The Arts Council have produced a range of limited edition travel wallets designed by some hot contemporary artists. The wallets are standard British Rail size so perfect for credit cards or your London Oyster Card. Tracy Emin has done one, featuring her infamous pet cat Docket, as has uber-lesbian Jeanette Winterson, author of Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit. The wallets are available at Oxfam stores in Notting Hill and Westbourne Grove (my ‘hood!) for a limited period of time, and will also be released to the public for free at a couple of PR stunts ’round the nation. If you can’t get to any of these places, then they’re also on Oxfam’s Ebay shop, but be quick – some of the best designs have already gone!

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This innovative lamp is based on the aesthetic of the chemistry flask and glows with a simple, white light through the acid-etched glass. The Airswitch lamps are turned on and off by placing your hand above the light – the closer your hand to the lid, the dimmer the lamp gets, and vice-versa.

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The elusive & empyrean cloud shelving system designed by the Bouroullec Brothers is currently being sold at Unica Home. The shelves consist of repeated circular modules that combine to form a shape not unlike the humble cumulus cloud. Stack the shelves on top of one another to create a vertical bookshelf or room divider. The stratospheric shelves are constructed from high-density polystyrene and come in 4 colours – white, light green, dark green or red.

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These chic, modern designs make functional clothes baskets an integral part of a well designed room. Made of a soft rubber with a brash sheen, the baskets concentrate on deep, autumnal browns lifted by blasts of sharp yet bright coolness from the pictorial representations.

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These lights glisten like winter flowers suspended on ethereal branch-like wires. The light element uses translucent envelopes fitted with electroluminescent film upon which one can write messages that will glow in the dark with a soft, ambient light. Using a dry erase marker, the messages can be wiped clean or kept on as long as one desires. The lights stand on either white marble blocks (recovered from the making of the Arco lamp) or a bundle of pure wool felt moulded into unique shapes.

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These photo albums are wrapped in a soft fabric for a look halfway between a wallet and a moleskin journal. Suitably, these albums are small enough to carry around with you in your pocket or bag. They all come from Stacyhandmade, a designer/artisan who also makes wonderful, felt covered coptic journals in the style of the ancient Ethiopians or Egyptians, filled with smooth, sturdy handmade paper. The photo albums come in a range of covers, all possessing a stylish verve with fresh, pronounced colours.

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The Wurst Gallery, that’s who. Last month they announced a load of one-off art products based on the theme of man’s best friend. Luckily there’s still quite a few of these unique artworks left.

The German Shepherd

This piece is entitled “A Policeman’s Best Friend”, it includes a B&W can with a bold logo and motto emblazoned onto it. Inside, a lump of Chris Ofili-esque ‘poop’, that seems to be made from papier-maiche. This one is designed by Emil Kozak, costs $100 and is available here.

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This paper-like, tulip-leaved locket of love belies its rather strange origin. Though it looks soft and silky, the necklace is actually made from Hytrel, an industrial byproduct usually discarded in the process of manufacturing something else entirely. Studio 1a.m., left-field design group from Chicago, have embraced these emitted shavings and used their completely random and unique shapes to make a stunningly simple and sculptural necklace.

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SuckUK’s Solar lamps are back. The sun jars sell out immediately wherever they go on sale but i’ve tracked down a supplier who still has a few left. They are made from an old fashioned killiner jar – traditionally used to store jams – a solar panel, rechargeable battery and an LED light. Simply leave the jar out in the sun during the day, and watch it come on as it gets dark. Perfect for those late summer nights when you don’t want the sun to set.

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This is one of the most vibrant of Domestic’s Vinyl Wall Prints, a mix of fireworks exploding and silver sparks leaping upward like mackerel. It reminds me of a recent advertisement for Sony Bravia, where a bunch of Glaswegian tower-blocks have been rigged up with paint bombs. This wall graphic springs out like a geyser from its source, perhaps as the visual manifestation of an imagination busy at work at the desk. In this sense it reminds me of RW Buss’ ‘Dicken’s Dream’, the unfinished painting of a dozy Charles Dickens surrounded by the wonderful characters he is dreaming of. Perhaps this wall decoration will inspire you similarly.

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British publisher Penguin have released a line of classic books with blank covers so that you can design your own front-page. You can send in your cover and Penguin will display the best submissions on their website and on flickr.

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Craig Atkinson’s limited edition run of sketch books is just about sold out at Cafe Royal bookstore near Liverpool, but there are still a few of these one-of-a-kind books available. Each book is a unique record of sketches focusing on the household, featuring TVs, Polaroid cameras, garages, games consoles amongst other things. The paraphenalia of domesticity is lovingly rendered, yet tinged with a comical irony that subtly distorts and estranges familiar objects. The detailing on the electrical appliances for instance, dates the items as slightly retro in our streamlined age, and due to the fine relief of graphite these details stand out vividly. That which once made an item cutting edge now historices not only the item but our relationship with it.

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Cycles is a collection of war photographs taken by Finnish photo-journalist Ilkka Uimonen. The photos cover the Palestinian intifada and illuminate the Jungian idea that conflict can never be resolved so long as emotion displaces reason. While the pictures are stark, there is also a strong visual element showing this cyclical movement, the repetition of scenes, the repulsion from violence and headlong rush into it. In Cycles, this movement seems as natural and as blind as the sombre movement of wind through curtains.

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Donna Brady’s gritty photographs of urban Brooklyn have found their way into the home as images printed onto lampshade. The hanging lamps use Brady’s pictures of street graffiti on dark, gloomy walls. Twice removed from their natural environment, the exuberance inherent in the colours of the graffiti is exaggerated and heightened, modifying the lamp light with their brash tone. Brady’s photographics are perhaps second-hand art, simply recording the raw & immediate expressions of street art, yet for this reason the pictures seem perfect for the medium of a lampshade – lit from beyond by second-hand light.

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These two wall lamps do not shy away from attention but provide reference points for a room, domesticated installation lights that attract as much light as they provide.

The first is entitled ‘Edge’ – it’s an elided cube with panels lit in various bold colours. This is designed by Alessandro Mendini for Artemide.

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Some of the best times in your life will be sitting on these – park benches. The ones in the Luxembourg Gardens are the best, watching kids play football, little toy dogs being walked by their little toy owners, joggers, families having picnics, lovers kissing and so on. In the summer the best bench is by the Fruit Garden, a good place to eat gelato or sorbet. In the winter there’s a bench by the Rue Fleurus entrance that is very pleasant, and good for munching on the chocolates you just bought from JP Hevin round the corner.

Now DMK have their hands on a rare, historic piece from Danish mid-century designers Wörts. You can sit down and contemplate the world in your own residence as if you were in the middle of a large city-park.

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Sam Buxton’s latest take on the Mikrocube template is a garden to go with the much larger Mikrohouse. It follows the same principal as the house in that it is formed from a single sheet of steel which can be folded flat, or unfolded to create a box structure with intricate, foliate patterns of well-tended foliage . This is Paradise in the original Persian sense of an enclosed garden.

MikroCube

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Viktor Shklovsky said the purpose of art was to “make the stone stony” while Carlos Williams urged that poetry “reconcile the people with the stones”. Myung-Ok Han, a Korean artist working in Paris, uses the energy of the rock in her art, her stones arranged as deliberately as a stone circle or Gaelic burial site.

Now a major retrospective of her work is available as a monograph entitled ‘Myung-Ok Han or The Objectification of a Poetics’, with an analytic accompanying text by André Depraz.

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This book by seminal Japanese photographer Narahara is presently on sale at Galerie 213 in Paris. The publication records an historic time in Japan, as the country found itself inbetween a discredited Imperialism and the corporate tiger that would follow. As a relatively early work, Narahara’s obsession with European avant-garde photography is obvious, while a nascent interest in marginal communities is also visible, with both the disenfranchised and the cutting edge of Tokyo society recorded.

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The Piece and Peace greetings card is one of the latest productions coming from Japanese graphic design duo D-BROS. The card recycles a variety of discarded mixed media to create a rough yet charming assemblage. Torn magazine pages, a tea doiley, lined paper and a Polaroid are amongst some of the scraps used to achieve the unified whole.

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Tejo Remy’s concept chandelier is selling on Dutch by Design at the moment. The iconic hanging lights can be bought individually to create sole focal point or as a cluster forming a striking milk-float effect.

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Equator Books on Abbot Kinney in Venice, CA is displaying a bunch of Chuck Rapaport’s Times Square photos from 1965 until April 1st. The photos are also available to buy as limited-edition, high-quality prints. This one below shows an NYPD squadroom in the midst of a busy night, moments of personal drama, anguish and intrigue interred in the very gestures, poses and expressions of the subjects. The picture has the pitch of silver-screen, the cast of a vintage Law & Order episode, and the brutish tones of a night that holds only irreverence for good will.

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The final, and best (not to mention most expensive) bag featured today belongs to the Queen of Britart. WhiteCube Gallery in Hoxton Sq has its hands a very limited number of these exceptional, individual designs.

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Onwards and upwards then, this day bag from London style Guru Lulu Guinness retails at £175. Perfect for travelling, the day bag comes emblazoned with a print of assorted travel documents – a boarding pass (going from London to the World), a UK passport as well as a postcard from Lulu herself.

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Staying in L.A. but moving into slightly more expensive climes, this one-off special edition of ‘The New Shopping Bag’ designed by Dutch artist Amie Dicke for designer Susan Bijl is currently available at Peres Projects. Bijl has had huge commercial success with her concept of re-usable shopping bags and has displayed in New York and Tokyo. This one-off collaboration celebrates Bijl’s artful & stylish approach to neccesity by positioning the bags as works of art in themselves whose colours, contours and materials constitute a pure aesthetic form.

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What I Do

Apropos Pig is a voracious truffle hunter finding the rarest, most unique and special items in the world. Things i like include Books, Artworks, Clothes, Accessories, Gifts, Furnishings and whatever else takes my fancy as i wander through the forest of goodies. Think of me as your very own personal shopper, gift finder and trend setter. Check back for my daily recommendations.

Piglets in the Sty

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