Tag Archives: people

Thank You, Steve: A Tribute to the Late Steve Jobs and His Ideas

Courtesy Apple Computers

It was a sad day for technology and design Wednesday, when Apple Computers announced the passing of its co-founder, Steve Jobs. Jobs was 56 and died at his home in California of Pancreatic Cancer.

The reactions were nothing short of tremendous, and twitter was abuzz with everyone retweeting quotations from his commencement address at Stanford University in 2005, to simply saying thank you for how he revolutionized the way we use technology.

From the first Macintosh computer to the iPad, the creative that was Steve Jobs was the driving force of the Apple Brand. He was also the founder of Pixar Studios and in doing so changed the world of animation thereafter.

In the design field, macs are almost a given, and sometimes it’s hard to think of how we ever got to this point. Like everything in design and technology, it started with an idea, made real by Steve Jobs.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

The original Mac has since moved from people’s desk into museum collections, but it certainly was a marvel for its time. It was the first personal computer that people could use with ease, and included a slot-loading disk drive for file storage. It was launched in 1984 with Steve Jobs unveiling it. The video of its launch can be found on YouTube.

Image from Wikimedia Commons

Not only did Apple and Mr. Jobs revolutionize the way computers were used, but their design was also something that was given particular attention. The Powerbook 100 was the first battery-powered computer that sported its keyboard behind a palm rest for ergonomic purposes. Since its introduction the design has become the standard for all laptops to this day.

Images from iMac World http://imacworld.110mb.com/

In 1998 Apple rocked the computing world when they put out their fruit-flavored (and I’m being completely serious, the colors were named after fruits), revitalized Macintosh computers now fondly called the iMac. The colored plastic enclosed machines omitted the clunky tower that most PCs sported at the time, and spoke to every personality that wanted one. The only downside was the circular mouse – which remains to this day one of Apple’s most hated products.

Image by Moemen Khafaga

Possibly my favorite design of all Apple computers is the iMac G4. The adjustable monitor was ergonomic genius. You could move the screen up, down, all around without making you crane your own neck. I was disappointed when Apple decided to do away with that feature when they launched the next generation of iMacs, which resemble the current models but with plastic casing.

Image from Apple Computers

And speaking of plastic casing, there’s also the iBook G4. At a time where the laptop market was dominated by black portfolio looking ThinkPads (IBM) and Satellites (Toshiba), the white iBook looked more like a piece of gum than something that had the power to perform serious tasks. Many designers I know of began their explorations thanks to this little wonder.

Image from Apple Computers

Apple however really came into prominence with another little white thing, which while didn’t do many things did one particular thing well – play music, play alot of it, and play it anywhere. The iPod is still the number one music player on the market, and has been so since its inception. To say that it’s impact on the music industry is tremendous is an understatement. New car models today come with iPod auxiliary ports, and the word iPod itself has almost become synonymous to music player.

While these gadgets all represent the development of Apple and its movement to becoming one of the world’s largest tech companies, they all started out as ideas from people who wanted to make a difference with how we see and use technology. Steve Jobs helped these people to “think differently,” so that somehow, in our own way, we could too.

Posted in Culture, Design, News | Tagged ,

The Senses of Scents

I had to pick my jaw up from the floor after watching the new J’Adore commercial. Wow! It’s so glamorous and glitzy, oozing with opulence, luminous and golden. The radiant Charlize Theron blew me away, and with Galerie des Glaces, Grace Kelly, Marlene Dietrich, and Marilyn Monroe caught in beautiful moments — it all engulfs the film with timeless magic, the past converging with the present. It all just got me thinking…

Fragrances are just about smells, right? Well, it may seem to be so at first, but eventually experience will reveal it to be otherwise. We buy perfumes and colognes to feel good, and more often than not, what makes us feel good is not confined to the scent. Smell ends up as a mere factor in combination with a whole bunch of other emotional values other than olfactory ones.

It’s not a bad thing. It’s just how we people are wired. We are reservoirs of emotions, memories and subconscious yearnings.

So just what are these fragrance ingredients that have nothing to do with fragrance?

Designer origins

A fashionable lineage gives a scent instant personality long before it is released to the world, long before it had a name, when it was just a glimmer in the eye of its designer parent.

Case in point — Chanel No. 5, Carolina, Diorissimo, Versace Men, all derivative names of designer houses. The creator of a dress you’d love to put on would probably make a scent you’d want to wear.

Potent Names

What’s in a name? Letters, sounds, meanings. It is the nature of words to come packed with some kind of psychological wallop. Some are subtle, some are not. Emblazoning a word on a bottle bestows all that power to the liquid within.

Consider the names: Eternity, Pleasures, Happy, Romance, Cool Waters, J’Adore
Imagine the feelings elicited by dabbing each of these names on your wrist.

So greatly do these bright and light names stand out against each other, while even more deeply contrasting with names with darker themes like Poison, Opium, Envy, Guilty, Obsession, Insensé. Think of how you’ll feel when you touch these scents to your throat.

Sculptural Bottles

Perfume bottles are gallery-worthy works of art that you can put on a dresser. They come angular or curvy, sparkly and faceted, or smooth and sleek, entrancing you with their gorgeousness even before you smell them.

Celebrity Factor

Whether we know it or not, we want to be the people we admire — whether it’s J.Lo, SJP, Beyonce, Michael Jordan, or the Old Spice Guy. So when these fabulous individuals give their name to a fragrance, or appear in print ads and commercials, we subconsciously get that if we could spritz on whatever it is they spritz on, we can acquire some of their magic.

Striking Images

Perfume ads are some of the most striking images you’ll find in a magazine, loaded with  subtext, representing feelings and concepts that we like to flash in our heads whenever we dab some on.

Kirsten poses with a lion in this Bulgari Jasmin Noir ad

This has all the bases covered -- designer brand, sexy name, and Evan Rachel Wood in a raunchy photograph.

Posted in Culture, Design, Fashion | Tagged , ,

Spotlight on Minä Perhonen

It’s Fashion Friday!

Minä Perhonen Tokyo Store

Last week, thanks to Seesaw Designs, I was introduced to the Japanese design label Minä Perhonen. Since then I’ve become obsessed with these beautiful clothes, textiles, accessories and even home furnishings. The Minä Perhonen label’s aesthetic is a blending of Japanese and Scandinavian design, two of my favourite design styles. Here are just a few of the beautiful things I found at their website and around the web.

a/w 2010/11 catalogue via jollygoo

t.t. garret


Minä Perhonen was created by designer Akira Minagawa and originated in Tokyo in 1995. Since then they have presented collections all over the world, becoming a highly sought after fashion label. Layering, quirky prints and soft hues are their signature design elements.

Paradis Bag at kuukukka

hairpin at couverture and the garb


The Minä Perhonen label has also designed a line of handbags and accessories that showcase their textiles and high-craft style perfectly. Their egg-shaped bags are beautiful and the leather and fabric hairpin above is equally stunning, and probably the only item in their line in my price range.


This label has even teamed up with Danish furniture designer Fritz Hansen to create a line of chairs upholstered in their amazing fabrics. Gorgeous print and modern design are married perfectly in the two chairs pictured above.

sunny rain a/w 2002

celebrate a/w 2011


Speaking of fabrics, the Minä Perhonen website has images of all their original textiles that feature loose, colourful, hand drawn and embroidered prints featuring Japanese and Scandinavian motifs. Textile design is one of those arts that is often overlooked, but there are so many artists and designers creating beautiful work in this medium. I’d love to see beautiful textile design like this get the attention it deserves.

Now I’m wishing my weekend included a trip to Tokyo so I could see all these lovely designs in person.  Hope your weekend is full of fun and beauty. See you on Monday!

All images from http://www.mina-perhonen.jp/ unless otherwise noted.

Posted in Design, Fashion | Tagged , ,

Men in the Kitchen

image from connectedchefs.com

The person who first said that “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” was on to something. The truth is that the way to a woman’s heart is through her stomach too. Why do you think dates usually involve food of some kind? Didn’t the prehistoric men who brought to the village the biggest boars get the most admirers? They would’ve gotten even more in their furs if they’d roasted the boars themselves. That’s macho.

At least, this is what I came up with while trying to come up with a viable explanation for why I just love watching men cook on TV. There’s something so attractive and compelling about them in the kitchen, where they handle beautiful ingredients and wield steel not to make war, but to make wonderful, delicious eats. They make the kitchens look good, and the setting makes them look even better. When I see them on the screen, I stop channel surfing and stare. And drool — over the food or over the guy cooking, I know not which. Of course it also helps that the TV networks manage to find chefs who are easy on the eyes to begin with, as well as knowledgeable and talented. They fill up the on-screen kitchens and make of the cooking shows even more yummy eye candy.

Note that I love watching Nigella Lawson, Giada de Laurentiis, Ina Garten, and Rachael Ray too, but I these men, I find irresistible:

Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay in the heat of the battle on Iron Chef America

Love a man who loves a challenge. I especially enjoy watching him in Iron Chef America, where he competes with the best chefs under extreme time pressure in what they call the Kitchen Stadium. The show Throwdown with Bobby Flay shows him taking on the masters of a particular dish in a cook-off. He does his thing with such an endearing cockiness that charms everyone, including his competitor, no matter what the outcome of the contest is.


Rocco DiSpirito

A lot of Rocco is good for you

This one is such a cutiepie. I like that he’s down-to-earth and really tries to make things as easy as possible for the amateur cooks. His thrust nowadays is to bury the notion that anything “good for you” is boring and tasteless. In short, he’s a chef who doesn’t want to make you fat, and for that, we have to forgive him for his Dancing with the Stars stint.


Tyler Florence

Tyler Florence at a cooking demonstration

Clean-cut or slightly mussed, Tyler Florence is the ultimate. His show, Tyler’s Ultimate gives you the most pimped up decadent version of the most well loved dishes — from pizza, to pie, to paella.

Jamie Oliver

He is kind and generous with his talent, and he uses his gifts to uplift the quality of food in schools, and the quality of life of kids who are out of school. Despite the seriousness of his causes, he’s still like the Peter Pan of food shows — with his adorable accent, goofy smile and the casual boyish way about him when he’s cooking, which seems to say, encouragingly and with lots of enthusiasm, that there’s really nothing to it.


Ming Tsai

His brand of cuteness makes you want to smile. And what he represents is the concept of East Meets West. Long after the cooking show with this title has produced its final episode, he still exudes this vibe, especially in his current show, Simply Ming. It is brilliant in theory, given today’s increasingly global society, but translated to food and yummy recipes, it is stellar.


Curtis Stone

He doesn’t have a signature dish or culinary genre, he doesn’t even have a trademark look to his kitchen. His trademark is his spontaneity — he is just fantastic at winging it. He is Curtis Stone, the Take Home Chef, and his kitchen is whomever’s that he crashes.


Posted in Culture, Food, Kitchen & Bath | Tagged , ,

Artists in their Natural Habitat

Writer Douglas Coupland in his Vancouver home images via ounodesign

I for one am sick of winter. In response to the dreary grey weather we’ve been having around here I thought I would compile a collection of bright, eccentric and fun homes of a few well known individuals. What is remarkable about these spaces is how clearly they convey the creativity and vibrant personalities of their owners.

Here’s a picture of the dining room in Douglas Coupland’s house. Wouldn’t this be a fabulous place for a dinner party? There is something distinctly Canadian in the artful design of this home, and I love the open expanse of  windows and the playful touches of colour. Mousetrap anyone?

Max and Lublov Azria at home Photographs by Douglas Friedman for  Harpers Bazaar

The home of fashion designer Max Azria has everything you would expect from someone known for putting accessible glamour on the runway; an abundance of colour, modern elegance and beautiful textiles everywhere. The combination of golden ceiling and crystal chandelier is particularly stunning.

Photographs by Todd Eberle  for W magazine

Here are two photos of the skyrise apartment where Tobias Meyer, Sotheby’s Worldwide Head of Contemporary Art, and art consultant Mark Fletcher live. Fantastic contemporary art, bold graphic prints and a stunning view make this apartment truly a work of art in itself.

Photographs by Allan Grant for  Architectural Digest

When I stumbled upon these photographs of Jayne Mansfield’s Sunset Boulevard home in Architectural Digest my jaw literally dropped. Talk about eccentric luxury. I can’t imagine a more perfect habitat for the curvy sex symbol.

Photographs by Allan Grant for  Architectural Digest

Yes, that is wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling pink shag carpeting you’re looking at… in a bathroom. Between the golden heart-shaped bathtub and the pink everything else, I don’t know if I can take any more.

Hope you’ve had as much fun as I have taking a peek inside these incredible homes. If there is one thing these creative individuals have shown us, there is a lot of fun to be had when you stop playing it safe.  You don’t need to go as far as covering your home in pink shag, but why not let your imagination run away with you a little the next time you’re looking to do some re-designing of your own?

Posted in Design | Tagged , , ,