No offense to users of the innumerable smart phones on the market, but the iPhone 5 is still the number one seller in the U.S. and is therefore a good barometer for currents trends in smartphone case design. That said, most finer cases below, with a few exceptions, are also made for most major smartphone models like the Samsung Galaxy. Like us, you're naturally looking for a way to make your phone feel like your own and protect it from the inevitable scrapes, bumps and drops that life invites upon our most trusty of gadgets. Beyond that, you might be looking for a particular look (leather, bamboo, nickel plated), purpose or level of protection. Whatever the case, ahem, you need to cover that thing properly. Here we've organized the tip-top of iPhone 5 cases in various categories, so your phone won't be caught naked anytime soon.
Engage Bamboo, $35 at x-doria.com
Real laser-etched bamboo comes slim in the Engage.
Grove bamboo case, $99 at grovemade.com
Custom engraving of your renewable resource is available, but we're digging the Pulsar pattern.
Root Zebrawood Wood Back, $30 at rootcases.com
Woody and natural, the woodbacked case feels solid in the hand.
Corkor Case, 25€ at corkor.com
Be the first on your block with a case handmage in Portugal from renewable cork.
The Little Black Book, $40 at padandquill.com
Surprise, it's not my secret diary, just my iPhone.
Life Proof frē iPhone 5 case, $80 at lifeproof.com
A low-profile case that's waterproof, shockproof and snow-proof. Adventure-ready if you are.
Ballistic Hard Core, $60 at goballisticcase.com
The aptly-dubbed Hard Core features five, yes five, layers of protection.
Lunatik Taktik iPhone 5 case, $TBA at lunatik.com
Rugged and futuristic, the Taktik has Corning-made Gorilla Glass protection for unexpected slams.
Dodocase Durables Wallet, $50 at dodocase.com
Waxed canvas on this American-made wallet case gives it a unique look at a nice price.
Taffeta Camo & Rosewood: Card Carrier 2.0, $69 at killspencer.com
The edgy L.A.-made carrier is lined with Italian suede and fits 4 cards.
Q Card Wallet Case, $40 at cm4.com
If you like to travel light (3 cards and some cash, max)—give the non-nonsense Q Card a try.
Roberu, $100 at roberu.com
This beautiful handmade leather case from Japan with the elastic back is our top pick.
Makr, $95 at Makr.com
Hand-sewn with Chromexcel from Chicago leathermaker Horween, the Makr cases are going quick.
Mujjo Originals sleeve, £35 at mujjo.com
Dutch minimalism meets handmade—also available in white.
X-Doria Kick, $30 at x-doria.com
If you Facetime all the time, you'll need a kickstand.
Orange and Beige Chevron Zigzag Print Fabric Covered Case, $19 at etsy.com
The zigzag case rides a fine line between crafty and modern.
Pastel Aztec case by Vasare Nar, $35
If color is your thing, patterns by llustrator Vasare Nar has got them.
Pantone iPhone case, 30€ at case-scenario.com
King of color has 13 vibrant versions of its Case Scenario-made case. The black is tough.
EXOvault Nickel Plated Aluminum Bocote, $270
All Exo cases are made by hand in Brooklyn, NY—and worth the wait.
Hard Graft Phone Fold Wallet, £65 at hardgraft.com
Felt meets leather in this chameleonic wallet case from England's Hard Graft.
Those living in the Washington, D.C. area in the '80s circa the Iran-Contra scandal might remember the bold graphic poster emblazoned with "Meese Is A Pig" popping up around the city. They were hard to miss for commuters and locals alike. The posters appeared overnight and were visible on various public spaces. The graphics were clearly aimed at Reagan cabinet member and advisor Edwin Meese who was enmeshed in Iran/Contra and also the champion of various far-right causes in the administration. The poster campaign got national attention. Soon, the poster's creator, Jeff Nelson (of Dischord Records and Minor Threat fame) was revealed. With respect to Nelson's album sleeve and logo designs (among our favorites ever!), his "Meese Is A Pig" poster remains his masterpiece. Nelson sold T-shirts with the image, which covered his printing costs and the graphics lived on long after the street campaign was over. With Edwin Meese back in the news as the backer a government shutdown and national anti-Obamacare efforts, we're pleased to see "Meese Is A Pig" getting its due.
Detroit boasts a history of legendary axmen—Jack White, Ted Nugent, Robert White, Wayne Kramer and Dennis Coffey to name a few. And now, thanks to the passion project of commercial real estate director and woodworker Mark Wallace, the next great musician on that list may kick out the jams with a guitar made from a chunk of the city itself.
Built in a Corktown workshop, Wallace Detroit Guitars are fashioned from wood salvaged from the city’s recently demolished buildings. Each instrument will be branded with the address of the home that provided the wood, reinforcing the local heritage of the material.
So far, Wallace has created two prototypes that need to be tested, but a recent $8,000 matching grant from the Knight Foundation should allow him to expand production. Eventually, he wants the finished product to include more salvaged material from other local companies, like a strap made out of leftovers auto parts.
“One of the great things about Detroit is the collaboration,” he says. “Everyone wants to work together because they know they’re making the city a better place.”
Wallace's project is currently getting off the ground thanks to a grant from the Knight Foundation.
The excellent design blog Thisispaper is now available, wait for it, in paper. We queried editor Zuzzana Gasior on the new print mag.
What is Thisispaper for those unfamiliar?
As Thisispaper we are now running two different, but interweaving projects. Thisispaper Magazine is where we share our inspirations and obsessions from multiple fields of design. Our roots are in the digital world but we find print equally alluring. We started off as an online magazine and continue running it, by we have recently ventured into print and released Thisispaper Magazine Inaugural Issue in paper and ink. Thisispaper Shop is our second, younger brainchild. It’s an online store with hand made products.
Which designers have been selected for the issue, how did you decide who to include?
The full list of featured designers is as follows: Studio Glithero, Faye Toogood, Formafantasma, Phoebe English, Nina Donis, Feilden Fowles Architects; photographers Kanoa Zimmerman and Marcel van der Vlugt; artist Anouk Griffioen.
The selection process was simple. We decided to feature designers whose work we’re impressed by and who have a strong conceptual background behind their work. We were particularly curious to find out about their creative process so we chose the ones that put emphasis on the process, not just the finished product.
Why do you think a print publication was necessary?
As you will quickly discover when you open the magazine, some of the interviews are quite massive, and were intended to be so from the start. We wanted to explore the designers’ creative processes in depth. Such content lives better in a tangible book that online. While surfing the web, people focus on image and have a short attention span and it’s not the best environment to present content that requires a careful reading. Plus we’re really drawn to the beauty of a printed object, the texture of paper, smell of paint and so on.
Thisispaper.com was an ironic name, but now it has a literal meaning.
Good point. Since Thisispaper is an umbrella term for both the site and the magazine, it now means that digital and print can coexist without undermining one another’s position. This is due to the fact that they are good for different things. The content that we feature online is much more image-based, while for print we look for something that requires more time and effort to absorb.
You're based in Warsaw, does that surprise a lot of your readers?
It does come as a surprise sometimes, but mostly to people in Poland. When they see Thisispaper they don’t expect it to be a Warsaw-based endeavor (love the word).
The print publication is a very limited run. Why is that? Do you hope to expand? Is it harder or easier to do a print magazine in Poland?
The print publication is not a limited run. We will print as many copies as there is demand for. 250 is the minimal number that we need to reach in the pre-order period to print the magazine, but there is no maximum limit on how many copies we will print. That said, it’s hard to imagine a situation when Thisispaper is available on every newsstand
Nowadays when distribution mostly happens online, printing a ad-free magazine is a comparable experience in Warsaw and everywhere else. It would probably be harder for us, though, is we were trying to attract sponsors.
Where can one get the print magazine?
Online at thisispapershop.com/product/thisispaper-inaugural-issue or soon at some local stores worldwide.
Do you accept contributions and pitches?
We do. See here for possible ways of working with us: welcome.thisispaper.com
While Swedish students may not have to worry about the same tuition bills as their American counterparts enrolled in private colleges, they do have to contend with a small scale housing crisis. A growing number of students are priced out of conventional apartments. So the architects at Tengbom are testing a housing system at Lund University that would reduce each apartment to just over 100 square feet. The studios have 13 foot ceilings and multiple windows to counteract the small footprint, and use lightly colored sustainable wood as a primary building material. The houses are completely independent from one another, but the plan is to build clusters of about 22 units for a kind of modified communal living. [images via Bertil Hertzberg]