A Mercedez Benz 300SL might seem far off from a Lego, but the logic behind great design tends to always be similar. This is a list of ten products that we draw inspiration from. These products take form and function and utilize them to their maximum potential. They are products that can allow one to be extremely comfortable, drive fast, create monumental architecture, or navigate time and space super efficiently. We are hoping they inspire you as well, in any endeavor.
1.// ROLEX GMT MASTER PEPSI
This Rolex’s color scheme has earned it the Pepsi nickname. But when this watch was being designed, soft drinks were probably the last thing Rolex had on their mind. The color scheme is an homage to PanAm Airlines. Rolex and PanAm worked together to create the watch that will tell you the time in two time zones - a pretty innovative concept back when it was created. It is a watch, and a beautifully designed, technological, transportive, futuristic marvel. Our founder Mike says, "The watch that I own is vintage 1968 Rolex GMT Master Pepsi. I got it from HQ Milton in San Francisco. It's Gorgeous. It keeps time incredibly well for something that is 47 years old. It is the best watch I have ever had."
2.// BARBOUR JACKET
Back in 1894, Barbour was an importer of oil cloth in South Shields, England. An enthusiasm on behalf of Duncan Barbour for motorcycles got them to making waxed cotton motorcycle jackets. This is a more than 100 year old UK import that wears and tears beautifully. You wax it yourself to keep it watertight. It starts to mold to your own imprint. It is the opposite of disposable fashion - it forces you to put love and care into your jacket, participating in the process of heating up wax and applying it to keep the jacket working for you.
3.// ARTEMIDE TOLOMEO
Tolomeo is the Italian word for "Ptolemy." Ptolemy was a Greek astronomer, mathematician, geographer, poet, and all around visionary defining and shedding light on these aspects of society. The lamp itself offers electric light with simplicity, flexibility and metallic luster. It is a desk lamp with a heavy base, a firm foundation. The arms are two straight polished aluminum bars, allowing for vertical and horizontal movement. The wires and cables that make it function are all visible. This lamp is more than a "light" - it is a machine. Steel tension cables attached to springs make it lock in place with some flexibility. The head of the lamp can swivel 360º, shedding light on literally anything you set your eyes on. It is a smart and highly functional friend to have around.
4.// BRAUN RADIO
It's pretty amazing to see a product that was designed in the 1950s that looks like it could have been designed today. The designer, Dieter Rams, has this aesthetic that influenced products designed recently - like say, the MacBook. Braun makes all kinds of things. There is probably something, very close to you, produced by this company. They are a master of industrial design; producing clocks, watches, calculators, and electric shavers, but the radio is what started it all. It is a sleek vessel that connects you with the outside world; intercepting radiowaves and sound; the most basic form of information transmission around.
5.// NYC VIGNELLI SUBWAY MAP
There is one of these at Owen & Fred headquarters. It is an example of perfect graphic design. Transit maps have an uncanny ability to shape perceptions of a city. The Vignelli Subway map makes New York look like a dream. Far from the complex web of knots and meandering tubes the subway appears to be today, this map transforms New York into a colorful minimalist line-drawing.
6.// LEGO BUILDING BLOCKS
LEGOS. This Danish import’s design is so ubiquitous that its specialness can get lost. A lone brick is beautiful, but if you had a million, you could build - anything. Legos put the user in charge with a rigid, simplistic design that allows for numerous possibilities. A colorful, sensible vehicle for your imagination. They are supposed to be a toy for children, but you are definitely not too old for them.
7.// MERCEDEZ BENZ 300 SL
Mercedez Benz makes a bunch of cars, but this one is notable. It was dubbed a "racecar for the street" when it was released in 1954. Notably, Mercedes released this model in America at a time when most of their models were released in the European market. It proved to be super successful. The car is not only remembered for its iconic design, but its performance - upon its release, it was the fastest car produced in the world. The ones that are on the road now are worth a couple million.
8.// EAMES LOUNGE CHAIR
Charles & Ray Eames were inventive and resourceful. They built houses and everyday objects, and they all carried the same principles. The Eames Lounge Chair has become iconic with Modern, American design. It is paradoxical = it is comfy and dressed-up, versatile yet classy. The wood is three curved layers of plywood shells - the headrest, backrest, and seat. The chair is made of 5 panels of plywood covered with a Brazilian Rosewood veneer. Curved expertly and compiled meticulously.
9.// AERON CHAIR
It’s hard to imagine that an office chair as sexy. But this one nailed it. You can find aisles full of office chairs in Staples and Office Max. But this one lives on permanent fixture in the Museum of Modern Art. A swivelly desk chair? At MOMA? It sounds like performance art. It is named after the Celtic god Aeron, but also is a reference to Aeronautics and Aeration. Other cool thing? It is 94% Recyclable, and made of recycled materials. It offers lumbar support and is particularly nice to sit in if you are tall.
10.// JAMES PERSE WHITE T-SHIRT.
What can be said about this white T-Shirt in particular? It feels good, it looks good, it’s made in the USA. It's simple yet stylish. It’s better than an average T-shirt, it’s an affordable luxury. And trust me, a luxurious white T-shirt might be the best luxury of all.