Culture Essays Everyday

Chopsticks (Ohashi) Etiquette

How many eating utensils do people go through in a lifetime?

It’s not a question many people can answer, much less think to ask. The Japanese tradition of family members each owning designated pairs of ohashi (chopsticks), links different years of my life with various pairs I’ve used. It was only when I took its ubiquitous presence out of this quotidian context, that I came to appreciate the true ingenuity of ohashi.

My ohashi through the years

Wrong Mail

Wrong Mail

Mail incorrectly titled to the White House


It Pays to Think Things Through

Pillsbury Dough Boy being escorted into a taxi

Maybe this was the first time this hapless individual had sallied forth in his Pillsbury Dough Boy suit, but on Monday morning, despite the energetic attempts of the Pierre Hotel concierge and some passers-by to stuff him in a New York taxi, he was soon to discover that a little strategic forethought may have suggested he waited until reaching his destination before inflating.


At the same time, just 200 feet away…

Sculpture photo

Chinatsu Ban’s Yellow Elephant Underwear sculpture at the corner of Central Park was having its minimalist elephantine anime excrement hosed down and polished – an object strangely and pneumatically reminiscent of the Pillsbury Doughboy across the street.


The Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch?

photo of decorative element in ironwork

I photographed this in Chichester Cathedral last week. Perhaps the holy hand grenade is not as apocryphal as I had previously thought. For those of you who are not au fait with Python lore I provide the following relevant text from the scriptures:

A Reading from the Book of Armaments, Chapter 4, Verses 16 to 20:

“Then did he raise on high the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, saying, “Bless this, O Lord, that with it thou mayst blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy.” And the people did rejoice and did feast upon the lambs and toads and tree-sloths and fruit-bats and orangutans and breakfast cereals … Now did the Lord say, “First thou pullest the Holy Pin. Then thou must count to three. Three shall be the number of the counting and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither shalt thou count two, excepting that thou then proceedeth to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the number of the counting, be reached, then lobbest thou the Holy Hand Grenade in the direction of thine foe, who, being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it.”

– Monty Python, Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Design Geekery Software

Creating a Solari Flip Clock for Free (kind of)

As a graphic designer living in New York on a limited budget, I am constantly looking into catalogs and magazines, and drooling over the well designed objects I might someday afford. The Aalto vases, the Eames lounge chairs with ottomans, the Akari Noguchi paper lamps — all these items ignite my interest, but their prices bring up every designers biggest dilemma, design or Dinner?

Solari Cifra 3 table clock

One such object is the famous Solari Cifra 3 table clock. Manufactured by Solari in 1965 and designed by the flip (or flap depending on your preference) clock master Gino Valle, the Cifra 3 is often referred to as the “museum clock” as it was sold exclusively by MoMA. Gino Valle was an accomplished designer in his own right designing numerous flip clocks for Airport terminals, most notably his Monumental flip clock at TWA terminal.

Unfortunately, the Cifra 3’s, while still produced, sell for well over $200, which is a little out of my budget. Solution — make your mac (or PC) into a Solari Cifra 3 clock for free in approximately 2 minutes with an elegant little screen saver from

Fliqlo Screen Saver

The screensaver turns your idling computer into a wonderful timepiece. The only thing this clock doesn’t do, which is a real pity, is make a flapping sound as time passes. The Cifra 3 makes a small “flap” with each passing minute and a large “chunk” every hour as every flipper turns over simultaneously to display the new hour… although that might drive some folks crazy.

For more design hacks visit Twart Design’s Design w/o Reach for some low tech answers to high design.

Lezioni Design biography – translated
Artnet Biography of Gino Valle
Solari’s Story
Design Addict’s profile on the Cifra 3


The Big Push Off

As designers, I think we have a problem letting go. Designs become like children and we, as loving parents, can’t help but want to pack bagged lunches for the little tikes. On their way out the door, we follow along, cleaning unkempt kerning, spitting in our hankies to clean off the dirty for placement only images we had neglected to delete, and warning our little dears to stay away from Pantone chips they don’t recognize.

The issue worsens in the households of web designers, whose children never leave, and endlessly come home with problems such as letters from their teachers explaining that “your Div (Webspeak) doesn’t want to play with anybody in his class and even refuses to listen to !important (More webspeak) announcements”.

That’s where we come in. Whitehouse & Company has decided to launch a new website with as much fanfare as a new gas station. (well, we kind of forgot to get those flappy streamers, so let me rephrase that – with even less fanfare than a new gas station). The idea with this site is to have something up and running now, and then to perfect it later.

We want to create a forum for design and ideas and to talk to each other: to ask questions about life that, while seemingly unrelated, connect us all creatively. Design is not just about knowing the new features of Illustrator CS2, it’s about life, pop culture, the arts, politics, music, films, and occasionally tips on webdesign.

Design should be fun, Right?

As this is a work in progress, you might notice a few rough edges. That is to be expected. Parts of the website may not match and other parts may not work as intended. We apologize in advance for any discomfort this may cause.