March 30, 2012



testing felt:  100% high quality merino pure new wool   has a water repellent finish. This prevents liquids from adhering to the material in the long term

Many of you asked us "What you're working on now?" and it is not always possible to answer precisely because our work is made of various tasks that cut across several products.

And one of them for example is the delicate choice of raw materials. You'd be surprised how much time has to be dedicated to selecting right materials, good colors and good sizes. But before anything else, the first criteria is the quality. 

Thus we have reserved a special attention to the choice of felt that we use for many of our products. Few month ago when we started this blog, we already told you about our interest for felt, one of our favorite materials. 

This fabric has exemplary qualities among which easy care, heat resistance, thermal and acoustic insulation properties. 

The 100% high quality merino pure new wool that we use was tested first. You can see in the picture that we ran the equivalent of “crash tests” on our felt! The material has a water repellent finish. This prevents liquids from adhering to the material in the long term. So one always has time to react to absorb a stain and to clean the placemats (for instance) to keep them as nice as new!

It matters to us that our customers can rely on these sustainable qualities over time and we take special care to guarantee this.

testing felt:  100% high quality merino pure new wool   has a water repellent finish. This prevents liquids from adhering to the material in the long term

March 27, 2012


Continuing our research about the art of lunching around the world, we make our next stop in Japan. Japanese lunch habits and the attention for preparing healthy, almost sophisicated lunch boxes, have influenced not only western habits but also related tupperware designs. The Bento concept for example, has become so famous in Asia and around the world, that in some places Bento boxes are considered fashion accessories.

''Bento is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento consists of rice, fish or meat, and one or morepickled or cooked vegetables, usually in a box-shaped container. Containers range from disposable mass produced to hand crafted lacquerware. Although bento are readily available in many places throughout Japan, including convenience stores, bento shops (弁当屋 bentō-ya), train stations, and department stores, it is still common for Japanese homemakers to spend time and energy for their spouse, child, or themselves producing a carefully prepared lunch box.

Bento can be very elaborately arranged in a style called kyaraben or "character bento". Kyaraben is typically decorated to look like popular Japanese cartoon (anime) characters, characters from comic books (manga), or video game characters. Another popular bento style is "oekakiben" or "picture bento", which is decorated to look like people, animals, buildings and monuments, or items such as flowers and plants. Contests are often held where bento arrangers compete for the most aesthetically pleasing arrangements.'' source:

Preparing a bento in Japan can be an extremely meticulous task: an incredible importance is given to food presentation. Some vegetables are cut to become real "sculptures to be eaten". There can be found different types of Bento: Shōkadō bentō (松花堂弁当) ,Chūka bentō (中華弁当) ,Kamameshi bentō (釜飯弁当) , Makunouchi bentō (幕の内弁当) ,Noriben (海苔弁), Sake bentō (鮭弁当) ,Shidashi bentō (仕出し弁当), Tori bento (鳥弁当), Hinomaru bento (日の丸弁当).The types vary in function of the ingredients, way of cooking or display box.

The recent fashion of bento in Western countries has contributed to its evolution: for reasons of conservation, most bentos are now made of hard plastic or stainless steel. The lines also evolved, giving colored boxes of all forms, and the content has adapted to the tastes of different countries. What remains however is the organization into compartments which allows to prepare a meal consisting of one dish and several side dishes or desserts. 

What about your favorite Bento?...

March 23, 2012


 LAB' GUEST COLUMN _ simona sterca _ RE-OPERATING SPACES                                      

All pictures copyright: simona sterca

''Preexisting space is redefined through the individuals’ choice of trajectories. The dynamic relationship established between the already configured architecture and the mentally re-created space is explored: individuals enhanced spaces and space organizes individuals.''-Simona Sterca

All pictures copyright: simona sterca

 LAB' GUEST COLUMN _ simona sterca _ RE-OPERATING SPACES                                     

Simona Sterca is a Romanian architect, designer and photographer.You can find out more about  her interesting and inspiring projects on:

March 21, 2012


Not long ago we were speaking about how items, such as the glasses, can contribute to completing ones image and be more than just a fashionable accessory. Today we want to speak about another type of item who has similar characteristics, as it was created to meet a practical need and became quickly a fashion accessory and an interesting subject of research for many designers: the watch.

The first model of watch, for example, designed by Martin Larsen for the Danish Design brand, has been awarded in 2008 with the Red Dot for its good design.‘’This innovative range of watches follows the tradition of Danish design and is an expression of a modern stylistic language. The intention is to refine Danish design in these watches and to create simple but sculptural timekeepers. Mainly strict forms, as can be found in geometry, inspired the designer Martin Larsen. Another incentive was the search for the "essential" in the structures and the materials used.’’(http:/ /

For us, is just a great, minimalistic design, that somehow manages to capture in simple lines and gestures the essence of a traditional watch: rounded shapes, simple dots instead of numbers and just a drop of red for the seconds hand.

Designer Martin Larsen source picture : 

A bit less conventional, the other models are just as great.We love the simplicity and yet their sculptural and innovative aspect by drawing ‘’the time with strict irrationality breaking up once again the rules of the traditional reading of the time..’’( ) or by pointing out the hour with three simple dots.
Designer Denis Guidone, source picture : 
Designer Denis Guidone for Nava, source picture : 

And finally, for more futuristic tastes, the bracelet watch by  Djordje Zivanovic.‘’The idea for this watch is classic plastic bracelet, with incorporated lines inside the watch that show the current time. Those three line are rotating around the watch and show the time, while the seconds line is going around all the time. One line for hour,second for minute and third for seconds,and three different colors for every lines. It`s simple concept, attractive and eye catching. ’’ (Djordje Zivanovic , )

Designer  Djordje Zivanovic ,source 

March 16, 2012

Griottes' culinary palette...

source picture: 

Many of you know ‘Pantone’ either as a working tool - Pantone Inc. is THE authority on color with its famous Pantone swatch book - or because you came across one of these by-products recently.

Did you ever find yourself standing in front of a wall of mugs picking your favorite color?

That is what French food designer Emilie de Griottes invites you to do with her special project entitled “Choose your color”. Emilie recreated the Pantone colour swatch book using fruit, vegetable, candies and other food ingredients to create colourful pies that will star in the next issue of culinary magazine Fricote. 

Playing with the color of food is one of her specialty. Going further with our research on the relationship between food and color and its effect on us, our eyes stopped on these very graphical and appealing visuals. 

Congratulations Emily and thank you for sharing these pictures on our blog.

So now it is your turn to choose a pantone color according to your desire and your mood of the moment. What pie would you choose?

credits pictures :  Griottes  : for the magazine Fricote

March 13, 2012

Möbius strip, architecture and fashion

The Mobius strip has been a constant source of inspiration and fascination for mathematicians and architects as it is a non-orientable surface with only one continuous side and one continuous edge. 

Most of us are familiar with the concept and one its most famous application in architecture: the UNStudio Mobius house built-up in the Netherlands, where ‘’ the intertwining trajectory of the loop relates to the 24-hour living and working cycle of the family, where individual working spaces and bedrooms are aligned but collective areas are situated at the crossing points of the paths. ’’ (source:

Recently we discovered another application of this beautiful surface, this time in fashion, under the shape of an interesting dress. The two designers of the Mobius dress, both architects, wanted to challenge through this project, ‘’the clothing’s absolute adherence to conventions of interiority and exteriority’’ by proposing an inside-out and outside in garment. Using the Möbius strip properties of non orientation, single sided and single edged surface, the designers managed to create a fashion item structured only by the body where the material used has no hierarchy. ‘’Applied to the body, the spatial loop creates the appearance of two intertwining bands of fabric that meet at points around the hips and torso. This illusion is foiled as viewers realize that the dress is merely one continuous loop designed to turn inside out as it is constructed. … Unwinding and intertwining to form a perpetually changing surface in relation to the body, the Möbius Dress is worn to be unworn.  ’’  (source: 

Architecture and fashion have always interacted. During the years, fashion designers and architects have not only influenced each other but collaborated and borrowed different concepts and ideas in order to constantly improve their designs. ‘’ Despite obvious differences in size, scale, and materials, the source for both fashion design and architecture is, in fact, the human body and both expand on ideas of space and movement, which extend to express personal, political, and cultural identity. Architects and fashion designers produce their environments which are defined through spatial awareness.’’ (source: )


March 9, 2012


Today we are busy carrying out some painting work in our lab... Spring is slowly arriving and this is the perfect time to get windows wide open and to rethink everything inside!

‘We see red!’ 

Needing a large surface on which to project our ideas, drawings and sketches, we started to paint a red board directly on the wall - like a red strip on the wall for the waves of ideas to come. 

At the end of this week we won't 'properly' blog in order to complete this work and come back next week, filled with energy, ideas and updates about our developments.

Meanwhile, nice weekend to all of you and good luck to those planning some works this weekend!

March 6, 2012


© pictures and project: Adina Socol and Ralf van Tongeren

Living in the Netherlands comes invariably with a vehicle without which, nothing would work in the country: the bike ("fiets" for insiders). Riding a bike in the Netherlands is incredibly practical and gives you a sense of freedom in your movement. Until the moment you have to park it…

Wild bike-parkings are common in the Netherlands, however known for their sense of order and cleanliness. This explains the step taken by many cities to answer the growing need for bike storages that blend in the urban landscape.

This is how the city of Utrecht launched a competition 2 years ago for new solutions for bike storages. One of us, Adina Socol, was at the time associated with Ralf van Tongeren to answer that call. The "urban slinky" was born from this collaboration. We'll now let you discover this piece of "street furniture" as functional as fun!

© pictures and project: Adina Socol and Ralf van Tongeren

''Diversity –can bike storage adapt to different urban situation and be more than just a fix element to the city- and if it is possible, what other functions or materialization can it get?

The goal of this design was not only to give an answer to the insufficient number  of bike storages in the city of Utrecht, but also to propose an element that is enough playful and flexible to transform itself and adapt to different areas of the city - an urban chameleon that can change not only color but materialization, shape and function as well.

The solution was found in the different given locations of the competition –squares and places near the walking paths along the shops where bike storages look deserted while not being occupied. In these situations, an added function to the bike supports such as sitting places, can bring an extra plus by keeping the object animated and functional during all the day or week moments. 

Another item that led to the final design was the image aspect. The proposed locations are really different from spatial and image point of view so is the space available for storages. The new design has to be enough interesting when used in small scale but also dynamic when it comes to endless strips along the walking ways, and, due to its usage along the canals, also enough transparent for maintaining a direct visual connection between the street and the water.

This is how the idea of one repetitive frame-like element was born – a module that through its repetitive character can mould to different urban locations, composing in different shapes just like a slinky- toy. The module can get different colours in order to integrate in the surroundings and can be fixed directly on the ground with steel screws in prefab concrete support elements, it is easy to become bigger or smaller by adding or removing modules to the composition.

For a more dynamic image 5 standard elements were designed which can be composed in the same way as explained above.The proposed materialization is rounded 30mm diameter painted steel profiles -due to cost, strength and maintenance reasons but the solution can be easily adapted to wooden or carbon fiber profiles.''

© pictures and project: Adina Socol and Ralf van Tongeren

March 2, 2012

The art of lunching

                                                                                   © :

Food and culinary habits, among many other topics, crystallize the expression of cultural differences. As two foreigners living in the Netherlands we get to experience these differences daily. It concerns as much what we eat, as well as where and at what time. 

For example “breakfast and lunch differ little in Dutch cuisine and both consist of a wide variety of cold cuts, cheeses and sweet toppings; such as hagelslag, vlokken and muisjes. Chocolate spread, treacle (a thick, dark brown sugar syrup called stroop), peanut butter (which is savoury, not sweet) and confiture are popular too.” (source:

Which is really fine by us, but of course also seems to narrow quite the choice up sometimes. Many foreigners living in the Netherlands may tell you how much they miss a warm and invigorating meal for lunch. Of course nothing forbids you to take your own lunch bag to your workplace. But a lunch bag or box can be not convenient to carry and it can feel awkward to hold a sort of impromptu picnic in the office (when opening your plastic bag and unwrapping your plastic box etc). You know the feeling? 

This got us to think about how to answer this need for lunch bag / box solution. We are about to develop new ideas so that to energize your old tupperware box and make your lunch the relaxing moment that everyone expects.

March 1, 2012

Wishing you a wonderful spring!

''Mărțișormarţ and mărțiguș are all names for the red and white string from which a small decoration is tied, and which is offered by people on the 1st day of March. The string can also be black and white, or blue and white) Giving this talisman to people is an old custom, and it is believed that the one who wears the red and white string will be strong and healthy for the year to come. It is also a symbol of the coming spring. Usually, women wear it pinned to their clothes for the first 12 days of the month, until other spring celebrations, or until the bloom of certain fruit-trees. In some regions, a gold or silver coin hangs on the string, which is worn around the neck. After wearing it for a certain period of time, they buy red wine and sweet cheese with the coin, according to a belief that their faces would remain beautiful and white as cheese, and rubicund as the red wine, for the entire year.
In modern times, and especially in urban areas, the Mărțișor lost most of its talisman properties and became more of a symbol of friendship or love, appreciation and respect. The black threads were replaced with red, but the delicate wool ropes are still a ‘cottage industry’ among people in the countryside, who comb out the wool, dye the floss, and twist it into thousands of tassels. In some areas the amulets are still made with black and white ropes, for warding off evil.''

Have a wonderful, sunny spring!