We've evolved from the victrola to the record, the walkman to the Discman, the iPod to the iPhone, and now the record player is making a comeback, and for good reason. Nothing quite has that vintage sound like the crisp static from a vinyl record. Nothing quite adds nuances of life and movement to a room like a turning record. And it is with this that I introduce Brooklyn-based Grado, a family owned manufacturer of record player cartridges (the important part with the needle) using a unique design to ensure high-quality sound with minimal wear and tear to your vinyl records.
Founder Joseph Grado began as a watchmaker at Tiffany & Company in the early 1950s. He was gifted with excellent hearing which borne him interest in the manufacturing of record cartridges, speakers, and turntables. He began manufacturing in his kitchen, and later he moved into the storefront of his parent's grocery store in Brooklyn. Grado narrowed his focus to cartridges, and for several decades he researched and improved the product resulting in many patents. The business grew and was passed on to subsequent generations.
In the 1990s, still family owned, John Grado, Joseph's nephew expanded to include handmade headphones, their primary product today. Everything about their process has quality in mind. Grado prefers treated mahogany as a building material for its natural tonal properties. Their headphones offer a very broad frequency range to perfectly recreate those low bass and high treble acoustics. The connectors incorporate expensive rhodium to prevent corrosion. Critics have repeatedly lauded Grado products for their outstanding tonal quality.
Some people call that industrial chic, I call that well-made products with a purpose and a clean design. Jieldé's story (from J.L.D., the initials of founder Jean-Louis Domecq) starts in the 1940s when Domecq realized he couldn't find lighting adapted to its mechanical workshop so he decided to build something himself. After a lengthy trial and error process, he launched his first model in the fifties called the "Standard" which was renamed "Loft" in 1987. The most important innovation was that the lamp could bend and turn without affecting the wiring because there are no wires going through the joints. Electrical continuity is ensured thanks to copper connectors in each one of the joints: simplicity and robustness at their finest. Today, the company offers several dozens products in different lengths and colors as Jieldé's lamps went from having a solely utilitarian purpose to becoming staples of high-end home decor magazines.Each lamp has a unique serial number and is still handmade in Lyon..
Jieldé lamps are available at retailers around the globes (full list here), the products below are available on Horne.
Oxford Pennant was founded in 2013 by Brett Mikoll and Dave Horesh as a way to celebrate old school American sports traditions. Their pennants are made in the USA (Buffalo, NY to be more specific) and the company only uses natural materials such as wool or cotton.
Let me dispel any misunderstanding. I don't care about American football, hockey, baseball and, well, sports, in general, but I do appreciate a bit of classic, old school, sports-related Americana in my life. Now I present you with a cheap, effective and US-made way to primp your man (or woman) cave with a bit of hometown pride.
Most of Oxford Pennant's designs refer to sport proud cities such as Pittsburgh or Buffalo, but some sport more tongue-in-cheek designs (such as the Kanye one).
The hexagonally shaped swing is made out of sustainably sourced Black Locust wood, one of the most durable hardwoods in the United States. Thanks to its rot-resistant properties and natural strength, Black Locust wood does not require treatment, which makes it the perfect outdoor accessory. It was even used to build ship masts. The rope is made out of manila hemp (which is not really hemp but whatever) and has a lightness, strength and durability that is hardly matched by any other natural fiber. These ropes were popular with sailors because they are flexible and not easily disintegrable by seawater.
Think of this article as a super early idea for next summer. There's no such thing as over planning, right?
Starting point: tech products tend to look very much alike, are made from cheap eco-unfriendly materials and are designed to end up in the garbage can quickly. Even though products like keyboards or USB keys are essential in how interact with technology, they are often overlooked.
Founded by creative technology entrepreneur Julien Salanave and award-winning product designer Frank Fontana, Orée is a French brand born out of the desire to provide elegant, durable high performance technology products mainly crafted from natural materials, combining timeless craftsmanship techniques and cutting-edge technologies.
All their products are designed and crafted to order in Castelnaudary, southern France.
Side note: Orée stands for Original, Rational, Elegant, Engaged.
Born in Carry-le-rouet, on the shores of the Mediterranean sea, Rose et Marius is a luxury candle and soap brand. Founded by Magali Fleurquin Bonnard, a former jewelry industry executive, it's a tribute to her (my!) exceptional region. Though the candle cups are made in Limoges, the French capital of porcelain, the candles are made of bee wax in Grasse by master perfumers. As the protection of the environment is core to the brand's DNA, there's no GMO or paraben used, wicks are made of cotton, and packaging has been reduced when possible.
Think about picking up one of these scented gems on your next trip to Provence.
S. W. Basics is a Brooklyn based skincare brand that makes its products using solely natural and organic ingredients. In order to deliver the most potent skincare, they use only a maximum of 5 ingredients per products. No, there's no typo. Let's ditch the digits: five ingredients! They also support sustainable agriculture by buying their raw materials only from organic, fair trade, or small-farm sources.