October 09, 2010
Joel Johnson of Gizmodo has written up a very thoughtful review on our product.
Joel really "gets it". The review is candid, honest, and he sees our product the way I see it. Ultimately my goal as a designer is to get people to love how are products feel and love how our products make them feel. Here are a few excerpts from Joel's review:
With free iPhone cases abounding, an iffy economy, and a new truck project that's capable of taking every last dollar I can throw at it, why did I buy a $70 iPhone case? Because it's the one I've always wanted.....
Here's the thing: It's wood. It's not supposed to be perfect. And as far as the quality of the workmanship goes, I am seriously impressed.
The design itself is smart, with a modern-looking trough to expose the volume controls and a 45° bezel around both edges that comes from the workshop with a smooth hand finish. (Much of the sanding and polishing on Grove cases is by hand, although they're not afraid of sanders either.)
It feels about as thin and precise as a wooden case could be. I can't ask for more.
Plus it's wood. Wood that feels better the more I hold my iPhone. Wood that has taken a couple of short falls and looked better as it has weather scuffs and scratches. Wood that's just pretty to look at, to turn idly in the hand.
There's no doubt it's a luxury. But it's a luxury I've been craving for years. Try as I might, I can't muster much regret—only spare pennies for when Grove releases an iPad version.
Thank you so much Joel for the thoughtful and thorough review! -Ken
September 23, 2010
We have 5 guys in production at Grove including myself. Sean (dude on the right) made this nice photo series on the handwork we do using the Hipstamatic iPhone app and i4 camera. Its pretty cool you can change vintage lenses and films to create different old manual camera effects. I highly recommend it!
Shay to the left, Sean to the right. These guys are putting in the sweat equity making your cases. Shay is a mechanical engineer and Sean is a student in product design at the University of Oregon. We start at 6 am and shut down the shop at 10pm. Were workin hard to get that lead time down to be more reasonable!
September 01, 2010
Grove artist Option-G just posted these awesome little bamboo birds we made for him. The birds are laser-cut out of FSC certified 1/2" thick bamboo plywood. The intricate hand drawn details are engraved deep into the bamboo. These look great perched on a desk or shelf! Head over to Cole's site and pickup a set.
Cole's iPhone 4 case design is a bird puzzle!
August 23, 2010
"Mea Ola" means creature in hawaiian. Designed by Eric Peet for Olukai footwear. Eric is our neighbor and co-owner of multidisciplinary design firm Peet Kegler.
Olukai is a premium footwear brand committed to designing and manufacturing environmentally responsible footwear which is not only ridiculously comfortable, but stylish. "We draw from the relaxed lifestyle, pure and diverse ecosystems, comfortable climate,
and close sense of family. OluKai was conceived from a desire to create a better class
of products for the life we live in and around the water."
August 17, 2010
Checkout this fantastic new iphone 4 case design from UK illustrator Andrew Groves aka IMAKETHINGS! Andrew Groves is a freelance illustrator creating graphic works for a wide range of clients and projects. "With a particular interest in the natural world, I aim to invent characters that explore the grotesque beauty of it's many beasts and creatures and the folklore that surrounds them." The pattern fills used on the teepees create great textures when laser engraved onto the back of our bamboo iPhone 4 cases!
Here are some examples of Andrew's personal work:
August 12, 2010
We're excited to announce that grove will be participating in the MacForce Summer Blast this Saturday! There are some great vendors including: Apple, Wacom, and Lacie. If you happen to be in inner SE Portland this Saturday, stop by to say hi! We'll be giving away several bamboo iphone 4 cases throughout the day. We'll also have the full iphone 4 case artist series on display.
The best part...FREE ROCKET POPS!!! Hope to see you there!
August 04, 2010
To celebrate getting our 1st batch of iPhone 4 cases shipped we made this fun little stop motion animation. Not bad for 30 minutes of production time! I can't wait to do the next one. Left to right top row: Mike, Ken, Galen, Rizzo, Yuji; bottom row Jamie, Shay, Joe, Leela, not pictured: Karl.
Thanks to the team for pulling long hours and nightshift keeping us running 24 hrs a day until all pre-orders are out. At Grove we care about people: our customers first and foremost, and also the people who make it all happen (us!). This isn't a faceless corporation where people clock in to get their paycheck and go home. We all do this because we care and want to do better. I hope it shows in our product and service! -Ken
July 27, 2010
We are proud to present our new case for the iPhone4. Made of 100% bamboo, the new Grove case is available plain, artist series, or custom. Natural or amber bamboo colors + stainless steel or black bezel combinations are available.
The case is as thin as possible while still being durable. We took design cues from the new generation of apple designs and applied them to our design. Some people have been lamenting the feel of the i4 as being too boxy and wishing that it were curved like the 3G. By using chamfers (similar to iPad) the case feels much more round and friendly in your hand than the phone itself. Ergonomics are important to us here at Grove.
The button cutouts have been designed with great thought balancing form and function. The holes are cutaway so that you can access buttons easily in a natural hand position. The chamfers meeting create an interesting diversion on the back from the plain geometry of the iPhone4. The headphone jack has an extra cutaway for the noise cancellation mic. There is ample room for the microphone/speakers/charger at the bottom of the case. If you look carefully, you can see a micro chamfer on the speaker holes. Nerdy detail!
Of course, my personal favorite part is the hand rubbed oil finish (done mostly by my mom). 4 coats painstakingly rubbed on by hand bring out the grain beautifully and allow you to fully enjoy the natural material without a protective plastic barrier. The case will patina and age gracefully through use. The grove case will make you enjoy the feel of having the phone in your hand! -Ken
June 07, 2010
Exciting day in iPhone land with the official announcement of the iPhone4. Steve Jobs has "wowwed" us with the fancy features including the new retina display and HD video. Relevant to what we do is that iPhone4 is 24% thinner than the 3G. This allows us to make our case thinner. We have been prototyping based on projections and are ready to release our product for pre-order.
We are REALLY excited about our new case. Its really thin at less than .5" thick overall. It will add about 1/16" to the thickness of the phone and due to a new feature will be even stronger than before. We have the same metal bezel design as our 3G case and have successfully made prototypes already.
We are most excited to offer special introductory pricing starting at $49!!!! We are accepting deposits immediately to secure your iPhone4 Grove case. Pre-order yours here!
June 05, 2010
Yes, yes, yes fans! We are releasing a 4G iPhone case. We have been working on a design for several weeks based on all the leaks there have been. Lucky for us, and unlucky for "Mr Apple Engineer Who Forgot it in a Bar", there is little mystery this time as to what it will look like.
We got some good feedback from our facebook page from our fans as to what people care about. In my mind there were 2 general directions to go in: A) follow the curved form of the 3g case and adapt it B) follow the more squared form of the 4G iPhone. While the 3G's graceful curves felt really good in your hand, the 4G is able to be 30% thinner partly due to its flatness. Fans were concerned about sharp corners and some really liked the "energy" of rounded shapes vs sharp. Many wanted the case to parallel the design direction of Apple on their 4G iPhone. Others were concerned about the image... they wanted people to recognize that they had a 4G phone and thus wanted the case to show that!
I kept all the fan feedback in mind as I designed our new case. While we went with the design direction of the 4G iPhone and went with square sides, I really wanted to make it feel not boxy and comfortable. Further and further design renditions struck a nice compromise between form and function. I took design cues form the 4G and also the iPad and added chamfers which make the case more comfortable and sleeker. Here is a pic from our first night of physical prototyping on our CNC. This is the hard part!
May 27, 2010
Shazam- our collaboration with superstar photographer Quavondo took us to the Bamboo Garden. What a wonderful place, a playground of bamboo. They have over 300 varieties on 16 acres of land, know everything about bamboo AND they are super nice people- which goes a long ways with me. If you like bamboo, go see them.
So the last post focused on our female model Lisa Kuhnhausen. We also had my main man Shay Sosanya get some photos taken with the case. This isn't a model posing with our case, this is the guy who helps MAKE your cases. Shay works for me for TomitaDesigns and also for Grove.
Shay has a background in mechanical engineering and hopes to be a product designer someday. His education, positive attitude, and high skill level of craftsmanship make him ideal for Grove. Were certainly lucky to have him!
What a fun day playing in bamboo! We didnt see any pandas but other than that, couldn't have been better.
May 21, 2010
As we drove on towards middle America, Grove couldn't resist stopping by the Grand Canyon. To get away from the tourist crowds we had to do a little dangerous trekking! Yes, I risked my life to take a picture of a cell phone case- not very smart- but memorable.
Certain death on both sides... Was it worth it? If I get the "thats fake" reaction even once, yah- it was worth it!
If I were an iPhone case, I would want this view.
May 21, 2010
Grove just went on an epic road trip from the pacific ocean through the American Southwest. What do road trips have to do with bamboo iPhone cases? Not much, besides the spirit of fun and excitement that is our foundation.
Beginning at Venice Beach in Los Angeles, we take advantage of the warm California sunshine.
We headed east into Arizona where yes, bamboo is hard to find. Surprisingly, Birdland looked right at home in the desert. Sven would be proud.
To be continued....
May 13, 2010
Here is a neato timelapse of "Birdland" by Sven Palmowski of Barcelona, Spain being laser engraved at Grove Headquarters. *The timelapse speeds things up quite a bit *
"birdland" by Sven Palmowski from Joe Mansfield on Vimeo.
May 10, 2010
We were lucky enough to be featured on Apartment Therapy on Friday. We really appreciate that they sent Molly Anderson out in person to find out what we are all about.
She wrote a very thoughtful article about what we do and also took some great pics of our product and headquarters.
You can see the laser in the back/right. To the left is the steel bridge. Also notice the bamboo plant from bamboo garden and the ever important porch swing. All we need to do is to photoshop in a blue Portland sky!
Bloggers/Press people- please contact us
if you want to write about us. We would love to talk to you about what GroveMade means to us. Thanks for taking the time Molly!
May 05, 2010
Thank you to everyone who came to our launch party this past Saturday! We had a wonderful turnout and a great time unveiling our inaugural product, the Grove iPhone case. We appreciate the enthusiasm that you all have for what we do and how we do it. Those feelings keep us going on our Grove journey.
People really enjoyed being able to touch, feel, and get up close to our cases. Only in person can you FEEL the natural qualities of our product. There is no way to substitute for a hand rubbed finish. No plastic!
This party was a good reminder that we as individuals are a product of our relationships and the inspiration and support they provide. Yay for people!
April 19, 2010
We recently had the pleasure of working with fashion photographer Quavondo on a photo series for Grove. Q focuses on fashion and celebrity photography. Shooting at the fabulous Bamboo Garden in North Plains, we had Quavondo take over with his artistic vision.
Special thanks to our model Lisa Kuhnhausen. Lisa is an interior designer with a great sense in fashion herself. Check out Quavondo below in action. He is not afraid to get in some spectacular poses himself to get the shot he wants!
What a fun day for the Grove team seeing a pro at work with his team and getting to enjoy a beautiful day playing in bamboo! Q was amazing to work with because of his ability to spontaneously react to the situation and create. See his work here. Thanks Q!
March 31, 2010
Ken recently represented Grove at AIGA Portland’s SHIFT: A Green Salon event. Ten presenters from various industries spoke about their ideas on sustainable design. The title of our presentation was “A journey in sustainable product and packaging design”.
Here is the transcript:
Ken Tomita: Hello. My name is Ken Tomita. I’m a furniture designer, and I’ve been doing this for about 5 years. Recently I started a new company called Grove with my business partner Joe Mansfield, but I’d like to talk about the new product.
First of all, how many of you have iPhones? Could you do a favor for me and take them out of your pockets and show them to me? If you look around my business partner and I noticed that there’s a void of natural materials. They’re often made of silicone, rubber, plastic, etc. So we saw that niche as an opportunity to make a new company specializing in sustainable electronic cases.
[read the entire transcript]