Wooden Bike Accessories

The best timbered adornments for your ride

With summer in full swing, your bike has likely become a constant companion. Giving your wheels some natural lo-fi charm, handcrafted wooden accessories also provide a supreme level of easy functionality. We scoured Etsy to find the best of the bunch, from baskets and grips to storage units, fenders and lights.


The Bike Valet by Reclamation Art Furniture
is a handsome and practical addition to any cyclist’s home—the wall-mounted storage unit features compartments for keys and a wallet as well a place to hang your bike. Made from urban harvest walnut and hand-rubbed with natural VOC oil finish, each Bike Valet is made to order, individually numbered and signed by craftsman Steven Tiller. Available for $185 on Etsy.


The wooden bicycle light from Sean Said Play is fashioned out of reclaimed walnut and attaches via a Velcro strap, relying on a common 3v coin battery to produce a bright flash. The designers utilize as much reused material as possible, aiming to make well-designed lights that compete with their mass-produced counterparts in price, quality and functionality. Available in both a red and white light, the wood can be customized on Etsy for $35.


Broken Board handcrafts these wood grips on a lathe in either Brazilian Walnut Hardwood or Cherry. They’re finished with a spar polyurethane commonly used for marine applications, enabling the grips to withstand the elements while enhancing the natural grain of the wood. Available for $50 from Etsy.


Combing a rustic feel with modern lines, REdesign Studio‘s RE-cycle wooden bike fenders offer a twist in the aesthetic of your ride. Handmade from reclaimed wood, the fenders are crafted in downtown Seattle by alums of the University of Washington’s architecture department. Available for $100 from Etsy.


For rear bike racks, the Wooden Bike Basket from Off Cut Studio is a handsome alternative to the traditional wire or nylon basket. Made from solid walnut and finished with four coats of marine oil, the Wooden Bike Basket’s mortise and tenon joints mean it’s built to endure the elements. Off Cut Studio also welcomes requests for custom sizes. The walnut Wooden Bike Basket
is available for $105 from Etsy.


For those who prefer a basket mounted to the front of their bike, the Classic Porter Crate by Bates Crates boasts the bonus of a cup holder. The crates are handmade from maple before being stained and polycoated to handle the environment. Available for $125 on Etsy.

A Google Reader Starred Item

Wendy Maarten Pulley Lamps

Rotterdam industrial shipyards inspire elegant porcelain fixtures


Dutch design duo Wendy Legro and Maarten Collignon found inspiration for their latest collection in the industrial shipyards of Rotterdam that surround their office. Better known as Wendy Maarten, they came together in 2010 after successfully partnering in several design contests around the Netherlands. “We noticed that working together makes us better,” says Legro. “The one thing that really connects us is that we really share the same taste.”


Their newest project, “Lightness in Lines,” is a lighting collection inspired by the pulley systems of Rotterdam’s shipyards and serves as a testament to their formally driven design process. “The Dutch translation for the word designer is ‘shape giver’—we literally want to give shape to objects but it should never lose its function,” says Collignon. “The aim for the ‘Lightness in Lines’ collection was to create elegant and friendly objects with a big focus on aesthetic qualities and form.”


The result is a line that’s both delicate and streamlined, consisting of long porcelain lamps balanced out by custom counterweights. The counterweight and the working pulley system allow one to easily adjust the height of each lamp. The collection comes in a variety of colors ranging from the industrial all-black iteration to the softer-looking gradient lamps that come in colors like grapefruit and yellow. “We use pigments to color the clay, the matte result almost makes it look like rubber which is perfect to reflect the industrial beauty of shipyards,” says Legro. “Working with ceramics means being challenged all the time. Close to our office we now have our porcelain workshop where we make every single lamp by hand with a lot of care, frustration and joy.”


The pulley lamps start at 375 € and can be ordered directly from their

A Google Reader Starred Item

Alessandro Brighetti Schizophrenia

A macabre demonstration in the electromagnetic manipulation of oil-based ferrofluids


Raised in a family of doctors and formally educated as a painter, Alessandro Brighetti finds himself and his work helplessly drawn towards the fields of arts and science. Initially channeling this keen interest through works reminiscent of petri dish experiments and cellular dissections, Brighetti’s work has since evolved to include a range of chemically enhanced sculptures.

On a recent visit to Switzerland’s Scope Basel 2012 we had the pleasure of seeing two of his latest projects, “Schizophrenia” and the debut of its brain-shaped equivalent, at La Galleria OltreDimore. Using electromagnetic stimulation Brighetti commands an oil bath to move freely, spiking and laying to rest again—a mind-boggling phenomenon that instills in its viewer an unsettling feeling of curiosity and intrigue.


Brighetti creates the entirety of his projects without digital assistance, preferring physical material manipulation over a “false perfection” achieved by the likes of Photoshop. For his two new dynamic sculptures, Brighetti worked closely with a chemist to create the perfect solution of liquid alchemy. This ferrofluid, as it’s called, is a stable mixture of magnetic iron nanoparticles surrounded by an ionic surfactant dissolved in oil. The result is a magnetically charged oil that responds to powerful electromagnets while still retaining its liquid properties.

The ferrofluid is stimulated through the static skull or brain form, invisible to the viewer, to achieve an alien sense of self-propulsion. While the complex chemistry behind Brighetti’s work isn’t entirely new, we do appreciate the effort to bring applied sciences to a new audience by way of art. For more information on Brighetti visit the OltreDimore Gallery artist’s page.

Images by Josh Rubin

A Google Reader Starred Item

Art Basel: Animals

Creatures on canvas, cast in metals, suspended in air and more at Switzerland’s massive show

Whether the main subject of a taxidermy-inspired sculpture or an allegorical reference within a larger composition, animals are an evergreen source of inspiration among a diverse range of media and genres. The pivotal role creatures play was apparent in fresh, provocative ways at this year’s Art Basel, where we encountered several works that shed new light on a classic subject. See the works that got our goat below.


The “Nice Bird of Prey Shoe” (1975) was constructed by Austrian artist and avant-garde feminist Birgit Jurgenssen. The surrealist escape offered by Juergenssen’s work aims to appease the tension wrought by the socio-cultural turmoil of the 20th century. Constructed of metal, feathers, and chicken claws, the unsettling accessory is from Galerie Hubert Winter in Vienna.


The Swiss arts foundation Not Vital, which promotes preservation and exchange between cultures, presents “Peking Duck” (2009-2011), a glossy update of the Chinatown staple in 18k gold. The sculpture is on view at NYC’s Sperone Westwater Gallery.

“Kuriere” (2012) by German artist Dirk Lange combines pencil, colored pencil, and ink to create an abstract portrait of a war general and his pigeon. Sweet pastels juxtapose the subject’s obliterated face for a conceptual riff on the stately pose. The piece is available at Berlin’s Galerie Michael Haas.


Both a hunter and an artist, Marc Swanson has established a body of work around a breathtaking set of bedazzled crystal deer-antler sculptures. According to the gallery, Swanson’s five-piece “Untitled (Crystal Hooking Left)” (2011) edition stems largely from his personal history, started as a way to “explore, both physical and spiritually, the duality of masculine identities he was experiencing.” The piece was constructed from polyurethane foam and crystal, and is from Richard Gray Gallery.


“Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs (or The Witches)” (1985) by Swiss artist Jean Tinguely fuses together a hodgepodge of metals into eight motorized sculptures. From wrought iron bits and scrap to bicycle frames and axles, the seemingly creaky contraptions are laced together with strips of fabric and animal skulls for a slightly macabre vibe. The piece, made in the late years of Tinguely’s life, is from Galerie Hans Mayer in Düsseldorf, Germany.


Known for his irreverent sculptures, Athens-based artist Dionisis Kavallieratos turns to oil on canvas in the detailed work “A Ballad for Chicken Banana” (2010). In monochromatic gray tones he manages to cast a subject that’s at once mighty and absurd. The piece was on view at Athens’ Breeder Gallery.

“Pollinator” (2011) by E.V. Day casts the reproductive organs of flowers—specifically those from Claude Monet’s famous lily pond in Giverny—into a demonstration of the animal-like ability to reproduce through pollination. Day sifted through a pile of clipped flowers (those that are weeping in the garden are cut by the gardeners) and then pressed and scanned and ultimately processed the best of each type of flower into three-dimensional form. The sculpture is made of a resin core, with polished nickel-plated copper and is from Carolina Nitsch in New York.


Spotted at the W Hotels Designers of the Future exhibit, the aptly titled “Go-Round” by Tom Foulsham comprises a balance of a miniature giraffe kissing a miniature whale on a single sharpened point. Rather than being propelled mechanically, it is moved by everyday objects like hair dryers, fans, balloon dresses, or by simply blowing.

A tabletop is transformed into an illusion of a deep-sea abyss with “Octopus (Krake)” (2012) by Swiss-born, Munich-based artist David Bielander. The limited-edition cast-bronze candelabra is available at the Ornamentum Gallery in Hudson, New York.

Images by Josh Rubin

A Google Reader Starred Item

Design: Paper

Analog creativity shows an old medium in a new form


Edited by Austin-based creative collective Public School, “Design: Paper” gathers together some of the medium’s more curious recent works, spanning the areas of identity, print, packaging, stationery and papercraft. The book explores the upside of the digital age’s encroachment on paper: tangible projects may be less frequently explored now, but because of this they are now more thoughtfully designed.


“Once used as a platform to hold a message, paper is now being used as the message,” writes Public School designer Cody Haltom in the book’s introduction. Filled with around 300 examples, the image-heavy book illustrates how several young practices are pioneering a relevant paper revolution, and how they envision its place in the future.


This isn’t just a wave of nostalgia, these designers are hoping to create works that are as forward-thinking as they are long-lasting. Essays from FÖDA Creative Director Jett Butler, Kelli Anderson, RoAndCo founder Roanne Adams, Owen Gildersleeve and Because Studio‘s Loz Ives offer a sincere look at their penchant for the medium and how it relates to their design processes. For example, Adams, who regularly uses paper in her graphic design work, relays a few tips on mastering the art of selecting the best paper stock for the printing technique, while Gildersleeve, a talented papercraft artist, talks about the patience paper projects require, and finding beauty in the imperfections the analog format creates.


Alongside an extensive range of works culled from around the world, the book also takes a “Closer Look” at the distinct design process behind studios like Manuel, The Metric System, Bond Creative Agency, Foreign Policy and Chevychase, to name a few. The array of ways in which paper can effectively, and often very subtly, shape an alluring message are fascinating—from a simple business card to elaborate packaging.


“Design: Paper” sells online from Amazon and Rockport Publishers for $40.

A Google Reader Starred Item

Five-Panel Hats

Five picks for staying shaded this summer

The hot summer sun calls for a hat that blocks out rays without overheating your head. Find solace in the unstructured fit of the five-panel cap—by design this style favors lightweight fabrics and a slimmer silhouette, making it an ideal option for warmer climes. From party prints to subdued denim, the following are five casual caps to replace your sticker-clad fitted this summer.



Nothing signals good times ahead quite like a Hawaiian print. In that spirit, HUF, San Francisco’s finest purveyor of skate and street stylings, released the perfect hat for the season, the tropical Parrot Volley. The lightweight woven fabric and metal grommet air holes allow the head to breathe, while the nylon strap keeps it firmly in place. With a worldwide following akin to that of Supreme, HUF sold out of the Parrot Volley online immediately after last week’s launch but word has it DQM has an exclusive stash dropping this Wednesday, 27 June at their NYC location.



FairEnds’ Hickory Camp Cap lends the five-panel look an understated, Americana vibe with its vintage train conductor aesthetic—one that handsomely accents a simple Levi’s and white tee ensemble. The unstructured cotton body forms to your head from the first wear for a supremely comfortable fit. The Montana-based FairEnds hat sells from Unis for $39.



As a notable pioneer of NYC street style, DQM has been a leader in the hat game for years. Since the Vans DQM General opened last September, the skate-centric boutique has ramped up their in-house line to include a tightly edited assortment of fashion wares—case in point, the North South Camp Cap. This Supplex nylon hat is super lightweight and comes in multiple colorways so you won’t have any problems matching your new favorite summer kit. Find the North South Camp Cap at DQM in NYC and online for $42.



A blue oxford cloth shirt is a basic staple every man should have hanging in his closet. If you’re not the button-down type of guy—or you simply want to carry over the look into your accessories—check Coal’s oxford cloth Richmond hat instead. Sharing the same soft cotton fabric, this refined cap features a lightweight mesh lining and taped seams to ensure it lasts a lifetime. The Richmond—also available in green oxford—is available for $30 directly from Coal.



Harlem’s ONLY has been vital in the ongoing evolution of sophisticated menswear and street style. To appeal to both scenes, the American-made Tombs five-panel features subtle Native American-inspired detailing on the label and is available in a muted-red cotton twill and a more subdued blue denim. Find it online for $32 or schedule an appointment at ONLY’s Corner Store.

A Google Reader Starred Item


Illustrations, music videos, Berlin Wall murals and more from London’s quirky Frenchman


French illustrator, film director and creative polymath Mathieu Bessudo, or McBess as he is more widely known, is a London-based artist with an eye for incredible detail and a mind for a surreal rearrangement of the most simplistic of subject matters.

McBess’ illustrations are inspired by the drama of everyday life, by relationships, food and musical instruments that are re-modeled and contorted to create a microcosm in monochrome while simultaneously appearing to be something ripped right out of a nightmarish 1930s Fleischer Cartoon. The latest of these irreverent incarnations can be seen in his new collection for Berlin’s Dudes Factory shop, which includes a T-bone shaped chopping block, a gramophone, a beerstein (hand-thrown and fired in Bavaria), prints, plates and more.


In 2011 McBess was asked by Dudes Factory to venture beyond his everyday subject matter and to apply himself to a project more serious than steaks and electric guitars. 
Based at Berlin’s Freedom Park, he worked on a segment of the infamous Berlin wall in commemoration of the 50th year since its construction.


McBess approached the project with a degree of subtlety, claiming that he wanted his design to be “as low key possible”. The result of his efforts is stunning—his faint references to the Berlin bear, check-points and the separation of East and West Berliners is made clear without being too obvious, and it boasts copious details but isn’t weighed down by traditional motifs and symbolism.


In addition to his illustration work, McBess is a director at the Soho-based film company The Mill, an ultra-creative arm of the VFX Company. McBess’ show-reel displays the same rigorous attention to detail and fluidity that is so evident in his illustrations, and it is when brought to life by film that Bessudo’s work is perhaps at its most commanding. Various film projects include music videos for his rock band The Dead Pirates and “Dark Arts“, his title sequence work for the 2012 Ciclope International Advertising Crafts Festival.


Unsurprisingly, the Frenchman markets himself as “expensive” and fairly states, “You either deal with how I work, or I just don’t do a good project.” Download The Dead Pirates new EP FAT online for £3 and pick up McBess prints and merchandise from his shop.

A Google Reader Starred Item

Bixby & Co.

Whole food candy bars inspired by the roaring ’20s

Bixby & Co. is a fledgling candy bar company with a knack for making delectable sweet treats from whole foods and organic ingredients. Hoping to reinvent the classic American snack, McAleer began producing vegan, non-GMO and gluten-free treats with half the sugar of a traditional candy bar, drawing inspiration from her adventurous great-great-grandparents, Lillian and William K. Bixby, for the chocolate’s 1920s packaging and irreverent attitude. Combining a health-conscious culinary sophistication with that sense of sporty nostalgia, Bixby bars are all about the fusion of whole foods and silky chocolate in a compact treat.


First launched in December 2011, McAleer’s unlikely education spanned Chinese, art history and design before settling in the pastry arts. Her shop, located in New York’s Hudson Valley, produces each of Bixby & Co.’s handmade bars. Eco-conscious to the last, the packaging is composed of soy ink printed on FSC-certified paper. McAleer’s sustainability efforts have won the bars Rainforest Alliance Certification and a membership in Youth Trade.

McAleer’s art and design education shines through in the throwback packaging. Cheeky names like “Whippersnapper” and “Knockout” theme the bars, which are mostly inspired by leisure sports of the ’20s. “Heart’s Delight“—a seductive combination of dark chocolate, almonds, dried strawberries and ceylon cinnamon—features an etching of famed ballroom dancers Vernon and Irene Castle. The newly introduced “Mulligan” and “Birdie” flavors are a his-and-hers pair that pay tribute to McAleer’s days as a golfer.


As the popularity of bean-to-bar chocolate compels confectioners to reconsider sweets, Bixby & Co. is turning that same passion for ingredients toward the candy bar. The flavors are inspired by McAleer’s time abroad in China, where unlikely flavor marriages along the silk road have bred rich regional cuisines. McAleer’s tribute to China, “To the Nines” brings together white chocolate, goji berries, pistachios, almonds and cardamom. “I had this equation of chocolate, fruit, nut and spice that occurred to me,” says McAleer. After a a dose of sweet chocolate and sour fruit, the lingering taste is often a spice—ranging from savory fleur de sel to spicy tellicherry black pepper. The addition of organic brown rice crisp lightens the bar considerably, separating elements and making for a more delicate texture.

Bixby & Co. chocolate bars are available from the company’s online shop.

Images by James Thorne

A Google Reader Starred Item

Art Basel: Other Worlds

A selection of mind-bending, multimedia works from Switzerland’s expansive art show

While several works at this year’s Art Basel touched upon the animalistic side of humanity, another parallel looked to the future with otherworldly and scientifically driven design. From a Nouveau Realism throwback to forward-thinking student work, there were numerous sculptures, paintings and more to stimulate the mind’s analytical side.


In studying experience design at Stockholm’s renowned Konstfack University, Farvash Razavi explores the possibilities of blending science and design. By working closely with scientists, Razavi’s work holds a fragile, if not sterile feel, lending it an aesthetic that blurs sculpture with science experiment. In her “Scale of Existence”, at Design Miami/Basel, suspended, beaker-like globes encircle meticulously detailed miniature circuit boards like a nucleus within a cell, reflecting the “invisible, macro-level” of creation.


Often described as “Outsider Art”, Chris Hipkiss‘ intricate drawings of elaborate scenarios immediately draw in the eye and threaten not to let go. Heightened with striking red accents, these mostly black-and-white works seem to center around an imposing subject engulfed in repeating characters and structures. Presented by Galerie Susanne Zander, Hipkiss’ “Fucking Plasma Sun Hater” and “Forget The Sun” present a menacing landscape dominated by whirling barbs and sharp slogans.


Resembling an alien fungi and constructed entirely of wood, Tony Cragg‘s “Round The Block” measures nearly seven by eight feet in size. The smooth surface of the massive sculpture leads the eye through the stratified structure of the individual wood plains, allowing one to look past the knots and imperfections to comprehend the piece as a whole. The way the undulations of the brilliantly polished wood both absorb and reflect light is the truly transforming characteristic of this beautiful contemporary sculpture. Keep an eye on Galerie Hans Meyer for more from Cragg.


While California-born artist Doug Aitken is best known for his experience in photography, sculpture, film and sound installations, his paint series “To Give It All Away” offers insight into his endless artistic talent. The 24 framed watercolor on paper works achieve incredible depth while managing a bizarre balance between chaotic and calm with cooling color choices and a large-scale presentation. By presenting the works in a grid, Aitken gives order to his cubist-inspired paintings while inviting the eye to explore the varied landscapes.


Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson is best known for his elemental use of basic materials to enhance his large-scale sculptures and installations. For Basel he presented “Your Two-Tone Dawn Light”, a hanging sculpture made of colored glass and LED lights encased in an aluminum and steel skeleton. The transfixing orb of burnt oranges and deep blues conjures images of science fiction movies and early ’70s psychedelic art. See NYC’s Tanya Bonakdar Gallery for more from Eliasson.


“Open Universe”, Ricci Albenda‘s suspended wire sculpture on view at Andrew Kreps Gallery, takes a three-dimensional approach to his signature optical illusion installation paintings. The sculpture presents an imaginary space seen through a fish-eye lens, bending the framework—and one’s mind. The minimalist material approach is particularly intriguing, showing how a simple take on a complex idea often holds the strongest impact.


Destined to be one of the shortest art movements in history from the very moment of its inception, the Nouveau Réalisme movement began in 1960 and fell apart shortly after. Galerie Georges-Philippe & Nathalie Vallois pays tribute to two of the 13 artists attributed to the movement with an exhibition of works by Ultra-Lettrists Jacques Villaglé and Raymond Hains. Focused on the symbolic use of letters and decolletage to make statements on capitalism, the duo’s distinct take on poster art is eternally relevant.

Images by Josh Rubin

A Google Reader Starred Item

The Beer Wrench

Fix a flat and open a beer at the same time with Budnitz Bicycles’ new titanium tool


Combining a trifecta of our own personal passions—minimalist design, bicycles and beer—is the newly released Beer Wrench from Budnitz Bicycles. The pocket-sized tool features a 15mm wrench to remove axle bolts on one end, and a bottle opener on the other, and secures to most bicycles’ water bottle cage mount with two easily removable thumb-screws. Made by the company that put super simple, titanium bicycles on the map, each wrench is machined from aerospace-grade titanium to cut weight down to an ultra-light 35 grams.


While designed specifically to fit any standard axle bolt, the 15mm wrench is also compatible with Shimano’s Afline internal hub bolts and Pitlock spindle keys. Plus, the simple engraving on the bottle opener—”The road is the destination”—may just help to ease the inevitable frustration of fixing a flat. Find the Beer Wrench directly from Budnitz Bicycles online for $38.

A Google Reader Starred Item