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  • Craven Maven is about..

    ..experiencing food and all that goes with it.
  • Who is the Craven Maven..?

  • Be a Locavore – what’s in Season?

    Locavore App for Iphone
    Download the Locavore App for iPhone to find out what produce is currently in season in your region. (created by enjoymentland).

Practical Conceptualism: Nacho Carbonell’s Crop Collection

crop collection

Nacho Carbonell’s work is always compelling. “I like to see objects as living organisms, imagining them coming alive and being able to surprise you with their behaviour” the Spanish born, Netherland based artist said; and his work titled Crop Collection reflects that concept well.

Intended to simulate a space inside a corn field – the crop collection consists of a group of port-hole styled, varying leg length boxes made from materials common to fields. The end result is an organic structure that fills a space without creating clutter.

It’s a concept art piece that could have practical application in the real word for those willing to accept the challenge. A sideboard, wall mounted shelves, a table – there are various things we use for storage in our kitchen. Regularly used objects reside at a height and accessibility that appeases us while lesser used but decorative things that we want seen as much as possible get relegated to the back of a shelf.

crop collection

Imagine a grouping of the Crop Collection to create a curated space of your nicest and most used kitchen pieces. It would probably look best against a bare wall (which I have in my somewhat galley kitchen ), and ideally against a shade that compliments the warm field maize tones. Or, if one’s kitchen was large enough – grouped in a space as some sort of structural art piece meets shelving system.

I can see it now – my moka in one crop box, a toaster in another, a smattering of vintage tea cups and saucers in the other and so on and so on. If only I had a nice large raw space kitchen to house these in. One can but dream!

images via nacho carbonell

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Practical Conceptualism: Air Sphere

air sphere

The Air Sphere is a rather nifty portable ball of a circulator fan designed by &design in Japan. &design’s manifest states that they design is not bound by the form of the product or the meaning of its graphic element. Their work is to be used by all people for any use. I find this limitlessness to be somewhat freeing and similar to my own philosophy that everything can and should be used anywhere that it successfully functions. Short of putting my duvet on the kitchen floor of course.

As of now the Air Sphere is in prototype status but I believe it could be a really useful asset to a kitchen. A continuous problem I have in my tiny kitchen is being able to have an area that stays cool. Sure I have a window but lack of counter space and ceiling width makes the inclusion of a tabletop or ceiling fan ‘undoable’.

The Air Sphere is not only aesthetically rather cool but its design makes it highly portable. Hung over a ceiling hook or laid on a counter it takes up little if any space. Imagine a collection of these fans hanging from the ceiling a la the ‘Sphere Chandelier‘ cooling one area of the kitchen space. It looks cool, its slimmer than a ceiling fan and you could control the intensity of the breeze by adjusting each individual fan. I know i’d go for it!

image via &design

Practical Conceptualism: Mooko Sustainable Milk

Mooko vending milk design

Sometimes I think I am too much of a design snob, then I rather snobbishly excuse my snobbery for being totally justified. Like most, I really enjoy pleasing aesthetics and I get frustrated with poorly executed design or when something looks pretty but serves little to no purpose. Maybe I am just a sucker, cos goodness knows I’ve bought many a product based on packaging design alone.

One thing I never really thought I would be lauding the design praise of is Milk, that is until I encountered Mooko. Mooko is a concept organic line of dairy products designed to tackle the sustainability issues in the dairy industry. Designed by participants from the Academy of Art Institute, their aim is to reduce the waste and pollution caused by the dairy industry while presenting the consumer with a rather niftily designed package.

mooko productsproducts include milk and printed materials explaining the benefits of sustainability

I can’t say that ‘sustainability’ is the first thing I think of when I hear the words ‘dairy industry’. That being said, I grew up at a time when the milkman dropped off your milk needs every week and picked up your washed milk bottles for reuse. However today the supermarket refrigerators are filled with rows upon rows of paper and plastic cartons.

mooko vending machinevending machine concept

Mooko’s approach is to design a reusable bottle and milk vending machine. Placed outside supermarkets the vending machines offer a spot for consumers to refill their empty milk bottles. A novel idea to reduce the impact on natural resources and to minimize waste – but will it work? If it’s implemented time will tell..In an age where ‘green’ and ‘sustainability’ are going from being mere buzzwords to being the way many are choosing to live their life, I could see this doing rather well in some cities. Maybe not everywhere, but it would be a start. I for one think its an idea that definitely deserves a trial run and for us, the consumer to welcome it into our lives with an open mind.

Now if only they vended almond milk…

all images via design ignites change

Practical conceptualism: More than a coat rack

How’s this as an idea for a pot holding rack…or for those who like to cure their own meats..a great place to hang them to dry:

cloak rack by rowen wagner
rowen wagner – cloak

Ok, ok, I know it is a gross misrepresentation of what this rack was originally intended for, but I love multiple uses for an item. This fantastic concept coat rack called ‘cloak’ by Rowen Wagner is sleek and a little comical in it’s design. The solid black line for some reason reminds me of cartoons from yesteryear.

Designed to easily steer with a free axis wheel mount, the unit self-locks when rested on it’s opposite leg.

Sure you can hang a coat on it, but can you imagine it in a black and white kitchen, with a wonderful array of pots hanging from it? I can, and I think it would look quite nifty.

image from rowen wagner

My Granddaugthers Cabinet is good for many things..

my granddaughters cabinet

..including storing kitchen items.

Hear me out. It’s been a little while since we have had a practical conceptualism post, not without good reason. Goodness knows I like logic and order, but I also love a little chaos. Finding something to fit that criteria isn’t as easy as one would think. Sure, fitted kitchens are lovely – but imagine one that’s made up of standalone items each unique and interesting that create visual interest and a story.

Granted, not many would give it a try – but that’s the purpose of this column, to encourage you to try something you otherwise wouldn’t give thought to.

My Granddaughter’s Cabinet is a collection designed to be passed on from one generation to the next. All materials are natural, environmentally friendly and carefully chosen for their ability to age beautifully.

Created by Swedish product designer Lisa Hilland – a graduate of Central St Martin’s College of Art and Design. Following ten years of studies and design work in London, she founded her own Scandinavian-based studio in 2005.

I must admit there is something very twee about the design of this cabinet – its practical as a place of storage yes, but the different size boxes lends itself to a fantastical world. The concept of it being passed from one generation to the next is not only an appropriate concept in encouraging a rebellion to wastefulness, but due to its unique design the piece is surely timeless.

It’s also a great piece in a dining room for storing dinner plates and glassware..anywhere you put it its sure to make you smile and create conversation.

Check out more from Lisa Hilland’s collection here.

images from lisa hilland

A mashup for the dinner table

ctrl zak plate

The guys at ctrlzak in Greece have come up with a ‘mashup’ like no other. The Ceramix project features porcelain from East and West, which by their nature varies greatly in style and colourways. Forcing the two together produces an effect that has me staring like at a train wreck – strangely fascinated.

Ctrl zak bowl

Ctrlzak puts it this way :

A series of ceramic objects reflecting on the historical production of Chinese and European porcelain and its centuries of cross-fertilisation between Western and Eastern aesthetics. CeramiX Art Collection & CeramiX Design Collection are the results of a lengthy research that has identified the key elements characterising both cultures placing them together in new unique forms.

Sincerely it’s interesting and I highly recommend spending five minutes on the ctrlzak to see their gallery of ceramic mashups.

ctrl zak plates
images all by ctrlzak

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Against the natural order of things: Inverse by Yar Rassadin

Inverse by Yar Rassadin

in·verse
   /adj., n. ɪnˈvɜrs, ˈɪnvɜrs; v. ɪnˈvɜrs/
adjective, noun, verb,-versed, -vers·ing.


–adjective
1. reversed in position, order, direction, or tendency.
2. inverted; turned upside down.

–noun
3. an inverted state or condition.
4. something that is inverse; the direct opposite.

–verb (used with object)
5. to invert.

No doubt we have heard and used the word ‘inverse’ many times in our life, but what does the visible representation of such a word look like? Leave it to Yar Rassadin to come up with a design that answer that question in a practical and aesthetically pleasing way. Yar is a 30 year old designer hailing from Russia, who describes his role as creating “smart design for people who love to wonder and discover new meanings in ordinary objects.”

Inverse by Yar Rassadin Draft

Unfortunately still only in concept status, can ‘Inverse’ have a practical and real application in the real world and if so why? I think it more than does. A knife dedicated to a particular chopping board is very useful – granted at times you want to use a variety of knifes for a variety of foods; but I know personally there are certain things that always require a certain type of chop and I for one gravitate to the same knife to perform that task over and over again.

Also, with the indentation for the knife, you can’t really lose your knife that easily..and if you do..well, you are on your own!

Yar Rassadin- inverse

Then there is the fact that it is made of Maple – a great material for use as a chopping block. Not to mention its aesthetic properties as some maples have a highly decorative wood grain.

Moving on to more ‘vain’ reasons why this board works. The sleek minimal and carefully placed lines of this piece makes it just plain nice to look at. The thought of clicking the knife into its pre-determined space is like a game of ‘square peg square hole‘ for grown ups. And after all, do we ever really grow up? Exactly…therefore I for one would love to play this game on a daily basis.

Would this idea ever go from ‘status: concept’ to final product? I honestly don’t know. I would love to see it do so. I can imagine it being sold by one of the ‘purveyors of style’ such as Moss or Artic design, (though Yar is Russian not Scandinavian). In the meantime, as a concept it is certainly something to enjoy the idea of and to appreciate the fact that there are designers out there who strive to make the ordinary, extraordinary.

all images yar rassadin