Kaisha: Ego

Following last year’s If Not Now Then When EP, Kaisha releases the silky “Ego.” The synth-heavy song was born from the Malaysia-born, UK-based artist growing weary of toxic men. “This track is about men who pretend to be good guys,” she says in a statement. “I often hear stories of situations where they’re incredibly nice to their friends but completely the opposite when it comes to the person in a relationship with them. Almost like a facade that they keep up for the outside world but when they’re complacent, their true colors shine through. Save us the time and don’t pretend to be something you’re not.”

This shirt was made from the same fabric used by Egyptians to wrap mummies… and it’ll last decades

If you ever looked at a nettle (those plants that give you a nasty sting) and thought – hey, this could make a great fabric for clothing people, chances are you’re either Egyptian, or you’re someone at Vollebak. The London-based alternative clothing brand is known for working with kinds of materials that you’d never find at your local GAP or Forever 21. After having somehow integrated materials like ceramics, carbon fiber, kevlar, and even Dyneema into their clothes, the company’s now managed to find a way to turn the hostile nettle into a soothing, comfortable fabric that you can wear for decades… centuries even. Although they weren’t the first.

Five thousand years ago, the Egyptians developed a method to turn the nettle into fibers that could be woven into a durable, comfortable fabric that resists heat and humidity well. They used the same fabric to wrap their mummies, and those threads lasted 5 millennia so there’s no reason Vollebak’s shirt won’t. The fabric, now commonly known as ‘ramie’ is now mostly seen being used to build parachutes… and it’s the primary fabric used in Vollebak’s Off Grid shirt.

Designer: Vollebak

The Off Grid shirt, as its name suggests, was built to live off the grid. It uses materials that existed long before the grid was even a fleeting thought, which works because these shirts were built to withstand ‘unconventional living’…

The Off Grid shirt works rather well in heat and humidity, and just by virtue of its fabric, has these unique wrinkles on the shirt that contribute to its character. The shirt uses a proprietary blend of ramie (nettle fabric) and Pima cotton. As a fiber, ramie is incredibly resistant to bacteria and mildew, and unlike other fibers, grows stronger with time (it’s no wonder the mummies look so good, eh?) Pima cotton, on the other hand, gives the shirt its softness and keeps it light. The blend of cotton also wicks moisture rather well and dries off pretty fast, making it perfect for humidity.

Vollebak doesn’t stop there, though. The shirts, once stitched, are dyed with either leftover Japanese turnips, or with blueberries. “The Turnip edition is dyed using red turnips from the Japanese mountain town of Kiso. Despite their red outer skin, the turnips have white flesh which produces a light-colored dye,” say Nick and Steve Tidball, the twin founders of Vollebak. “The turnips we use are excess ones left over from the production of sunki pickles. Rather than let them go to waste we use them to make 90% of the dye for the shirt”, they add.

While the off-white variant of the Off Grid shirt uses turnips, its slightly darker, almost mauve-colored sibling uses unwanted blueberries from a Japanese fruit farm in the Nara prefecture. “Some blueberries don’t make the cut during harvesting because they’re damaged or oddly shaped. So rather than let them go to waste we use them to make 90% of the dye for the shirt”, Steve and Nick mention.

Once woven and dyed, the shirts are finished using Ōmi sarashi, an ancient Japanese kneading technique that helps make the fabric soft yet rugged, and gives them their signature wrinkled pattern. Steve and Nick don’t quite mention how long the Off Grid shirt is supposed to last, but given their track record of making garments that can last well over a hundred years, it’s fair to assume these shirts should easily be in your wardrobe for the rest of your life!

Each Off Grid shirt comes with two large chest pockets for carrying your belongings in.

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Rock-inspired Ottoman stools were also designed to be stacked and played with

The origin of the Balanco stools is a rather interesting one. It was designed as a response to the pandemic, when the entire world was forced to stay at home. Putting home decor at the forefront while also giving kids (and adults) something to play and interact with, the Balanco set of stools takes its inspiration from rocks and boulders, giving you the ability to stack them in different forms and formats, creating art in the process. I call it putting ‘fun’ in ‘funiture’!

The idea for the Balanco stools came from the Japanese practice of stacking pebbles to create towers. While the pebbles mostly consist of rounded forms, designers Lisa Lai and Joel Wong decided that chiseled rock-like shapes would create more visual dynamism while offering a variety of flat surfaces that are ideal for stacking and layering. “As it requires significant patience and calmness to balance the blocks, it serves as one of the practical yet fun solutions for friends and families to enjoy with one another”, say Lisa and Joel. “When it is not used as objects for play, it doubles as stools and tables for adults and children.”

Designers: Lisa Lai and Joel Wong

Although boulder-like, the Balanco poufs are deceptively light, thanks to the foam inside them. The foam blocks are clad with sheets of felt that are stitched together with exposed edges that create the black lines on the boulders, giving them their chiseled, sharp, edgy appearance. This also allows the individual surfaces to remain relatively flat, so they stack on each other rather beautifully.

When not being used as toy blocks to create odd rocky totems, the individual Balanco stools can be used as seats, poufs, or footrests. Their uneven shape means you can orient them in a multitude of ways and height-adjust them accordingly. Although I don’t entirely endorse this, they’ll probably make for rather realistic-looking pillow fights!

The Balanco Stools are a winner of the A’ Design Award for the year 2022.

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Q&A with CEO & Director of Public Relations Amore Philip

CEO and Director of PR Amore Philip shares her career journey and advice.

1. Tell us a bit about your career path up to now. What was your first job and how did it and/or your other jobs get you to a CEO position today?

I had a paper route. I used to deliver papers at 6am in the morning in the snowy suburbs outside of Buffalo NY where I grew up. I got chased by a dog one morning I dropped all the papers on the street and ran. I got fired for it. According to my supervisor, I should have ran with the papers. 

How did it get me to my CEO position today?

I have worked since I was 12 years old. I took pride in the independence of working for my paycheck. I always said that one day, I wanted to be the one writing the checks. In all the jobs I had, I was always telling my boss how to do things. I always took on a very independent role. My grandfather had a strong work ethic and which he passed to most of his children and grandchildren.

2. What does your typical day-to-day look like?

  • I wake up at 5am in the morning, I read, write in my journal, I spend a few minutes giving gratitude and planning my day
  • 6:30am – I work out with my training 3 days a week
  • 7am, I have breakfast and get ready for the day
  • 8am – I start by checking my emails, and reviewing my planner
  • 9am – I start by researching 
  • 10am – team and project meeting
  • The rest of the day, I am pitching clients, conducting discovery calls, meetings, writing content, writing strategy for events and PR activities.
  • Sometimes my days end at 12am

3. What interests you about the world of public relations? 

I have always loved the whole idea about using PR to influence audiences and people to take a specific action. I find it fascinating how the iconic brands have mastered the PR game and now they own their industries. I love the fast-paced environment and working under the pressure of deadlines that could make or break a campaign.

4. How did your company face any challenges caused by the pandemic? How do you see the PR industry evolving in the next several years? 

During the pandemic, I had to make a lot of changes including downsizing. I lost clients, revenue and even had to leave the office that I was in for six years. However, I will say, that it is one of the best things that happened to my business. It made me look at how I was doing business. I changed the way I did a lot of things. Now, I am changing the direction of the company as well as myself as a CEO and Subject Matter expert. I am now choosing the clients that are a best fit for me based on my company goals and core values.

5. What is your advice for anyone wanting to break into the industry?

My advice is to do as many internships in PR as possible. Get creative, become a source wherever you go. Read about the industry, study the top 100 PR agents, press agents and agencies in the world. Become obsessed with psychographics when planning and writing PR strategy. Study the top PR campaigns that produced great results, as well as the ones that were a bust. Approach all assignments with passion. Be the first one to arrive and the last one to leave. When you take a job, set monthly and yearly goals to climb up the ladder.

6. Anything else you’d like to add:

I plan to leave a legacy in the industry. I am working on that right now.

Amore Philip is the CEO and Director of Public Relations at Apples and Oranges PR.

Interested in a creative gig? We have some open jobs for you!

6 Projects That Present Sustainable Solutions to Everyday Problems

A growing number of Americans are concerned about the climate crisis. In 2020, the Pew Research Center reported that two-thirds of the country supports federal action to protect the environment, but progress has been slow to come. While recent government measures are promising, it can’t hurt to look for greener approaches to our everyday lives in the meantime.

Designers are making this a bit easier by creating environmentally-friendly alternatives to famously wasteful products, like wet wipes and kitchen sponges. Many of our favorite new products do this with post-consumer plastic, energy-conscious manufacturing processes, and sustainable end-of-life practices. Most designers provided smart solutions to pandemic-era health concerns, like the well-known need to maintain clean spaces, or the lesser-known increase in sports-related injuries. These sustainable products also don’t skimp on good-looking design, so consumers will actually want to use and display their wares. Check out some of our favorite eco-friendly entries from this year’s Core77 Design Awards.

NEMO Dagger OSMO™ 2P/3P Tent

The environmental consciousness of this Notable Entry in Sports & Recreation begs the question: why isn’t every tent sustainable? NEMO redesigned their best-selling Dagger tent with OSMO, a revolutionary, 100% post-consumer textile free of PFC and PFAS. It couples its eco-friendliness with roomy, durable, weatherproof design to provide its owners with a reliably comfortable experience in all kinds of environments. This smart, compassionate design allows campers to more fully enjoy the outdoors for considering and addressing the carbon footprint of camping. It’s a perfect example of the first rule of camping: leave the site cleaner than you found it.


Since 2020, a sharp increase in foot injuries has left a lot of people with pains and aches they hadn’t had before. While there are plenty of tools consumers can use to address them, you’re unlikely to find one as earth-friendly as CastleFlexx. This Notable Entry in Sports & Recreation is a stretching tool that helps with pain management and injury prevention, so you can easily soothe and protect aching limbs. It’s antimicrobial, accessible to all levels of physical ability, and made from recyclable aluminum, 100% recycled plastic, and sustainably harvested cork. It’s built to last for decades, but consumers can easily send it back to the manufacturer for recycling.

The L34 Light

While every space needs light to accommodate people, it often takes a great deal of literal and physical energy to do so. Large spaces usually come with large electricity bills—and that’s after the hard labor of light installation. The L34 high-bay light provides a helpful solution to both problems with a compact, lightweight LED fixture that’s easy to install and ship. This Notable Entry in Furniture & Lighting can light up vast areas with a fraction of the energy, and optimized design means it only takes up the space it needs to run. RAB Lighting also builds this high-quality, durable system with 30% of the leftover plastic from their manufacturing process.

The Outlines Shower Liner System

How do you begin to solve a problem like shower liners? More often than not, this plastic product is wasteful, ugly, cheaply made, and a germaphobe’s nightmare that takes no time to end up in a landfill. Thank god then for The Shower Liner System, a revolutionary product by The Outlines that won Core77’s top design awards prize in the Home & Living category. This smart design comes with four components: a machine washable curtain, a recyclable liner made with non-toxic PEVA, steel anchors, and durable hooks built for easy installation.

Biom Wipe Dispenser

Cleaning products like wet wipes became an urgent necessity in 2020, but the rise in sales has had an unfortunate environmental cost. Billions of wipes end up in landfills every year, and they can take up to a century to decompose. Biom is doing their part to help by creating wet wipes with plant products instead of plastic, and they made a durable, great-looking container to hold them. This reusable dispenser was a Notable Entry in our Home & Living category, and it’s a great choice for consumers looking to keep their homes clean without harming the environment.

Spongik eco kitchen sponge set

While sponges are essential to any clean kitchen, they cause a large amount of environmental strain. 50 billion kitchen sponges end up in landfills every year, and most will take 52,000 years to biodegrade. And though there’s been a growth in environmentally friendly cleaning products on the market, few are actually efficient. Spongik created a welcome alternative with an eco-kitchen sponge set that’s sustainable, high-quality, and aesthetically pleasing. It was a Notable Entry in our Home & Living category for a sleek, conscientious design we’d be proud to display in our kitchens.

Each project featured above was selected as an honoree in the 2022 Core77 Design Awards. You can check out all of the 2022 winners now on the Core77 Design Awards website!

LG unveils world first bendable OLED TV with 20 curved level settings for personalize viewing experience

Curved screen displays have been in trend for the last couple of years, and now we are looking up the horizon for the next big move. LG has just announced a cool OLED TV that is capable of bending on demand to morph into a curved display. This announcement comes on the back of Corsair showing off its 45-inch bendable gaming monitor at Gamescom just a few days ago.

Dubbed the LG OLED Flex – a.k.a LX3 model – it is touted to be the first bendable OLED TV on the market. The 42-inch display is targeted at gamers and professionals who demand the next level of immersion, and also want the flexibility to have a normal flat screen TV. The transition between the two modes happens seamlessly with remote control.

Designer: LG

Even better the display can be set anywhere between the twenty levels of curvature. That means, the bendable feature is fully customizable to a maximum of 900R curve. I can think of scenarios where the screen bend can be toggled for strategy, FPS or racing games for maximum gaming prowess.

The 4K display comes with a 0.1 millisecond response time, 120Hz refresh rate, Dolby Vision, HDMI 2.1, ALLM (auto low latency mode) and support for VRR (variable refresh rate). This display is also G-SYNC compatible and AMD FreeSync Premium certified for a smooth viewing experience. Thus, making it ideal for pairing with the latest gaming consoles like Xbox Series X or PS5.

Another feature that’s very useful is the anti-reflective coating for minimum distraction in a bright environment. The stand on the display is height adjustable – 10 degrees towards or 5 degrees away from the gamer, and tilt adjustable – up and down by 140 millimeters. It also gets dual front-firing speakers for ultra-premium immersive sound output. Therefore, it can be used for other purposes like video editing or binge watching too.

There’s no word on the pricing or availability of this amazing display yet, but it should be positioned competitively to capture the chunk of geeky buyers. As per LG, the Flex bendable display is going to be on display at the IFA 2022 in Germany this week, so better keep an eye!

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International Council of Museums Finalizes New Definition of “Museum”

After a vote at their 26th general conference this August, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) has refreshed their definition of the term “museum,” that they previously established in the 1970s. The updated definition—which now incorporates the terms diversity, sustainability and accessibility—was finalized after 18 months of commentary and four rounds of consultation. 487 members were in agreement, while 23 voted against it and 17 abstained. ICOM’s president, Alberto Garlandi, notes that it’s a “great step forward,” though recognizes that it’s not perfect. Read the complete definition at Artforum.

Image courtesy of Musée d’Orsay

The Tricuro Go: A Smartphone-Attached Device that Measures Back Problems

Designed for fitness coaches and personal trainers, the Tricuro Go is a spine-measuring device that attaches to an Android or iOS smartphone.

Two integrated wheels are rolled along the patient’s spine as they adopt different positions. The companion app then provides a visual and numerical representation of their spine, illustrating postural deficiencies that the trainer is then meant to target.

The device, which is sold in Switzerland and Germany, costs 665 Swiss Francs (USD $684), and at press time the app was only available in German.

Vieux Farka Touré and Khruangbin: Tongo Barra

To honor the late Ali Farka Touré, the internationally celebrated Malian singer and virtuoso guitarist, Ali’s son Vieux Farka Touré partnered with pioneering music trio Khruangbin on a collaborative EP appropriately entitled Ali (out 23 September). An homage to the desert blues—the genre his father pioneered—the album features eight tracks, including the riveting “Tongo Barra,” a refreshing, referential jam.

This beautiful Japanese timber home is split in two with a peaceful central courtyard

Architectural firm KKAA YTAA recently completed the ‘House in Front of a School’ or ‘House in Gakuenmae’ in Nara, Japan. The beautiful dwelling features a central courtyard, which is the star attraction of the home! What makes the interesting courtyard even more interesting, though, is the timber bridge that runs through it, connecting the two split portions of the home.

Designer: KKAA YTAA

The client was a young couple who worked from home and was looking for a home that reflects and accommodates their unique lifestyle. They wanted a home that was compact and space-efficient while providing adequate space for two remote workers. An inherent connection to nature was also important for them. However, the most unique factor of the home is the fact that it is split into two portions, with the majority of the rooms overlooking the courtyard.

“It is a quiet place with few pedestrians and cars, but it is an environment that feels a little lacking in a sense of life,” said the studio. “We decided to divide the building into two to create a blank space. No matter where you are in the house, you can feel the light, wind, and greenery close to you by opening up to this margin.” the studio concluded.

One portion of the home is elevated on timber stilts and features an open-plan concept with a living area and a kitchen. The stilts were added in an attempt to protect the home from floods. The area beneath the raised section functions as a handy garage. The timber bridge connects the elevated wing to the other half of the home. The bridge has been amped with adjustable walls, which can transform the bridge into an enclosed walkway or a deck when required.

“We aimed for a presence that can be said to be both the outside and the inside,” said the studio. “By opening and closing the walls, the bridge can adopt different forms, such as an external space where the sky and wind can escape, an internal space as a connecting corridor, and a semi-outdoor space like a porch that is connected to nature.”

“By inserting a blank space between these two buildings, we hope that nature and the city will be indirectly connected and that it will lead to an increase in the open scenery in this quiet residential area,” said the studio.

The House in Gakuenmae is a stunning open space with exposed interiors and can be considered the epitome of indoor-outdoor living. Minimal wooden furniture and Japanese aesthetics further create a peaceful and zen living space.

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