Slow down

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Time is slipping through our fingers. 24 hours in a day just don’t seem to be enough. The ticking hands of the clock are getting on your nerves, am I right?

‘Deal with it’, is how the clock would answer you. Don’t let it distract you. But it isn’t as simple as that. Is there a way to change it? Well, you could just throw away the batteries of your clock and act like you have unlimited hours in a day, but I’m afraid that your boss and the rest of your social network won’t appreciate it.

But gladly I’m not writing this for nothing. The French designer Bina Baitel created the Lash Clock. The main purpose is that she wants to display the speed of the time as quiet as possible.

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The clock radiates a meditative atmosphere. The design reminds us of an eye with lashes. If you take a good look at it, you see that there is a space at two places between the hairs. The larger space represents the hour, while the smaller space shows the minutes.

I simply love this design! The Western world is very focused on time. When people have been traveling in Asia for example, they have to get used to this ‘rushed’ lifestyle when they get back. Hopefully this will make us a little more zen.

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Lego House

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‘I’m gonna pick up the pieces, and build a Lego house…’
I have always known that Ed Sheeran was a great inspiration to many people ;).

Create an additional workspace, build a table, create more storage space, everything is possible with these super useful building blocks of Ever Block Systems. A film in which the company demonstrates the blocks, is going viral.
It’s a bit like Duplo/Lego for adults. The building blocks of Ever Block Systems can transform any living space into something new. And it’s fun too.

The blocks are available in various shapes, sizes and colors. Each structure is also easy to disassemble again, so you can quickly shake a new creation out of your sleeve. A simple but ingenious invention.

In barely one week, the demonstration movie of the company already has 61 million views and has been shared more than a million times.

In my opinion, there are several reasons why a product like this strikes at the moment.
It’s about authenticity and efficiency: people want their living space to be unique but it has to be easy, because of a lack of time.

What makes it even more interesting is the ‘play’ aspect. It looks like playing for adults is something booming. You see playground festivals popping up, meeting rooms designed in ball pits, now this. In a world full of burn-outs and high work pressure, the need to feel like a little kid again is growing. These building blocks offer a nostalgic feeling and the opportunity to play. That’s why I think products like this have future growth potential.

Småland

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Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. – Leonardo da Vinci

Scandinavia got me, again!

Visitors to Malmö in Sweden should watch out for a miniature mouse café  and shop that has taken up residence in basement windows on one of the city’s streets. The brainchild of the mysterious Anonymouse MMX, the tiny storefronts designed for the city’s population of mouse residents are simply adorable.

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(Almost) everything is better in miniature shape if you ask me. It just creates some kind of harmless, accessible atmosphere.

If you try to figure it out based on scientific literature, you will read that we are evolutionarily programmed so that we are triggered by things that are small in proportion. If it is a small scale deformation (a mini version of something we also have in big sizes), we associate it with something we should cherish and protect. We find it automatically cute. A corollary of our instinct to protect young mammals and babies.

In a world full of trouble and negativity, I think people are secretly longing for something unprejudiced and innocent. Embrace positivity! 🙂

Let’s Hygge a little

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Flanel blankets, fire places, woollen socks, candle lights, tea or hot chocolate, cuddling, having dinner with friends. How would you name this feeling in English? I would use ‘gezelligheid’ in Dutch, ‘cosiness’ perhaps?

Anyway, until today I didn’t believe there was a perfect term which includes it all. A while ago I told you about my love for Denmark. This love grew even more when I first noticed the word ‘hygge’. It represents an ‘intimate gathering with people you can relax with’, creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. It’s a verb in Danish – you can hygge together!

It is seen in Denmark as part of the national identity and culture. Hygge is the antidote to the cold winter, the rainy days and the vast darkness. You can hygge all year, but in winter it becomes a survival strategy. No wonder that the Danish people are the happiest people in the world.

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I think it is not a coincidence that currently, articles and even books are written about this Danish phenomenon. The desire to come together with family and friends is getting bigger and bigger in a world where in fact the opposite is happening with wars and conflicts.

Hygge has future growth potential, because this concept focuses on the good things in life. It is a strategy to improve our quality of life. We need to connect again, to accomplish – I won’t say world peace – more love and understanding.  It reminded me of this beautiful quote:

Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” — Ryunosuke Satoro

Lesson learned: I’m going to enjoy this evening with pillows, blankets, candles and my family. And set up a Pinterest board with some hygge inspiration.

What is your favourite hygge thing to do?

If I were a toy

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Pink
Blue
Dolls
Cars
Dresses
Building blocks
Kitchen
Soccer

Each item is associated with either girls or boys and I assume that you don’t experience any difficulties by categorizing them. Girls’ toys are associated with physical attractiveness, nurturing, and domestic skill, whereas boys’ toys were rated as violent, competitive, exciting, and somewhat dangerous. Of course, it is a fact that boys generally have more testosterone. This explains why they are more engaged with competition and sometimes aggression.

But in my opinion, this knowledge is being extremely magnified by the media and the gender-stereotyped toy marketing. It isn’t so obvious anymore that cleaning belongs to women and that men are the breadwinners of the family. So why is this still a common image in the toy store flyers?

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That’s why I love the new commercial from Smyths Toys UK. It shows a little boy singing his own version of Beyonce’s ‘If I Were A Boy’, where he imagines what life would be liked if he was a toy for one day. The boy flies through space as a rocket, but he’s also dressing up as a queen in a pink dress and crown before waving to his subjects from the roof of a castle.

It’s just a fraction of the commercial but I believe that it has been a very conscious choice of the store and they are making the first step toward the gender neutrality trend.

It is already visible in the fashion world and every new signal in a different area confirms this trend more and more. Kids should decide for themselves what they think is fun.

Twiddle yourself tranquilo

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Just a few Kickstarter projects outperformed the Fidget Cube. A cube with each side buttons that you can press, click and wiggle. The makers needed $ 15,000, the counter now stands at 4.6 million. And they still have a month to go for crowdfunding. Why would you want or even buy such a thing?

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Neuropsychology professor Erik Scherder thinks fidgeting is very hyping nowadays. “Internet, social media and apps have brought us many wonderful things, but there is also a downside: Too many incentives because all the technology and communication demands our attention. By fidgeting, you are able to bring your central nervous system in a relax mode.”

By fumbling, you can also steer your attention. “It takes away the noise,” said Scherder. That’s why you see students in lectures fidgeting with their hair or people playing with the button of their pen during meetings in the office . That’s not a lack of interest, the fidgeting increases concentration.”

From my perspective as a trendwatcher, I can confirm that play is an upcoming trend. You see inflatables festivals for adults (bouncy castles, assault courses, water slides, bumper balls, base jumps and of course the classic ball pits) coming up, escape rooms. This is also due to the fast, crowded and busy world we’re living in. We want to escape from this routine.

Jeg elsker dig, Nørrebro

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Oh how I love Danish!
Unfortunately my knowledge ends at ‘tak’ (thank you), ‘skål’ (cheers) and the title above (I love you).

For a trend watcher, Copenhagen really is the place to be: many lovely coffee/food concepts and artsy ateliers filled with design. In particular Nørrebro: a very multicultural, trendy, hipster kinda district with lots of students.

During my last visit this August, I stayed in an Airbnb in the center of Nørrebro. When I walked out of the apartment, I stepped in the middle of the Superkilen park. I didn´t really understand what the aim or meaning of the park was, but it made me happy: I wanted to run (please understand this isn’t very common for me), climb and play around like a little kid.

Everything is included in the park: skating tracks, swings, hammocks, a boxing ring, barbecues, everything you can imagine. Besides it is one kilometre-long!

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Photo taken 05/08/2016

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Photo taken 07/08/2016

Back in the Netherlands, full of nostalgia and suffering from post-vacation blues (this really is a thing) I got curious about the whole meaning behind the Superkilen Park.

Apparently, the designers went traveling with five different groups of people from the Superkilen neighbourhood to a country of their choice, following a specific story or memory that would eventually lead to objects for inclusion in Superkilen.

The five trips went all over the world and some very different objects were brought back. For instance a sound system from Jamaica, a bull from Spain and a boxing ring from Thailand, all chosen by inhabitants from the area.

So the park really encourages diversity and the aim is to unify the inhabitants with more than 60 nationalities.

In my opinion, this is a beautiful development. It’s not only that sport brings people together, the park gives people the space to feel at home and to shape some self-esteem. When I think of all the refugees, I can imagine it is incredibly hard for them to get used to a totally different country/culture. Therefore I think this is a great beginning to create a place which literally and explicitly belongs to everyone.

suk_image_by_torben_eskerod_11© Torben Eskerod