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The when and the where
It's that time of year again...
Within the Netherlands
2019: a recap in photographs
July & August: designing a solution for food waste
That's it for 2019
Read all about it
We just sent out a newsletter about Holiday-prep to mailboxes all over the world (though mainly in The Netherlands).
Missed it? Read the Dutch or English version by clicking on the image below.
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Just in time for the Holidays
Postcards are always a fun gift, and cards that can grow into flowers even more so.
That's why we created the 'Don't worry Bee happy' gift set containing 6 Flower Cards and three envelopes in a nice box with growing paper wrapper.
Compose the set exactly as you like it: choose the 6 cards you like best, or go for one of the mixes we thought up.
You can even choose to add more envelopes or buy the set without envelopes and save a euro.
The set goes for €15,- including 3 envelopes.
NB If you were to buy the 6 cards and envelopes separately that would add to €19,50, so this might just be a great gift for yourself as well :-).
<Get the Bee Happy gift set here>
Gifting a little love
Dutch online platform Milledoni is all about gifts.
Gifts for anyone, for any occasion and any budget.
We're super happy one of their scouts spotted our Helios and added it to their guide of gifts!
Remember this website: The next time you have no idea what to get your friend or colleague, visit Milledoni for the best ideas.
Good to know: all featured products link back to the original webshops where you can make your purchase
Poma/Olera in the newspaper
When launching our Poma/Olera series during the last Dutch Design Week (read all about it here) we had a lovely chat with journalist Jasmijn Missler of Dutch newspaper Trouw.
Although this hasn't boiled down to a 'real' article in the newspaper yet, we're happy to get a little mention in this piece about food waste.
Check it out here:
Not the whole story (yet)
In the article the Poma/Olera is mentioned briefly and described as a fruit bowl making it possible to keep different kinds of fruit and vegetables in separate compartments to avoid them being subject to the ethylene gas emitted by ripening fruits like apples and bananas.
Which is, of course, very true.
But the Poma/Olera series has more dimensions than just separating different fruits.
The fruitbowl also has multiple presentation platters for fruits that should be eaten first, while also serving as a lid keeping the stock below in a dark and slightly cooler (due to evaporation cooling) space.
Also part of the series is ripening bowl Patera Maturus which uses ethylene gas emitted by certain fruits to speed up the ripening process of other varieties like avocado or mango.
The reason we're expanding a little on the subject, is because later on the article mentions a couple of things you can do to keep fruit and vegetables fresh for longer and Poma/Olera pretty much covers them all.
Happy to know our extensive homework during the research phase paid off ;-).
<Read all about Poma/Olera>
The Volkskrant Gift Guide
Super happy and proud to have our new Helios Constellation featured in the Holiday gift guide of Volkskrant Magazine last Weekend.
It's only a tiny mention, but judging by the extra webshop orders, people are definitely noticing :-)
Also, we're joined by a pretty decent collection of other great-to-gift goodies, so if you can use some inspiration, make sure to check out the full gift guide in November 23rd Volkskrant Magazine!
Find more about the Helios Constellation here
Order Helios in our webshop
Westergas, 20-23 December
This season we're going to try something new. We'll be participating in a Christmas Market!
And not just any Christmas market: the Amsterdamsche Kerstmarkt, to be precise.
As a sucker for Christmas tunes i'm very much looking forward to 4 days of Jingle bell cheer and gluhwein.
And since the market is open to everyone and has a fun programme for all ages, this is definitely a place to spend some time in the Weekend before Christmas.
Come find us, get your Holiday presents at our stall and i'll lovingly wrap it to make sure your gift will stand out under the tree.
<Read all about the market here>
21-23 December 12:00 - 01:00 (market 12:00 - 20:00)
Free entrance, suitable for all ages
Pazzanistraat 33, Amsterdam
(come by bike or public transport)
The blank page Pavilion
A month ago Today, Eindhoven was the worlds' epicenter of design, and slap bang in the main square of all Dutch Design Week festivities was a large white box stating "Design bepaalt de koers", Dutch for "Design sets the course".
The box was a temporary building designed to represent a blank sheet ready for a the first draft of a new design, and was commissioned by Dutch bank ABN AMRO.
For 9 days this pavilion was the home of 4 Game Changers: designs that can help us live more sustainably daily lives.
One of those Game Changers: our Poma/Olera series.
Brandbase and ABN AMRO gave us the opportunity to come up with a solution for everyday fruit and vegetable storage.
(More about the origins of Poma/Olera can be found here)
Our design was accompanied by the Transformer table (getting better with age), a candle using fat from a water sanitation plant and a filter that takes out the micro-plastics from your washing machine waste water.
The ABN AMRO Game Changers exhibition was set up as an experience: up to 15 visitors accompanied by a host would be guided along the 4 different Game Changers with a professional voice-over and well timed lighting schedule.
This meant that as a visitor of the Game Changers Pavilion you really experienced design, rather than simply looking at it. Something very different to most other exhibitions and very professionaly executed.
Because of the voice-over directing the pace of the little tour, people didn't really have the time to linger around our work and take photographs to share online.
That's why we snuck in before the show started to get a few pics of the Poma/Olera presentation.
Reaching a new audience
Having ABN AMRO backing our project meant that we reached audiences we probably would have missed otherwise.
We were very happy we got to tell about House of Thol to a professional audience during a Sustainable investment event and expanded our network tremendously.
Apart from an interview with a journalist from a national newspaper that will hopefully be published in a few months, we had a lovely chat with Francis of Sublime radio, which let into our 60 seconds of radio fame that you can listen to here.
Coming to your house soon!
Not being able to stand next to our designs was new to us, and made for a refreshingly laid back Dutch Design Week.
It also meant we missed out on a lot of direct response to our Poma/Olera series, and that's kind of a shame.
We love getting into conversation about our designs, to clarify the decisions we made and brainstorm about future possibilities.
Luckily a lot of people still managed to reach out to us and tell us what they thought about Poma/Olera via e-mail and social media
Most heard response was: "When will the series be for sale?" and "Where can i get a Poma/Olera fruit bowl?".
With so many specific requests, we're happy to get a move on: We'll be producing a small Poma/Olera series in house meant for direct sales on the short term, while at the same time diving deeper into terracotta production possibilities as close to home as possible.
We're not in this alone: Fonds Kwadraat is helping us with the next step.
Deck the halls
In the Netherlands we're as a nation postponing the Christmas cheer until after December 5th, when our own Saint Nicholas heads back to his palace in Spain.
But boy, then it does start in earnest. The Weekend following Sinterklaas' departure, it's absolute mayhem in every garden centre selling Christmas trees.
Personally i love the Holidays not so much because of the religious significance, but rather because people all over the world go through lenghts to spend time with the people they love.
No matter what (if any) religious meaning you attach to this time of year, the way this season helps get people together is a reason to celebrate on its own.
Sending a little Holiday wildflower love
And it's not just about seeing everyone you love in person, this season is also about sending your best wishes to friends and family.
How about sending them some flowers as well? Not actual flowers of course, they'd wilt in the mail, but wildflower seeds caught in a Holiday card.
Especially for these festive times we designed 4 new Holiday Growing Cards.
The cards have been printed on Growing paper: 240gr recycled paper that contains wildflower seeds.
To germinate the seeds, lay the paper in moist soil, place in a sunny spot, cover with a thin layer of earth and keep moist.
Depending on the kind of seed in the paper, you'll see the first tiny green leaves pop out of the earth after about ten days.
Order now and we'll send along a matching Bee Happy envelope for free!
<See all growing cards>
The lush and the greenery
Here at House of Thol we're very fond of being able to wrap presents in a stylish unexpected way and are big fans of public domain works of art that we can use.
Last year we launched two types of custom wrapping paper for our Flower Constellations: The gorgeous dark flower painting by Dutch Master Rachel Ruysch and the vibrant original by Ambrosius Bosschaert the elder .
Both beautiful floral Dutch Classics.
About a month ago we finished the design of the official Helios Packaging: the brass growing disk comes in a small eco-cardboard box that is lovely to gift.
And because it is such a suitable present, this calls for great wrapping paper.
Since the Helios is not so much about Flowers as it is about plants and greenery, we scored the Public Domain for colorful paintings that are all about growth.
Here are our two new wrapping papers
Instead of going for just one, we opted for two different wrapping papers to choose from right from the start.
Find out more about the works by Henri Rousseau and William Morris below.
Henri Rousseau (1844-1910) // Tropical forest with monkeys
Henri Julien Félix Rousseau only started painting in his 40ties and never received official training.
Although he is now seen as an inspiring avant-gardist, his naive style got ridiculed during his lifetime.
Rousseau painted many jungle-themed works, but probably never left France or saw a real jungle.
He was an avid visitor of the botanical gardens though, and loved being surrounded by tropical plants.
The animals he painted were inspired by texidermy settings of wildlife.
This painting of monkeys in a tropical forest from 1910 was probably one of his last. Rousseau died in Paris on September 2nd 1910.
William Morris (1834-1896) // Fruit
Currently William Morris is best known for his Ats and Crafts textile and wallpaper designs, whereas in his lifetime he was better known as a poet.
Though officially trained as an architect, Morris started a firm focussed on interior decoration with several associates in 1861. He took over as sole owner in 1875, renaming the company 'Morris&Co'.
The company flourished during the Arts & Crafts period (1880-1900), and stayed in business until 1940.
Many of the Morris&Co prints are still in production.
This 'Fruit' (or 'Pomegranate') wallpaper pattern was designed in 1865/1866, and is one of the first paper designs William Morris brought to market.
Zie ginds komt de stoomtrein
It's almost December and Sinterklaas is in the country!
With our boys being 4 and (just) 7, our household is all about the Saint and his nimble associates.
With just a few weeks to go till Pakjesavond we know the struggle of having to find gifts for all your loved ones while steering clear of the socks, chocolate & shower gel clichés.
Look no further:
The brass Flower Constellations are a great personal gift for any flower lover (and who doesn't love flowers?); Waterworks makes it super easy for anyone to care for their houseplants; and growth constellation
Helios is perfect for anyone who'd love to watch a plant grow from an otherwise discarded avocado pit.
To help you along, you can now choose to have your order wrapped in Sinterklaas-themed wrapping paper!
Please note: place your order in time, the Dutch postal services are already warning for possible delays due to the expected overload of packages in December.
Helios: ready to gift
May we have your attention please!
Here it is, the new official packaging of our Helios Constellation: Ready to gift!
Because our growth Constellation Helios is a special in the Flower Constellations family, we went in a different direction with the packaging.
The Helios might be smaller than its Flower Constellations cousins, the brass calls for packaging that does the semi-precious metal justice.
The Helios comes in a deluxe eco-cardboard giftbox, which makes for a nice chique gift, while still being flat enough to fit in an envelope and to be sent your way via regular mail.
Each Helios box has a black foam inlay keeping the brass in great condition, and a minimalist manual that shows you step-by-step how to best use your Helios and how to prepare (avocado-)pits to grow into a water-rooted plant.
Ready to start gifting the Helios to you friends and loved ones? We have news coming up about special wrapping paper soon!
3 kilo's of Dutch Art
The 'Grote Nederlandse Kunstkalender' or 'Big Dutch Art Calender' is a beast of a calendar: weighing more than three (3!) Kilograms, the calender features a new piece of Dutch Art every day of the year.
A mix of fine arts, photography, illustration, product design, architecture and graphic design, the selection consists of work by upcoming talents as well as from big names in the Dutch world of art and design.
We're super proud and happy to be featured in next years' edition.
And not just featured... the Dutch Master-inspired photograph of our Flower Constellations we made with Masha Bakker is on the front page!
It took me quite some time flipping pages to find 'our' day: Monday November 23rd 2020.
So save that date as House of Thol day next year!
Or better yet, get the calender!
One for your wishlist
While going through the pages, i spotted so many gogeous works of art that we can look forward to next year.
Need a little December inspiration? I can highly reccommend adding the 'Grote Nederlandse Kunstkalender' to your wishlist.
Sublime radio // Nieuws van de vooruitgang
Sublime is a Dutch radio station all about soul, funk and jazz. Aside from music, they feature a super cool side step into sustainable and social progress every hour called 'Nieuws van de vooruitgang' (news of progress).
During the opening weekend of the Dutch Design Week i had a chat about our Poma/Olera with lovely Francis Broekhuijsen, who kindly smiled all the way through my story while taping it. (sweet man for noticing i got a little nervous)
The first step: Enjoy eating your avocado when it's ripe
First of all, eating an avocado is really good for you! They're packed with vitamines and healthy fats and contain even more potassium than bananas.
In our household we're a big fan of a salmon & avocado poké-bowl, and there are many more great recipes to be found online.
Can't be bothered to go recipe-hunting: simply go for the avocado-on-toast for an easy snack.
Please note: avocado are imported and use a lot of water, so they come with a footprint. Bought from Kenya, Peru, Mexico and Spain, they're labeled an alright choice by Milieucentraal (environmental label B).
Whatever you do, eat your avocado when it's ripe: check the stem to be certain (here's how this works).
Here's a little help to store your avocado in the best possible way.
2. The pit-prep, the paper towel and the plastic bag
Gently remove the pit from the avocado without damaging it and clean off all residue.
Leave the pit in a jar of clean water for 24-48 hours.
If you want to, you can carefully peel off the outer layer of the pit, exposing the pale wood-like seed.
Some say this can speed up the germination process, or do it because they simply prefer the look.
Wrap your clean pit in a moist paper towel and put in a plastic bag. Store the bag somewhere dark at room temperature (in a cabinet is perfect)
Check the bag every three days to see if the towel is still moist and/or if the first sprouts are showing yet (can take up to two months).
Once the first roots have grown about 2 centimeters we're ready for the next step.
3. Get out you Helios and let it shine
Get out your Helios constellation and customize the size of the star-shaped opening by folding the perforated lines.
Find a glass vessel (D5,5-8cm) and fill with water. Either go for a used jar or a nice vase: ideally something that's easy to clean and you'll want to look at for a while.
Lay the Helios disk centered on top of the jar/vase and push the inner brass circle downward to fit.
Carefully place your sprouted pit in the disk, making sure the roots are under water and the leaves leaves have room to grow up towards the sun.
Change the water every few days to keep the growing plant happy and the developing root system visible.
When the stem reaches 20 cm, cut back to about half to force the creation of more roots.
If you want to, you can occasionally add nutrients to the water for stronger growth.
We've had avocado plants on water thrive for years, with an ever growing root system to enjoy under water.
If you're serious about growing an avocado tree make sure to move the plant to soil and keep in a warm and light environment.
(if you can use a little help watering your potted avocado plant, we've got you covered).
Enjoy your homegrown greenery!
A sustainable solution for the everyday
It all started with a phonecall in June: ABN AMRO was looking for designers to come up with a sustainable solution for everyday situations, and if we could pitch an idea in July?
Since our House of Thol slogan is 'Durable products for easy green living' of course we had to participate!
We had a few ideas up our sleeve that could perhaps impact a marker like Earth Overshoot Day.
Move the date: Food waste
We took a close look at our own day-to-day and found plenty of things that we still can do better.
One of the things that's a real problem, is food waste: with two young kids with fluctuating appetites in the house, we can't help but throw out food ever so often.
Such a waste! Not only because of the money, but also because of the resources we waste.
And this goes beyond our household: in the Netherlands we throw out 34 kilograms of food each per year, and globally one third of the food produced is wasted.
That's about 1.3 billion tons!
If we could save only a quarter of that amount, we could feed every hungry mouth in the world (source).
Poma/Olera: keep your food fresh
Bringing it back to our own small household: what can we do to avoid food waste in our daily lives?
We noticed we often have trouble with fruits and vegetables: what is the best way to store them, so they stay fresh for longest and we don't have to throw out wrinkled bell peppers?
Turns out not every fruit and vegetable plays nice with others, so keeping them all together in one large fruit bowl might not be such a great idea: the ethylene coming from fruits like apples can negatively impact the taste or ripeness of other fruits in the bowl.
Anyway, learning about the best way to store fresh food involved a whole lot of research (spreadsheets, seriously) that deserves its own blog post soon.
The go and the process
Back to the process: We presented our plans in Amsterdam in July and the day after our meeting with the jurors we drove off to the Schwarzwald in a 42°c heat and two eager little boys in a car without airconditioning.
We spent two blissful weeks of summer break, and got the phonecall with the final go for our Poma/Olera project while en route.
These past months, ever since returning home from our break, have been all about Poma/Olera.
The design changed somewhat from the first drafts and we created a series of round vessels specifically designed to store fruits and vegetables in a better way.
The making process involved a lot of sketching,computer drawing, 3d printing, mold making, clay casting, finishing, failing, doing it again, changing the molds, recasting, firing the kiln, glazing tests, new glazing tests, production, production, production.
Well, your typical design process, really.
See you in Eindhoven!
We're super happy and proud to be able to showcase the first prototypes of our Poma/Olera series at the Game Changers Pavilion on the Ketelhuisplein during this Dutch Design Week.
We'd love to see you there!
In The Clouds
Made In The Netherlands