for what it’s worth

stories and stimulus from a consumer insight consultant


I love the new concept from food stylist and artist Nir Adar; CrispyCones, which aims to serve an array of classic dishes including meatballs, ceasar salad and barbeque chicken… in an edible cone. Turning the notion of take-away food on its head, Adar fills the baked dough cones with a wide variety of sweet or savoury fillings crossing an array of cuisines, to satisfy any craving you may have. As he explains it-

“The Crispy Cone is changing the face of portable food to meet the needs of the healthy, selective and environmentally conscious consumer. Not only is the shape of the cone different than anything else out there, it’s also different in concept: Nutritious. Responsible. Delicious. Prepared with care and thought. Environmentally smart, because it leaves no waste, and uses no utensils. Made with nutritious ingredients and delivered in a smart drip-free cone that complements the delicious flavors of the food, the Crispy Cone lets you enjoy your favorite foods in a modern and environmentally-smart new way.”

Not sure that the menu constitutes healthy eating, but CrispyCones say they aim to introduce new flavors every week, apparently tailored to fit the demographics of each new location. Given the huge availability of traditional carbohydrate based fast-foods and the current interest in curing America’s obesity pandemic it will be interesting to see whether this idea takes off. Currently only available in Santa Anita’s Westfield Arcadia Shopping Mall, California, CrispyCones plans to open throughout the US and is currently looking for investors and franchisees.

Filed under: Uncategorized, ,


Refinery 29 points us towards the newest neckwear trend for the discerning gentlemen- neckerchiefs by Beard and Bangs. Adding colour and pattern to an oufit, these are the newest cool accoutrements of the fashion brigade, and have been spotted already on several necks in the music industry.

Even if it’s not a look for you, the website is definitely worth a visit- a clean simple-to-navigate site built around the theme of The Occidental Edwardian, with this season based on the legend of a Spanish explorer in the 19th century known as ‘The Talon’, it’s a great way of selling their story!
Beard and Bangs

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The Truman Brewery was bursting with creative talent for London Design Week last weekend. From 100% East, Talentzone, In Production, (re) Design, and Design Mais, we felt exhausted by the huge amount of work on display. It was almost a relief to be told that we couldn’t go into the too-full New Designers Selection exhibition!

There was a great array of ideas on show, mostly from graduate designers and young design companies, showing a wealth of products- the main recurrent themes of which seemed to be the importance of creating honesty in materials; a continuation of the movement towards traditional crafts such as ceramics; adding an importance and beauty to products through hidden aspects of design; and unique space-saving designs, with humour playing an ever-important role.

As a brief round-up here are my favourite products from each show; items and designers that I think will be important to the future of product design-


Luis Eslava’s USB saint, called ‘Oh Maria Keep my Data Safe’- a religious icon as memory stick which poses the idea of computers being the new religion

Img_0742Giles Miller’s fluted corrugated cardboard laptop case, which ‘gives you the chance to show the world that you care about sustainable design’.


Ali Cayless’ Rememberance Sideboard, with a series of secret openings and ‘hidden surpsrises’ such as personalised felt designs on the inside, drawing on the idea of childhood exitement and posessional values.

Img_0748Emiko Oki’s Salty Bell brings fun to the dinner table by taking a glass bell and adding holes along the rim to create a salt or pepper shaker which you ring for seasoning!
Her Trophy Tableware set is also an ingenious use of design- a set of simple stylish crockery that stacks together to create a trophy. Her pieces aim to ‘add to the dining experience, and to function aesthetically whilst not in use’

Talent Zone, a specially selected showcase of the best UK design graduates-

-Kathryn Hennesy’s take on garden gnomes- recreating the ceramic figurines holding machine guns, shows a subversive twist on an English classic


Tomasz Donocik’s ‘A Hero of Our Time’ horsehair and gold horsehead jewellery pieces for men were disturbingly beautiful

Img_0763Angel Ha’s interactive ceramics seen in her ‘Peel to Reveal’ crockery, envite you to rub the surface to remove top layer and reveal a different world of design underneath


Ernie Bakker’s Spira table is based on the old-style giant spiragraph sets- placed on top of a tablecloth, where the coaster, placemat and food stand all interact to provide artistic entertainment during your meal.


Shiv Kumar’s elegant table plays with the idea hidden beauty and peeling away the wood to reveal hidden colour.

In Production– exhibition curated by trend consultancy The Future Laboratory showcasing their selection of the best of contemporary British design in production, cleverly displayed as a peep-show

-Paint By Numbers Wallpaper by Jenny Wilkinson has already been lauded as a design classic

Timorous_beastiesTimorous Beasties fabrics- having won numerous design awards for their depiction of contemporary images on traditional textiles such as their Glasgow and London toiles, this textile design company is going from strength to strength


– ‘Lady Lush’ blown glass decanters by Romy Westwood look at British manufacturing traditions, challenging the idea of ornamental and functional objects.


– ‘Else’ leather benches by Julia Lohmann are made of a single cowhide and shaped to represent a cow, exploring the threshold between animal and material


-‘Villosus’ porcelain andhorsehair vases, and ‘Candle 1’ all wax candle and candelabra by Fredrikson Stallard. The company describe their pieces as “Fairy tales for grown ups; combining simple surface narratives with underlying themes of opulent and sensual darkness.”

Design Mais, curated by Max Fraser, was showcasing the best of Portuguese design and production collaborations. A clever way of attracting attention to the manufacturers as well as the designers, pieces displayed information from both.


-‘Soho’ multi-design chest of drawers by Pedro Sonsa, produced by Menina Design

-‘Miss Moon’ White Armchairs produced by Truffa for Sensicasa, pained pink underneath to produce a coloured glow

-‘Homesick Kit’ suitcase by Lilia Borges, Helena Silva &Joao Loureiro, and produced by Li&Fung- a company that integrates textiles, ceramics and glass sectors

(re) Design exhibition looked at eco-design products from a range of companies who utilise ecological and ethical design paths. The brochure asks ‘Can gorgeous design also be good- for you, for others and for the environment?’. A mixture of new and slightly older design ideas, there were a couple of great ideas that looked at the efficient use of materials.

-8’ x 4’ by Richard Broom Designs, which creates a chair, coffee table, dining table and picture frame out of a single 8’ x 4’ ply sheet

-‘Reholstered’ by Space Oddity who had taken an old office chair and given it a new lease of life by attaching a handcrafted ash seat and back, playing with the ideas of man-made and machine mass-production.

-Book bookcase by Carpenter & Carpenter which uses second-hand books instead of wood to create a wall-mounted bookcase

-Big Crush by Studiomold, where  crushed plastic bottles are re-used and stacked into a tower to make a lamp


-Luggage Sofa by Love Me Twice who have taken an old suitcase and upholstered the inside to create a portable sofa!

Filed under: talent worth watching, , ,


Watch out- the Olsen twins are taking over the world! Not content with selling their clothing ranges at Wal-Mart, Asda and a variety of international retailers, the girls have decided to launch their tween collections in a new online shop due to open on Monday.

Adding to their fanclub website mary-kateand which currently includes a magazine, lots of fashion and beauty tips, and collection photoshoots, will soon be a shopping site- apparently launched due to “all your requests”. At least they know that there’s already a market for the products, and considering the lack of good, affordable, fashion-led clothing for the tween market it’s not surprising.

the store

Filed under: brand extensions,


Advanced Imaging have a great article on new electronics and computer science technologies in fabrics that are enabling the creation of smart clothes.

“You get a cell phone call and your sleeve answers it. You want to know
how far you jogged and your pants tell you. Smart clothes are the
latest trend to come down the runway. breeding the latest in wearable computers like pants that detect movement and let a computer know your
every move. A loom helps sew the wires and fabric together. Then sensors
embedded in the fabric measure the speed, rotation and flexibility of
the pants with every movement. Wireless signals are sent from the pants
to a computer to display the activity.”

Amazing innovations, but kinda scary at the same time- as if CCTV on every corner wasn’t enough it sounds like soon our clothes will be monitoring and recording our lives too. Big Brother really is watching!

read the full article

Filed under: visions of the future,


Img_0733London Design Week would not be complete without seeing the young international designers showcased in the empty Nicholls and Clarke building on Shoreditch high street by Designersblock. The least known of the established shows,  this exhibition still managed to pack a a pretty strong punch, with a wide array of original and intelligent products on offer.

As always humorous, quirky products were abundant. Those we preferred included design duo Mixko’s
‘Goal’ t-shirts printed on the inside so that when your team scores the hidden text is revealed in celebration! Mixko’s objective is “to create items that inspire happiness and possess a satisfying simplicity”, and it’s definitely achieved here.

Dejana Kabiljo’s ‘Pretty Pretty’ stools, covered with dyed horsehair wigs, are both disturbing and beautiful. Her products play with the idea of beauty and “search for the innovation on the level of human behaviour”, and Dejana plans to pursue this theme with a variety Pasta_per_metre_1of hairstyles and furniture.

Seven Squatters, a group of industrial design graduates from Central St Martins showed some great ideas including ‘Who Tall are You’ by Ismaril Wells which looks at the evaluation of self image, stating “no matter how short you consider yourself to be you’ll always be taller than Img_0711someone great” and ‘Measure Your Pleasure’ by Marina Lariviere, looking at food habits and attitude- inside the packaging is roll of fresh pasta with recipes printed in edible ink running every 50cm to enable not only the preparation of healthy meals but also the consumption of the recommended amount. Marina explained the idea as a do-it-yourself approach, a food version of Ikea!

Looking at adapting religion into 21st century lifestyles is Soner Ozenc’s digital prayer mat, using flexible technology that lights up when pointed in the direction of Mecca. The designer explained how the aim was to combine tradition and contemporary pixel arts, trying to evoke an emotional atmosphere whilst creating a fully functioning product. The item is currently in production and will be launched in a couple of months.

iTattoo is another idea by the same designer; a customisation engraving service for your gadgets “transforming your product into a unique art piece”

Img_0727Combining design and art, Scott Garcia’s ‘Embedded Meanings’ concrete tables combine functional objects in an elegant way and display the decorative potential of concrete.

Eco friendly design is taken to a different level in the Wattson by DIY Kyoto (seen also at the Digital Wellbeing Showroom). The product’s primary function is to read how many watts each appliance in your house uses, bur also sits as a piece of design in its own right.

Space saving designs were showcased by Japanese design group Link- Nobuhira Teshima’s ‘Mobile Dining’ is a cupboard on wheels that folds out concertina-style into a large table, and Hiroshi Ujiie’s ‘Hanger Mirror’ combines the two essential items in an elegant, simplified manner.

Guinea Pig Design have created conceptual products “with the aim of challenging existing human behaviour via alternative methodologies” – ‘On The Shelf’ is a row of glass boxes each containing a single fake flower individually and randomly lit. The designers describe it as ‘each fake flower awaits its turn in the spotlight, dreaming of celebrity status for more than a few momentary seconds’ – I wonder what point they’re trying to make here!!!


Others to watch out for- Deus ex Machina
– an international group of designers looking to transform objects away from public preconceptions and bring an element of surprise, such as mounting them on remote controlled wheels, as the designers say ‘Imagine if objects escaped when you tried to touch them’.

Img_0724_1Also showing as part of Designersblock was DMA (Design Metiers d’art)- a french organisation that organises collaborations between designers and craftsmen with an aim to developing local economies and highlighting the craft professions, or as they say “set up as a source of and catalyst for new economic, social and cultural singularity and identity.”. This was their first show of work and focussed on copper and silversmiths working alongside a mix of graduate and established designers, with the next planned show to be a collaboration with designers and basketmakers.

So many talented young international designers under one roof, where else but London do you get such great brain food!

Filed under: talent worth watching, , ,


Following along the same vein as the loud and vibrant graphics of KidRobot’s clothing line, comes the autumn/winter 2006 collection of videogame inspired pixel knitwear from Office Lendorff. As the designers themselves explain it-

“Our collection is inspired by arcade video games. A colourful and dynamic world of fast moving objects.”

As seen on the recent catwalks bold graphic prints are going to be taking over our lives and the 80s is definitely back- this collection seems to bring the two together in wonderfully bold dischordant harmony, so be one step of the trends and start wearing it now! Thanks to the guys over at wonderland for the great find

check out their website

Filed under: worth buying, ,


In what seems to be an attempt to infiltrate the whole of our lives, the Versace brand has moved into the travel industry with two new partnerships. The first is a collaboration announced earlier this year with the TAG Group to design and manufacture the interiors of private jets, which will be personalized from adapted pieces from Versace’s home collections. And now Fashionweek daily have pointed us towards a collaboration between Versace and the similarly glamorous, flashy brand of Lambourghini. We don’t know yet quite what this will entail (i’m envisaging car interiors covered in gold and adorned with medusa heads) but a press conference will be held this Saturday where all will be unveiled. Watch this space!

Filed under: brand extensions, ,


Gap have just re-launched the skinny black pant and have named it ‘The Audrey Hepburn Pant’, in an attempt to gain kudos from allegiance with the iconically stylish actress. You may have already seen Gap’s new “Keep It Simple” TV spots which juxtapose classic footage of Audrey Hepburn dancing in scenes from the classic ‘Funny Face’ in skinny black pants to the 1980 AC/DC hit song “Back in Black”.

Gap’s creative director Trey Laird says of the idea-

“We wanted to do something really special to re-launch our skinny black pants and thought who better to showcase them than actress Audrey Hepburn – an iconic woman famous for dressing with
sophistication and classic style.”

Not everyone seems impressed however, and the Guardian today write about the public feeling towards another large corporation using a dead celebrity to sell a product.

So Gap have decided to beat back negative comments through their charitable donations-

“In celebration of the launch of the “Keep It Simple” ad campaign, Gap is
making a generous contribution to the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund.”

To be honest it looks like Gap are just re-using the idea from very clever Volkswagen and Gene Kelly advert, but with not nearly as successful an outcome.

watch the advert
Volkswagen ad

Filed under: ads that caught my eye, , ,


Liberty has teamed up with design curator Max Fraser over London Design Week, and the result is Design UK: an exciting array of contemporary furniture and home accessories showcased in the stunning Tudor building of the department store. As a collection of pieces they range from the handmade, intricately decorative wallpapers of Catherine Hammerton, to the simplified functional lines of NaughtOne’s ‘trace table’, each piece making a unique statement and yet fitting together surprisingly harmoniously.

The feeling of the show was of the importance of both the artist and artisan, with many pieces exhibiting a true respect for material and production. Favourite examples are the witty ‘Perfect Crime’ cast concrete chair by Peter Woollin and Kate Staddon which is shown opposite the innovative hand crafted leather and wood chair byImg_0688 Helen Murray .

Text seems to be playing an increasingly important role in product design, illustrated best here by Tracy Kendall’s bespoke wallpaper which was laser-cut with paragraphs of words, turning walls into stories.

Decoration of mundane objects is a topic that many young designers are addressing, none better in this show than Laurie Dickason’s elegant sinewy switch decorations. Other impressive displays include Jess Shaw’s ‘Clarinet’ lighting and CJ O’Neill’s ‘Feeding Desire’ decorative plates pierced with words and images.

Favourite piece of the show however was ironically the only piece disguising its design to blend into its environment – the ‘Up and Over’ bookcase by Linden Davies, cleverly designed to make the books a real feature of the room by encasing the door frame. A refreshingly  unassuming product creating a beautiful and personal result.


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