Posts Tagged design

Drinkable Aromas

organic aromas

Kille Enna, a renowned Danish chef, has developed an innovative line of 7 aromas that you can spray into your glass of water, from “Green Cardamom/Lavender Flowers” to “Liquorice Root from Uzbekistan”. Enna talks about her inspiration to create a scent you can taste in her interview with Munchies:

One day, while I was cleaning out my attic, one title among the piles of cookbooks and old food magazines caught my eye: Perfume. I have no idea who gave me this book, but my passion for complex taste composition and scent led me to open the book. As I began to read it, I didn’t stop for days. Every night, the book swept me away to places like Paris as the main character, Jean-Baptiste Grenouille—who is ostensibly stalking and murdering young virgins—is on a hunt for the perfect scent. For me, the captivation of the novel was about the sadness of a man lacking his own personal scent and the allure of the question it formulated: How do you capture a scent of that which you love? I recognized my own desire to answer that question, but my history in the culinary arts prevented me from separating olfaction from gustation; scent from taste. So my desire was for more than the creation of yet another perfume. It had to be the taste of a scent.

What do you think of drinkable aromas? What aromas would you want to drink or not drink?

Does texture impact taste? Nendo Chocolate Explores.

Chocolate Textures- Taste
Japanese Design House Nendo created the innovative chocolatetexture last year, which was a collection of nine different types of chocolate made in various shapes and textures- from smooth and rough exteriors to hollow interiors. The idea they were exploring was how shape and texture impact taste.

“…there are many factors that determine the taste of a piece of chocolate. These factors include what country the cocoa comes from, the kind of cocoa, the percentage content, the flavors inside, and the technique of the chocolatier. However, in their new chocolate concept, Nendo decided to put the focus on a different factor: the shape of the chocolate.”

The names of the nine different shapes were inspired by its onomatopoeic word from the Japanese language. You can imagine how biting in the airy “fuwa-fuwa” would bring about a different experience then biting into the spiky “toge-toge” (see below photo).

1. “tubu-tubu” Chunks of smaller chocolate drops.
2. “sube-sube” Smooth edges and corners.
3. “zara-zara” Granular like a file.
4. “toge-toge” Sharp pointed tips.
5. “goro-goro” Fourteen connected small cubes.
6. “fuwa-fuwa” Soft and airy with many tiny holes.
7. “poki-poki” A cube frame made of chocolate sticks.
8. “suka-suka” A hollow cube with thin walls.
9. “zaku-zaku” Alternately placed thin chocolate rods forming a cube.

innovative chocolate names

This year, they continued their explorations and recently released chocolatetexturebar, which is a chocolate bar divided into 12 very unique patterns. The idea is that the consumer gets to experience a new taste dimension based off the distinct textures of each piece.

“The design of the bar caters to the different parts of the tasting experience, nendo explains. These include the stage of “bite,” “roll in mouth,” and “swallow,” By including different textures, the bar addresses each stage of this process for a heightened experience.”

These chocolatey perfections are also available in milk, strawberry, white, bitter, and matcha. We look forward to more of nendo’s sensory explorations.

chocolate texture bar

innovative chocolate bar 1

Innovative chocolate bar

innovative chocolate bar

Watch out Apple! Why you should care about the Chinese phenomenon Xiaomi


While all eyes are on Apple and the impending launch of iWatch on April 24th, Chinese phone and gadgets maker Xiaomi announced in February that they are entering the US market, first with their mi band  (basically a USD30 Fitbit that gets the job done and looks pretty sweet) and accessories including battery banks and headphones.

Their secret weapon? A killer combination of cut-throat prices and smart, beautiful design.

For those who haven’t heard of Xiaomi yet, you should.  They just beat Samsung and Apple to be the biggest smartphone maker in China last year. That is an impressive feat considering the company is less than 5 years old.  Xiaomi has already launched in India, Singapore, and the Philippines, and is planning to enter other major Asian markets as well as Brazil, Mexico and other parts of South America.  The level of fanaticism from Xiaomi fans rivals or even surpasses that of Apple.  And Xiaomi fans are not limited to China, as witnessed through one of my clients from Belgium: the first thing he did when he was in Shanghai for a project was order a Xiaomi 3 phone to take back with him.

Needless to say, I am in love with Xiaomi.  On my recent visit to Hong Kong, I managed to snap a pair of rose gold Xiaomi headphones, with top of the line specs and beautiful design, all for HKD129 ($15).   I’m still speechless everyday by the quality product I got for the unbelievably low price tag.

While I do love Apple’s minimalistic and intuitive design aesthetic (I am a mac and iphone user) I feel like I am being brainwashed to think that I need and desire a $350+ iWatch, but I’m still not sold.  I was surprised to discover that Apple’s SVP of Design Jony Ive gets chauffeured in a Bentley and is friends with Chris Martin, Stephen Fry, and Paul Smith, which partially explain his vision and luxury aesthetic for the iWatch.  On the other hand, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun stays true to his humble beginnings, and has been known to criticize Apple for dictating what the consumer wants next, instead of listening to their feedback.

The philosophy behind Xiaomi’s success is that slick, beautiful design doesn’t have to be expensive, and should be accessible to everyone.  Xiaomi listens to their consumers, and gives them exactly what they want, but with design, specs, and prices that surpass their expectations.

When thinking about innovation, I’m constantly inspired by the fact that Xiaomi has proven that design, quality, and good value don’t have to be mutually exclusive, and you don’t have to be part of an elite consumer segment to feel like you belong to a tribe.

Their focus on the consumer has definitely paid off.

I’m excited to see where Xiaomi is headed next.  I’m definitely keeping an eye on how the US and other international markets respond to Xiaomi products, and will be eagerly tracking their next big innovations.  Watch out world, Xiaomi is ambitious and is ready for global domination!

Xiaomi Innovation

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Image credits
flickr user jonrussell (cc)
flickr user: worldleaks (cc)