Showing posts with label product design. Show all posts
Showing posts with label product design. Show all posts


Mount Fuji - Toilet Paper roll


Japanese toilet paper roll, coffee sticks, cotton bags, handcream  souvenirs

What a wonderful sunny day in Hong Kong, and  Happy Friday as well, it's a good afternoon to write another post, I guess. O.K.,let's see what I've got in my photo library...A Fukubukuro !! (not include the small kitten behind :P)
Actually this is a mixture of souvenir selected by one of my best friend years before. I call it DIY Fukubukuro - in Japanese of a "lucky bag" 福袋. As you may know, every New Years or (any time of big sale) in Japan, department stores will prepare this kind of attractions to customers; of course, they may not know the content at all, say for a 3000 yen fukubukuro you paid, you will be in surprise of what you've got inside, most of the time the value is over 3000 yen, is it a lucky blessing to the start of a good year? 

Well, back to my lucky bag, they are wonderful and lovely, the one I would like to "present" is...Mount Fuji toilet paper roll!!! 
package of the toilet paper roll with fuji mountain presenter illustration

Let's start to unfold it, to see what's inside?

please continue to roll down.....

back side of the paper package with another cartoon illustration of the presenter walking up hill

the paper roll inside with printed data & illustration in roll form

Yeah! here it is...the knowledge you should know about the famous Mount Fuji, isn't it amazing ?!
unfold of the paper roll printed with illustration of 5 knowledges of fuji mount you should know
I know this post is going to be "long", because I tried to combine the 4 photos I've took as one to give the real face of the unfolded toilet paper roll. 
I don't know Japanese but base on the illustrations and "Kanji", the knowledge are mostly related to the type of volcano - an active one, the last eruption time; the shrines above in ancients time; lowest temperature on the mountain, and the temperature for the onsen (hot spring) which is suitable for you to prepare your delicious Cup noodle; also the sometimes there will be landslide...interesting!
Imagine having this toilet paper roll in you bathroom, so much fun while...:D
But I will absolutely place it in my living room for my guest as well as reserved one for this post.

Thank you to Jessie, always enjoy your souvenir,
Arigatōgozaimashita !


Kenya Honduras Uganda

Kenya Honduras Uganda coffee bean in cute wood barrel

Kenya Masai
100% Arabica coffee bean
French Roast 
Acidity #3
Body #3
Strength #3
Aroma : moss, slight fruity sweet

Honduras Cristobal
100% Arabica grinded coffee 
Italian Roast
Acidity #1
Bitter #1
Body #1
Strength #1
Aroma : mud, dry

Uganda Erussi
100% Arabica coffee bean
French Roast
Acidity #1
Body #1
Strength #1
Aroma : caramel sweet, slight moss

Well, well, well...I am so lucky to have a chance of tasting all three of them. Basically they are quite mild but balance overall; according to my note of rare data provided, you can see how "junior" I am :P 

But, no matter how, as I've always said : Enjoy ! You don't need to be an expert.

Enjoy your cup of coffee, enjoy you relaxing moment, or simply the beauty of these bucket's design... 

P.S.: Thank you to my sweet sister-in-law Catherine 😘


Rainbow forever

Casing of the mini colour set
Time flies, I've find this cute souvenir from my drawer, it's hard to remember how long has it been sitting there...why?

Because it's so lovely and so mini, 4,5mm long by 4mm dia. each, that I even don't know how to use them, you know? Once you've begin, the beautiful "rainbow" will break unevenly, it seems the whole product will be spoiled. 

If this is yours, what will you do?
Mini colour pencil in rainbow shadeIf this is a gift you've chosen for your friend, what do you want her to do? 

Use it or keep it?

I've decided to use it this year! 
Yes, I think this is the real meaning of a product even though it looks so perfect and gorgeous, if it is only for decoration, it's another thing.  

But when they can be transformed into a picture or colorful liner in my book, they means a lot more. So, finally what are they look like now?......

As beautiful as they were forever, thank you, Peggy!


Good Taste

Colourful package of the soy sauce
"Hey, pal; this Black soy sauce is almost expire, can you help?" of my friend who traveled and returned from Okinawa, brought this souvenir to somebody and/ or due to whatever reason, it can't be delivered......"Well, my pleasure!"

Ha, ha! the real attraction to me of course is not the content inside, but the package outside. It's always an eye candy for those traditional products' packaging found in Japan; no matter the color, wrapping material used, typography or the "accessories",

Even though the taste of soy sauce is not too special, it was enhanced by the package which creates the favor and aroma of Ryukyu :  

colorful printed fabric of sunshine + 
dry sea weed from the sea under the blue sky + 
natural wood block printing like label and tag......
generations after generations.

Yes! the taste of freshness, pureness and uniqueness. 

The Magic of Packaging Design ! Thanks Kwan.



Irresistible Souvenir

chibi maruko-chan face mask unfold
Lots of my friends and relatives do travel a lot within a year and that's why souvenir accumulated progressively. It may be a good idea to "build" a Cocoa Souvenir Street here as a return of thanks to all of them.

It's always joyful when receiving gifts especially cutie item from Japan - the favorite vacation choice of Hong Kong peoples. 

Here it is...if you may know Chibi Maruko-chan : a Japanese cartoon character of a small girl who has weird thought and childish ideas, well, you may say "innocent" if you like :P

So, if you know the story, you will not be surprised by seeing this, not inside the package, but onto you own face :D

Relax, and return to your childhood for 10 minutes, you will definitely be rejuvenated, enjoy !
Japanese full gift package for summer spa
Full gift package, thank you Jessie !




I love "Classic" !

Gaggia Classic Espresso machine unpackActually, I should write this post 2 years earlier, unfortunately those days were a bit messy, so today is the time to share this experience with you, and hopefully it's not too late :)

Well, you may already know that we have an espresso machine, that was bought 5 years ago. For people using it daily, sometimes twice or up to xxx times  a day meaning, it is quite heavy loaded.

Basically, daily cleaning and occasional back flush should be good enough, plus a yearly descaling process will be perfect, too.

One day, it stopped working, totally - no more coffee comes out from the blew head = clog as assumed ?! Even though I went through all basic cleaning and checking procedure, it refused to work again.  You may think sending back to the manufacturer will be the only solution......

......the magic happens to Gaggia Classic because it is a mechanical machine, i.e. no chips or complicated computerize parts and therefore, we can try to repair ourselves. But, how to start??? This is what I've found from the Internet

Tools to repair Gaggia ClassicA detail step by step guide to teach you how to open the machine, what to check and what to clean. So, I tried by ready all tools + the print out guide and began with the "operation".

It took me 4 hours to complete the task and make sure no clogging inside the solenoid (detail please refer to the above link as the picture are much more clear), then re-assembling everything together, started the de-scaler process, that took another 2 hours......

I have to say the "Overhaul of Gaggia Classic Espresso Machine" blog post is gorgeous, but,  still not working. It's a frustrated before a clue that suddenly woke me up : the group gasket was deteriorated, Yes! it was as hard as a metal after four years working. So... a replacement makes everything alive !

If  there is not a good blog post to guide me, I can never using deduction method to reduce the affecting issues; and if this is not a true CLASSIC,
I can never try to repair it on my own.

Thank you Christopher Reed and Gaggia !



Jubel - from IKea 宜家生活小雜貨

Jubel - from IKea
Jubel - from Ikea 

很久沒有逛 IKEA, 說真的, 其實在 IKEA只要細心尋索, 可以找到不少價格相宜, 設計及質量不錯; 又很適合香港細小居住空間的生活百貨.  這個由 Eva Sjodin 設計的自動灑水花盆便是其中一個好例子了.

所謂自動灑水其實是盆底付有棉芯用作吸水的裝置, 方便要遠行的人讓植物在沒有人照顧時可"自行飲水維生", 已往也有不少"土炮製作 " =倒置膠水樽 + 棉芯 可以做到; 但當然經過設計的產品, 無論在外型, 顏色, 裝飾性及靈活度上, 都會配合得更好. 這個可輕易轉換顏色面的設計是我認為設計帥最聰明的安排.



I haven't been visited Ikea for so long, actually it's one of my favorite shop in Hong Kong. Provided you have time and patience, you will discover a lot of good stuff there, reasonable price, amazing design, good quality and fun concept, too. Well, of course you have to "select" wisely, like this :  Jubel self-watering plant pot, designed by Eva Sjodin.

Self-watering is simply by connecting a cotton string to the bottom of the pot to achieve a slow sucking of water from the external vase into the soil; this is especially a useful survival kit for travelers' "home alone" plants. A lot of DIY had been made, i.e.: an up side down plastic bottle with a cotton string hanging above of the pot.

But there is a lot more well designed product here, not only achieve the purpose plus, an easy rotation of internal pot to create different colorful combination - so flexible, easy operate, low cost and full of fun.  I have to give an applause to this brilliant idea created by Eva. 

So, how about get one to sprinkle a dash of green to your home right now?



Miracle boost ?!

onsen milk
I know the color tone is a bit strange but this is the true environment of what my "onsen" milk is waiting for in it's fridge. 

Japanese are proud of their onsen, most of the Hong Kong people love it, too. I have to say it is a A+++ grade of luxurious experience especially to enjoy their seasonal dinner after running a comfortable onsen "dip". 

But you may also heard that they will always recommend you to take some milk right after leaving the onsen, as a supplement of water lost; you will find exclusive milk supplied by your ryokan and ...... that's why I've prepared one for myself.

I just bought it from a vending machine in their lobby, so convenience and lovely, too. See it's packaging design, quite local made although I'm not sure whether it is?

So, I follow the "instruction" and you know what...... a glass of water can do,  BUT with the addition of premium value to this bottle of milk, i.e.: the myth, its' home made feel, freshness + the moment of where you are (at your vacation) and the desire of waiting to taste's definitely can comfort and rejuvenate a traveler, or a shopaholic. Happy Easter !


Bronze = Romance?

Bronze fork & spoon

 I was shopping around and discovered this set of Bronze Aged Flatware at Anthropologie . They are so neat but looks elegant, made by bronze - which will sometimes be mixed up with copper and brass. 

We used to have ironmongery or decorative metal parts appears in these three different finishes in interior design work, usually it is a bit easy to identify them by color and level of hardness. Copper is the original soft yellowish metal, when mix with zinc, it forms an alloy : brass , harder and appear in golden color; door knob, lock or railing are most common end products. 

When other metals are added, like tin, aluminium, lead or even silver; a bronze alloy is created with a bit of rose color. It is harder than brass, can withstand more polish treatment, so you can find them in coin, kitchen ware or the above nice flatware, etc.

To me, bronze is more attractive, it has a vintage, feminine and graceful appearance. In the modern world, rose gold may be an alternative for bronze to transform as a wedding ring... same lovely pink tint... with an additive of romance, too.


心思 just a little bit more...




Lunchbox - to us, it's only a kind of daily supply : a piece of sandwich, some red green vegetable salad, rice, noodle and soup... but most of the Japanese housewife spend great effort to decorate them for their kid & husband; we can see from lots of the TV drama, it's a kind of proud for a man of having a wife who can prepare a delicious and pretty decorated lunchbox which is more superior among others.

Even it is only a routine work for a housewife, they just add a little bit more of creativity, they may not even recognize it is related to graphic & 3D design, but simply aim to refresh their family member's appetite..... the result is difference. 

It may apply to us, too; how about just step a little bit further, be a little bit more well thinking, or creative, may be we can turn a bore/messy work into a delicious "bei' don" (lunchbox)!


Mess Mesh "聰明"網?

Drying net from Japan

抱歉相片有點矇, 正如我用這件產品時的感覺一樣, 又愛又恨再加點迷惘. 不得不承認沒有做家庭主婦的材料, 這種可摺合式的乾衣網,對不少主婦來說是一個好幫手. 要陰乾毛衣或織物時, 可打開把衣物平放,掛於浴簾通或懸空放在浴缸邊上, 防止纖幼的衣料因用衣架掛起時下墜變形, 不用時又可摺合收藏; 但我想...究竟有多少用家真的會這樣摺摺合合呢?

因為這個由細網變大網, 再由大網變細網 (約縮少1/2) 的戲法是靠扭曲一個鐵線圈造成的, 方法請參巧上圖三步曲. 但事實上, 運作起來又不是如比輕鬆, 每次總給"反彈"數次才可完成摺合, 結果, 我還是把它完整攤開備用, 省卻再摺來摺去的"手續".

令我想起設計師設計這件產品時, 原意是很理想的, 尤其適合香港和日本等居住環境較擠迫的用家; 但礙於成本限制, 為要令成品不會脫離消費羣可負担的現實, 物料上的選用往往成為首個犧牲的項目. 說到底, 一件十圓八塊的產品, 也不應有太多要求罷!

This blur image is exactly of what my feeling while using this product, I love it's idea, reasonable thought of usage but always with a bit of frustration and messy; although, I must confess that I don't have the talent of being a good housewife.

It is a foldable mesh for drying delicate clothing in a flat position, to avoid stretch of the fiber when hanging by a hanger vertically, meaning to keep the clothing in shape. You can hook it along the shower curtain rail or just place it flat above the bath tub edges; it can be folded up when not in use according to the 3 steps as indicated above, the size will be reduced almost 1/2 of it's original. Truly speaking, it is a good design especially suitable for people living in crowded city like Hong Kong and Japan...but... reality, due to the cost control, I think; it's not as easy as just twist the hard metal ring around to fold it up each time after use, without rebounds several times. I always wonder how many user will repeat unfold and re-fold while doing their laundry? To me, I just hang it 365 days unfold as a result.

It will be great if the metal ring can be modified by using a more soft & flexible material with adequate support and waterproof...hey hey hey...should we ask for too much to a product that only cost a few bucks? what do you think?


New Family Member 新成員

Wooden handle coffee tamper by Knock

早晨! 我們冀待巳久的新成員, 終於趕及在2012年來到, 實在令人興奮!

不常在網上訂購物品, 一方面是因為我們不太熱衷於購物, 另一方面是身處香港, 各樣資源尚算豐富, 唯獨是這個 : Coffee Tamper. 如果你有沖煮咖啡的習慣, 準不會對這件工具陌生, 這是用來在磨好的咖啡粉上, 於放入basket後稍微加壓令咖啡粉形成平面, 讓冲煮時咖啡粉能夠平均受熱及澎漲的工具.

其實咖啡文化在香港不算深厚, 最近比較流行也許是因為早前某電視節目的連鎖反應罷了; 所以在巿面上要找到相關的咖啡用具, 其實並不容易. 你或許留意到在一些百貨公司或以"Lifestyle"掛帥的店舖總會有咖啡機, 咖啡柸, 咖啡密封瓶...等貨品出售, 但仍是離不開賣"花巧"及"大方便"的路線, 有點像現今流行的"高級儍瓜機文化"一樣. 所以要找一個設計大方,用料配合,實用及價錢合理的 tamper, 實在不得不從海外訂購. 

這令我想到, 任何文化的形成都並非一朝一夕, 只要我們仍是維持在 impulse buying, 不思考, 不探索, 不問因由...只管盡快擁有...這個心態, 膚淺的易食文化就將會是我們所僅有的了.

We are so excited that our new family member has just arrived on time before the New Year of 2012!

We are not fans of "Shopping" that's why we don't shop online frequently, especially we are living in Hong Kong with huge resources of daily living products.  Unless you are willing to buy those in lower quality made in China or Taiwan; or those in over value of "selected" series, which imported by some of the coffee "specialist"; otherwise, a reasonable price, decent design and good workmanship coffee tamper seems never exist in Hong Kong.

Coffee culture in Hong Kong is not popular or deep in any sense, McCafe, Starbuck or Pacific Coffee are where most people meet their first cup of European or American coffee; even though there are some coffee addict who are quite expert in Italian coffee culture, they didn't draw much attention to the public besides of being a personal interest. What we can find in our department store are eye candy products only, why?

Simple reason caused by our buying pattern, our special "fast food culture" in Hong Kong: impulse buying, no execution, no reason but just pay to own within minutes before "it's too late" = not hit anymore. This will never lead us to develop a culture which takes time and practice to has it's own evolution. What left behind? if you can think of any!


便利小鍋? "Convenience Pan?"

Frying pan with 3 compartments from Japan 

香港人真的很幸福, 要吃日韓料理很容易, 往街上店舖找便是了. 即使要自已在小部屋煮也不是難事. 甜蛋卷是不少港人愛吃的日本食品之一, 制作也很簡單, 不過要用一款長方式的專用煎鍋,煎出來才像樣, 問題來了...又一隻鍋? 這是我們最苦惱的事, 牛排有牛排專用煎鑊, 中菜又有中式小炒鑊, 湯煲,燉品盅, 炸鍋... 總之一大堆.

如果用上圖的"便利鍋"便可以省點儲物空間, 更可以隨時隨地煮我愛吃的蛋卷了. 單看圖片, 有趣又可愛, 是best buy 嗎?...等等! 問題來了: 一人份制作應該可以應付, 但大前提是要煮輕食, 不用太多油或調味, 少汁液, "細碼"受熱情度相約及不需要翻動的食材.最後還要加一個專用清潔刷, 否則要"善後"也不輕鬆.....

好了! 結論是, 要吃甜蛋卷, 還是出街找最方便 :P

It's always been so easy for Hong Kong people to enjoy Japanese or Korean cuisine in most of the shops here, even though to make a dish at home is not difficult because we can find imported ingredients easily from our supermarket. Japanese style sweet egg roll is one of the most popular and favorite dishes that we love, the making process is easy if you have that rectangular frying pan which is tailor made for it both in shape and size. Oops...another pan for it? That is the problem! Steaks pan, Chinese wok , Deep frying pan, large and small saucepans...another one for egg? Oh no!

How about the one above, seems nice and cute, quite convenience, too; then we can have our fry sweet egg roll at any the time, all problem solved? best buy?...Wait! 

Single dining portion shall be fine, but it has to be simple cooking, meaning, small cut size, not much oil, seasoning or sauce dishes; all ingredients can be cooked in similar degree of heat source, no need to turn over too often, and the most important is to have a special fit size cleaning brush to "serve" this pan after each used...otherwise, you can think of the nightmare.

O.K. my conclusion is : to enjoy a sweet egg roll? go straight to your nearby shop, and forget this post :P


簡簡單單 It's so simple

Simple flipping manuel in restaurant
設計設計...好像不攪什麽"彫鑽"花式就不是設計似的. 時裝如是,產品如是, 室內設計也不例外; 結果一律被當時所謂流行時尚的顏色丶物料丶造型所騎劫, 再加些似是"人冇我有"的裝飾, 便可以"賣設計"了.

記得好幾年前在中國武漢的必勝客內, 見到桌上這個用亞加力造的餐牌, 心想: 就這麽簡簡單單, 實用方便又美觀便巳經很好了! 為何在香港那些又過膠又用鐵圈又插這插那的...那麽複雜呢? 不但難清潔, 又有尺寸限制, 翻起來鐵圈又不順暢,

又是"simple is the best"及"form follow function"的理論.
老生常談, 但是一到要我們去開始一個設計項目時, 又回到"不嚇死人勢不休"的狀况. 最近在本土室內設計行內的  "暗柜密室, 鏡後密室, 柜中柜, 升降組合" 等便是這個例子.如果是一間小屋, 基於空間有限, 這樣處理還是可以理解, 但所見是千多呎住宅, 也就實在不明所以了.也許這就是"設計"罷!

 Design is.....special material, trendy color, hit style + some exclusively tailor made decor...done - ready to sell?! is this want you believe?

I was in a Pizza Hut some years ago, in Wuhan of China; there was an acrylic made flip card holder which drawn my attention, that's it! Simple, nice looking and functional. How come what we've got in Hong Kong are so complicated? Yeah, it's true - some are laminated card on double metal ring + metal stand or slot in acrylic stand + laminated card in larger size slot into another acrylic stand....super messy and dirt accumulate onto different material used. Every time after I flip over to order, extra time for me to re-attach them one by one back into their position.

This is exactly what the proven of "simple is the best" and the "form follow function" principle!! What an old tale? But how come we never make it when we work with our design project? Why do we stick onto a "WOW" response from our client by selling those little "tricks". 

An example recently occur in our field, the design of "a hidden room behind mirror wall of a room" " a hidden space behind a cabinet panel" " a hidden equipment inside a cabinet "   " a hidden bar behind your closet" "a hidden staircase behind your headboard toward another hidden's not difficult to understand if the flat is in limited space but why for a spacious house over 1000 sq, is that the only reason of creating "WOW" response of what a surprise and unexpected design that we are going to sell? I doubt !


地面頻道 Floor Discovery Channel

Floral pattern iron floor cover protecting trees along street最近往澳門走了一圈, 除了五光十色的大小賭埸酒店, 更遊走了不少街頭巷尾, 也許這些往後再遂一分享. 今次倒想介紹的是一個頗有心思的設計.

每逢往外地, 我們的視線總被當地的靚人靚景或奇人奇事所吸引; 但只要多點往地面搜索, 也有不少有趣及有特色的事物, 正如以往在日本也發現一個很精緻的公園地標Vanishing Beauty 一樣, 只是今次的發現是在澳門街頭.

也許不用多解釋, 一看便知, 沒什麽特別,  四塊彫花鉄皮用來蓋着路邊樹根. 但精緻的樹葉圖形有半立體效果, 疏水丶地燈位齊全, 裝飾及實用性兼備; 相比香港用磚頭或花棚等圍着"裝垃圾"的要好.

簡潔之餘有效果, 易打理之餘又耐用......不是推薦什麽產品, 而是小小一個公共設施, 只要肯花點心思, 己經可以令生活環境變得更舒適. 成功運用 Form follow Function 這個設計理論, 也會有佳作的.

Casino hotels,  neon neon neon....these are the images of Macau, but there are local culture alley that worth to be discovered; I had a chance to take a walk in May and may be I can share my experience with you in later posts. But this time, I would like to share a delicate design with you.

Wherever we travel to another city, our eyes are busy with all the beautiful faces & scenes, or whatever fresh and extraordinary; if we take some time to look DOWN, there are even more interesting things waiting for us to discover, like what I had found before in Japan's local park - the Vanishing Beauty, this time, it's in Macau.

Well, as simple as a cover for the tree roots along the street, it can be like those found in Hong Kong - brick or plastic fence to create a "rubbish bin" as a result; or like this, a crafted metal cover with semi emboss floral pattern, with proper light fitting & drain vents - simple, decorative, easy maintenance and durable. 

If we can spend just a little more effort to enhance the design of the local facility in our city, the design theory of "Form follow Function" is still applicable to sustain a good design that brings a better life to us.



4 different tea leaf convenience paper cup set
"自我增值" - 這不單適用於人類,對商品而言更是恰當,此話何解?我所指的當然是人為的增值,看看右邊的相片, 這是我在杭州一間酒店內所拍下的宣傳品, 看外面的包裝,頗討好呢, 至少顏色鮮明, 令人覺得內面的茶葉也頗新鮮.

我仔細看看所推銷的是什麽特別貨品?說真的,沒什麽特別,只是四種普通茶葉罷了, 但特別的卻在包裝上.後面用錫袋包着的同類貨品賣5元人民幣; 但放了入前面的有蓋及有茶隔膠柸內, 身價卻增值至10元.結果...我明知這一小柸茶葉不值+塊錢, 我還是買了一柸回香港.

包裝也是產品設計的其中一種,內裡也包含着不少平面設計的元素.處理得宜的話,不單吸引消費者的視線, 燃起購買慾,更令貨品價值提昇.

To increase the value of
product, as commom as tea
leaf here in Hangzhou, 5 RMB
for a bag, 10 RMB for a plastic tea
cup - see? the miracle of Product Design.