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  • Summer Sizzler

    Hot WokWith barbecue season upon us, it's time to brace yourself for those uncooked sausages with crunchy black skins! But it doesn't have to be like that - there's a Danish company that produces the Hot Wok outdoor cooking system. With a 7kW gas burner and wok pan you could be enjoying delicious stir-fried meals al fresco in no time at all. Even if Asian cuisine is not your thing, there are a range of accessories including a grill and paella pan. The manufacturer also provides some cooking tips. So why not try a new take on barbecue this summer?

  • For commuters, 'One' bike

    'One' Bike Tom Owen is an up and coming new designer, recently graduated from the University of Derby. His prototypical 'One' Bike is a new take on the fold-up commuter bike incorporating some unique features. Since all the dirty bits are tucked away when folded, there's no risk of messing up that smart business suit. And for the more sedentary amongst us, it features an electric motor for power assist. It remains to be seen whether this striking design makes it to production, and then if it will do better than its predecessors. No doubt congestion charges could contribute to its success!

  • Alessi - what's in a name?

    In the spring of 2006, Alessi, the Italian Design Factory, re-classified its large product range into three sub-brands. Quoting from the Alessi site:

    Officina Alessi welcomes the most challenging and refined products with delicate elegance, often crowning projects by internationally renowned authors...
    Alessi is the main and the most traditional brand, expressing quality, technology and design...
    A di Alessi is comprised of magic forms, colours, and materials, products which are more accessible to a larger public at decisively lower prices, and always with the mark of excellence.

    As a retailer or a consumer, I'm not sure the distinction helps me very much. I can see the A di Alessi branding - the fun and functional products like the Dozi hedgehog paperclip holder or Mr Cold, the drippy-nosed soap dispenser.
    Dozi paperclip holder Mr Cold soap dispenser
    When it comes to the Alessi and Officina brands, however, I find it harder to make the distinction. Where do those design classics, such as the Juicy Salif or Michael Graves' Bird-Whistle kettle belong?
    Juicy Salif  juicer Bird Whistle kettle
    Ultimately it doesn't really matter. Alessi products across all the sub-brands share the same attention to detail and design aesthetic. With so many products there's sure to be something for everyone to love!

  • Cooking Good!

    A relative newcomer to the UK market, Gastroguss cookware is something a bit special. The manufacturer, AMT Gastroguss, is outfitter and sponsor of the German National Culinary Team (imagine a row of chefs on starting blocks). You don't need to be a competitive cook, however, to appreciate the quality of their products. Each piece is individually cast in aluminium, then coated by blasting with titanium particles at supersonic speeds using a patented process. The result is a non-stick surface, without the use of Teflon, that is hard-wearing and durable.

    I first encountered Gastroguss about 2 years ago when I bought the square griddle pan. At the time, the shop assistant told me that I would be back for more - and she was right! Two weeks later I was back for a set of saucepans and frying pans. Confirming their hard-wearing properties, they have withstood my assaults with metal forks, spoons and spatulas. I have managed to mark them, it's true, but they retain their non-stick properties. It is recommended that you don't put these in a dishwasher (which I haven't) but cleaning with some soapy water is so easy that it isn't a chore.
    square griddle pan
    If you are looking for quality cookware you should check out the Gastroguss range (they also have models suitable for induction hobs). Be warned, though, these pans may be made of aluminium but they are not light!

  • Office Furniture

    If you are looking for office furniture to complement your designer office accessories, you might like to take a look at Lockwood Hume. They've been in business for over 60 years (though not quite so long in e-commerce!) and can supply all types of office furniture from budget desks to bespoke boardroom tables. You could also try out their office space planning and design services.

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