design trends
cosmic trends
In honor of the weekly social media posting trend and hashtag game, Throwback Thursday, we’re getting nostalgic about the Sagrada Família in Barcelona, Spain. The cosmic neutral palate, hypnotic shapes of the decorated ceiling, and ornate pillars built to resemble trees of Antoni Gaudí’s masterpiece still captivate the imagination. 
After over 15,000 miles in planes, trains, and automobiles – we’re back.
You can view photos from our travels to Corsica, France; Seville, Spain; Gothenburg and Stockholm, Sweden; and Healdsburg, California, USA here or here.  
We will add new cultural insights from the journey as soon as we finish categorizing themes, downloading hi-res images, and cross-referencing notes. Watch this space. 
Whole Foods
{photo: Draft Shack at Whole Foods in Austin, TX}
  • Is the fifth time a charm? French company homes to break the all business-class curse with daily flights from NYC to Paris. [Forbes]
  • Young & Restless: Millennials are more interested than older generations in traveling abroad as much as possible — by a 23-percentage-point margin. [The Atlantic]
10 corso como
10 Corso Como
As far as concept stores go, 10 Corso Como in Milan has remained a key cultural influence on retail, style, and sophistication. 
In all honesty, we didn't expected to write about our most recent visit but something about the memory of that lazy late afternoon, sitting in the garden cafe, watching hipster Italians stroll by for La Passeggiata (the art of taking a walk in the evening) has kept the imagery and experience top of mind. 
10 corso como
Twenty years after opening in a location far from the big name designers on the Via Montenapoleone, the retail store, bookstore, cafe, and restaurant still captivate the imagination. Famous for collaborations that no one thought possible and infused with goods worthy of the fashion elite, the biggest statement here lies in the geometric layered patterns, sculpted forms, and exquisite visual showmanship.
Corso Como Cafe
It was refreshing to revisit 10 Corso Como. As much as we love minimalist store design and eccentric curated haberdashery, few spaces are actually, purposefully unique to the brand. You cannot pinpoint the references by explaining it as "part this and part that" simply because it still remains the first of it's kind across multiple industries. 
Liu Jo windows
Color craft is part of a merchandiser’s ability. Certain product stories are enhanced by color and arrangements are well thought out so as to minimize confusion. For example, it is well known that certain shades of blue and green, in combination with black, should be presented in a customer-friendly arrangement that allow each color to be distinguishable from the other – reducing mix-ups, accidental purchases, and ultimately returns.
merchandising by color
In contrast – literally – to this school of thought are the window displays at Liu Jo. Spotted in Rome, this still life photographic arrangement in pale pink is a trend in both color and form. Possibly inspired by the work of Carl Kleiner and Evelina Bratell’s work on the  Ikea baking cookbook  Hembakat är Bäst (Homemade Is Best), Things Organized Neatly’s clever Tumblr feed, and Swedish installation photographer, Helga Steppan’s See Through series, the simplistic display is visually refreshing in comparison to the others near the Via del Corso.

We love the retailer’s take on combining lifestyle objects with one important statement piece. This standout presentation is an example of marketing, brand, and creative collaboration that is relevant to multiple trends in food, fashion, and consumer packaged goods.   

Walking Stories
Blame it on Italy.
We couldn't resist sharing the trailer for Salvatore Ferragamo's 21-minute feature, Walking Stories, with you. The story, starring Kaya Scodelario and Lauren Hutton, will be shown in eight episodes on a bi-weekly basis on 
The journey starts in Florance and spans three cities that each represent a distinctive aspect of the fashion house. We love how the themes of travel, food, and culture are increasingly represented alongside fashion. View the episodes here.
With truffles – seasonal is the way to go. And fall is the perfect time of year to enjoy this pungent delicacy in Italy. We were delighted to taste a number of regional specialties in Lombardia, Lazio, and Umbria – each with their own distinctive character and provincial flare.
One concept that we didn’t indulge in, but worth mentioning is Tartufi & Friends in Rome. Its sheer existence is somewhat of a cultural disconnect in a country that uses fresh raw truffles only in fall. But, by capitalizing on supply and demand of tourists shopping near the Spanish Steps, this “Truffle Lounge”, has leveraged one of the most expensive foods in the world, year-round. 
Tartufi & Friends
Like it or not, Tartufi & Friends is clearly turning trends into a marketable opportunity. Like hocus-pocus truffle oil, the attempt does not capture the true essence. 
Looking back on the trip, we knew something was up as we dined at Il Ristorante at The Bvlgari Hotel. The menu had shifted from predominately Milanese classics to include some new global – and specifically Asian – flavors. In addition to Bocconcini di gallina alla soya (chicken and soy sauce lollipops with avocado and fresh cream), there were a variety of raw fish dishes with the following disclaimer: Il pesce servito crudo è prima portato a -40°c* (All fish served raw is prior taken to -40°c).
Seeing as we didn’t travel to Italy for avocado, we preferred Burrata e spinaci freschi composta di pomodori e frisele (Burata with fresh spinach, tomato compote and friselle) and the Risotto alla Milanese.
Risotto alla Milanese
In a culture built on culinary tradition and the procurement of the best local ingredients, it seems obvious to us that chefs and customers are pushing the boundaries with creative reinterpretation and new flavors. And, as the gastronomic landscape changes, it will be interesting to determine exactly what harmonizes with culinary art and philosophy.  
blue trends
Blue colorway
In times of transition, blue represents a sense of calm and has a very positive association, making it a very safe global color. Water and sky ground the landscape, bringing forth a sense of transparency, balance, and interaction. 
August feels very much like a blue month. The diverse shade range coupled with the clean, digital aesthetic - is summer's last dynamic and vivid statement before fall approaches. Remember that in 2014, when this "it" color brings harmony to passionate palettes. 
UPDATE 9.4.12: Pantone's top colors for spring 2014 include various shade of blue. 
Mondrian Cake SFMOMA
Thank you Design Taxi for featuring edible versions of famous artwork today! We're thrilled that our post from October 2010 on the same subject is seeing a larger audience.