358 – Huns, Hair Salons and Puns


There is no satisfactory explanation, at least not to my knowledge, for the higher than average incidence of lame word-play in the names of hair salons. Some examples in the Anglosphere include: British Hairways, Shear Excitement, Fringe Benefits, Comb One Comb All, Locks of Fun, Mane Man, and my favourite: Julius Scissor. There are literally dozens of similar examples, some of which are documented on the Hairdressers With Funny Names Pool on Flickr.

What makes this phenomenon even more intriguing, is the fact that it transcends linguistic and cultural boundaries – at least in one case. German-language hair salons apparently also feel the need to use silly word-jokes for a name. This map shows three of the most frequently used lame puns for hair salons in Germany.

Firstly Haarmonie (a play on Haar, German for ‘hair’ and the German word for harmony). And then, writes map submitter Ron Garrett,  ”Haareszeiten, a play on Jahreszeiten (German for ’seasons’). Haargenau is a real word that means ‘exactly’, like the English expression ‘to a hair’.”

Mr Garrett found this map here on the website of Die Zeit, the German newspaper, which mentions that “it used to be that hair salons were named after their proprietor, e.g. Friseursalon Gabi. But more recently, hair salons have been choosing names that are more original. Or seem more original. This map shows how much of the territory is covered by these three word-plays. Haarmonie is the most popular of these ‘original’ names.”

“Remarkably, these names are more current in the area around Stuttgart or in Nordrhein-Westfalen than in Berlin or Munich. What goes for original in Stuttgart, has been superseded in Berlin. There, the pressure to be original is so great that hair salons can barely afford to name themselves like all the others. Hair dressers in the Berlin districts where the young and ironic live have since reverted to calling themselves simply Friseursalon.” 

Andre Balazs and the Chlorine Cloud

standard LA.jpg

We’re off for our usual pre-Fashion Week week of Pilates and sartorial palette cleansing (also on our to-do list: processing for future posts the mounds of interesting merchandise we encountered at the New York International Gift Fair), but one more bit of news before we leave to you in the nimble hands of guest blogger Mary Beth Klatt. It’s a story we’ve dubbed “Andre Balazs and the Mysterious Chlorine Cloud,” which only sounds like a lost Tintin adventure. Earlier this month, reports of noxious gas swirls seeded fears of a terrorist attack in downtown Los Angeles. Turns out it was a nearby storm basin bubbling with chlorine courtesy of the rooftop pool-endowed Standard Hotel, explains today’s Los Angeles Times:

Hotel maintenance workers initially admitted pouring a small amount of chlorine down a rooftop drain. But investigators did not believe that would have accounted for the noxious cloud. An FBI agent, who specializes in environmental crimes and who is known for her pit bull-like tenacity, conducted follow-up interviews in which employees eventually acknowledged emptying the majority of two 50-gallon drums of muriatic acid and chlorine into the drain, the complaint alleges.

Andre Balazs Properties, owner of The Standard, has been charged by the U.S. attorney’s office with knowingly disposing of hazardous waste and could be fined up to $500,000 if convicted. Assistant Attorney Joe Johns, who is prosecuting the case, told the LAT, “The law does not discriminate between hazardous wastes generated by chic hotels or foul junkyards.” We hear that chic junkyards, elusive as they are, get a pass.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media

Greener Than Thou

The NYT reports on a program at a Sacramento utility to reduce usage through peer pressure.

Last April, it began sending out statements to 35,000 randomly selected customers, rating them on their energy use compared with that of neighbors in 100 homes of similar size that used the same heating fuel. The customers were also compared with the 20 neighbors who were especially efficient in saving energy.

Customers who scored high earned two smiley faces on their statements. “Good” conservation got a single smiley face. Customers whose energy use put them in the “below average” category, got frowns, but the utility stopped using them after a few customers got upset.

After six months, they found that customers who received the personalized report reduced energy use by 2 percent more than those who got standard statements.

The program was developed by Robert Cialdini, a leading expert in persuasion. More Cialdini here.


Watch Anna Wintour And Other Voguettes In Upcoming Film “The September Issue”

Love it or hate it, there’s no doubt that Vogue is one of the most important assets of the American fashion scene. While many of us watched “The Devil Wears Prada” or reality television show “Stylista,” we’ve never seen what it’s really like to work at Vogue, until now. Filmmaker R.J. Cutler gained unprecedented access to the famed Vogue office to see how they put together the September 2007 issue (it was also the largest issue the magazine has ever published, weighing nearly five pounds). “The September Issue” has already won the Grand Jury Prize for Excellence in Cinematography at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and now the rest of the world is eagerly waiting until it hits theaters. In the meantime, watch the video to catch a glimpse of Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour going over what she felt was an overly pink spread while R.J. Cutler gives us some insight on how he made the film. Photo credit: PR Photos

The price of free


Chris Anderson has an article today in the Wall Street Journal about an economy based on free goods and services online.

But as Luca De Biase (chief editor of Nova, the innovation section of the Italian business newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore) points out: it is not the gift economy Anderson talks about. It is an economy of services that few pay for but many use.


Design Glut’s Insider’s Guide to the Gift Fair

Guest post from the Liz Kinnmark and Kegan Fisher of Design Glut.

A special sort of bonding happens between Gift Fair exhibitors. People come together when they undergo extreme circumstances such as natural disasters and trade shows. Before dismantling our booth on Thursday, we were unexpectedly sad. We were going to the miss hanging out in the booth we’d built and chatting with all our newly-made friends.

Luckily one of those new friends, Karl Zahn, came by with the mallet from his Simple Series and helped us start breaking down our booth before we could get too mushy and nostalgic about it.


The New York International Gift Fair, or NYIGF, happens twice a year at the Javitz Center on 34th and 11th. The Javitz is a huge beast of a building which poses the question, “How could they make an entire building out of glass and have no windows?” From the inside there is no way to gauge the passage of time. The awful lighting flickers above you. You give the same spiel about your products over and over and over again. You drink too much coffee. You start to go a little nuts.


So how do you survive the Gift Fair?


India’s $10 Laptop

The Times of India reports that a $10 laptop (Rs 500) prototype, with 2 GB RAM capacity, would be on display in Tirupati on February 3 when the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Techology is launched.

The $10 laptop project, first reported in TOI three years ago, has come as an answer to the $100 laptop of MIT’s Nicholas Negroponte that he was trying to hardsell to India.

The $10 laptop has come out of the drawing board stage due to work put in by students of Vellore Institute of Technology, scientists in Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, IIT-Madras and involvement of PSUs like Semiconductor Complex.

“At this stage, the price is working out to be $20 but with mass production it is bound to come down,” R P Agarwal, secretary, higher education said.

Further commentary also in this Fast Company article.


Design for social impact innovation at the Winterhouse Institute


In January 2009, the Winterhouse Institute began a two-year project, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation with a $1.5 million grant, to develop collective action and collaboration for social impact across the design industry – and encompassing a range of other institutions that work on the needs of poor or vulnerable people.

The funding will be used to develop specific programs for social impact by the design community, to host a major conference at Aspen in 2009, to develop case studies with the Yale School of Management, and to create an editorial website to monitor progress in the zone of design and innovation around social issues.

via AHOi!


Cheater cheater

Domino magazine’s February 2009 issue has a fun article with tips from interior designer Ryan Korban on cheating with your clutter control, aptly named “A cheater’s guide to a tidy home.”

In the article, he provides six tips for tidying up in a hurry. Two of my favorite are the following:

make stacks purposeful

Topped with an object, orderly piles of orphaned books and magazines look deliberate even when resting against the wall — and not like you desperately need shelves. Korban likes to dress his with plants or figurines.

realize the power of trays

Instead of crowding your sink with creams, put your products on display. Korban creates a back-of-toilet tableau by grouping his on Venetian glass, arranging jars up front and tall bottles in the rear for easy access — and decorates them with a framed photo and fresh flowers.

The whole February issue is dedicated to the organized home, so be sure to check it out. Unfortunately, we got word on Wednesday that Domino is closing its doors. So, unfortunately, this may be my last fun post about the great magazine. Domino, you’ll be missed.

Photos for this article from Domino magazine

Good or bad design? The verdict(s)


Alice Rawsthorn, the design critic of the International Herald Tribune, moderated a design session at Davos:

“Some of the world’s leading designers were challenged to define what “good design” means now in a debate at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos last week. At the debate, which I moderated, each designer was asked to identify one example of “good” and one example of “bad” design, and to explain the reasons for their choices. What did they come up with?”

The answers came from Tim Brown (president of IDEO), Brian Collins (chairman of the Collins creative consultancy), Paola Antonelli (senior curator of design and architecture at MoMA), Hilary Cottam (social designer and founding director of Participle), and Yves Béhar, president of fuseproject.

>> Read article

Photo: The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, launched a competition to design a new bus for the city. The winning design, above, by the architects Foster + Partners and the sports car maker Aston Martin, was unveiled late last year. (Transport for London)