Though opened nearly four years ago, the VitraHaus remains a pilgrimage-worthy menagerie of design. Located in the German town of Weil-am-Rhein and built by famed builders Herzog & de Meuron, the VitraHaus is series of stacked longhouses filled with an assemblage of classic and contemporary design goods for the home. Visitors are encouraged to not just gaze in the standard museum sense, but to touch and interact with everything. A walk-through had us rethinking our own homes.
Nowadays media streaming devices offer dramatically improved user experiences, access to a wide range of content at 1080p, and price tags easily within anyone’s budget, making it easier than ever to cut the cable company’s iron umbilical cord. We’ve selected the top five that should satiate any media user, aficionado to amateur.
Eureka is closer than you think
Science continues to prove that lighting affects our energy level, mood and sleep patterns more than we think — not to mention playing a tremendous role in altering the look and feel of interior spaces. Swapping out a traditional on/off switch for a dimmer is a fast home upgrade that provides immediate impact in any lighting scenario. We show you how it’s done.
Low Hanging Fruit
For anyone uncomfortable with pills, powders, shots and gels, Mother Nature offers an alternative way to stay healthy this winter. We’re talking berries, those tart little packets of juicy goodness. But beware: not all berries are created equal, and some go together better than others. Our resident fruitarian breaks down some of the most popular options.
Go Forth and Multiply
The Iris Smart Kit ($299) does a fantastic job of keeping our home in check, but a quick survey of the complementary products available for the Iris Home Management System, by Lowe’s, had us feeling like a pot-bellied biker with a bone-stock Harley at home. Accordingly, we tested out an Iris Kit army of great add-ons.
What is thy bidding, master
In the past, controlling the various aspects of your home meant micro-managing at individual stations: temperature meant adjustments at the thermometer; lights mean hitting the switch; and setting the alarm, well, that usually gets forgotten (sorry sweetie!). Sure, there are some damn fine products out there to streamline home base operations, but, like your niece’s Christmas choir recital, they lack the cohesion of a singular voice. The Iris Home Management System by Lowe’s puts you in the executive office of macro-management by instantly offering control of your home, from anywhere you please, through a single application.
The Start of a Smarter Home
Much of what simplifies our lives has become effortless. Typing with our thumbs in swipes and stabs while our car parks itself in front of the restaurant that serves those Instagram-worthy dishes can be learned and perfected before the next status update hits our social media feeds. It truly is a brave new world — and it doesn’t have to begin outside your doorstep. The same levels of remote control can now just as easily be had for your home thanks to the Iris Home Management System ($179+) from Lowe’s.
Nothing facet-ious about it
The current iteration of the Waterford Crystal company has been making exquisite, traditional crystal products for a good portion of history. But now Waterford has decided to reimagine their product; indeed, they’ve decided to revolutionize the way a man might feel about crystal, and as part of that effort heralded designer Jo Sampson fashioned the new decidedly male-centric London Collection. Apropos, then, that we hopped over to foggy London town to meet with Sampson, chat with Waterford CEO Pierre de Villemejane and check out the new collection.
Robotics engineers and industrial designers, rapid prototyping and 3D printing, adroit methodology and open workflow — sounds like a Silicon Valley tech startup, right? But things aren’t always as they seem. In the case of Pittsburgh-based company 4Moms, this business model is being applied to baby products that leave the status quo in the dust. We went to their headquarters to get a behind-the-scenes look at a few products poised to change things up in the baby world once again.
Almost as appreciated as a full night's sleep
Being a new parent carries many worries, but it’s also the perfect entry point into a new world of gear: strollers, car seats, bags and all kinds of other gadgets, apps and convenience products await. You now have a reason to buy that Eames highchair and test drive that stroller bike. Been looking for a reason to get a wipes warmer, bottle steamer or little super hero tights? Perfect. So for the guy who has it all and now has good reason to get some more, may we present: the holiday gift guide for the New Dad.
A Bright Idea
Economically, it’s tough to be an environmentalist, especially when your life starts sounding like an expensive Mastercard commercial: organic strawberries ($4.99), Envirocycle Composter ($179.99), Camry hybrid ($26,140). But LED chip-maker Cree’s excursion into the lightbulb market aims to make living the green life a little easier (priceless). Their 40-watt and 60-watt Cree LED Bulbs ($10) — positioned to offer consumers quality lighting at a low price — last 25,000 hours, or 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.
Let's Clear the Air
According to the Center for Disease Control, approximately one in every twelve Americans has asthma. Throw airborne allergies into the mix and we’re talking about 20% of the populace suffering from a breathing condition. Though most people turn to aerosols and sprays in an effort to “clean” the air at home, those products only mask the problem, and in some cases, make it worse. Screaming aside, apparently people can hear you sneeze in space, so, lucky for us, NASA went to work. The Airocide Air Purifier ($799) is the beautiful end result of a dozen years of “up there” field testing, and it’s now available for purchase by us mere mortals.
Nest has innovated before — their smart thermostat brought the home heating arena into the modern age — and they’ve gone and done it again, this time to save lives rather than make us a little more comfortable. The Nest Protect smoke and CO alarm ($129) features a two-stage alert process: if levels of smoke or CO are on the rise but not at lethal levels, a verbal warning (e.g. “heads up: there’s smoke in the kids’ bedroom”) is sounded and a yellow light comes on. If levels get truly dangerous you’ll know — a red warning light flashes along with a full-scale alarm. It’s all integrated with the Nest Protect app for ultimate customization and safety.
Sit down, stay a while
Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby know a thing or two about design — the duo snagged an Order of the British Empire Award (or OBE) for their work on the London 2012 Olympic Torch. So it’s no surprise that their sofa collection turned heads after its unveiling at Salone del Mobile 2013 in Milan. The sofa collection, designed for American brand Knoll, offers an ideal mixture of style and comfort, a balance that’s increasingly elusive amid the sharp angles and stark silhouettes crowding display windows at contemporary design shops today.
The perfect hangout
It’s far from news that summer’s here; the dog days, as it were. From grilling on your resealed deck to some mighty fine vacations, your calendar should be packed with great seasonal activities. You’re not one to take it for granted, are you? Of course, there are those tiny slivers of respite between tackling rapids on your SUP board and trucking along some of the best mountain biking single track in the country, and you are feeling mighty pooped, what with all the adventure and bravado. Sounds like it’s time to catch some suspended reprieve: you’re in desperate need of a hammock, partner.
From Baby Daddy to Father
It’s the scariest and most exciting thing a man will ever face: fatherhood. Suddenly there’s the pressure of knowing this human life is wholly reliant on you, the hope of being just like your father or the fear of the same thing. It’s the moment when BC becomes AD, a distinct frozen moment when a corner is turned and there will forever more only be a “before” (child) and “after”.
For many of us, Father’s Day means finding the right gift for Dad. But now some of us will be receiving gifts as well, and so without further ado, we introduce New Father’s Day — along with a wish list for the sleep-deprived new dad to make the beginning of this next lifetime easier.
Keep the chills, lower the bills
The summer of 2012 was one of the hottest seasons ever throughout the United States. Whether we face the same braising this year remains to be seen, but we plan on being prepared. These relatively simple tips to increase energy efficiency should keep you cool and help your wallet stay fat and fluffy this summer season.
Time to hit the deck
Spring doesn’t really exist anymore. The belief that a season actually occurs between that last dumping of snow and when your smartphone weather apps start to sweat is mythical at best. What we get now is essentially a two-week meteorological reprieve during which we need to squeeze three months’ worth of work. To make sure those precious days aren’t squandered, we’re dishing out the goods on how to git ‘er done so you can make the most of this summer — and it starts with resealing your deck.
The American dream in the post Gangham-style age has changed significantly from the days when success was defined by a white picket fence, a Suburban in the driveway and a front porch swing (at least in some parts of the country). Mississippi-based designer and craftsman Andy Hilton decided to re-invent the traditional porch staple as a modern and versatile fixture for the next generation of homeowners.
Cree LED Light Bulbs ($10+) are the best things in lighting since the Almighty started a sentence “Let there be…” Their three selections, in 40-watt, 60-watt and 60-watt “daylight”, range from $10-$14 dollars a pop, offer incandescent-like lighting rather than the tepid glow we’ve come to know from other “green” bulbs, are dimmable and save 84% more energy than said incandescents.
A Scout is Trustworthy
When it comes to home security, there don’t seem to be many options between expensive monthly-fee security systems and keeping a pump-action under the bed (note: don’t do that). The Scout Home Security System ($120+) utilizes wi-fi and mobile connectivity to meet somewhere between safety and affordability.
Old School, High Quality, No BS
In the constant pursuit of a high-quality, stylish lifestyle, it’s understandable that we men may stray from the path a time or two — a truck stop frozen burrito here, a discount-grade pair of white socks there. Most times, though, we regret purchasing shoddy products. Owen & Fred, The Store For Men is a response to just such disappointing gimmickry, providing the superbly crafted choice for everything from dopp kits to ties to kitchen accessories and all the rest.
Take it outside
Music lovers don’t want to be tethered to an indoor system — loud enough to be heard outside is too loud for inside — but even “outdoor” systems rarely last long out in the wet and cold. Bowers & Wilkins AM-1 exposes your music to the elements with impunity, thanks to a durable, weather-resistance speaker enclosure.
Burn the lamp at both ends
Melatonin is a hormone produced inside the brain that helps regulate sleep. It essentially burns away when light enters the eyes; when there is no light it builds up in your noodle and you snooze. Good taste is something the regulates the aesthetic appeal of your personal environment; the more good taste you have, the more friends you will have. What we’re saying is, it’s time to ditch the lava lamp and invest in the Satechi Smart LED Desk Lamp ($100).
Rack 'em up
Indoor bike racks come in all shapes and sizes, most of them trending toward “modern chic” or “classic natural”. Some just look like ugly contemporary sculptures. The Make 001 Bike Rack ($180), first product of fledgling design group Make, combines the best of both worlds with an unpresumptuous shape and clean design.
Your home or office may not be a hazardous environment, but that shouldn’t stop you from hanging a vintage explosion-proof clock ($1,200) from the Crouse-Hinds Company on your wall. Designed with heavily insulated components to make it safe for use in volatile environments such as mines, paint factories, and grain processing plants, this 40-pound clock…
Fortress of Solid-tude
Looking to build a man-cave resembling something out of the Applied Sciences section of Wayne Enterprises? While undoubtedly Batman’s bivouac of choice, the Concrete Canvas Shelter (~$30,000+) is also an incredible achievement in British ingenuity and instant accommodations. Available in both 270- and 580-square foot models, these buildings-in-a-bag can be constructed by two people in under an hour and become semi-permanent structures in just one day. Simply unfurl, inflate and douse the shell with anything this side of sewage, and you have a weatherproof and insulated shelter ready for refuge.
Campaign furniture reform
We’re no strangers to the revival of heritage American brands, but what about revisiting cool gear from the heyday of the British Empire? An under-explored category, indeed. On a recent trip to Elephant Pepper Camp in Kenya’s Mara North Conservancy, we slept, dined, drank and chewed the fat in tents furnished handsomely by J&R Guram,…
Drive the line in your own home
Though we’re pretty sure the Tour De France now needs a bit more polishing than its excellent NoMo Design posters could possibly provide, the company’s efforts are never wasted. Such is clearly the case with their new Racetrack Series Posters ($26). NoMo covers eight legendary racetracks — Talladega, Daytona, Laguna Seca, Suzuka, Indianapolis, Monaco, Silverstone…
Man knowledge worth imprinting
Bearings Guide — the ever-tasteful email newsletter for Southern gents looking to improve their lives — recently launched a new shop stocked with a series of men’s-club-approved letterpress prints ($35). All are made in Atlanta, Georgia from original sketches created by the Bearings team, translated to custom plates and then individually rolled on all-cotton paper….