Off the wall
Waffle on Do you fill your life with possessions? Is your home packed with expensive designer furniture? Is Gordon Gekko your role model? If so, then designers Ryosuke Fukusada and Rui Pereira would probably refer to you as a slave to materialism. And to prove their point, they have created the Sapore Dei Mobili (above and right; www.saporedeimobili.com): a kitchen gadget that looks like an old-fashioned jaffle iron. However, instead of churning out baked-bean toasties, this little jobbie creates Portuguese egg-based pastries in the shape of designer chairs, lounge chairs, credenzas and accessories. The designers want to remind us of the over-crowded furniture market and our insatiable appetite for "digesting" more and more stuff. The irony that they themselves have produced yet another unnecessary product is beside the point. So get baking, eat your miniature living room and watch Wall Street. Greed is good.
Clever coffee It's getting so that we can control everything from our smartphones and tablets. Who knows, in the future we might even be able to get our phone to make us a decent cup of espresso? Well, actually, that future is already here, with this innovative machine: the Scanomat Top Brewer is the type of contraption that will have IT geeks selling off their Star Wars figurines to buy. What's different about the Scanomat is that the brewing unit of the machine is hidden under the counter. All you see on the kitchen benchtop is a rather sleek-looking tap that dispenses the espresso and doubles as a milk frother. Trust the Danes to live up to minimalist expectations. But the really clever thing is the way you can control the Scanomat using an app; or, if your smartphone isn't to hand, you can use a touch keyboard built into the bench-top. The Scanomat folks say that all drinks are brewed to barista standards using precision grinders, tamper pressure, pump pressure and water temperature. And who are we to doubt them? The machine (HK$128,000) is available at JB House (8/F, Tower A, Southmark, 11 Yip Hing Street, Wong Chuk Hang, tel: 2518 3086).
On cloud canine Architecture for Dogs, started recently by Kenya Hara (creative director of Muji), features a who's who of architects and designers who clearly have way too much time on their hands. The premise is simple. Actually, we aren't really sure what the premise is, but it's something to do with furniture-type objects for dogs. The project includes 13 structures that most self-respecting pooches would likely lift their hind legs on. The Hara-designed D-Tunnel is basically a small flight of stairs that brings a dog eye to eye with its master, which could be frightening if you happen to own a pit bull. Similar is Atelier Bow-Wow's ramp (below). Then there's the Beagle Interactive Dog House (above) by MVRDV. These wacky Nederlanders have taken the traditional kennel and added a seesaw base, so that every time the dog goes inside, the kennel rocks. I don't know about you, but if I were a beagle a wobbly house would probably make me think someone had spiked my water bowl. Even the eminent Shigeru Ban wanted in on the action, designing the Papier Papillon from wire and cardboard tubes. The result is a flexible space that can be made into a canine maze. No, we're not sure why, either. The Architecture for Dogs website (www.architecturefordogs.com) offers downloadable blueprints and videos that show you how to make each structure - should you feel the urge, or if you're having a slow day at work.