Browsing Tag



Urban Living: How the Dutch Got Their Cycle Paths

cycle path in the Netherlands

cycle path in the Netherlands

This video starts with: The Netherlands has the world’s largest number of cyclists, but it is also the safest place to cycling. It says a lot about what is possible when you want to. Even if it is just to see how another nation solved an universal problem, I invite you to watch the video (below).

The suburban lifestyle is not for me. I like too much the proximity to great shops, restaurants, and museums and the creative energy  that you get in the city to settle for less. But as a new mom, I also want to live in a safe environment for my kid. I sometimes wonder how we can raise a child in the city. I was raised in a small town. Riding a bike is part of my childhood memories. I know that my son won’t be able to enjoy the same freedom than I did. Still, most North American and Canadian cities could be more family friendly.

This short documentary called “How the Dutch Got Their Cycle Paths?” is the perfect example that we can make our cities more pedestrian and cyclist friendly with will, proper government support and imaginative city planners. Amongst the main reasons that triggered the huge city planning change in the Netherlands was a public outrage caused by the high number of kids under 14 who died due to a bicycle accident. The protesters wanted to stop the killing of those children. And they did!

It takes a lot of courage to limit the number of parking spaces available in a city centre or to restrict the car lanes on our road. But it can be done successfully. The transition, like any transition, would be hard and painful for some. But if the people have the gut to give it a chance, they could see that new habits will take shape. In the end, I believe that it would benefit the majority. In the Netherlands, only 14 kids died from a bicycle accident in 2010. This is the best reason to change the way we design our roads. I would welcome a system that prioritizes even more the pedestrians and cyclists over cars.

+ How the Dutch Got Their Cycle Paths video



Wineglass Shaped Light by OOOMS

Glassbulb Light by OOOMS bar view

Glassbulb Light by OOOMS bar view

Here is an original LED bulb designed by OOOMS, the creative Dutch brand behind the Puzzleboard. In case that you do not remember it, Puzzleboard is an interlocked cutting board that can be used as mingling plates.

Glassbulb Light by OOOMS kitchen view

The Glassbulb Light might interested you if you are looking for an eco-friendly bulb with a fun design for your wine cellar, wine tasting room or simply your kitchen. Inside the bulb are 20 warm white high-intensity LEDs. They have a lifetime of 20,000 hours and you can buy them in 220 volt or 110 volt.

+ Glassbulb Light by OOOMS 59 €


A Toy Sailboat Kit: Flessenboot by Floris Hovers

flessenboot by floris hovers

flessenboot by floris hovers

The Dutch designer and dad Floris Hovers presented Flessenboot at this year Milan Furniture Fair. It is a sailboat toy kit that comes with a colored sail, mast and rudder. You supply the empty shampoo bottle on which you will strap the other elements.

Hovers got the idea while watching his daughters play with bottles in the bath and the memory of a toy boat he created on the spot six or seven years ago on a camping trip to entertain little boys playing by a river. I got the impression that you can purchase the kit directly from him but you are better to ask a friend fluent in Dutch to check his Web site.

+ Flessenboot by Floris Hovers
+ via Moco Loco


Outstanding Mingling Plates: Puzzleboard by Oooms and Out of Work

puzzleboard by oooms let you mingle, drink and eat tapas with one free hand

puzzleboard by oooms let you mingle, drink and eat tapas with one free hand

You know my fascination with mingling plates. I am always on the lookout for more. I spotted the Puzzleboard by Oooms earlier. It was always depicted as a service tray or an interlocked cutting board. I thought it was a fun design. Now, I think that the Puzzleboard is brilliant! I discovered that each jigsaw puzzle piece  is also a mingling plate. The multi-purpose characteristic makes it a good buy. Oooms ships worldwide for a flat fee of  7.50 euro per order.

Most mingling plates are built to support a wine glass. I mentioned before the Social plates, which fit different glass types and a soda can. But the bare essential look of the Social Plates is not suitable for a hip cocktail party.

What if you prefer a glass of beer

out of work :: outside of work mingling plate for beer drinkers

I discovered on Design-Milk two Spanish designers who found a stylish solution for a beer and tapas night. Giovanna de Ávila and Joan Sunyol collaborated to create  Out of Work (also named Outside of work), a mingling plate that comes with a handmade blown glass beer glass. O.O.W.’s hand made ceramic plate is stackable.

O.O.W. was exhibited for the first time at Designboom’s Mart 2010 at Stockholm’s Furniture Fair. As far as I know, it is not available in stores, at least for the moment. I suggest that you contact Giovanna de Ávila, if you are interested by these artisan mingling plates.

+ Puzzleboard by Oooms 19.50 euro / $27.15 USD
+ Out of Work on Giovanna de Ávila‘s Web site
+ O.O.W. photos: News about Giovanna de Ávilas


How the Sweet Cake Tub Comes in Handy

sweetcake tub by beerd van stokkum

sweetcake tub by beerd van stokkum

I like the concept for a party; especially for a garden party, a baby shower or a kid birthday. It makes a festive ice bucket to keep cold the bottles of water, soda, lemonade, beer and wine. The Sweet Cake tub is a little bit pricey but you will be able to reuse it for many tasks. If you are hosting a family-friendly BBQ, use it as a sandbox for toddlers.

Beerd van Stokkum is a Dutch product designer and spatial designer. His products are often cheerful, like many design products from the Netherlands. In 2008, he got the idea to make a blown up cupcake bucket that can be used as a flower pot, a baby bath, a sandbox or a basket for your dog or cat.

multi-purpose sweet cake tub by beerd van stokkum in an array of colors

Sweet Case comes in 11 bright colors. Made of thick polyethylene, it can be used indoor and outdoor. For easier cleaning, I suggest a sponge, soap and hot water. The sponge should cover each groove in one step.

I found the US distributor, who sadly for him (and us) does not publish a list of US retailers.

+ Sweet Case Tub £149 at Beerd van Stokkum
+ List of retailers for the Sweet Cake tub – mostly from Europe


Slowcooker by Margriet Foolen for Royal VKB

Margriet Foolen's slowcooker for Royal VKB

Margriet Foolen\'s slowcooker for Royal VKB

Margriet Foolen has freshen up the tagine like no one did before. The Slowcooker she designed for Royal VKB is a mix between the traditional Moroccan tagine and the Dutch stewing pot. It rustic and modern at the same time.

one pot meal slowcooker by royal vkb

It is made of two interlocking bowls that can be turned upside down at will. You put the food in the bowl that fits the best the amount of food you need. I feel it is a cookware that fits the lifestyle of singles or couples. Use the white lid if you cook for one. If you cook for 2 or 3 persons, put the food in the big terracotta bowl instead. Then, use 2 or 3 slowcookers when you cook for a larger group.

Margriet imagined a design that simplifies our life. The top and bottom silicone rings protect your table from the heat of the hot cooker. The coolest feature is that you can cook the dish and eat it from the same pot. The glazed white lid can act as a plate for one. It’s perfect if you do not like to do the dishes or if you live in a small place.

royal vkb slowcooker designed by dutch designer margriet foolen

Lastly, the slowcooker also promotes healthy eating habits. Before cooking, immerse the big terracotta bowl to capture the moisture. Doing so reduces, when it not eliminates, the need to add oil or fat to your dish. I would still add a little bit of oil for taste.

The slowcooker is in nomination for the Wallpaper* Design Awards 2010 in the Best Domestic Design category. It also won a red dot Award (product design 2008). Here are more Royal VKB products that I like.

+ Slowcooker for Royal VKB designed by Margriet Foolen $64 USD at A+R Store
+ photo: Wallpaper


Baked Exhibition during Dutch Design Week

baked exhibit during dutch design week

baked exhibit during dutch design week

This is baking as an art form. During the Dutch Design Week in October 2009, one exhibit was an homage to cooking and baking. Baked was inspired by a Sicilian folk event in Salemi, where a flour based material is used to create architectural decorations.

baked exhibit during dutch design week

One element that I like is how the belts allow to customize the vessels with food decoration. The containers and vessels made from ingredients such as flour, coffee, cocoa and spinach, mixed together with salt, shellac and spices to make the objects durable.

+ photos: formafantasma


Better Ways to Prepare, Measure, Store and Serve Food with Royal VKB

prep, measure, mix, serve and store food with royal vkb products

I love the ingenuity of the design behind every Royal VKB products. Their motto, Thought for Food says it all. This Dutch housewares company always succeed to grab my attention. If only, I could find a Canadian retailer who carries the entire range of Royal VKB.

A new product, Table Bin would appreciate by students who live with roommates. Designed with outdoor dining in mind, it can be practical for a small family. The concept is that you can filled the bin with food waste, place the utensils in the side pocket, stack dirty dishes on top on the lid and clean up the table in one batch.

Royal VKB developed clever double-duty measuring products that come in an array of colors. They have look and function. I told you before about Mix and Measure, a series of bowls with a graduated scale inside the bowl. You can get an air-tight lid that features a spoon rest on the reverse side.

The Cup and Store canisters come in aluminum and glass. The canister integrates a measuring cup, the lid, for easy pouring. Plus you save space since the jars can stacked into another.

No more need of a scale with the Balancing Bowls. Fill one half of the bowl and the bowl will tilt when you reach the indicated weight. This is not all, you can use the bowl for servings chips and other snacks.

As you can see, Royal VKB imagined stylish practical products that can save you time and space. For that, I gave them a 10.

1. Mix & Measure by Jan Hoekstra € 9,95 to € 24,95 per bowl
2. Cup & Store Aluminium by Arian Brekveld € 9,95 to € 14,95 per jar
2. Cup & Store Glass by Arian Brekveld € 7,95 to € 9,95 per jar
3. Table Bin by Officeoriginair € 29,95
4. Balancing Bowl set by Jan Hoekstra € 14,95 for set of 2 bowls


Cool Dutch Design Gift Ideas for Father’s Day

The Netherlands are a country where talented and creative designers flourish in a good number. Sadly, most of their design products do not cross the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, most of the Dutch products are exported when a dedicated retailer wishes to carry them and import the goods directly from The Netherlands. This is the case of the UK retailer Dutch by Design. And it is good to know that Dutch by Design will ship their orders internationally.

I was looking for cool and unique design products for Father’s Day when I thought of revisiting Dutch by Design online store. I like what I see. They have affordable stuff that will impress and please your dad. My favorite gift ideas are:

+ Back in Time Radio/Alarm Clock $40 USD
+ Cheese Board $16.50 USD
+ Sandwich Bread Board $16.50 USD

More Gift Ideas for Everyone and All occasions

fun tree watercan :: love birds salt and pepper set at dutch by design

+ Tree Watercan $20 USD
+ Love Birds Salt & Pepper Set $21 USD


In Love with the Donut and the Sushi Collection by Edward Van Vielt for Moroso

donut ottoman :: sushi collection for moroso

These fabrics specially designed by the Dutch Edward Van Vielt for the Sushi collection by Moroso are stunning. I really like the mix match of patterns. He gave a whole new meaning to patchworks.

Edward Van Vielt said in an interview that he was influenced by Marrakesh, the culture of the Far East and Middle East plus the Spirograph to create the patterns of the Sushi collection. The Spirograph was one of my favorite games as a child. And it still fascinates me today.

karmacoma couch and chairs designed by Edward Van Vielt for Moroso

The collection plays with geometry in forms and patterns. It is not everyday that you see a furniture collection that could successfully integrate the straight angles of the Karmacoma sofa with the roundness of the Donut ottoman or the Juju armless seats. After Amsterdam and Milan, the Sushi collection was given an enthusiastic reception in the New York showroom of Moroso. Visitors of 2009 Salone del Mobile can admire the Sushi collection until next Monday.

+ Moroso – Sushi events in Amsterdam and Milan
+ Via Design Boom and  Design Hole


Mixing Modern, Traditional and Handmade Home Living Accessories at Le Souk

copper tinned teapot at le souk

If you like good design, chances are that you read the style files, the blog of the Dutch Danielle de Lange. Danielle is the owner of Le Souk, a store with an online store that delivers internationally. Good for us because her store carries unique products.

What is interesting about Danielle’s style is that she successfully mixes modern, traditional and handmade products to create a warm and stylish home. You will find there little gems like this exotic teapot, hand-made from tinned copper available in limited stock. This would make an awesome wedding gift to your best friend or your sister.

made in vietnam serving ware and vinyl lace table linens at le souk

I am fond of her mat black ceramic dinnerware with the vibrant turquoise glaze on the inside. Made in Vietnam, the range includes a teapot and cups, a small bowl and a large serving plate. The classic lace table linens became practical. You will not worry about stains with her machine-washable vinyl placemats and table runner. Putting modern dinnerware revitalize what used to be a granny look.

+ Copper Teapot €114.95
+ Ceramic Bowl Large €14.95
+ Vinyl Lace Placemat €2.95