Level Vodka Tunnel

I am digging this.  Level Vodka has teamed with fashion designer Hussein Chalayan to create the “Level Tunnel.”  Level started a blog - - to track the progress of the building of the tunnel and its travels around the world. 

To quote the press release:

The Level Tunnel by Hussein Chalayan vol. 08 is a world of its own, which can be experienced by viewing it from the outside and exploring it blindfolded from the inside. It’s a 15 m meter- long, almost 5-meter-high installation made of fiberglass, glass and leather – to mention just a few of its materials. The installation will tour the world, starting in Mexico City in May 2008.

“… The idea is to engage in a captivating sensual experience of scent, sound and touch. I want to match all senses – excluding vision – to emphasize the exceptional taste of Level Vodka,” explains Hussein Chalayan.

Visitors will enter and walk through the installation blindfolded. Inside, they will be sensually and innovatively enveloped with the unique taste of Level Vodka through scent, sound and touch. They will hear music played on a flute made with a Level Vodka bottle. The glass bottle creates a protective shell that results in muted, hypnotic acoustics. Also inside: a breeze carries the scent of lemon and cedar and conjures up the flavor of Level Vodka. Railings coated in the softest leather run through the installation to create an exclusive tactile experience. Before entering the installation, visitors will be fitted with a heart monitor, which displays their heartbeat on the outside of the tunnel.

The blog features a few videos – I really like this making of the tunnel video here.

Photobooth to the Next Level

Polite in Public has taken the hipster hobby of photoboothing [not sure if that's an actual term] to an entirely new level.  The photos are incredibly vibrant - not your typical photobooth stuff.  Notcot has a long post here.  An excerpt below and some photos after that ...

So what goes into these photobooths that creates such a glamourous lookfrom what can often be quite the crazy party? Well, their services start at a mere $2500, which includes a custom made backdrop, onsite 5x7 dye-sub printing, onsite slide show, and web hosting for all images. If you’re like me, the first thing you wonder is “how do they clean up the images so incredibly and still manage to have onsite printing and slide shows?”… well they have spent a year developing custom software and hardware that helps them complete the finishing work for each image in near realtime. The average file goes through 40-50 changes before being printed and exported for the slideshow and web viewing. All image filters and lighting designs are custom developed for each project.





BEDUP is a new take on the Murphy bed.  Now that I'm not a New Yorker any more, saving space doesn't really concern me.  But in my pursuit of a clutterless life, I'm intrigued.  Pic below and more here.


Wenger Swiss Army Knife - Not For Me, Thanks

Wenger unveiled its Giant Swiss Army Knife.  With 85 implements and 110 functions, it might be a weekend warrior's dream tool.  Not for me.  No way, no how.  In fact, I find it kind of emblematic of what's wrong with so many businesses these days ... lack of focus and no clear consumer value proposition.  I get the iPhone - having a phone, MP3 player, camera and email all in one makes perfect sense.  But tell me again why I need a bike chain rivet setter AND golf divot repair tool all in one?


From Transaction to Experience


Cintra Wilson of the New York Times gives us a piece today [full article here] about a fashion boutique in NYC called Edit. In Wilson's words ...

"Edit gives back something you didn’t know you missed, but once rediscovered, you wonder how you ever lived without: A retail environment that vibrates with the coherent harmonies of its own, um, intelligent design (for lack of a better term). It’s as much art installation as boutique, in that it provides a little vacation in someone else’s well-lighted consciousness. A golden thread connects every choice in Edit, from the paint on the walls to the cashmere opera gloves, joining everything together with the balanced tension, delicacy and natural genius of a spider web."

To me the is all about shopping as an experience, rather than just a transaction.  Sounds a bit like Colette.  I am a sucker for an engaging and different retail experience.  This is the kind of store I would [1] like to shop in for my wife [2] like to shop in for myself if they had menswear.

My Simple Rule for PowerPoint

There are many people out there who have given far more thought and consideration to the "art" of creating an effective PowerPoint presentation. 

I've seen some lovely and compelling presentations in my day.  But in most cases, the person who writes the deck is either a trained designer or has the benefit of working with one on the look and feel.

For those of us without design training, and who are under tremendous time constraints to churn out decks on nearly a daily basis ... I've been trying lately to discipline myself to stick to the basic template below.  My thinking is that if I can't fit what I have to say into a 3"x4" text box [16 point font] I'm probably over-complicating my idea.  A simple title that actually helps tell the story as the presentation progresses.  An "A Ha!" box that is meant to highlight the main implication of the text box.  And finally, one illustrative image.

Picasso?  No.  Simple, effective and disciplined?  Yes.


Paul Smith + Burton

I am a massive Paul Smith fan.  Massive.  I'm also a big Burton fan, although I am a purist [that's right, I prefer skiing over snowboarding]. 

In my former life at Nokia Nseries I worked on global brand partnerships.  So I was especially interested in what I saw on Cool Hunting - a brand partnership between Paul Smith and Burton.  Besides being a bit pricey for my tastes, the designs are probably not all that practical for snowboarding.  However, it's a provocative partnership that surprises, delights and challenges the orthodoxy of what snowboarding gear should be.  Bravo!

Collection here.