Modern-twist: Designer

It's a rare housewares designer who can really call themselves an inventor, but Kat Nouri and her collaborators at SF's Modern-twist deserve that moniker. The company's small housewares line is so far limited to softwares and tableware, but each piece is not only an attractive example of modern organic style, but also uses form or material to solve a problem in an unusual way. Vinotagz, for instance, which are meant to be used to distinguish guests' wineglasses at a party, come in a small plastic box that perches on the neck of a wine bottle. And like many of Modern-twist's products, the vinotagz themselves are made from silicone, which makes for a handy write-on/wipe-off surface for cocktail party notes: the vintage... or the phone number. If you break bread with a note-taker (wine, recipes) or a doodler, the coasters and placemats made from the same material will bring unexpected utility to your table settings. We're also impressed with their PJ pocket pillow, which is basically origami writ large. This soft fabric box, which comes in a variety of subtle prints, uncoils to reveal a hollow interior that's perfect for storing PJs -- or whatever else you want to keep hidden in your bedroom.
(The hide box is a smaller version, perfect for stashing a tooth that's awaiting its fateful meet-up with the tooth fairy.)

Modern-twist's innovative product line is actually the collaborative effort of a group of Bay Area and PNW artists and designers brought together by Kat Nouri, who has a background in manufacturing and knows how to take their prototypes and make them real. The current roster includes Amy Ruppel, as well as Sheila Tobin Metcalf and Ewald & Tajbaksh Architecture.

A detail that completes the picture: One percent of the company's profits go to 1% For The Planet.