Here’s some stuff that has caught my eye throughout the year that would be ideal for the Christmas list. I have broken it down into five sections:
- IPO – you are richer than a senior banker at Goldman Sachs, a Bill Gates and Warren Buffett guilt trip hasn’t cleaned you out yet
- Tech – technology pure and simple.
- Kitsch – low-art, cheap, trashy and loving it.
- Geek-being a geek is about having smarts and being able to demonstrate them, in fact its what their whole life is about.
- Hip – this is about style, even when its being ironic.
- Alpha Armoring G55 AMG Armored: Congratulations, as well as charities and a raft of luxury brands, there are probably some undesirable people looking to get a share of your riches. You could do worse than change up your ride to something by Alpha Armouring; the Rolls Royce of bulletproof vehicles. The G55 AMG Armored is based on the high performance version of the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen. A constant striving for perfection and hard lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan provides you with the best-protected high-performance car that money can buy.
- FAW Red Flag limousine – when you are going to do a deal with the Chinese government, have something to chit chat about first of all to build a bit of rapport. What would be more manly than talking cars. Chinese president Hu Jintao rolls big in a First Automobile Works Red Flag limousine. Why not do the same? It shows status; but also shows respect for Chinese know-how, enterprise and design. It is pretty exclusive and doesn’t even feature on their web site. It’s also a pretty sharp retro-futuristic ride, think of a luxury saloon that would be right at home on the set of Gattica. Unfortunately they probably won’t pimp your machine out the exact same spec. Have word with the nice people at Alpha Armoring for that. If you want an alternative then the Toyota Century or an environmentally-friendly Nissan Fuga maybe just the thing
- IWC | Porsche Design Ocean 2000 Bund 3509 – when you get mega rich, it’s hard to get a sufficiently impressive watch without ending up with a horological monstrosity (Audemars Piguet, Hublot, Officine Panerai etc). Watches gain value by a number of different ways: being made from valuable stuff, being fiendishly complicated, being rare and having a whiff of daring do about them. So some of the most valuable Rolex watches are vintage watches in a style worn by film stars (Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Sean Connery as James Bond) or the divers from COMEX who do the stuff that they usually send robots down to do. The IWC equivalent to to the COMEX Submariner | Sea-Dweller is the Bund 3509. It is based on the IWC Ocean 2000 – a beautifully simple dive watch in titanium and was issued in very limited numbers to German navy divers during the 1980s. Simple, elegant rare and worn by adventurous souls; it is now one of the most sort after modern watches with prices going up form 10,000 Euros when you can get your hands on one
- iPad – The Apple iPad is finally becoming worthwhile to purchase with Omni Group porting over many of their applications to take advantage of the touch display to create wire-frames, process diagrams and project management. This follows on from people like SAP using it as a cheaper data-entry and display device. Many designers have held off from the iPad as without software it is a cumbersome Dom Jolly-esque iPhone or an overpriced Wacom graphics tablet. However Bare Bones Software’s Yojimbo allows you to capture online ideas from the iPad as well as your Mac and sync between the two over wi-fi. I personally think that Omni and Bare Bones applications could turn out to be as significant as Aldus was for the Macintosh Office concept and Apple LaserWriter range of Postscript-managed laser printers at the time
- Matias Tactile Pro 3 keyboard – ironically modern laptops despite their power have gone backwards in their industrial design. Laptop keys are sloppy rubbery items without positive feedback for the typist. In addition, the first Apple PowerBooks used to have little swivel feet on either side of the machine which held the keyboard angle at an ergonomic 11 degrees of elevation. The unibody MacBook Pro I am typing this post on has no elevation at all. So it is always worthwhile having a good quality keyboard in your work area. The Tactile Pro 3 is the Rolls Royce of keyboards, based around ALPS mechanical switches for each key. If it is a bit rich for your finances then US retailer Buy.com do a good compact keyboard by DSI based around Cherry mechanical switches. Neither of these keyboard are going to win jealous glances from design conscious colleagues but your fingers will thank you
- Solar ball light by Idea International – Solar-powered lights aren’t new and Suck UK | Tobias Wong’s sun jars are a great example. What I like about the solar ball is how similar it looks to Sputnik or a discrete transistor component. Available in a range of colours reminiscent of Apple’s candy-coloured iMac range
- Night night light (robot) by Clifford Richards – Clifford Richards came up with a simple pressed-steel night light that draws its influence from 1950s science fiction and vintage tin toys. I am not sure how a young child wouldn’t be scared to death waking up from a nightmare to sinister robotic shadows, but you have to love the kitsch value of the design
- Stefano Giovannoni’s banana family of products for Alessi – the third drop of a collaboration with National Palace Museum of Taiwan brings a cool, but kitsch aesthetic to a range of items from spice holders and napkin rings to cell phone charms
- Zero History by William Gibson – the final episode of Gibson’s Pattern Recognition trilogy is a handy way to bury your head in a book and avoid the Queen’s speech or turkey sandwiches
- Fan Boys – a road trip film with a difference where Star Wars film geeks take on trekkies and travel across the country to try and get in to see episode one of Star Wars before it airs. The reason for the urgency is that one of them is terminally ill. It involves inter-genre fan fighting, psychedelic drug use and car accidents
- Star Wars hooded top – it’s black so it goes with most things in your wardrobe, it zips up – which is like cheap climate control and it has the Star Wars logo on it that glows in the DARK. If that doesn’t impress the ladies, it will still impress your War Hammer-playing friends at the Games Workshop
- Korg MicroKorg synthesiser – half of Shoreditch seem to want to live in a Human League-inspired new wave lifestyle. Fortunately genuine synthesiser and vocoders have come down in cost so you and your friends don’t have to gig from your iPads
- OperaOpera glasses – be different from your friends and move away from Ray-Ban Wayfarers or at least get a vintage set from OperaOpera who also make their own frames