COOL THING WE WANT #427 | A Superdesk That Would Seat Each Of Our Contributors

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(via) New York City creative agency The Barbarian Group commissioned Clive Wilkinson Architects to create a 1,100 ft long “superdesk” so that every one of the company’s 125 employees could share the same desk. Of course ours would need to be smaller, but constructed so that there was room for it to grow.

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COOL THING WE WANT #426 | Newfangled Door That Folds Open And Closed By Touch

February 11, 2014 

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Just when you thought the world’s design minds had thought up every idea for the humble household portal, along comes Austrian artist Klemens Torggler and his Evolution Door, which folds open and closed like an origami dream.

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COOL THING WE WANT #425 | A Tiny Cabin In The Wilderness That Skirts Permit Rules

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(via) This little cabin designed by Finnish escapist Robin Falck was a solution of sorts to getting around government regulations that require a building permit for residential structures over 100 square feet (the same red tape exists here). His two story cabin has a kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedroom, and a ton of natural light, not to mention a kickass outdoor deck. “Nido”, as the cabin is called (meaning “Bird’s Nest” in Italian), took just two weeks to build, and sits in the peace and quiet of a rural archipelago.

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COOL THING WE WANT #424 | Two Nights In This Inspired Treehouse Outside Seattle

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(via) This Parthenon-inspired treehouse called the Temple of the Blue Moon was built outside Seattle in 2005 by Pete Nelson and his wife Judy. They’ve since built five others on their property – each of them unique to their respective trees – and opened them up to the public as a bed and breakfast called Treehouse Point.

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COOL THING WE WANT #423 | An $11,000 Japanese-Inspired Cabin In The Rainforest

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On Oregonian boat-builder named Brian Schulz took a year and a half and a mere $11,000 to build this gorgeous, Japanese-inspired home in the woods near Cape Falcon. From My Modern Met:

It all began one day when Schulz found a brass sink at a local recycle center and immediately started fantasizing about building a home around the object. He wound up fulfilling his dream on an affordable budget by carefully salvaging materials for construction and items to adorn the house. He also did a fair bit of traveling and meeting people who offered anything from handmade paper lanterns to allowing him to actually haul trees from their property. Schulz says, “With deep enough pockets a person might be able to duplicate such a structure by writing a large check to a talented builder, but that would risk missing the point entirely… Whether or not one believes that turning a log from beside the house into the house itself imbues it with some mystical qualities, it is undeniable that the pursuit of local materials connects more deeply to your landscapes, your neighbors, and yourself. The simple act of searching adds richness to our lives. To reiterate: You meet people, you discover new places, you have adventures, you learn things, AND, you come home with beams, windows, doors, and shingles.”

We’ll take ours on Savary Island, thank you very much.

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COOL THING WE WANT #422 | A Speaker That We Can Get Comfortably Numb Inside

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(via) Only two of these spherical sit-in speakers, dubbed AudioOrbs, are up for sale via Indiegogo for $15,000 each. The 18 speaker beauties are made by the same audiophiles who created the 4ft wide Wall of Sound iPhone dock. “Fitted with Tempur pillows that adjust after the shape of your body ensures that not only the design gives the Orb a floating expression, you will feel like you are floating when inside the Orb. Inside the Orb the outside world fades away, ideal for relaxation.” We haven’t heard it, but it sounds fantastic. That was a play on words. Good day to you.

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COOL THING WE WANT #421 | A Convertible “Workbed” That Flips From Sleeper To Desk

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(via) Space is something of a luxury in Vancouver, which is to say that most of us don’t have much of it. Mira Schröder, the designer of this convertible “workbed” with side drawers, might be naturally sympathetic to our situation. Either that or she’s a Randian pro-family capitalist fifth columnist workaholic who wants everyone who lives alone to be tethered to their tasks. Either way, we like the look of it and the ease with which it flips.

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COOL THING WE WANT #420 | Italian-Made “Goggle Jacket” Redux For The West Coast

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The “Goggle Jacket” was created in 1988 for the new class of drivers participating in the revived Mille Miglia, the (ahem) dangerous Italian road race that had its heyday between the two World Wars. The functional coat – complete with hinging goggles built into the hood and a watch window on the wrist – was invented by textile innovator Massimo Osti as part of his company’s sponsorship of the 1988 race. It retains the low, multi-vent seat, fitted gloves, and classic lines of the 20′s and 30′s racing aesthetic, and there’s just something alluringly rogue-ish a la Porco Rosso about the over-sized goggles (you just know that Han Solo would have rocked it better than his Hoth parka). The video and images above are the jacket’s 20th anniversary retrospective. As you can see, the updated coats look pretty badass. The lining parts are detachable and the fabric covers are soil pigment-treated “Tinto Terra” GORE-TEX, which gives the complete package a naturally antique look and feel. A swell fit for Vancouver! It’s just too bad they cost $1,550.

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COOL THING WE WANT #419 | Florentine Coffee Mug That Doubles As Hand Warmer

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Coffee and tea drinkers have a tendency to cup both hands around their mugs in order to warm them. It’s a personal, very human gesture of thanks that is repeated on cold mornings the world over, an expression of appreciation for whatever hot and restorative thing has just arrived. In Florence, designer Sabrina Fossi has created a vessel for such moments. These ergonomic beauties with hand inserts are hand-made in the nearby town of Montelupo. They’re currently selling online for €44.00.

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COOL THING WE WANT #418 | A T-Shirt That Recalls Vancouver’s Strip Clubs Of Old

December 13, 2013 

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Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Vancouver’s strip clubs are endangered species. Where once there were very many, now there are very few. This limited edition list shirt “celebrates the No. 5 Orange’s endurance and longevity in a climate where other clubs of the same nature are dropping off like, well, stripper clothes.” It was a collaboration between Gastown’s Sharks + Hammers, the infamous No.5 Orange at Main & Powell, and the good folks at Hornby’s Dipt.

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COOL THING WE WANT #417 | A Cozy Little Cabin For Writing Alone In The Wilderness

December 9, 2013 

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(via) Though it doesn’t come all that close to Dick Proenneke’s “Alone In The Wilderness” masterpiece of a cabin, “The Watershed” – a tiny writer’s retreat in the wilds of Oregon – is nevertheless totally covet-worthy. It was designed by architect Erin Moore for her mother, nature writer and university professor Kathleen Dean Moor, in 2007. The 70 sqft room is framed in prefab steel and made out of red cedar and glass.

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COOL THING WE WANT #416 | New Design Turns Umbrella Inside Out & Upside Down

December 6, 2013 

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(via) Japanese designer Hiroshi Kajimoto has created a new kind of umbrella. It’s called the unbrella. The design sees the well known structure of the usual rain shield turned on its head, which is to say the folding spokes are on the top of the shield rather than on the bottom. This allows for more head room within and for the unbrella to be folded and stood up to dry with the wet inside instead of outside (no more umbrella stands). And in a fierce wind, it merely blows closed instead of completely apart. How smart is that? And how have we never seen something like this come down the engineering pipe before? (Or have we, but we’re suffering a major brain fart?) In any event, the new product won’t be available until mid-February (aka the Ides of Rainbruary), but it’s available to pre-order online right now. The cost is listed at Y9,450, which works out to just under $100 CAD.

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COOL THING WE WANT #415 | A Copy Of “The Library: A World History” (Hardcover)

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(via) The Library: A World History, is a new book from Thames & Hudson by architecture historian James W.P. Campbell and photographer Will Pryce. From CNN: “When Dr. James Campbell of Cambridge University could not find a book that traced the history of library buildings through the ages, he decided to write one himself.” From the publishers: “Ambitious and wide-ranging, this is the first single volume to tell the story of libraries around ?the world, from the beginnings of writing to the present day.” The 320 page hardcover tome features over 292 images of libraries from around the world and from different eras, from ancient Mesopotamia to modern China. We’ve not yet seen a copy in Vancouver to date (although we haven’t looked that hard), but copies are selling for $60 or so online.

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COOL THING WE WANT #414 | Han Solo’s Sweet “DL-44 Blaster” Goes Up For Auction

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The blaster that Han Solo used in The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi went up for auction yesterday. Remember that scene where Lando double crossed Han, Leia, and Chewbacca and Han tried to shoot Darth Vader at the dining room ambush but Vader used the force and snatched the blaster right from his effing hand? Yeah, same blaster.

“Harrison Ford’s charismatic smuggler, Han Solo, is arguably the most popular character in the original Star Wars trilogy. The space-scoundrel-turned hero’s persona is irrevocably tied to his blaster pistol. Solo was modeled after the rogue gunslingers of the westerns that influenced creator George Lucas. This non-firing blaster was created for The Empire Strikes Back and was also used in Return of the Jedi. It would have been used in the majority of scenes that feature Han, with the heavier, live-fire weapon being used for close-up shots. Particularly noteworthy scenes requiring this lighter version are when Darth Vader uses the Force to lasso the blaster out of Han’s hand in Empire, and in Jedi when Han wrestles with a Stormtrooper to regain possession of his blaster during the Rebels’ encounter with Imperial forces on Endor. Based on the German issue Mauser C96 pistol, this piece, measuring 11 in. long, was custom made for the film from resin by casting the original hero prop from the first Star Wars: A New Hope, it therefore exhibits the same serial number as the hero prop, which is thought to no longer exist. The blaster is exactly in its original filming condition and therefore exhibits wear from use, but retains all of the original details, including the flash suppressor and scope (the eye-piece of which is detailed with reflective scotch-lite tape). The added distinction of this particular piece is that it was also likely used by Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, as both characters shared the same style of weapon in Empire. Accompanied by a letter of authenticity from a noted Star Wars collector. To our knowledge this is the only known example of this type of blaster in private hands. This is a truly incredible item of motion picture history and quite possibly the most exciting science fiction weapon to have been offered for public auction.”

The starting bid for the gun – which doesn’t shoot lasers in real life – is $200,000, because “hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster by your side, kid.” Pew pew. 

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