Anthurium, durian, with a Tiffany & Co. sterling-silver coffee can

Freakebana (pronounced “freak-eh-ba-na”) is a relatively new concept combines the minimalist Japanese art of flower arranging known as ikebana with unlikely and often unexpected objects. Ikebana traditionally features spare, off-kilter compositions made from local or seasonal flowers and foliage. The idea behind this discipline is to emphasise form, line and colour and the plants and flowers used are often chosen specifically for their symbolism.

These freakebana arrangements were composed by florist Brittany Asch and styled by Diana Tsui . They incorporate eccentric elements such as cubes of Jell-O and rhinestone earrings or a plastic fork for maximum impact. The resulting sculpture-cum-artwork is a surreal juxtaposition of the ordinary and the beautiful which together elevate the arrangement.

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The Skirt table by NOMI

Skirt table from Sydney-based furniture studio, NOMI is a highly customisable piece. The studio was founded on the idea of customisable design and is geared towards clients who may be looking for a more personalised product.

The Skirt table was designed for both public venues such as bars and restaurants and private spaces and can be tailored to suit any project quickly and easily. It is based on a central conical aluminium "skirt" that creates a strong angular connection between the table top and the legs which flare outward at a slight angle and are held together by a central locking wedge. Customisable options include a variation in the number of legs (three or more can be easily redistributed around the perimeter), changes in the height of said legs, and alterations in the shape, size and material of the table top.

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The Perfect Match by Leo Burnett Design

Adding more than a little style to your house and hearth this winter is the Perfect Match by Leo Burnett Design Canada. You can tell a lot of thought went into the design of the elegant packaging which says what it does on the tin simply but effectively. As indicated on the exterior, inside the box there are four matchstick lengths with different coloured heads each suitable for different combustible items. Short matchsticks for candles and stoves, longer matchsticks for fireplaces, bonfires and dynamite. The sticks are organised in a custom tray that slides into one of four embossed cases.

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The Dango armchair

Falling under the weird but wonderful category that hasn't seen much action lately, is the Dango, a modern plywood armchair with multi-use poufs from Agnieszka Kowal.

The Polish designer created the armchair after helping friends move house. Their belongings consisted of oversized and bulky furniture and spurred Kowal into designing something different. Inspired by Japanese culture, Kowal created a smaller armchair that was both comfortable and portable. The seat is low to the ground and is made of potter-cut plywood which gives it its flexibility. Leather straps help it to maintain its arched shape. The armchair also comes with two upholstered cushions that slide onto the back and seat thereby increasing the chair's overall comfort. The cushions can also be used in the traditional manner as  poufs for additional seating on the floor.

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Mind's Eye cottage, Cayman Islands

John Doak Architecture were awarded the brief for the preservation of 'Minds Eye', the home of renowned Caymanian artist Gladwyn K. "Lassie" Bush in South Sound, Grand Cayman. A fourth generation Caymanian, Bush began painting at the age of 62 after what she describes as a visionary experience. She favours religious themes and makes use of various surfaces in the home - including walls, windows and doors - in the expression of her art. The house was restored under the auspices of the Cayman National Cultural Foundation, which has campaigned to preserve the home as a national treasure for future generations and was opened as a cultural heritage site in 2012.

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The Rail Candleabra designed by Jonah Takagi

The Rail Candleabra designed by Jonah Takagi for Umbra Shift is designed to be flexible. Consisting of a metal base that looks like a train track, the candleholders can be moved along the base to the desired position. The narrow footprint of the candelabra means it is equally suited to a mantel, window ledge or table.

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The Nepal Projects teddy bear by Menu
Image | Menu
This adorable toy is the result of a trade initiative launched by Menu and aid organisation Danida entitled Nepal Projects. Nepal Projects provides fair-trade employment and opportunities in some of the world's poorest countries and amongst the most disadvantaged people by combining traditional fabric-working skills with a contemporary Scandinavian aesthetic.

In addition to the teddy bear, Nepal Projects line includes scarves, blankets, pillows and bags all made from Himalayan cashmere, merino wool, leather and cotton.

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These Revolve water bottles by Talia Mukmel are the result of a collaboration with Aybar gallery, Miami.

Mukmel wanted to create a historic object that combined with a contemporary vision. During the process, she experimented with different techniques in order to find a way in which the attributes of the ancient handiwork could be preserved while at the same using modern production techniques and materials. She used a form of bioplastic produced from the starch found in corn and sugar cane and this enabled the bottles to maintain the sentimentality of a handcrafted piece, all the while acknowledging the attributes of previous generations.

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Vintage Confections' planet lollipops

For a sweet treat that's out of this world, gourmet candy maker Vintage Confections puts the universe at your fingertips. They have created a pack of ten lollipops that contain photorealistic images of the planets in them. Vintage Confections combines a traditional candy-making process that dates back to the 1800s with modern technology to create the edible, hand-held works of art. Best of all, each planet tastes different; flavours include guava, marshmallow, pear and mango.

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Chopped Hand, Peter Doig

Born in Scotland and raised in Trinidad and Tobago and Canada, Peter Doig is a longtime favourite of ours largely because he uses Trinidad, his current home, as the setting for many of his paintings. He depicts life there as he interprets it: one where metaphorical wild animals such as lions and snakes roam the streets and interact with the population. Doig is currently exhibiting works in oil, charcoal, pencil and ink on paper at the Michael Werner Gallery in London, his first exhibition of new works in London since 2012. The collection includes a mix of new and older pieces in various sizes. Several themes are repeated and many of the works appear to be studies in varying degrees of completion. At first viewing, the exhibition does not appear to be an exuberant one by any means in spite of the bright colours used by Doig, but this impression is superficial at best as components of danger, sex and violence can be found throughout.

The prowling lion in 'Rain in the Port of Spain (White Oak)' is seen guarding the prison in Port of Spain with its acid yellow walls, deep green doors and barred windows as the ghostly form of a man strolls nearby. A well-known landmark - the Lighthouse in Port of Spain - stands sentinel behind them. The lion reoccurs in its more recognisable form as the Lion of Judah draped in the colours red, gold and green in several of the works including 'Lion Frederick Street', where the body of the lion appears to be superimposed on that of one of the dogs that can often be found roaming the capital in packs.

In the painting 'Red Man (Sings Calypso)', an image of film star Robert Mitchum, who spent time in Trinidad and in 1957 released an album of calypsos, takes centre stage complete with a colossus-like wide-legged stance, while a blue man wrestles with a snake on the ground behind him. The bather shows up in several pieces of varying sizes, each with slight colour variations and differing amounts of detail. There is also a series featuring a disembodied head floating in the water, some with hollow, unseeing eyes. The head first appeared in an seemingly unfinished study from 2007 entitled 'Tanker (Figure in Water)'. In another, an old man in a cowboy hat plays a Cuatro, a small, four-stringed instrument originally brought to the island by Spanish settlers. The figure turns out to be that of the late calypsonian Embah, a friend and source of inspiration of Doig's and fellow artist Chris Ofili, the latter of whom also featured Embah in several of his recent works.

In 'Carnival Hat', a young man stands with his back against the yellow wall of the prison, his shoulders drooping and a bottle dangling from the fingers of one hand. From a distance, his posture could be read as one of abject hopelessness and despair but on closer inspection several clues completely transform the image to one of defiance: the head of the man's penis can be seen protruding from his trousers as he urinates on the pavement in front of his feet, the arc of the yellow stream partially camouflaged by the colour of the wall.

'Figures at Night' features skeletal trees silhouetted against an inky black night sky while 'Two Trees' shows a gathering of young men by the sea. One man is incongruously outfitted in a hockey uniform complete with helmet while another holds a video camera pointed towards the central figure whose eyes are downturned. The scene is intended to convey one of violence and ambivalence so often felt in the face of unfolding tragedy in the age of social media. Another work is of an amorphous, monstrous figure without any true discernible features but bloody hands, his hulking form emitting a feeling of fear and intimidation. This figure reappears in 'Chopped Hand' where the man stands in the shadow of the prison walls, red blood pouring from his arm, all under the unflappable gaze of the lion.

There are also suggestions of sexuality throughout the exhibition. 'Enter the Dragon' recalls the garden of Eden with a serpent-like being, head turned, whispering in the ear of a nude woman. There is the barely rendered couple engaging in sexual congress against the prison wall in 'Street Scene' while the prancing lion stands guard, the woman reclining on the beach apparently self-pleasuring herself, the couple locked in a public embrace, and the nude woman dancing suggestively under a banner that proclaims her to be "Tusty" - a colloquialism for someone who is sexually desperate.

Peter Doig's exhibition at the Michael Werner Gallery in London continues until February 17.

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IGUANAEYE Jungle shoes

With all of the negative press jungles and fashion have received recently, lets's shine a more positive light on them by featuring these ergonomic shoes from designer Olivier Taco for IGUANEYE, a small company based in Oporto, Portugal.

Back in 2011 we featured the 01M OneMoment shoes that were inspired by Amazonian tribes who dipped their feet in latex and it looks like the idea has not yet gone away. Now in 2018, the latest iteration of the trend however includes specialised materials and 3D printing. Called the Jungle, the shoes assemble like a puzzle and mould to the foot thereby allowing the wearer to traverse all types of terrain with ease and in comfort. The minimalist footwear is made from Duraform and Duraform TPU and consists of a contiguous piece that wraps around the big toe and the heel leaving the rest of the foot exposed. A thick sole ensures the wearer's comfort.

The Jungle comes in two versions: the light and the lux.

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Rustic Stools by Mark Laban

Part of a continuous design series, the Rustic Stools by Mark Laban have evolved through various iterations. Drawing inspiration from the concept of wabi-sabi which champions a worldview focused on the acceptance of transience and imperfection, Laban took his design cues from the rustic nature of traditional Japanese teahouse architecture. While the stools are his interpretation of a traditional structure, the manufacturing process is more cutting-edge innovation. Laban uses a 3-axis CNC router and works hands-on with the machine experimenting with the artificially generated rough textures. During the production process, Laban experiments with the software as a way to get unexpected textures and surface patterns, instead of the smooth results that CNC technology is known for. 
"I discovered that by manipulating variables within the parameters of the CAM software I could produce interesting distortions that are conventionally imperfect or incomplete, like the rough patterned textures." 
- Mark Laban

This latest versions of his design are constructed out of yellow Valchromat - a high density fibre material made with organically dyed wooden fibres that are bonded in resin. The rough bark-like surfaces reference the nature of the material in its raw form while giving the finished product a visually enticing texture. Once the milling is completed, the parts are sanded, the joint details completed manually and the piece assembled.

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Leather zip pouch by Comme de Garcons and Bureau Betak
Image | Colette
Leather zip pouch by Comme de Garcons and Bureau Betak.

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Mugr mug by HMM

This deceptively simple, matte-glazed Japanese ceramic mug features an aesthetically pleasing minimal design and a fine wood "r" handle. Handmade by Taiwanese and Chinese artisans for HMM, the Mugr mug embodies fine craftsmanship and decades of experience. The unique shape of the handle means the mug scan be stacked easily and safely - a great space-saving feature.


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Sorte Glass jewellery by Ryo Sekino andYuko Sekino

Sorte Glass jewellery by Ryo Sekino andYuko Sekino was born from a blown glass workshop. The word 'sorte' is Italian, and roughly translates to one's destiny, fate and the future. As a medium, glass has been used as jewellery for centuries: its light and fragility has always fascinated. Here, the glass is melted at 1100°C and is fused with gold to create elegant pieces.

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Lyn Harris' and Anya Hindmarch's scented candles

In collaboration with perfumer Lyn Harris, Anya Hindmarch launched a line of scented candles that are available in two sizes and three scents: Sun Lotion, Coffee and Baby Powder. The hand-poured wax candles are finished with graphics from the Anya Hindmarch Sticker Shop which add a dose of humour. Each of the three boxes can be twisted to create different phrases and faces.

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Sitting Friends floor cushions from Sitting Bull

The Sitting Friends floor cushions by Sitting Bull were designed by Susa Stofer and Veronika Wildgruber. The multi-functional items shaped in the form of abstracted animals, can be used as decoration, seating or playthings. There are four friends to choose from: Leo the lion, Jonas the whale, Piep the bird or Elmar the elephant. Designers Stofer and Wildgruber place their focus on quality, high-end fabrics that are lightweight, and waterproof with anti-friction and antibacterial properties. Filled with the visco-elastic Ergo-Fill, the floor cushions always retain their shape.

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Anglepoise and Paul Smith Type 75 desk lamps

British lighting brand Anglepoise has collaborated with Paul Smith on a special-edition Type 75 desk lamp to produce the iconic desk lamp in a number of colour combinations traditionally associated with designer Paul Smith. The first Anglepoise lamp was designed in 1932 by automotive engineer George Carwardine, after he invented a new type of spring that maintained its position after being moved in any direction. The Type 75 is based on a 1970s version of an Anglepoise lamps from the 1950s.

Smith's previous collaborations with Anglepoise have all been exclusive colour editions, but this the first time he has played with the scale of the lamps. Previewed at Clerkenwell Design Week earlier this year, this latest collection includes small and oversized versions of the classic aluminium desk lamp.

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Balmyard Beauty's modern West Indian bush bath sachets


Balmyard Beauty has put a modern spin on the traditional West Indian bush bath with its sachets of herbs and flowers which are intended to detox and calm. The soaks include locally sourced Lemongrass, Jack Inna Bush (Chromolaena odorata) and Cerasee to calm inflammation, heal and provide antibacterial benefits, while ginger, grapefruit and lime detoxify the skin and flush the system. Add the bags to your bathwater like a teabag and leave them to steep. The hotter the water and the longer they soak, the more potent the benefits.

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The Réaction Poétique collection by Jaime Hayon

From the weird and whimsical mind of Jaime Hayon comes Réaction Poétique, a collection of objects for Cassina, inspired by the pictorial works and organic shapes of Le Corbusier’s architecture and esprit nouveau artwork. First produced in 2015 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Le Corbusier’s death and to mark the 50th anniversary of the LC Collection (Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, Charlotte Perriand), the collection has proved to be so popular that in addition to the original black stained solid ashwood, it now comes in a wider range of four new finishes: green oil stained, purple red stained, mud stained ashwood, open pore and matt natural American walnut.

"I wanted to create useful objects for the modern home such as trays and side tables, but with sculptural elements interplaying forms, light and shadow. It was a very strict, almost religious challenge to use only one material and one finish, exercising my design philosophy. I feel this restriction actually became an opportunity to showcase the beauty of the wood, along with the expert mastery of Cassina’s carpentry workshop."
- Jaime Hayon

The Réaction Poétique Collection remains true to Cassina’s well-established heritage in working with wood, where skilled handcraftsmanship is combined with industrial innovation. These items are branded with the Cassina logo and accompanied by their own identity card to guarantee the authenticity of each single piece. They are also presented in a special packaging to highlight the inimitable quality of the project.

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While natural disasters can be terrifying, awe-inspiring and beautiful to behold sometimes they can cause unmitigated grief and trauma. The Dear Disaster cabinet from Stoft Studios is an attempt to alleviate some of the pain and assist with the  process of recovery after natural disasters thereby enabling the user to reconcile and regain their trust in nature with the help of abstract patterns and rhythmic interaction.

More than 800 movable Birch wood slats cover the front of these cabinets. The tactile structure is meant to give an outlet through which the user can express his emotions and on which he can leave his own individual imprint. The patterns are inspired by water and waves and can be calm or agitated like a stormy sea, static and moveable at the same time. Built by professional cabinet-makers in Sweden, the moveable wooden structure is carefully painted and threaded by hand by the studio – a process requiring as much time as building the cabinet itself.

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This photographic series by Atlanta-based husband-and-wife duo Regis and Kahran of CreativeSoul Photo went viral late last year. The series of striking images entitled Afro Art features young girls in elaborate costuming and hairstyles - from a Baroque-era aesthetic to steampunk clothing to fierce high-fashion ensembles - in an effort to counteract the lack of diversity in mainstream media which can  play into the stereotype that people of colour are not "good enough". The duo hope that viewers will see the beauty and versatility of afro hair and that girls around the world will be inspired to love their unique differences and beauty within.

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