In addition to being an excellent example of necessity as the mother of invention, Polish designer Martin Žampach's TOAST ONE toaster is a hands-on tour of how a product designer thinks and works. A student project that has yet to be produced, the TOAST ONE is a worthy idea: A new way to get toast out of a toaster, other than the crumb-creating, finger-burning pop-up.
Got five dollars lying around? For $5.00 (plus, um, $7.50 shipping), you can snag a copy of George Nelson's 1977 classic How To See: A Guide to Reading our Man Made Environment from Design Within Reach. (While supplies last.)
Now things get interesting: BMW, the corporate parent of Mini Cooper, has announced that an all-electric version of the Mini will premiere at the Los Angeles car show in January. Dubbed the MINI-E, the plug-in pocket-rocket will make 204 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque from a massive pack of 5,088 lithium-ion cells arranged in 48 modules, which hog all of the Mini's (already nominal) back seat space. Driving range on a full charge is about 150 miles; owners of the cars will get a high-capacity charger to install on their home electric grid that will allow a full recharge in about 2.5 hours. (Rumor has it that the battery pack is being furnished by Tesla, the maker of high-end electric roadsters.)
The year 2008 marks the 100th birthday of the Gamble House in Pasadena, CA, the most famous residential work by architects Charles and Henry Greene. (No relation.) But in these precarious financial times, perhaps equally notable is the 112th anniversary of Greene & Greene's only extant commercial commission: Crown City Loan & Jewelry, Pasadena's signature pawn shop.