Mini labo: adorable soft toys, decals and more
June 25, 2008, 10:31 pm
Filed under: Accessories, Stationery, Toys and games | Tags: , , , , , ,

Bonjour tout le monde 🙂 I decided that I will be dedicating today’s posts to beautiful French products and will kick right of with Mini Labo‘s fabulous items. They produce beautifully printed pillows, cuddly soft toys (or doudous, as the French call them), screenprinted posters, wall decals and even bags, badges and notebooks! The wonderful Mini Labo style includes ornate flower and bird prints with a vintage feel, but they also have signature fawn and dog designs among others.

Take a look at their notebooks and bags, so many beautiful designs to choose from.

Aren’t Mini Labo’s soft toys just beautiful? So colorful and cute, they include a whole range, whose creation was partly inspired by Alice in Wonderland (from top left to bottom right): le lapin d’Avril (the April rabbit), le chat sourit (the smiling cat), love cat, Simon and le nouveau lapin d’Avril (the new April rabbit)
.

But Mini Labo also has beautiful pillows, the ‘il y a un arbre’ (there’s a tree) cushion is my favorite:

And last but not least, Mini Labo’s beautiful wall stickers,wouldn’t they look great in combination with the Roost birdcage lamp I blogged about earlier?

The whole collection is available at Mes habits chéris, one of the few French onlineshops with an English website. All of the doudous, except for the Simon the bear, can also be bought at Ahbookids.



Wind-up toys by Jesco von Puttkamer

After finishing the above Playsam review, I started looking around which other items Unica Home sells, and I got lucky, because I found my inspiration for the following two features there. Originally, I had planned to write about more traditional wooden toys, but I guess I can always do that tomorrow or the day after.

Anyway, here are great wind-up tin-toys by designer Jesco von Puttkamer. They are hand-made in Germany, which makes them one-of-a-kind, as well as high quality products. Jesco’s unusual designs comprise a telephone with moving receiver, a boat, a police car (which I find has more resemblance with a tractor, but never mind), a swiss car and a Red Cross ambulance that can both climb uphill due to their assymetric cross-shaped rear wheel, as well as a set of race cars, which are a bit smaller than the others, but at least they come two per package, turning the lever increases their speed drastically. All tin vehicles are simply beautiful to look at, and were designed with happy memories of childhood and the joy of simple toys in mind. Once wound up with the included key, they run for about two minutes.

However, part of their nostalgic charme stems from the fact that these gems do have exposed gears like in the old days, and also the sharp edges make them unsuitable for children, at leat for the small ones. But I am sure many older kids or adults will just love them for their decorative value. Arriving with a numbered and signed instruction leaflet, they are a great collector’s item after all. And surely those parents who buy these precious cars for their children are responsible enough to only let the kids play with them under supervision until they are old enough not to hurt themselves accidentally (at least I hope so).

Available at Unica Home , $55.00-$75.00.

If you’re interested in a little more information about the artist, read on, otherwise, just skip to my next entry 🙂
After a bit of research I managed to discovered Jesco von Puttkamer’s website and thought I should also share some pictures of his studio and some other works.

I had never heard of him before, but apparently he must have some reputation, since he has already completed contract work for many big companies, such as Volkswagen and Fuji, and actually began his artistic career recycling leftovers from industrial production, out of which he created large metal sculptures which could be turned, twisted, pulled or otherwise set in motion, making an awful lot of noise. His current focus is on small collectors toys that double as objets d’art and are produced by himself, using the brand name ‘Jetzt Produkte’.


You can also order his creations directly from him, with the order form on his website, and he also completes custom orders. But there’s one big catch though: His website is only in German! No wonder why it was so difficult to find it in the first place, and of course apart from the fact that he belongs to a widely extended German noble family whose tradition it is to name their first-born Jesco. Thus you can imagine there are quite a few of them historically, among them is a rocket enginer and senior NASA manager, as well as a governor of German Cameroon, back in the days before World War I, when Germany had joined the European rush to divide Africa among themselves (see Wikipedia). By the way,’von’ means from in German and is a prefix denoting nobility. More precisely, it refers to the city or village under patronage. So Jesco von Puttkamer’s ancestry must be going back to some (probably tiny) place called Puttkamer.
OK, enough off topic rambling, back to children’s toys…



Alexander Girard’s wooden dolls for Vitra
June 22, 2008, 11:05 pm
Filed under: Decor, Picks for Grown-ups, Toys and games | Tags: , , ,

OK, today’s picks ended up being much more design oriented than I had originally planned, but the Alexander Girar list were still something in the back of my head, and seeing them at Unica Home just reminded me that I haven’t posted them yet. Besides, it is already a while ago that I have featured some of Girard’s items, so why not have another turn.

These wooden dolls made of pinewood were originally created by Girard as decorations for his Santa Fe home. Fortunately though, design museum Vitra is reissuing models 1-11 of his wooden dolls. These dolls with sometimes happy, sometimes melancholy faces are hand-painted and not suitable for very young children. But with their modern design, they would surely look fabulous as room decoration, not just for the nursery! They also make perfect gifts, since they arrive in a printed, wooden box.


Available at Unica Home for $150.00 each.



Animal Alphabet Poster by Petit Collage
June 21, 2008, 9:58 pm
Filed under: Decor | Tags: , , , , ,

I decided to focus on animal alphabets today, there is such a nice variety available. Just take a look at this fabulous silk-screened poster from Petit Collage. The animal illustrations in their green, brown and orange shades and differing patterns have such a sweet retro vibe, they remind me of old children’s books from the 70s. This print is equally suited for boys and girls and is the perfect room decoration to make learning ABCs fun. What I also like about this artwork is that there is actually a key at the bottom which says which animals the letters stand for, in case you don’t recognize one of them. A little background information: The designer behind Petit Collage is Buenos Aires born Lorena Siminovich, a graphic designer who started Petit Collage in October 2006 with the aim of creating modern, affordable art for children. The Animal Alphabet is printed on uncoated paper, 18×24”.

But Petit Collage also has a few other items, such as these miniture screenprints on curly maple microveneer or paper collages on maple plywood:

Animal Alphabet print vailable on the Petit Collage website for $50.00, miniature prints $28.00 unframed, $48.00 framed, wooden collages $140.00. Click on the image to view a large photo and get the possibility to add the item to your cart.



Animal Alphabet Poster by Decoylab
June 21, 2008, 9:57 pm
Filed under: Decor, Stationery, tableware | Tags: , , , , ,

The next alphabet print by Decoylab is a sleek and modern version for the nursery and available in two different color combinations, a soft pastel pink and blue illustration on the one hand and more spicy orange and green one on the other. Both are equally beautiful though, and with the two different shades, you can find just the perfect color to match your nursery decor. 3 color silkscreen print, 18×24”.

Decoylab also has many other beautiful posters, notecards and also plates, check out these for example:


Both alphabet posters can be bought at Decoylab for $40.00.



Nostalgic alphabet poster by Binth

My last alphabet pick comes from design studio Binth. It’s alphabet poster is inspired by mid-century Danish animal toys and will look great in any modern nursery with its simple design and muted colors. What makes this artwork so great is that even though the vintage toy designs are very much suited for little children, it is not childish and in fact so classy and modern at the same time, that it will be a beautiful decoration for many years to come. The beautiful letters are also available individually, so you can also spell out your child’s name, e.g. The poster is screen-printed, 24×40” and can be bought either framed or unframed:


Binth also has several other great children’s items in classical modern style worth taking a look, e.g a precious babybook, a colorful number print and a gorgeous memory game:


Check out their website for more great designs, they have gorgeous prints for adults as well!
Available at Binth , unframed $85.00, framed $375.00, babybook $110.00, number print unframed $55.00, framed $225.00, memory game $44.00.



Sunny design: Alexander Girard’s La Fonda Del Sol Carpet Tiles

Today it’s gray and rainy outside, so what options do you have, but to take the sun inside, if it doesn’t want to shine for you outside?  And who would be more apt to do just that than Alexander Girard?  If you have never heard of him, you may switch to my post above, where I’ve given a very brief introduction, or you may just contine reading and check out his increadible work by looking at these photos.

The La Fonda del Sol line by Girard was created for the, surprise surprise, La Fonda del Sol restaurant in 1960.  Though this restaurant has long disappeared from New York, his designs remain and are just as stunning and happyiness inducing as always, with their vibrant colors and folk-inspired sun-prints.  The whole La Fonda collection actually comprised a whole lot range of interior design, from wall-decor and table-ware to pillows and carpets.  Unfortunately, the other items are not available at the moment, I would have loved to introduce you to the La Fonda pillows.

But luckily, FLOR has introduced a carpet tile collection based on his sunny design 🙂 And though it is not specifically designed for a children’s room, and will certainly look great anywhere, with its warm colors and friendly faces, the La Fonda del Sol prints are surely perfect for a nursery or playroom.  Not to mention the tiles are made of soft velours and easy to clean, should a mess occur, and can even be pulled up and cleaned in a sink, if disaster strikes.  The pull-up feature is also great, if you want to rearrange the tiles, to give the room a new look, which is a truly great feature for children whose tastes will change many times.  Now you can have a carpet that develops with your  children, and introduces them to some great, timeless mid-century art as well!

The FLOR tiles come in packs of six, with large suns (one sun per tile) in the variants Azul (blue), Mandarina (orange) and Verde (green) and with small suns (nine suns per tile) in the multicolored Piqueño.

Available at FLOR, $159.99 for a six tile rug.