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Take 5: Organic Modernist Plates, Powerhouse Creator’s Laptop, the Best of Aussie Architecture + More

Every other week we’re inviting one of the Design Milk team to share five personal favorites – an opportunity for each of us to reveal the sort of designs we use and appreciate in our own lives from a more personal perspective. Tech Editor Gregory Han returns this week for our Take 5 series.

02.14.22 | By
Take 5: Organic Modernist Plates, Powerhouse Creator’s Laptop, the Best of Aussie Architecture + More
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Black bag with white label against black backdrop containing whole coffee beans

1. I’ve been a longtime admirer of Eduardo Umaña’s industrial design work, both as a horologist with a minimalist’s eye for details, and also for his efforts in designing a brewing device capable of producing consistently flavorful cups of good morning quickly. Umaña has since paired with a partner to launch Quintal Coffee, a roasted bean lover’s version of an advent calendar. Delivered in a simple black resealable bag with essential information of notes and sourcing, the origin roasted beans inside are exceptional in scent and flavor, many so unique, I’m often compelled to make my wife smell and sip every new roast to confirm both subtle notes and the occasional “whoa!” induced reaction.

Black speckled ceramic salad plate nested on top of 12" black speckled dinner plate with two forks on the left and a serrated knife on the right, all against a gray background.

2. We’ve been a Heath Ceramics household for as long as I can remember. Heath doesn’t come cheap, so we had to slowly accumulate full sets over the span of several years, whenever we could afford to add a plate here or dish there (their annual trade-in sale discounts are a godsend). But I’ve recently begun collecting a new line of dining ceramics from Norden Goods, a SoCal brand founded by a husband and wife duo that capture a similar Sea Ranch/Big Sur organic-modernism vibe that never ever really goes out of style. Their line of black speckled dishes has given our home cooked meals an entirely new black glazed canvas to plate (who doesn’t need their home cooked meals enlivened a bit these days?).

3. As the resident tech editor, I have to remain platform agnostic to test a wide range of peripherals and applications. That means I’m regularly teeter-tottering between Windows machines and Macs, Android with iOS, throughout the work week. My current Windows laptop of choice is a creative/designer powerhouse, the Dell XPS 17 Creator Edition, a laptop crammed with desktop specs aimed at designers (or anyone operating under its “Creator” namesake) who need the extra oomph while pushing pixels editing photos or video. The machine’s specs – an Intel Core i7-11800H processor, 16GB of RAM and 1TB SSD – are more than sufficient for my daily photo editing and writing duties, and also keep my three bazillion opened browser tabs from crashing. But the real secret sauce is the machine’s combination of NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU paired with a gloriously vibrant 17” 4K touchscreen display, a graphics-oriented hardware combo that delivers an expansive workspace for all my tools in Photoshop and Lightroom…and allows me the joys of a little bit of PC gaming after-hours. The laptop is a big boi, but because I’m not going anywhere these days, its performance definitely outweighs its heft.

4. Over the last three months I realized the chances I was going to return to the gym within the foreseeable future was close to nil. This depressing conclusion became the impetus for converting our backyard shed, a space formerly dedicated to the art of relaxation, into a shed of blood, sweat, and tears. Now that I’m lifting weights again it also means aching muscles are a normal occurrence too, something the Hypervolt 2 Pro massage gun is adept at relieving post-workout. The modernist space gun design agrees with the aesthetic preconditions of anything we introduce into the home, but it’s really all of the attachments that come with the Hypevolt 2 paired with its brushless 90W motor that has made it a truly beloved piece of relief, delivering percussive therapy for areas of specific soreness alongside larger swaths of muscles with 5 speeds to choose the right level of “hurts so good.”

5. During the aforementioned massage relief sessions, I regularly press play and watch The Local Project with captions on while enjoying some respite from aches. The YouTube series is a modernist architecture, interiors, and design channel focused upon the modernist scene in Australia and New Zealand. There’s a great emphasis on landscape and site respective design, and many of the residential solutions translate well from their dry, warm Australian coastal locations to Southern California neighborhoods here, with numerous observable similarities in material choices and design solutions for inviting in light without the elemental intrusion of heat or cold. The channel is a relaxing substitute that scratches my itch for travel and international architecture right now, and has sparked countless ideas of what our next home will hopefully look like (ideally).

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Gregory Han is Tech Editor of Design Milk. A Los Angeles native with a profound love and curiosity for design, hiking, tide pools, and road trips, a selection of his adventures and musings can be found at gregoryhan.com.