It’s always interesting to see what resonates with our audience most, purely because of its unpredictability. This past year, not just one category dominated. Whether browsing the magical images of Merfest or geeking out over the latest in technology and design, our loyal readers found inspiration from all angles of the world. We sorted through the numbers and present to you—from the futuristic to the peculiar to the profound—our most-read articles of 2015, in order.
Among the many wondrous gatherings we’ve explored in our Conventional Wisdom series—a trek through unique conventions across the US with photographer Arthur Drooker, as he prepares for a photography book on the subject—nothing is quite like Merfest. This costumed celebration of the mythological mermaid is run by the NC Merfolk, a group that swims together as merfolk three times a week.
As part of their “Amazing in Motion” campaign—which aims to demonstrate Lexus’ innovative aptitude through a series of groundbreaking pursuits—the luxury car company partnered with leading minds in superconductive technology to develop the world’s most advanced hoverboard to date.
At this past year’s London Design Festival, Software entrepreneur Petter Neby and his technology design company Punkt. unveiled the MP01, which focuses on providing just the bare-bone necessities of a modern phone. Designed by Punkt.’s art director, revered British industrial designer Jasper Morrison, it features just calling, text messaging, contacts, an alarm clock and a calendar. It’s the essentials, and nothing more.
With a stunning prototype revealed at the 2015 Mobile World Congress, SF design firm Monohm’s Runcible device has the potential to change global perception of mobile expectations. Runcible is not a cellphone. It’s almost a cellphone, complete with connectivity and access and internet awareness, but it’s less invasive and that’s the point. It’s also not merely a concept, it’s a real-deal object created by industry veterans.
Over two years ago we reviewed and adored the PAX Vaporizer and, earlier this spring, PAX Labs released its successor, the PAX 2—an improvement on the original in every way. The general Kazoo-like design remains the same, but the device is now smaller, lighter and easier to use. We had a chance to test it and were thoroughly impressed with the improvements.
TED 2015 was deep, meaningful and overall more simple than in years past. Performances were moving, but not shocking. Talks were grouped in a manner that kept us in a cohesive headspace throughout each session. And the flow of events, exhibitions and conversations fostered serendipitous interactions and intellectual explorations. QuoTED 2015 rounds-up the event’s thought-provoking quotations in the order that we heard them.
Glenn Wills and Christine Bree’s Gidget Retro Teardrop Camper is an extremely compact and lightweight mobile home that sacrifices almost none of the typical luxuries found in larger campers or RVs. A charming pod slides out to almost double the size of the cabin space, fitting a queen-sized bed comfortably, and and it even includes a 110-Watt solar panel system, skylight, two-burner gas cooktop, electric brakes and security alarm system and more. Born and made in Brisbane, Australia, it’s caught the interest of a growing number of people around the world who want to shed the cost, weight and confinement of an RV.
In 2010, NYC-based Art Director Irwin Tobias Matutina started Polanski, a Tumblr dedicated to excellent found photography featuring equally attractive women. Needless to say, their collective sharp eye for high-quality images quickly gathered a large following, including a number of first-rate photographers with a similar aesthetic to that of Matutina. Five years later, they’ve released Polanski Vol. 04. Featuring work by photographers including Rebecca Scheinberg, Emanuele Ferrari and Stefano Fabbri, Polanski Vol. 04 packs the tastefully provocative aesthetic that first drew people to Polanski’s Tumblr into 180 glossy pages.
Years in the making, Bang & Olufsen’s BeoLab 90 was unveiled to the public earlier this fall—and much of the resulting press focused on the price tag of $39,000 per speaker unit (and sold in a minimum of one pair)—but there’s far more to discuss here than that. For the launch, CH was on the ground at Bang & Olufsen’s headquarters and factories in Struer, Denmark to hear the sculptural speakers in person, and to learn how they came to be.
We’ve seen our fair share of handmade scented candles and thoughtful containers, but it’s the ones hiding a devious personality underneath that really go the extra mile. These scented crying candles, from new Korean company The Jacks, successfully blending the cute and macabre. They’re shaped like ears, antlers or brains and slowly melt through the eye holes of the ceramic rabbit, deer or human head. The dripping wax resembles tears falling, hence, the crying candle name.
Merfest images by Arthur Drooker, PAX 2 images by Cool Hunting, all others courtesy of respective brands