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Trendspotting - Your guide to latest trends

23-02-2010 Cardboard Baby Chair

From cars to artwork, clothes to radios, everything and anything is starting to become eco friendly, and now baby feeding chairs are no exception. The Australian design company, Belkiz, has just released the ‘Feedaway’, a baby feeding chair made solely of cardboard. Feedaway is portable, light, easy to fold up and eco friendly – it’s made from Visy cardboard and is 100% recyclable. With a three point harness for added safety and conforming to the Australian Safety Standard Framework developed by the Infant and Nursery Product Association of Australia, we are predicting all homes will be out with the plastic chairs and in with the cardboard Feedaways very soon!

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23-02-2010 Housing the needy and

With now over four billion people earning under $1,500 per year, US design company HOMErgent has decided it’s time to design a home with the poor’s needs in mind. This has come in the form of a transportable, pop-up hard walled tent called the Flexayurt, which provides users with water, power, lighting and

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sanitation needs. The tent is also so environmentally friendly with a function that automatically harvests water and
energy resources. HOMErgent are hoping that Government Aid Agencies and NGOs may take the Flexayurt on board in the near future. To find out more, visit

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23-02-2010 Smeg to the retro rescue!

If you are stuck in the 1950s, and long for another appliance to match beautifully with your retro fridge, look no further, as Smeg has come to the rescue. The appliance company has now designed a washing machine and dishwasher with a 1950s style about them – but luckily, both with a modern machine’s technology. The Smeg washing machine does look old (and very hip!) yet features an electronic display panel, 15 different washing programs, and up to a 5kg load capacity, while the dishwasher has five temperature settings and 10 programs. With a choice of pretty pink or cream for the washing machine, and a selection of eight different colours for the dishwasher, all you 1950s fans can now breathe a sigh of relief! For more information visit


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23-02-2010 Be Queen and King of the Castle... or House

If crowns excite you and if you are obsessed with Queen Elizabeth, then we have found the perfect chair for you – the Colour in Cardboard Throne. Printed in black and white and made of cardboard, the throne can either be coloured in with paint, crayons, pens or pencils. It’s also easy to pull apart, so can be stored away with no fuss. However, we have to fill you in on a little problem – right now, it’s just for the young ones – you have to be less than 40kgs to actually sit on the seat otherwise it will break ... hopefully they’ll make an adult size throne soon!

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23-02-2010 Sun Shoes

If, like us, you are sick of working out what shoes to wear with what outfit, what shoes match with what pants, dresses and skirts, then why not let the sun decide for you? Well, that’s what Taiwan’s Footwear and Recreation Technology Research Institute think, anyway. The clever people at the Institute have created leather shoes with a twist – they have spray-on micro capsules that allow the shoes to change colour in the sun, and stay this way for a whopping 60 hours. “The leather shoes’ base colour is white, but within 30 seconds after coming into contact with sunlight, the colour gradually changes to pink, orange or purple, depending on the ingredients we spray on the leather,” Wang Jung-jen, one of the researchers at the institute says.
And this crazy new fashion is set to stay, with the Institute soon to launch colour changing handbags and bicycle seats! 


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15-02-2010 Twitter while Tapping

“Kate is eating a carrot.” Great. “Steve is feeding his cat.” Fascinating. Everyone, it’s time to get back at all those Twitterers that post extremely boring, unnecessary tweets. Introducing our new best friend, the Rambler Shoes. So what do these shoes do? They do what their name suggests – they ramble. Equipped with a Bluetooth which is hooked up to your mobile, and a sensor that knows when you are walking, the Ramblers automatically let your fellow Twitterers know that you are taking a step, after a step, after a step. So, your annoying tweet on Twitter will look a little something like this – “tap...tap...tap tap... tap,” and so on. Yes, it’s useless information, but then again, aren’t most Twitter posts unnecessary?


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15-02-2010 Water waste in your face.

If you really want to clean up your act regarding your excessive water usage, then Trendspotting has found the perfect innovation for you, in the form of a bathroom mirror that is ever so in your face. Designer Jin Kim’s Earth Mirror is lit with LEDs powered by the flow of water in the sink pipes. The mirror acts like a chart, and as you use the taps, it breaks down your water consumption into daily, monthly and annual use. If dark colours appear around the rim of the mirror, you have exceeded the reasonable amount of water consumption for the day. If this isn’t enough to guilt you into changing your water ways, pictures of polar bears and ecosystems pop up around the mirror, and other things that are affected by our water misuse. Yet not only does this invention tell you if you are a water waster, it allows one to act on this problem – the Earth Mirror has a control installed that lets you choose the amount of water that’s allowed to come out of the tap every day. Perfect!

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15-02-2010 Drink and hang

It’s time to really rethink the way we recycle plastic bottles. Although there are all those wonderful recycling bins, we can now go one step further, in a way that not only helps the environment, but helps our ironed shirts. The Rethink, conceived by US designer Xuan Yu, is a hook with two threads – and here’s the catch, one must do a bit of work to use it – drink two bottles of water (which is healthy anyway). These empty bottles are then screwed into the threads and there you have it – your own environmentally friendly-ish hanger. “By the concept that reuses empty plastic bottles, I try to present to consumers a realistic idea to address environmental realities and encourage the reuse of already ‘consumed’ items to form a functional product,” Xuan Yu says. And we’ve found a big bonus- Rethink hangers are a lot more effective than the flimsy wire coat hook in keeping your clothes’ shape!


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15-02-2010 Tiny Tunes

As mobile phones, laptops and MP3 players continue to shrink, shrink and shrink some more, it’s only natural that radios follow the same trend. This has come in the form of the Motz wooden FM radio, a device only slightly larger than two dice stuck together. Yet there are two features that we especially love about this mini innovation: First, because it’s too small for batteries, the radio is recharged by simply hooking the device up to a USB port, and secondly, it can double as an iPod speaker. Great for individual listening, yet definitely not for a party! 


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08-02-2010 Trendspotting Recommends Reading...

1. Brand&Branding by Josep Maria Minguet (Monsa, 2010)

What is so unique about the Brand and Branding is that the majority of the design book features pictorials, and only includes a few case studies. Showcasing the most successful brand and branding campaigns and projects from across the industry – from corporate images to commercial work, throughout the world and from different mediums, including print and digital.

Available from:

  1. For Love and Money: New Illustration, by Liz Farrelly and Olivia Triggs (Laurence King, 2010)

For Love and Money focuses on the rebirth of using illustration in designs, and how and why it has become popular again across print and digital media. The book also talks about the different illustration styles a designer is able to work with, including graffiti and even traditional sketches, and also describes the new technologies available to create impressive illustrations.
In addition, For Love and Money provides interesting information on over 80 contemporary graphic designers who use illustration in their work, including tips from each on effective use of illustration.

Available from

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