter than the last.  All but the last of them has a spout, so you pop open the bottle and pour the champagne into the first, tallest of them.  As each one fills up, the champagne pours over into the shorter one next to it, until they're all full.  The six of them together are perfectly sized to hold one full bottle of champagne.  Amazing.

First of all, I can't even count how many times I've had to sip the foam off the top of an overflowing champagne glass (I guess I get too eager).  But more importantly, it's so wonderfully ceremonial and celebratory, just what you want from a bottle of champagne.  I can't wait for them to come out.

They also had this "Phonofone" mp3 player amplifier:

It's ceramic and the one at the show was in gold.  This black one is limited edition.  But it uses no power.  It amplifies through the same analog means that the old Victrolas did, passively.  The sound still comes from your earbuds, in other words.  They admit it's not going to really blast your music super loud, but still fine for the office or a dinner party, etc.

But I was also really excited about the work of Zelda Beauchampet of the Netherlands, who C&M were representing.

Not at the booth, but to be found on her website, was this very cute, interesting item, "Identity Matters":

The way I understand it, it has several different layers of fabric, with the fabric panels stitched somewhat loosely.  So as you cuddle with your bear over the years, the panels will wear off, one by one, leaving a trace of the love behind:

Best of all, though, was her "Handscape."  I thought this was such an incredible idea, I was probably gushing a little when she came over to talk to me.  It's a landscape for your fingers:

Click that.  There's little buildings, trees, a bird, a bunny, sold individually or in sets of three:

Here's her online shop.
I was raving about this to my coworkers the weekend of the ICFF, and they expressed concerns that something like this would keep getting caught on your clothing and snag your sweaters and whatever.  So I asked Beauchampet about that, and she said only we silly Americans ever ask that question (she put it more nicely than that), and she's never had any problem with it.  Personally, I think it'd be worth it to be careful how you're flailing your hands around to wear something so cool and fun.

Zelda Beauchampet

©2008, Ryan Witte

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