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Design

Invitation Introductions: Meet Our Tandem Bike Wedding Stationery

March 8, 2017

Save the Date - Tandem Bike Art - UncommonGoods

We know planning a wedding can feel both sweet and stressful, but we’re here to help you put the focus on the former. The invitations you choose are like a little preview of the big day, so finding just the right style, colors, design, etc., can be a bit overwhelming. That’s why we’re so excited to announce our collaboration with the absolute wedding invitation experts: Crane Stationery.

As a result of joining forces with Crane, our product development team has made five complete wedding suites available to our customers, each with a distinct aesthetic and production details that make them extra special. Follow along on the blog as we introduce you to each of these suites, and find the design that’s a perfect match for your own uncommon nuptials.

Tandem Bike Wedding Invitations - UncommonGoods

First up? The Tandem Bike Wedding Stationery. It features a whimsical, low-key design that’ll be a hit for hipsters, athletic-types, or anyone who wants a fun, carefree feel on their special day.

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Design

The Couch Bowl: Taking Comfort Food to the Next Level

February 15, 2017

A background in engineering helps product designer Thomas Both visualize forms in space and think critically when contemplating his prototypes. It also leads him to ask some important questions: What’s the geometry at work? How might I build this? What’s the negative of that shape? What would that connection look like?

Sure, those are things an engineer would definitely ask when building a complex machine, but how does that influence something as seemingly uncomplicated as snacking? Well, when you think about it, snacking isn’t always that simple. We’ve all been there: balancing an overflowing dish and squirming around trying to get the blanket just right, while simultaneously looking for a video to stream and hoping that you’re not about to start a cheese puff avalanche. (You know that if one puff rolls off Snack Mountain, many more are sure to follow.) In this case, figuring out how to simplify the process of holding a dish, getting comfortable, and delivering that oh-so-tasty food to your face is actually a design problem. A problem that Thomas solved with the Couch Bowl.

Thomas Both

“The point of view is that almost all dishware (particularly in Western society) is designed to be used sitting at a dining table, yet often we don’t eat at a dining table,” Thomas explained. “We stand at a cocktail party, or sit in the living room, or lean against the counter in the kitchen–but we are using the stuff made for table dining. So what if we could create dishware designed for eating without a table?”

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Design, Maker Stories

Physics and Poetry Meet with the Beating Heart in a Bottle

January 17, 2017

Leave it to the French to make physics seem…romantic. Artist Philippe Bouveret truly marries science and poetry in our Beating Heart in a Bottle Sculpture: two halves of a heart joining together again and again in a rhythm much like the beating of our own hearts. Thanks to the power of capillary action, the piece is almost like a living work of art.

Never lacking in inventiveness and always eager to experiment, Philippe spent years (from the ages 13-18) building a real, 6m long boat. Eventually, after getting a technical degree, he traded his plans of becoming a naval architect for more artistic endeavors: assisting in the construction of Jean Tinguely’s Cyclops, an enormous moving sculpture tucked away deep in the forest, creating massive pendulums and fountains, and crafting “hidden tableaus that reveal unexpected objects simply by placing an aspirin tablet in a provided slot. Much of the work Philippe has created, either on his own or in collaboration with other artists, engages the viewer in a game of sorts. Now, you can find him continuing to follow his playful sensibilities, working in his “laboratory-studio,” as he calls it, “accidentally making little discoveries that arouse [his] curiosity.”

Acclaimed art collector and museum director Pontus Hultén describes Philippe’s work as containing “an intriguing element, like a happy secret, an awareness of something that leads on much further, towards infinity.” We’re pleased to share the happy secret of the Beating Heart in a Bottle with you–it’s one of our very first international products that’s exclusive in the USA to only our customers.

Another (not-so) happy secret? Few of us here speak French. And so communicating with Philippe necessitated a bit of extra je ne sais quoi. See? I don’t even think I used that right. Fortunately, Philippe’s son Grimaud stepped in to help with an interview and ensured that nothing got too lost in translation. (Merci beaucoup, Grimaud!) Read on to learn more about Philippe’s inspirations and obsessions, as well as what he hopes for everyone who receives a Beating Heart in a Bottle.

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Design

Bringing Home the Baseball Beanie

November 14, 2016

Editor’s Note: Our first Kickstarter project was a major league success! Tokens & Icons, a long valued partner of UncommonGoods, brought it all home with their amazing MLB Game Used Baseball Beanies. Baseball fans couldn’t wait to get their mitts on the beanies, and our goal was reached in just one day! Though the campaign has ended, you can still rep your favorite team and get a beanie of your own. Read on and watch our video to learn more.

About the Project

Back in 1969 when the New York Mets won the World Series, UncommonGoods founder Dave Bolotsky, then six years old, got a cherished jacket from the underdog team. He’s loved his home team and the sport itself ever since. There’s nothing else quite like the nostalgic feeling sports memorabilia creates—a feeling that goes way beyond their materials.

A baseball story of a different stripe, this handcrafted beanie from Tokens & Icons and UncommonGoods is knit from three continuous wool yarn strands found inside MLB authenticated, game-used baseballs.

Baseball Beanie - UncommonGoods

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Design, The Uncommon Life

Home Run Beer Pong:
A Design Double Header

October 10, 2016

Home Run Beer Pong

 

Ah, two of America’s greatest pastimes: playing baseball and crushin’ brewskis. Our ever-innovative product development team had the genius idea to combine them in our latest original product: Home Run Beer Pong. When our team is working on something new for our assortment, they typically need some guinea pigs to test it out – and lucky for us on the blog squad, people to document the process! I’ll admit, I’m no sports expert. But since I have played a fair amount of beer pong in my day, I figured I was qualified enough to tackle the reporting of this product-testing event while Cassie, our blog editor, handled the photos.

Allow me to set the scene for you. It all went down in Conference Room A-2 – the table free of it’s usual keyboards and mouse pads, instead replaced with a mini paper baseball diamond (the real game has a board, not just a sheet of paper – remember we were product testing). Our single can of Canada Dry was cracked and ready, and our two opposing teams were eager to show off their baseball playing, soda slugging skills. Another disclaimer: the real game is meant to be played with beer, obviously, but we were playing at 11 AM on a Thursday and we only had the conference room booked for an hour, so we kept it low-key. But, you’re free to chug ginger ale instead if that’s what you’re into.

From left: Team Ken (Red Team), Team Craig and Jackie (Blue Team)

Let’s meet the players. We had many statistical minds on the field/conference table, including two whole Kens! Ken “The Elder” is our Data Scientist, and Ken “The Younger” (also known as “Yung Ken” in some underground rap circles) is our Jr. Data Scientist. They obviously formed a team. Team Ken. AKA the Red Team. Next up is Craig, our Data Analyst, and Jackie, our PR Intern who did double duty slugging it out and documenting the process on the UGoods Insta. Craig and Jackie don’t have the same name (bummer) but still made a fine Blue Team.

After a brief review of the rules from the brains behind it all, Senior Product Developer Tiffany, the game commenced.

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Design

Introducing JCK Design Challenge Winning Designs

September 23, 2016

Back in February we partnered with JCK Events for their 2016 jewelry showcase in Tucson, Arizona. We sponsored a design challenge that pitted the most talented jewelers against one another (in a friendly competition, of course). Our mission was to highlight and honor those designers who think outside the box, use unique materials, and demonstrate amazing craftsmanship.

Rough Pink Tourmaline Stone Ring | UncommonGoods

Rough Pink Tourmaline Stone Ring by John Bekarian – Also available in Rough Emerald

After careful deliberation by the judges, John Bekarian’s Rough Stone Rings were the chosen winners.

Our Jewelry Buyer Sharon Hitchcock commented. “John’s ring design is gorgeous in its simplicity. It features a lovely stone, surrounded by precious metal. It is symbolic of keeping the one you love close to your heart. We are excited to carry this piece in the UncommonGoods jewelry assortment.”

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Design

The Aurora Light: A Brilliant Addition to our Assortment

September 12, 2016

 

Aurora Light Blue Office

Photo courtesy of Nanoleaf

If you search for the definition of “aurora,” you’ll see it described simply as “a natural electrical phenomenon.” A bit of historical research will find you Aurora with a capital “A,” a glowing, celestial goddess from ancient Roman mythology who announces the sun’s arrival each morning. You’re also likely to call up images of the aurora borealis (commonly known as the Northern Lights), a stunning natural wonder that some people spend their whole lives hoping to see.

When you get your first glance at a set of the Aurora Smart Lighting Panels, a shining newcomer to our assortment, its name seems exceedingly appropriate. It’s an ecodesign enthusiast’s dream, in that it’s both highly efficient and really nice to look at. It’s like a mini Northern Lights right up on your wall. It’s versatile, too. You can use it as an aesthetically pleasing alternative to an alarm clock, programming a soft glow to greet you in the morning a la Aurora the goddess. Or, once night-time hits, you can dance till dawn using the Aurora for ambiance. Just click onto your saved Party Time setting and you’re good to go.

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Design

Shirt Tales: Personal Shirt and Message Pillow Stories

August 1, 2016

Most of us have an old shirt in the back of a drawer that we just can’t bear to get rid of. Maybe it doesn’t fit quite right anymore, or maybe it just doesn’t work with your current wardrobe, but throwing it out or even donating it just doesn’t feel like an option. Maybe that shirt is from an unforgettable concert or a big game. Maybe it’s from a special day, like that tuxedo shirt from your wedding that means a lot, but will probably never be worn again. Or maybe it’s a shirt that was passed on to you by someone special. Just because you don’t wear it anymore doesn’t mean you can’t show it off. Turn it into a Personal Shirt and Message Pillow to give your old shirt a new use.

A few folks on our team had t-shirts with sentimental value, and now they have brand new pillows stuffed with memories (and synthetic, goose-friendly down).

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