The Ultimate Guide to Milan Design Week (Especially if it’s your first time)

The Ultimate Guide to Milan Design Week especially if its your first time | Image features La Refuge daybed by Mark Ange | Lexus Design Award 2017

I’m delighted to inform you that this post was sponsored by Lexus International who flew me to Milan Design Week to attend the Lexus Design Award, and that all opinions in this Ultimate Guide to Milan Design Week are my own.

Is it your first time to Milan Design Week? Or, are you planning to visit Milan because it’s on your travel bucket list? Then you’ll want to bookmark this post (or pin it on Pinterest!) to come back to later, so that you too can get the most out of your trip to Milan during Design Week,  a festival at the epicentre of the world’s design industry, where fresh new ideas from both seasoned and up-and-coming designers are revealed to the world every year in April. Even if you’ve been to Milano for design week before, you might still find some great tips here that you’ve never heard of, to save for the next time you visit.

In early April 2017, I was lucky enough to have the chance to fly to Milan Design Week for the very first time. From this incredible opportunity, I was inspired to write and share my Ultimate Guide to Milan Design Week filled with useful travel tips and festival advice, so that other design lovers can plan an incredible trip to Milan, just like I did.

Here’s a list of 14 things you should do to have the best time in Milan:

1. Wear comfortable flat shoes

Milan is an incredibly walkable city that is mostly flat terrain and it’s just as well, since you’ll be doing an unprecedented amount of walking during your entire time at Milan Design Week. Each of the key design districts have hundreds of exhibitions, open studios and installations to explore, and the best way to see everything is by foot. Of course, Milan has a reliable and well-connected subway, bus and tram system that makes it easy to travel between design districts, but since there is so much to see in each district, the only way to explore is by pounding the pavement.

If I was only able to share one tip for first-time visitors to Milan Design Week , this would be my top piece of advice. If you arrive with just one pair of shoes in your suitcase  – make sure they are the most comfortable pair of shoes you have ever owned. For me, I brought both my favourite mushroom-coloured flat suede boots that could take me seamlessly from daytime photo hunting adventures to night-time parties, and also my Nike Flyknits for a more casual, sporty look on the weekend.

Instagram-worthy #fromwhereIstand and #Ihavethisthingwithfloors opportunities abound in Milan | The Ultimate Guide to Milan Design Week | Lexus Design Award 2017

Even though I was wearing the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever owned, I did so much walking during Milan Design Week that I got blisters on my feet in the strangest of places. And, if you visit the Salone Del Mobile furniture trade show, there are around 14 pavilions with more than 1,100 exhibitors to see – so I’m not kidding when I tell you to bring along your fitness tracker just  for the sheer satisfaction of clocking up a week’s worth of steps in just one day. (Besides, you’ll appreciate all the walking as it will help keep off the weight from the inevitable pizza and pasta carb overload – you’re in Italy, embrace it!)

If you already arrived in Milan and didn’t bring sensible shoes, though, don’t worry. There are plenty of sports shoe boutiques along Via Torino (“Via” means “Street” by the way) if you need to purchase a sexy pair of the latest sneaker designs from Adidas, Nike or Geox, so you can blend in with the locals. Or, if Italian leather is more your thing, you can try along Corso di Porta Ticinese for some sweet little leather boutiques that sell flat boots along with handbags in all colours of the rainbow.

Besides walking, if cycling is your thing, Milan also has a great bicycle sharing system, called BikeMi with stations situated all around the city. But, you’ll probably need your comfortable flat shoes for that, as well, so my advice stands.

BikeMi bicycle sharing station outside the La Triennale di Milano | The Ultimate Guide to Milan Design Week | Lexus Design Award 2017

2. Add the Lexus Design Award / Lexus Design Event to your itinerary

If we are going to talk about must-see events to add to your design week itinerary, it’s worth putting the Lexus Design Award and Event right up there at the top of the list. Lexus has had a presence at Milan Design Week for the past ten years, but over the 5 years since their inaugural design competition was launched, the ideas and concepts that have been unearthed and unveiled by the Lexus Design Award in Milan have taken the design (and popular culture) world by storm. If you want a peek into the future to see what fresh ideas are being concocted by some of the world’s most inspiring new design talents –  this is the exhibition to attend. Not only that, but the entire Lexus Design Event is designed to excite and inspire with collaborations between notable design leaders. In 2017, Lexus collaborated with Professor Neri Oxman of the Mediated Matter Group at MIT to create the YET exhibition, that explored the unique technology of 3D printed glass and filled a vast hall in the La Triennale di Milano with pulsating light. Learn more here.

Glass is thought to be invented over 4,000 years ago in Mesopotamia and over the years we've found many ways to shape it. Neri Oxman and the Mediated Matter Group at MIT asked 'How can we create a new technology that controls both the interior and exterior textures, not just the exterior of a form?' Over 24 months they've worked to create 3D glass printing technology that can achieve this. The Ultimate Guide to Milan Design Week | Lexus Design Award 2017

Created by Neri Oxman and the Mediated Matter Group, the glass installation exhibition at the Lexus Design Event multidimensional and immersive 3D-glass printed space inspired by Lexus YET philosophy allows visitors to experience seemingly contrasting elements: ancient YET modern, a wave YET particle, being grounded YET suspended by light. Neri Oxman is pictured with Yoshihiro Sawa, President of Lexus International.

Lexus judges chose PIXEL - a configuration of visors that alternate their appearance in tandem with the viewer's movements and perspective - as the Grand Prix winner due to it's imaginative exploration of two seemingly contrasting elements: Light and Shadow. This idea would have many applications, from architectural facades, privacy screens in the home and office, theatre sets, exhibitions etc. and could be scaled up or down and fabricated from a wide range of materials such as cardboard, sheet metal or ceramic. Seemingly simple but flawless in execution. PIXEL | Designer: Hiroto Yoshizoe | Mentored by Snarkitecture | Lexus Design Award 2017 | Milan Design Week | La Triennale di Milano | Awesome Products #product_design | The Ultimate Guide to Milan Design Week

If you like image galleries, you can check out the rest of my photos of the 2017 Lexus Design Event in Milan here.

3. Buy your tickets to the Salone Del Mobile online in advance

If you arrange to buy a 3-day or 6-day pass to the Salone Del Mobile online in advance, you will also receive a rail pass for the week included in your ticket. This rail pass is valid for travelling around Milan city and out to the Rho Fiera fairgrounds on the subway, trains and trams, for the entire duration of the design festival, and is very easy to redeem. You simply take the transport code that is written on your Salone ticket, and enter that code into any electronic ticket machine (located at every subway station), and the machine will spit out a special Salone transport ticket for you. It’s really that easy, and if you make sure to redeem it on the Monday morning, it means that you won’t be lining up for ages at the ticket booth every time you need to buy a 24- or 48-hour ticket. Just note though, that unless you have some sort of professional business at the Salone, you probably don’t need any more than 3 days out there. In fact, some designers I know try to cram in visiting a few pavilions with notable design exhibitors into just one day, and then entirely skip the rest, simply because it is just so overwhelming. However, if you buy just the one-day ticket to the fair, you don’t receive the multi-day discount of the multi-day pass nor do you receive a weekly transport pass (which is definitely one of the perks). Also, I have been told that another great way to plan your days in Milan is to spend the mornings out at the fair in Rho Fiera, and then make your way back into Milan city for the afternoon atmosphere and evening soirées. You can purchase your ticket here.

Gufram ventures on a radical space mission at Wallpaper* Holy Handmade! exhibition in Brera Design District, Milano Design Week 2017 | The Ultimate Guide to Milan Design Week

4. Take the Malpensa Express train to and from the airport

Speaking of rail, don’t get a taxi from the Malpensa airport to Milan but instead take the Malpensa Express train to and from the airport. It’s very easy to buy the special airport train ticket for just 13 Euros (one way), and hop on the Malpensa Express that takes just 40 mins to get from the airport to the city.  I was thankfully given this advice before I left on my trip, and potentially saved more than 200 Euros (return) by not taking a taxi cab. That was 200 Euros which was happily spent on other things, namely a couple of sexy Italian leather jackets at the Saturday markets in Bologna (a story for another day).

Italian leather jacket outlet from the Saturday markets in Bologna | The Ultimate Guide to Milan Design Week | Lexus Design Award 2017

5. It’s not just about the furniture fair

Before I came to Design Week for the first time in 2017, I assumed that Milan was all about the Salone Del Mobile furniture trade fair, and that was it. But, after experiencing Milan Design Week for myself, I can honestly tell you that it’s not just about the furniture fair. While the Salone Del Mobile is where it all started back in 1961 as a vehicle for promoting Italian furniture exports, over time, Milan Design Week has evolved into a multi-sensory festival that mushrooms up across almost the entire city, with 160,000+ people flying in from all corners of the globe to exhibit and experience it. You don’t even need to go to the Salone Del Mobile if you don’t want to, since there is an abundance of free exhibitions, open showrooms and events going on everywhere during the week. Having said which. most design lovers will still want to check out the fair, since it’s the furniture and home wares event of the year that heavily influences multidisciplinary design trends for the following year to come.

COS x Studio Swine installation at Cinema Arti during Milan Design Week 2017 drew inspiration from sakura (cherry blossom) season in Japan. The installation featured a giant tree that blew smoke-filled bubbles that were able to be caught if wearing the textured black gloves provided. "Bubbles, bubbles, everywhere!" Winner of the Milan Design Award for 2017, this giant tree by COS x Studio Swine blew out perfumed bubbles that you could play with before they disappeared in a puff of vapour. Truly interactive and mesmerising- I could have spent hours in here. The Ultimate Guide to Milan Design Week

COS x Studio Swine installation at Cinema Arti during Milan Design Week 2017 drew inspiration from sakura (cherry blossom) season in Japan. The installation featured a giant tree that blew smoke-filled bubbles that were able to be caught if wearing the textured black gloves provided. "Bubbles, bubbles, everywhere!" Winner of the Milan Design Award for 2017, this giant tree by COS x Studio Swine blew out perfumed bubbles that you could play with before they disappeared in a puff of vapour. Truly interactive and mesmerising- I could have spent hours in here. The Ultimate Guide to Milan Design Week

6. You won’t be able to see everything

Milan Design Week is a place where people who are prone to feelings of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) will experience major flare-ups. There is simply SO much to take in and visit, that it actually isn’t humanly possible to see everything there is to see during the festival. You won’t be able to see everything. Acknowledge that fact, accept it, make peace with it, and don’t try to fight it. Instead, plan your days around a few events or exhibitions in certain districts that you don’t want to miss, and then go with the flow for everything in between – because spontaneity allows space for serendipity and the delight of discovery.

Cheeky Seletti rug at the Wallpaper* mag Toilet Paper Bar at Milan Design Week 2017 | The Ultimate Guide to Milan Design Week

Melissa FEM.IN.INE collective at Brera Design District | Milan Design Week 2017 | The Ultimate Guide to Milan Design Week

7. Know the must-follow accounts on Instagram

In order to stay in the loop about which key events, exhibitions, and objects of interest are worth lining up for, these are the must-follow accounts on Instagram. I would highly recommend turning on post notifications on for all the following accounts for the entire duration of Milan Design Week.

  1. Lexus Design Award @lexusdesignaward | Sharing designers, mentors and judges with innovative, unexpected ideas in the lead up to Milan Design Week each year.
  2. Fuorisalone @fuorisalone | The official online guide to Milan Design Week.
  3. Salone Del Mobile Milano @isaloniofficial | Provides live daily coverage of the Milan furniture fair at Rho Fiera and hosts popular design influencers for guest takeovers of their Instagram account.
  4. Milan Design Week @milan.design.week | Designboom guides you through the best of the world’s biggest design show.
  5. Brera Design District @breradesigndistrict | Promotes design excellence centred in the vibrant district of Brera in Milan.
  6. La Triennale di Milano @latriennale | An international institution organising exhibitions and conferences about arts, design, architecture, fashion and cinema since 1923. The La Triennale was the location for many notable exhibitions during the 2017 Milan Design Week, including the Lexus YET Design Event.
  7. Wallpaper* @wallpapermag | The world’s global design authority shares noteworthy objects and designs from the entire festival.
  8. Tortona Design Week @tortonadesignweek | Featuring the best of exhibitions in the Tortona design district (along Via Tortona and surrounding streets).
  9. 5vie @5vie_milano | The new art and design district in the old town centre of Milan.
  10. Inhabitat Design Live @inhabitatlive | Features live design coverage from architecture and design events around the globe.
  11. Archiproducts @archiproducts | The most powerful search engine for architecture and design products – and it’s also worth following @archiproducts_milano which is located in Via Tortona 31 in Milan, too, and just launched this year.
  12. Jessica Lea Dunn @jessdunnthis | If you were following me, you would have also been treated to live daily updates of awesome design, direct from the streets of Milan! 🙂

In addition to these 12 accounts above – don’t forget to check back on the following hashtags regularly to see what’s trending:

#milandesignweek #mdw #milandesignweek2017 #mdw2017 #fuorisalone #salonedelmobile #IgersAllaDesignWeek #LexusDesignAward #LexusDesignEvent

Australian Design spotting at 5vie Milano Local Design exhibition - here is Melbourne-based ACV Studio whose minimalist brass vases were some of the most-pinned products on Pinterest in 2016. Ultimate Guide to Milan Design Week

8. Download the Fuorisalone app

Downloading the Fuorisalone app will make it much easier to plan your daily adventures in Milan. Since it connects to your maps app, it will help you to visualize the city layout in order to locate each of the design districts, of which there are 8 main ones including the Brera Design District, Durini Monforte San Babila, Porta Venezia in Design, San Gregorio Docet, Tortona Design Week, Ventura Lambrate, Zona Sant’Ambrogio, and 5 Vie Art + Design.  The only downside is that you have to be connected to mobile data for it to update on the go (which is especially useful when you are out on the street deciding where to go next). However, it’s easy and cheap enough to get a local Italian SIM card to solve the connectivity dilemma (more on that below). Fuorisalone also publish a free guide book and map that you can pick up at restaurants and exhibitions around the city, if you prefer to make plans on paper, and carry a physical map.

A floral extravaganza covering the exterior of architecture studio Piuarch's headquarters in Brera Design District, 'Flowerprint' forms an impromptu garden from the building's roof to ground floor. The Ultimate First-Timer's Guide to Milan Design Week | Fuorisalone Milano

A floral extravaganza covering the exterior of architecture studio Piuarch's headquarters in Brera Design District, 'Flowerprint' forms an impromptu garden from the building's roof to ground floor. The Ultimate First-Timer's Guide to Milan Design Week | Fuorisalone Milano

A floral extravaganza covering the exterior of architecture studio Piuarch's headquarters in Brera Design District, 'Flowerprint' forms an impromptu garden from the building's roof to ground floor. The Ultimate First-Timer's Guide to Milan Design Week | Fuorisalone Milano

9. Get a local Italian SIM card

At Milan Design Week, especially if you are travelling alone, you want to be connected! Not only to see what is going on in the city every day, and to get around the city without getting (too) lost, but also share what you are discovering, in order to contribute to the buzzing social conversation. On my first day in Milan, while connected to the Wifi at my AirBNB, I simply searched for Vodafone stores in Milan using Google maps, and went straight there to get my SIM card set up. It was 30 Euros for 6 GB of data, on a prepaid card with no strings attached, and well worth it – considering I needed to be constantly connected for the duration of the festival. All they need to initiate set up is your passport or another form of identification. Apparently, another option for buying a local SIM card in Italy is local provider TIM, but since there was a Vodafone store with English speaking staff closest to where I was staying, I decided to go with them.

Nendo : Invisible Outlines exhibition | Milan Design Week 2017 | The Ultimate Guide to Milano Design Week

Nendo : Invisible Outlines exhibition | Milan Design Week 2017 | The Ultimate Guide to Milano Design Week

Nendo : Invisible Outlines exhibition | Milan Design Week 2017 | The Ultimate Guide to Milano Design Week

Nendo : Invisible Outlines exhibition | Milan Design Week 2017 | The Ultimate Guide to Milano Design Week

10. Arrive 3-4 days before Milan Design Week starts

Although the Salone officially takes place from a Tuesday to a Sunday in April each year, the Design Week already starts on the Monday beforehand with a lot of not to-be-missed events and parties. For example, the Lexus Design Award judging and Lexus Design Event launch was held on the Monday before being officially open to the public on the following day. But it’s definitely a great idea to arrive in Milan well beforehand in order to shake off the jetlag, form a mental map of the city, and get to see the popular tourist attractions before most other tourists arrive (usually by the Sunday evening). These notable tourist attractions include the incredible Duomo di Milano which is a cathedral made from marble that took six centuries to build, the spectacular Galleria Vittorio Emanuele mall, the Sforza Castle (medieval history right in the middle of the city!), the neon-lit Santa Maria Annunciata church in Chisea Rossa by late artist Dan Flavin and Leonardo DaVinci’s The Last Supper Painting on the wall of the Santa Maria delle Grazie.

Other notable attractions of interest to design lovers would be the Studio Museo Achille Castiglioni (Piazza Castello, 27), The Orto Botanico di Brera botanical garden (Via Brera, 28), Fondazione Prada (Largo Isarco 2), Museo Vigna di Leonardo (Corso Magenta 65), and the Leonardo da Vinci Museum of Science which would all be worth adding a few extra days onto the itinerary to explore.

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a covered double arcade formed of two glass-vaulted arcades at right angles intersecting in an octagon; it is prominently sited on the northern side of the Piazza del Duomo in Milan, and connects to the Piazza della Scala. Named after Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of united Italy, it was originally designed in 1861 and built by Giuseppe Mengoni between 1865 and 1877. The Ultimate Guide to Milan Design Week (especially if it's your first time).

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a covered double arcade formed of two glass-vaulted arcades at right angles intersecting in an octagon; it is prominently sited on the northern side of the Piazza del Duomo in Milan, and connects to the Piazza della Scala. Named after Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of united Italy, it was originally designed in 1861 and built by Giuseppe Mengoni between 1865 and 1877. The Ultimate Guide to Milan Design Week (especially if it's your first time).

The rainbow-lit Santa Maria Annunciata church in Chisea Rossa by late artist Dan Flavin | Image Credit: Bobby Solomon of The Fox is Black | The Ultimate Guide to Milan Design Week

Image credit: Dan Flavin at the Santa Maria Annunciata church in Chisea Rossa by Bobby Solomon | The Fox is Black

11. Book your ticket to The Last Supper well in advance

While we are on the topic of tourists attractions, some of the most popular sights sell out very quickly and you can’t just get a ticket on the day. If you know you are going to Milan, and you want to see Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper painting, then you need to  book your ticket online at least a month in advance (if not more). Ideally, as soon as you have booked your flights, you should book these tickets too. I bought mine here.

Leonardo DaVinci's The Last Supper Painting on the wall of the Santa Maria delle Grazie | The Ultimate Guide to Milan Design Week

12. Visit the Duomo in the early morning

The breathtaking Duomo cathedral is one of the must-see tourist attractions in the centre of Milan. However, the lines can get notoriously long and you won’t want to be wasting hours of your life in a queue. The best tip I can offer is to get to the Duomo ticketing office at 8.30am or even before and buy a ticket for both inside and the rooftop (both are well worth seeing for the architectural appreciation).  The Duomo rooftop doesn’t open until 9am but they will let you inside to view the cathedral before that. Another thing – definitely do pay the extra price for the lift ticket, not the stairs. I took the stairs, thinking I would enjoy the ascent, but completely regretted my choice. It was a dark stairwell with nothing exciting to see until reaching the rooftop entrance anyway. Seriously, pay the extra and take the lift. You’ll thank me later. Unless of course, you are trying to work off last night’s pizza and pasta extravaganza, in which case, you might appreciate the cardio.

Duomo di Milano took nearly six centuries to complete 1386-1965 | The Ultimate Guide to Milan Design Week | Lexus Design Award 2017

Duomo di Milano took nearly six centuries to complete 1386-1965 | The Ultimate Guide to Milan Design Week | Lexus Design Award 2017

Duomo di Milano took nearly six centuries to complete 1386-1965 | The Ultimate Guide to Milan Design Week | Lexus Design Award 2017

Duomo di Milano took nearly six centuries to complete 1386-1965 | The Ultimate Guide to Milan Design Week | Lexus Design Award 2017

13. Be prepared for both hot and cold weather

Italy in spring is divine (of course, I’ve never been at any other time, so I have nothing to compare it to) but the days are long, the air is fresh and crisp, and the flower blossoms are out in abundance. During the day, it can get so warm that you will be down to jeans and a light t-shirt (and needing a decent sun hat!) however during the evening the temperature can drop so quickly that you’ll be shivering in your boots if you’ve been out all day (which you will have been) without suitable attire. The best solution, is to adopt the Milanese uniform of tight pants or jeans, with various layers of shirts on the top (including a long sleeved wool under layer), topping it off with a cropped leather jacket, and a scarf. Like an onion, the layers peel off during the day, only to be stacked up again at night.

Milan spring street fashion | Italian Leather jacket | The Ultimate Guide to Milan Design Week

Milano Italy in the spring time | Parco Sempione in Milan | The Ultimate Guide to Milan Design Week

Dreamy garden swing design - a fun little spring courtyard in Via Tortona Design District | The Ultimate Guide to Milan Design Week

14. Stay in Italy after the festival

Milan Design Week is so exhilarating and intense that I highly recommend staying in Italy for a few days after the festival in order to take some time out to relax and visit surrounding districts such as Lake Como or Bologna city.

I had the most amazing day exploring the winding streets and piazza’s of Bologna with my friend Elisa and the food is certainly exceptional in that region (don’t forget to try the traditional bolognaise sauce!), as is the architecture, the cultural history, and the down-to-earth warmth of the people. It’s actually incredibly easy to book the fast train to Bologna (or any other Italian city) online if you know where to get them from – which is from Italo Treno.

Spend a day or more in Bologna - you won't regret it. The food is certainly exceptional in that region (try the traditional spaghetti bolognaise!), as is the architecture, the cultural history, and the down-to-earth warmth of the people. It's actually incredibly easy to book the fast train to Bologna (or any other Italian city) online if you know where to get them from - which is from Italo Treno.

Another friend Georgina travelled to Lake Como after her time in Milan, and you can see how breathtaking the views were from her photo  below – it honestly look like the best place to take some time out to recuperate after the “design high” that is the whole Milan Design Week experience.

Sketching at Varenna, on the edge of Lake Como by Georgina Kreutzer | The Ultimate Guide to Milan Design Week

Image credit: Sketching at Varenna, on the edge of Lake Como by Georgina Kreutzer

And that’s a wrap! I sincerely hope you got some value from my Ultimate Guide to Milan Design Week and that when you go, you also have an incredible time in Milan!

I want to extend a very special thank you to Berto Pandolfo, Illaria Vanni,  Dorte Bell, Justine Smith, Duc Pham, Mathew Fagan, Claire & Michael Martin, Elisa De Pasquale (among others – you know who you are!) for the sage and generous travel advice given to me before I departed, some of which has made its way into this article and for which I am incredibly grateful.

PS. Below you can see some more photos of two more of my favourite design installations from Milan Design Week 2017. The first is ombre silicone jellyfish vases spotted at the Nendo : Invisible Objects exhibition, and the second is La Refuge by Mark Ange spotted at Holy Handmade! by Wallpaper* mag, which would have to win the award for the most-Instagrammed object at this year’s festival. Enjoy!

Ombre silicone jellyfish vases spotted at the Nendo : Invisible Objects exhibition | The Ultimate Guide to Milan Design Week

Ombre silicone jellyfish vases spotted at the Nendo : Invisible Objects exhibition | The Ultimate Guide to Milan Design Week

Ombre silicone jellyfish vases spotted at the Nendo : Invisible Objects exhibition | The Ultimate Guide to Milan Design Week

Ombre silicone jellyfish vases spotted at the Nendo : Invisible Objects exhibition | The Ultimate Guide to Milan Design Week

La Refuge - the most Instagrammed object at Milan Design Week | Le Refuge, a pink, jungle-like daybed designed by Parisian/Italian artist and designer Marc Ange at the Wallpaper* Handmade exhibition space in collaboration with The Invisible Collection and Green Gallery

La Refuge - the most Instagrammed object at Milan Design Week | Le Refuge, a pink, jungle-like daybed designed by Parisian/Italian artist and designer Marc Ange at the Wallpaper* Handmade exhibition space in collaboration with The Invisible Collection and Green Gallery

La Refuge - the most Instagrammed object at Milan Design Week | Le Refuge, a pink, jungle-like daybed designed by Parisian/Italian artist and designer Marc Ange at the Wallpaper* Handmade exhibition space in collaboration with The Invisible Collection and Green Gallery

La Refuge - the most Instagrammed object at Milan Design Week | Le Refuge, a pink, jungle-like daybed designed by Parisian/Italian artist and designer Marc Ange at the Wallpaper* Handmade exhibition space in collaboration with The Invisible Collection and Green Gallery

x Jess

Awesome Products: 12 Life-Changing New Design Ideas You’ve Never Seen Before from the Lexus Design Award at Milan Design Week

Lexus Design Award 2017 | Milan Design Week | La Triennale di Milano | designer | industrial design | innovation | awesome products

I’m delighted to inform you that this post was sponsored by Lexus International who brought me to Milan Design Week, and that all opinions in this article are my own. See my Flickr gallery of the event in Milan here.

The Lexus Design Award 2017

In early April, I was lucky enough to be personally invited by Lexus to attend the Lexus Design Award and experience all that Milan Design Week has to offer. As an industrial designer myself, I was incredibly excited to see what cutting-edge ideas the up-and-coming design visionaries in my field would submit to the Lexus Design Award. Needless to say, I was not disappointed by the depth of innovative and life-changing new design ideas from all of the prototype finalists in the competition. From an infinitely colour-changing changing ceramic mat, to a mesmerising architectural light screen solution that pixelates the ambient light, to a concept that fits your entire life essentials into a box, to a toy that converts ordinary vegetables into melodic musical instruments (yes, that’s right!) – all of the prototype finalists were worthy of recognition and offered a completely new perspective on the ordinary that I had never seen before.

The theme of the Lexus Design Award in 2017 was ‘YET’ – but what does that mean, and how can it be interpreted through design? It’s such an intangible concept unless examined more deeply, but is core to the Lexus design philosophy. The ‘YET’ philosophy at the heart of Lexus’ creative mindset drives Lexus to push the boundaries of creativity by fusing seemingly incompatible elements. It says “Don’t compromise; harmonize.” The resulting synergy sparks breakthroughs, while revealing possibilities beyond imagination.

The Lexus Design Award was first launched in 2013 to help stimulate ideas for a better world, and to support up-and-coming designers and creators worldwide. Judges for the award were Paola Antonelli (Curator), Birgit Lohmann (Chief Editor of Designboom), Toyo Ito (Architect), Yoshihiro Sawa (President of Lexus International), Aric Chen (Curator) and Alice Rawsthorn (Design commentator). Incredibly, the 2017 Lexus Design Award attracted 1,152 entries from 63 countries. Chosen from a high calibre of entries, the four prototype finalists and eight panel finalists embodied the philosophy of ‘YET’ through their fresh new designs.

I’m now excited to share with you the twelve awesome life-changing design ideas, from the four prototype finalists and eight panel finalists of this year’s Lexus Design Award.

1. PIXEL | Designer: Hiroto Yoshizoe | Mentored by Snarkitecture

PIXEL won this year’s Grand Prix prize – and it’s not hard to see why. Lexus judges chose PIXEL – a configuration of visors that alternate their appearance in tandem with the viewer’s movements and perspective – as the Grand Prix winner due to it’s imaginative exploration of two seemingly contrasting elements: Light and Shadow. This idea would have many applications, from architectural facades, privacy screens in the home and office, theatre sets, exhibitions etc. and could be scaled up or down and fabricated from a wide range of materials such as cardboard, sheet metal or ceramic. Seemingly simple but flawless in execution.

Lexus judges chose PIXEL - a configuration of visors that alternate their appearance in tandem with the viewer's movements and perspective - as the Grand Prix winner due to it's imaginative exploration of two seemingly contrasting elements: Light and Shadow. This idea would have many applications, from architectural facades, privacy screens in the home and office, theatre sets, exhibitions etc. and could be scaled up or down and fabricated from a wide range of materials such as cardboard, sheet metal or ceramic. Seemingly simple but flawless in execution. PIXEL | Designer: Hiroto Yoshizoe | Mentored by Snarkitecture | Lexus Design Award 2017 | Milan Design Week | La Triennale di Milano | Awesome Products #product_design

PIXEL does not need any technology and electricity to come to life, and works with the surrounding light and natural sunlight. Shoji, the key inspiration of this work, is an architectural fitting that has been used for more than 800 years, and is made out of wood and paper. While covering the view, it can bring in light softly from the outside. With such contradicting functions, it was a revolutionary design and also a perfect example of this year’s theme ‘YET’.

The designer Hiroto Yoshizoe, working with mentors from Snarkitecture, produced the single unit PIXEL in sheet metal, plaster, and paper, each with differing design details and specifications. These units can be stacked, just like bricks, to create a facade or screen of any size.

Hiroto Yoshizoe graduated from Musashino Art University. He is currently based in Tokyo working on art direction and design as a spatial designer for commercial facilities. Hiroto focuses on interpreting the ideas of change, movement and time in space to create designs from both modern and analogue approaches. You can connect with Hiroto here.

Lexus judges chose PIXEL - a configuration of visors that alternate their appearance in tandem with the viewer's movements and perspective - as the Grand Prix winner due to it's imaginative exploration of two seemingly contrasting elements: Light and Shadow. This idea would have many applications, from architectural facades, privacy screens in the home and office, theatre sets, exhibitions etc. and could be scaled up or down and fabricated from a wide range of materials such as cardboard, sheet metal or ceramic. Seemingly simple but flawless in execution. PIXEL | Designer: Hiroto Yoshizoe | Mentored by Snarkitecture | Lexus Design Award 2017 | Milan Design Week | La Triennale di Milano | Awesome Products #product_design

2. PLAYER’S PFLUTE | Designer: Jia Wu | Mentored by Max Lamb

The Player’s Pflute (yes, that’s spelt correctly) was the undisputed crowd favourite of the Lexus Design Award this year. ‘Vegetable YET a musical instrument’ was the hilariously obvious tag line, and the delightful toy kit developed by Jia Wu mentored by Max Lamb brought smiles and giggles to both young and old throughout the Lexus Design Event and exhibition at the La Triennale di Milano. From first hand experience, I can tell you that this product gave me one of those “Shut up and take my money!” moments. I would have gladly purchased ten kits to take home in my suitcase. While it has a fun aesthetic, photos hardly do this project justice since you really need to hear how it sounds. If you watch the video below, you’ll hear how fantastic the vegetables actually sound when converted into instruments. You really can play a capsicum like a harmonica, and a cucumber like a clarinet!

This highly interactive toy kit is the catalyst for a fun learning experience, and especially for children who wouldn’t normally have access to a range of quality musical instruments due to the prohibitive cost. Therefore, Jia Wu’s Player’s Pflute’ can help every child to explore music. With the modular music toy system that comes in a convenient case, children use their imagination to connect everyday objects found in every household (ie. vegetables) and make real music. By encouraging improvisation while playing, it nurtures children’s musical interest and appreciation.

Jia Wu is a young industrial designer who specializes in creating new possibilities in interaction, products and infrastructures. Professionally trained by Design Product program at Royal College of Art in the U.K. and practicing design both in China and the UK, she is driven and passionate about using design as a catalyst for change and discovering the future. You can connect with Jia here.

This kit turns vegetables into musical instruments! Brilliant! Genius! Shut up and take my money! Jia Wu's Player's Pflute can help every child to explore music. With the modular music toy system that comes in a convenient case, children use their imagination to use vegetables to make real music. Designer: Jia Wu | Mentored by Max Lamb | So funny | hilarious | lol | good idea | clever concept | Lexus Design Award 2017 | Milan Design Week | La Triennale di Milano | Awesome Products #product_design

3. STRUCTURAL COLOR: STATIC YET CHANGING | Jessica Fügler | Mentored by Elena Manferdini

Structural Colour originally was presented as a conceptual investigation into how static forms, such as pyramids and prisms, arranged on a surface, could make that surface appear differently depending on the location of the observer in relation to the surface. The concept evolved dramatically under the guidance of  mentor Elena Manferdini, and metamorphosed into a rug made up of ceramic beads that is specially woven to have the ability to infinitely change colour, pattern, and design, according to the desire of the user.

Static Yet Changing is a rug design that appears static in design yet has the ability to physically and visually change with the needs of the user. The ever-changing function and aesthetics of the piece addresses the idea of designing for longevity, creating products that evolve over time. Jess Fügler is a graduate at the Royal College of Art’s Design Products program. The inspiration for her design narratives are fuelled by research on and curiosity about science and culture. Jess currently lives in New York and works as the Studio Director for Matter Made and the Co-founder of Other Kingdom. You can connect with Jessica here.

Static Yet Changing is a rug design that appears static in design yet has the ability to physically and visually change with the needs of the user. The ever-changing function and aesthetics of the piece addresses the idea of designing for longevity, creating products that evolve over time. STRUCTURAL COLOR: STATIC YET CHANGING | Jessica Fugler | Mentored by Elena Manferdini | Lexus Design Award 2017 | Milan Design Week | La Triennale di Milano | Awesome Products #product_design

4. HAVING NOTHING, AND YET POSSESSING EVERYTHING | Designer: Ahran Won | Mentored by Neri & Hu

“Having nothing, and yet possessing everything” is a capsule for mobile living that contains only the essentials needed for a minimal lifestyle. Each box that makes up the entire portable unit is able to contain a certain category of possessions (such as keepsakes, clothing, kitchen cooking utensils, hygiene and bathroom necessities) and can also be rearranged in a variety of configurations to create a cozy micro-living environment, with arrangements for sitting, eating or sleeping. I can see die-hard minimalists enjoying the status afforded by living a light weight lifestyle through using this product, but the design actually begins to address a much more serious concern of current events, that of the very real challenges of survival faced by refugees and the homeless. Time will tell if individual living capsules are actually a viable solution to a growing and alarming problem of displaced persons in our world.

Designer Ahran Won believes in the potential of design to be a positive element for our collective future. She is currently studying landscape architecture at Harvard Graduate School of Design, and previously studied architecture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), and international law at Ewha Womans University in South Korea. You can connect with Ahran here.

"Having nothing, and yet possessing everything" is a capsule for mobile living that contains only the essentials needed for a minimal lifestyle. Each box that makes up the entire portable unit is able to contain a certain category of possessions (such as keepsakes, clothing, kitchen cooking utensils, hygiene and bathroom necessities) and can also be rearranged in a variety of configurations to create a cozy micro-living environment, with arrangements for sitting, eating or sleeping. HAVING NOTHING, AND YET POSSESSING EVERYTHING | Designer: Ahran Won | Mentored by Neri & Hu | Lexus Design Award 2017 | Milan Design Week | La Triennale di Milano | Awesome Products #product_design

5. BUOYANT MEASURING SPOON FOR THE BLIND | Designer: Eunjin Park

A measuring spoon for the blind, with unseen yet visualized tactile graduations, the Buoyant Measuring Spoon for the Blind is a measuring spoon that has braille which lets a blind person measure correctly by touch.

A measuring spoon for the blind, with unseen yet visualized tactile graduations, the Buoyant Measuring Spoon for the Blind is a measuring spoon that has braille which lets a blind person measure correctly by touch. BUOYANT MEASURING SPOON FOR THE BLIND | Designer: Eunjin Park | Lexus Design Award 2017 | Milan Design Week | La Triennale di Milano | Awesome Products #product_design

6. PLATANACEAE | Designer: Paula Cermeño

Banana leaf bandages that outperform synthetic materials yet are biodegradable and soothing, PLATANACEAE is a series of first aid bandages for burn wounds that happen at home. The hydrated texture of banana leaves is refreshing when in contact with the skin. These bandages wrap around different parts of the hands and arms.

Banana leaf bandages that outperform synthetic materials yet are biodegradable and soothing, PLATANACEAE is a series of first aid bandages for burn wounds that happen at home. The hydrated texture of banana leaves is refreshing when in contact with the skin. These bandages wrap around different parts of the hands and arms. PLATANACEAE | Designer: Paula Cermeno | Lexus Design Award 2017 | Milan Design Week | La Triennale di Milano | Awesome Products #product_design

7. THE LANDSCAPE OF PAPER | Designer: Kuniko Maeda

Disposable yet upcycled material using traditional and modern technology, the Landscape of Paper is a concept that explores how to extend paper’s short life cycle. It transforms delicate paper into a strong structure while minimizing waste. By harmonizing opposites, the designer discovered a new application for paper.

Disposable yet upcycled material using traditional and modern technology, the Landscape of Paper is a concept that explores how to extend paper's short life cycle. It transforms delicate paper into a strong structure while minimizing waste. By harmonizing opposites, the designer discovered a new application for paper. THE LANDSCAPE OF PAPER | Designer: Kuniko Maeda | Lexus Design Award 2017 | Milan Design Week | La Triennale di Milano | Awesome Products #product_design

Disposable yet upcycled material using traditional and modern technology, the Landscape of Paper is a concept that explores how to extend paper's short life cycle. It transforms delicate paper into a strong structure while minimizing waste. By harmonizing opposites, the designer discovered a new application for paper. THE LANDSCAPE OF PAPER | Designer: Kuniko Maeda | Lexus Design Award 2017 | Milan Design Week | La Triennale di Milano | Awesome Products #product_design

8. MASS PRODUCTION TO UNIQUE ITEMS | Designer: TAKEHANAKE-Bungorogama

Mass produced yet one-of-a-kind ceramics created using a portable kiln by design collective TAKEHANAKE-Bungorogama (who are Yoshifumi Takehana, Bungo Okuda and Akira Okuda), this concept transforms mass produced ceramics into a “one-of-a-kind” item unique to one individual, changing the value of the piece.

Mass produced yet one-of-a-kind ceramics created using a portable kiln by design collective TAKEHANAKE-Bungorogama (who are Yoshifumi Takehana, Bungo Okuda and Akira Okuda), this concept transforms mass produced ceramics into a "one-of-a-kind" item unique to one individual, changing the value of the piece. MASS PRODUCTION TO UNIQUE ITEMS | Designer: TAKEHANAKE-Bungorogama | Lexus Design Award 2017 | Milan Design Week | La Triennale di Milano | Awesome Products #product_design

9. PAPER KETTLE | Designer: Ryo Katayama

Combustible yet fire resistant paper kettle, this design creates the lightest possible way to heat water, made of only paper. Normally paper burns in fire, but when paper contains water it becomes fire-resistant, which makes it ideal for outdoor use.

Combustible yet fire resistant paper kettle, this design creates the lightest possible way to heat water, made of only paper. Normally paper burns in fire, but when paper contains water it becomes fire-resistant, which makes it ideal for outdoor use. PAPER KETTLE | Designer: Ryo Katayama | Lexus Design Award 2017 | Milan Design Week | La Triennale di Milano | Awesome Products #product_design

10. POD: HOMELESS YET HOME | Designer: MODlab (Eric Schwartzbach and Benjamin Ward)

A temporary shelter for displaced populations,  Homeless YET Home POD is a lightweight, modular, easily assembled, easily transported, temporary shelter for displaced populations throughout the world.

A temporary shelter for displaced populations, Homeless YET Home POD is a lightweight, modular, easily assembled, easily transported, temporary shelter for displaced populations throughout the world. POD: HOMELESS YET HOME | Designer: MODlab (Eric Schwartzbach and Benjamin Ward) | Lexus Design Award 2017 | Milan Design Week | La Triennale di Milano | Awesome Products #product_design

11. RETROSPECTION PROJECT TIME TUNE RADIO | Designer: Takuro Sanda

A high-tech yet retro radio tunes in programs from both past and present. This retrospective radio enables users to listen to any radio program from the now or from any time in history. The tuning dial is linked to archived programs stocked on the Internet.

A high-tech yet retro radio tunes in programs from both past and present. This retrospective radio enables users to listen to any radio program from the now or from any time in history. The tuning dial is linked to archived programs stocked on the Internet. RETROSPECTION PROJECT TIME TUNE RADIO | Designer: Takuro Sanda | Lexus Design Award 2017 | Milan Design Week | La Triennale di Milano | Awesome Products #product_design

12. TRAFFIC LIGHT SYSTEM | Designer: Evgeny Arinin

A simple yet sophisticated traffic light, this traffic light system creates a simple to understand yet sophisticated solution for drivers and pedestrians at a traffic light, in terms of better interaction, functionality and design.

A simple yet sophisticated traffic light, this traffic light system creates a simple to understand yet sophisticated solution for drivers and pedestrians at a traffic light, in terms of better interaction, functionality and design. TRAFFIC LIGHT SYSTEM | Designer: Evgeny Arinin | Lexus Design Award 2017 | Milan Design Week | La Triennale di Milano | Awesome Products #product_design

If you want to know more about the Lexus Design Award (and maybe even enter next time!) you can find out more here.  I also prepared a Flickr gallery with all the full-size original photos from the Lexus Design Event and exhibition launch, which you can check out right here.

x Jess

5 New Awesome Products on Etsy You Need to Discover Right Now

Today, I’m so excited to tell you about five new awesome products on Etsy, that I’ve only just discovered. During March, I had the privilege of meeting and working with five wonderful up-and coming makers from Etsy Australia, when I participated as a photography and social media mentor in the 2017 Etsy Resolution challenge. Five brand new shops filled with fresh products never seen before on Etsy won a competition to have an “Etsy makeover”. The prize included a one-hour group coaching call – where we talked styling, branding, photography and Pinterest success – and also the chance to have their products styled and photographed by me. I was so excited to be able to use my expertise to help these (already awesome) products look (even more) beautiful through creative styling and image creation, and to help the following five new Etsy Australia sellers to kick start their respective journeys as Etsy shop owners. I hope you love what you see as much as I do! It was such a pleasure to meet with and have the opportunity to work with these five talented makers and their fantastically creative products.

Please let me introduce the 5 new awesome products on Etsy you need to discover right now, in no particular order:

1. Modern Woven Wall Hanging Tapestry | Jade & Frankie

Clare Burton of Jade & Frankie has always been a maker, however she discovered weaving late in 2014, after seeing an article about Natalie Miller. Gifted a ticket to one of her beginner workshops that Christmas, the love affair began. While her loom was put away until after her third baby was born, it ignited a creative spark that had taken a back seat since becoming a mother.

All of the items in the Jade & Frankie shop are lovingly handcrafted by Clare. Most often in the evenings, after her children have gone to sleep. Her favourite place to create, though, is in the sunshine in her bedroom with a window open and music on the radio. She rarely has a plan beyond the colours and yarn she wants to use, preferring to let the weave evolve as she work. Often, the full beauty of the weaving is only revealed to her as the completed piece comes off the loom. You can shop Jade & Frankie right here.

 Modern Woven Wall Hanging Tapestry | Jade & Frankie

Jade & Frankie | Buy here

Modern Woven Wall Hanging Tapestry | Jade & Frankie

Jade & Frankie | Buy here

Modern Woven Wall Hanging Tapestry | Jade & Frankie

Jade & Frankie | Buy here

Modern Woven Wall Hanging Tapestry | Jade & Frankie

Jade & Frankie | Buy here

Modern Woven Wall Hanging Tapestry | Jade & Frankie

Jade & Frankie | Buy here

Modern Woven Wall Hanging Tapestry | Jade & Frankie

Jade & Frankie | Buy here

2. Natural Beeswax Birthday Cake Candles | The Makers Realm

Chrystel Galea of The Makers Realm started her Etsy shop as a space to explore her creative passion inspired by nature. She uses pure Australian natural beeswax from suppliers local to her, to make a range of simple yet practical candles and fragrant melts. If you love the delicious natural texture and scent of beeswax and value the uniqueness of handmade creations, then The Maker’s Realm is a perfect place to pick up your next gift.

Truly, these natural beeswax birthday cake candles are the bees knees! (See what I did there? Ha!) But in all seriousness, since using and photographing these beautiful candles that burn with the deliciously subtle scent of warm honey, and knowing that the wax that inevitably drips onto the cake is 100% natural and safe to eat, I am NEVER buying nasty chemical supermarket birthday candles ever again. You can shop The Makers Realm right here.

Celebrate with the delicious subtle scent of warm honey with these natural beeswax birthday cake candles with safe and non-toxic wax | The Makers Realm

The Makers Realm | Buy here

Celebrate with the delicious subtle scent of warm honey with these natural beeswax birthday cake candles with safe and non-toxic wax | The Makers Realm

The Makers Realm | Buy here

Celebrate with the delicious subtle scent of warm honey with these natural beeswax birthday cake candles with safe and non-toxic wax | The Makers Realm

The Makers Realm | Buy here

Celebrate with the delicious subtle scent of warm honey with these natural beeswax birthday cake candles with safe and non-toxic wax | The Makers Realm

The Makers Realm | Buy here

Celebrate with the delicious subtle scent of warm honey with these natural beeswax birthday cake candles with safe and non-toxic wax | The Makers Realm

The Makers Realm | Buy here

Celebrate with the delicious subtle scent of warm honey with these natural beeswax birthday cake candles with safe and non-toxic wax | The Makers Realm

The Makers Realm | Buy here

Celebrate with the delicious subtle scent of warm honey with these natural beeswax birthday cake candles with safe and non-toxic wax | The Makers Realm

The Makers Realm | Buy here

3. Cuddly Soft Toy Truck Pillows | Little Convoy

Kitty Ward of Little Convoy has always loved old trucks and cars ever since she was a little girl. One of her first favourite toys was a toy car, a red 1920’s MG Roadster. Little Convoy combines two of Kitty’s loves, that of trucks and that of drawing and making. I was struck by the sheer uniqueness of this delightful product range, perfect as a gift for a little boy (or girl!).

Kitty makes cuddly truck softies from drawings of her favourite vintage trucks. The trucks are first hand drawn, and then digitally drawn and coloured. They are printed on certified organic cotton, with organic cotton backing and filled with stuffing. Each truck is handmade by Kitty in the quaint hamlet of Vaughan, in the Victorian Goldfields, Australia, where she lives with her husband, three children, chickens, sheep, a dog, and a cat. You can shop Little Convoy right here.

Kitty of Little Convoy makes cuddly truck soft toy pillows from drawings of her favourite vintage trucks. The trucks are first hand drawn, and then digitally drawn and coloured. They are printed on certified organic cotton, with organic cotton backing and filled with stuffing. Each truck is handmade. Great presents for newborn baby, little boy, or little girl!

Little Convoy | Buy here

Kitty of Little Convoy makes cuddly truck soft toy pillows from drawings of her favourite vintage trucks. The trucks are first hand drawn, and then digitally drawn and coloured. They are printed on certified organic cotton, with organic cotton backing and filled with stuffing. Each truck is handmade. Great presents for newborn baby, little boy, or little girl!

Little Convoy | Buy here

Kitty of Little Convoy makes cuddly truck soft toy pillows from drawings of her favourite vintage trucks. The trucks are first hand drawn, and then digitally drawn and coloured. They are printed on certified organic cotton, with organic cotton backing and filled with stuffing. Each truck is handmade. Great presents for newborn baby, little boy, or little girl!

Little Convoy | Buy here

Kitty of Little Convoy makes cuddly truck soft toy pillows from drawings of her favourite vintage trucks. The trucks are first hand drawn, and then digitally drawn and coloured. They are printed on certified organic cotton, with organic cotton backing and filled with stuffing. Each truck is handmade. Great presents for newborn baby, little boy, or little girl!

Little Convoy | Buy here

Kitty of Little Convoy makes cuddly truck soft toy pillows from drawings of her favourite vintage trucks. The trucks are first hand drawn, and then digitally drawn and coloured. They are printed on certified organic cotton, with organic cotton backing and filled with stuffing. Each truck is handmade. Great presents for newborn baby, little boy, or little girl!

Little Convoy | Buy here

Kitty of Little Convoy makes cuddly truck soft toy pillows from drawings of her favourite vintage trucks. The trucks are first hand drawn, and then digitally drawn and coloured. They are printed on certified organic cotton, with organic cotton backing and filled with stuffing. Each truck is handmade. Great presents for newborn baby, little boy, or little girl!

Little Convoy | Buy here

Kitty of Little Convoy makes cuddly truck soft toy pillows from drawings of her favourite vintage trucks. The trucks are first hand drawn, and then digitally drawn and coloured. They are printed on certified organic cotton, with organic cotton backing and filled with stuffing. Each truck is handmade. Great presents for newborn baby, little boy, or little girl!

Little Convoy | Buy here

4. Hand Cut Paper Art of Birds | Paper Feathers Studio

Caroline Vinecombe of Paper Feathers Studio creates bright and colourful paper art of birds from her imagination. For as long as she can remember she has had a fascination with birds. As a small child Caroline started collecting birds and this continued into adult life. There are birds of every colour and shape in every room of her house, including bird whistles, mobiles, and images from all over the world. As a naturally creative person, it was only a matter of time before Caroline started creating birds of her own, and this is how Paper Feathers Studio was born.

Caroline loves every minute of the process of making her birds, from spending hours playing with watercolours to create the paper she uses in her creations, to developing the layers of teeny tiny feathers to create imagined versions of her favourite birds. In opening Paper Feathers Studio, she is delighted to share her love of creating and her passion for bright colours and glitter! You can shop Paper Feathers Studio right here.

Paper Feather Studio Handmade Paper Art of Birds | Swan, Hummingbird, Owl, Parrot, Flamingo

Paper Feathers Studio | Buy here

Paper Feather Studio Handmade Paper Art of Birds | Swan, Hummingbird, Owl, Parrot, Flamingo

Paper Feathers Studio | Buy here

Paper Feather Studio Handmade Paper Art of Birds | Swan, Hummingbird, Owl, Parrot, Flamingo

Paper Feathers Studio | Buy here

Paper Feather Studio Handmade Paper Art of Birds | Swan, Hummingbird, Owl, Parrot, Flamingo

Paper Feathers Studio | Buy here

Paper Feather Studio Handmade Paper Art of Birds | Swan, Hummingbird, Owl, Parrot, Flamingo

Paper Feathers Studio | Buy here

5. Modern Tibetan Prayer Flags | Little Himalayan

Anja and Wangchuk of Little Himalayan make a colourful range of products inspired by the Himalayas, for little nature lovers. Anja came to Australia as a young girl and was brought up in a Tibetan Buddhist Centre in the hills of the Sunshine Coast. Her husband Wangchuk was born to a Tibetan refugee family and raised in the hills of Darjeeling, India after his family fled the Chinese invasion of their homeland. Anja and Wangchuk met and fell in love in the Himalayas and now live in Australia, raising their little daughter.

Their rainbow coloured garden flags, like a modern version of Tibetan prayer flags, feature original hand carved lino print designs and bring a beautiful serenity and splash of rainbow colour when hung from the trees in the garden, on a balcony, or in a kids bedroom. The Wish Horse flag design features a horse who carries a wish-fulfilling jewel and is commonly featured on Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags. The roots of the wind horse can be traced back to pre-Buddhist times and it is considered a symbol of basic goodness. Another nature flag design features the five elements of nature – Earth, Water, Fire, Wind and Sky. These elements, which are found in both Tibetan Buddhism and Indian Ayurveda, are said to be the 5 universal components of all things! Each flag has been inked, stamped and ironed by hand, so every set is slightly different. You can shop Little Himalayan right here.

Modern Tibetan Prayer flags by Little Himalayan add a splash of rainbow colour to your garden, patio, balcony or children's room

Little Himalayan | Buy here

Modern Tibetan Prayer flags by Little Himalayan add a splash of rainbow colour to your garden, patio, balcony or children's room

Little Himalayan | Buy here

Modern Tibetan Prayer flags by Little Himalayan add a splash of rainbow colour to your garden, patio, balcony or children's room

Little Himalayan | Buy here

Modern Tibetan Prayer flags by Little Himalayan add a splash of rainbow colour to your garden, patio, balcony or children's room

Little Himalayan | Buy here

Modern Tibetan Prayer flags by Little Himalayan add a splash of rainbow colour to your garden, patio, balcony or children's room

Little Himalayan | Buy here

I hope that you have enjoyed discovering these five new awesome Etsy products and that you have a chance to visit each of these maker’s beautiful shops. I also have a Flickr gallery with all the full-size original photos which you can check out right here.

x Jess

 

10 Must-Have DIY Home Cleaning Kit Essentials

If you are like me, you usually begrudge cleaning as a necessary chore that takes away time from doing other fun things. But, like me, you probably feel much healthier, happier and calmer when your home is clean and tidy. That’s why, when I had the chance to partner with Sabco to try out some of their innovative new home cleaning products and create a DIY Home Cleaning Kit, I was happily surprised to learn that I could save so much time and energy just by having the right tools in my cleaning toolkit. Not only that, but by using the right products for the right cleaning job, you can also save money on detergents, disposable wipes, and premade solutions because you need so much less, and can substitute with natural alternatives such as bi-carb soda and vinegar.

10 home cleaning kit essentials

(more…)

DIY Inspiration: How to make rainbow ombre nails

How fun are these rainbow ombre nails? To celebrate the release of Puzzle Wiz, a brand new colour matching game for iPhone and Android, I decided to get my nails done in these delicious shades of red, yellow and blue – just like the tiles on the Puzzle Wiz game. You can easily recreate this Pinterest-perfect look yourself, and you can download the game for free here.

Super fun rainbow ombre nails inspired by Puzzle Wiz colour match game - download now for FREE on iPhone or Android: http://m.onelink.me/898eaf14

(more…)

Food Design: 30+ Fun Recipes for a 4th of July Party

Are you hosting (or bringing a themed dish to) a 4th of July Party this year? Every year, even though I’m Australian, I love how lots of red, white and blue color starts to pop up on Pinterest around the time of American Memorial Day, in preparation for the Independence Day holiday. I know lots of my American friends try to plan ahead for a tasty and unforgettable 4th of July menu, so that they can relax on the day and enjoy the fireworks with family and friends. This post is dedicated to my patriotic friends, who I know will browse through hundreds of recipes on Pinterest until they see the perfect dessert, cute themed cupcakes and red, white and blue sweets for their 4th of July party.

4th of July Party Recipes to make your red, white and blue menu planning a breeze!

This is exactly why I put together a list of my favorite 30+ Fun 4th of July recipes, so my friends, you no longer have to keep looking all over the internet – because you can find it all here! From Patriotic Chocolate Chip Cookies and 4th of July Mixed Berry Swirl Popsicles to 4th Of July Firecracker Popcorn and even Fireworks Sugar Cookie Cake, you’ll never run out of ideas for an unforgettable 4th of July Party table spread.

Check out my full 4th of July party food list and light up your cookout with these delicious and colorful red, white and blue treats.

(more…)

Awesome DIY Inspiration: Hanging whisk tea light candle holder votive

Want to know how to make a whisk tea light candle holder? Here’s a fun DIY idea that will take you less than 5 minutes to put together, for maximum visual impact! I made these DIY whisk tea light candle holder votives in collaboration with HelloSociety, as party or wedding inspiration, to celebrate the release of The Hundred Foot Journey movie, and to promote the film all across Pinterest! Not surprisingly, this little project was a huge hit, being the most pinned, most re-pinned, most liked, and most clicked-on pin for any campaign so far!

DIY hanging whisk tea light candle holder votive

(more…)

Awesome RGB-Hex-Decimal-CMYK Color Conversion Tool | Online Color Converter

Converting colours for web has never been easier with these handy tools

As a design creative, this would have to be one of the most useful online color converter tools I have ever come across, so I’m really excited to be able to share this one with you here on the blog! If you are also a blogger, graphic designer, logo designer, website designer, product designer (and more!) I think you will also appreciate how easy it is to quickly convert different color codes between CMYK, RGB, Hex or Decimal colour, so that you can easily keep a consistent brand identity and colour story across all platforms such as print, web, screen and physical product.

(more…)

Date Night at We Will Rock You Sydney – Musical Review

Brought to you by Nuffnang Australia and We Will Rock You Sydney

Rock on!

The scene is a futuristic iPlanet earth, in a time not to far away from the present, dominated by an evil corporation called GlobalSoft, where there is no longer any free thought or live music, and all that is broadcast is “Internet GaGa” to the masses of youth. What happens when a bunch of outcast rebel Bohemians, seeking the lost legend of rock and live music, go looking for their Rhapsody? We Will Rock You tells the story of new outcasts Galileo Figaro and Scaramouche, and their quest to save Rock and Roll – and thus, the whole world!

(more…)

The Top Pinterest Accounts to Follow from Australia

Have you ever wondered who the Top Pinterest accounts to follow in Australia are? Like me, I bet you are curious to know! Recently, I was searching for a list of the Top Pinterest accounts to follow from Australia – and I just couldn’t find one. While there are a lot of articles around that tell you the overall best Pinterest accounts to follow by theme, the Top 100 Pinterest users in the world, the most followed Pinterest Accounts, or a list of must-follow Pinterest influencers – none of them were actually location based. I wanted a local list of top Australian pinners (Pinterest users), to see exactly how us Aussies are making use of the popular virtual visual bookmarking platform. I wanted to know – so WHO are the most followed social media influencers on Pinterest from Australia? And where are they hiding?

Top Pinterest accounts to follow in Australia

So *insert drumroll* here they are: The Top 10 Pinterest Accounts to follow in Australia. These are the most followed and most popular Australian Pinterest users who I could find data on:

(more…)