Wednesday, February 28, 2007

eames by design

Furniture geeks will love this Be@rbrick. It's based on a signature textile pattern by Charles Eames, an American furniture designer, architect and filmmaker, who, together with his wife, Ray, is responsible for many iconic designs of the 20th century.

Eames is known for pioneering the use of moulded plywood, plastic resin, fiberglass, and wire mesh for furniture. While most of his designs were conceptualized in the 50s, they're still being produced and sold in a number of high end furniture showrooms worldwide.

Should you be so obsessed with the mod-futuristic patterns on this bear and would just die to upholster your sofa with the exact same design, you may! Just visit

(Photo of wire mesh chair from

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

be@rbrick dearest

One of the most expensive Be@bricks is the Star Wars Wicket, mainly because it is part of
a highly collectible toy franchise. Add that to the fact that there is only 0.52% chance that you will get one in a blind box assortment in stores.

The Wicket Be@rbrick, released in December 2003 as a 'secret' Be@rbrick, was based on the lead Ewok character from 'Return of the Jedi'. Ewoks are a cross between walking teddy bears and shih-tzus, and belong to an alien race of tree dwelling hunters-gatherers in the Star Wars universe. They may be small and cute but they're omnivores – meaning, while they love berries and other forest fruits, they'd have no problems eating humans. :-)

sparrow turns into a bear!

Isn't it amazing that the movie 'The Pirates of the Carribean' achieved such great critical and box-office success when we know that its inspiration came from a loopy Disney theme park ride and NOT from literary classics such as 'Robinson Crusoe' by Daniel Defoe or 'Treasure Island' by Robert Louis Stevenson? Hmmm... May I be an adoring fan and give full credit to Johnny Depp and his very suave and sparkling performance as Captain Jack Sparrow? Plus his real cool pirate costume by 'Evita/Mission Impossible' wardrobe designer Penny Rose? (Okay, okay, I admit – the visual effects are truly Oscar worthy, too!)

Monday, February 26, 2007

bloody be@rbride

There are two versions of this Be@rbrick – one is spotless and the other splattered with blood. As you can see, I got the bloody one. After all, what good is Kill Bill without the gore?

The yellow jumpsuit worn by Uma Thurman in the movie was inspired by a costume worn by Bruce Lee in his 1978 movie 'Game of Death' (which co-starred Chuck Norris and former Lakers Kareem Abdul Jabbar). Bruce Lee is undoubtedly one of the best action stars of all time. But I'd say the bright outfit looked better on Uma!

The Kill Bill Be@brick is a promotional item for customers who purchased pre-sale tickets to see the film in Japan. Today, one may avail of it commercially only through online auctions.


Jack Skellington, that lovable Pumpkin Prince in Tim Burton's 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' finds his macabre spirit resurrected in this newly released Be@rbrick. Dressed up in pinstripes, with a bat bowtie and embalmer- sewn lips, this spooky Be@rbrick is available in two sizes: 100% (2.6 inches) and 400% (24 inches). So just how big a scare do you want?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

daft punk duo

Guy Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter are two Paris musicians who make up Daft Punk, one of the most successful movers of electronic music today. Their hits include club anthems such as 'Da Funk', 'One More Time', 'Technologic', and 'Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger'. They've earned three Grammy nominations, among them the 2006 Best Electronic Dance Album for 'Human After All'.

The robot helmets are an essential part of the Daft Punk image. The guys are almost never seen without them. (Hey, don't they just remind you of those robot mimes in the New York subways? The ones with blaring boom boxes?) In an interview, however, the duo admitted that it was partly to make up for their shyness. Shy robots? They're probably not related to the ones in Spielberg's 'The War of the Worlds'.

the daruma be@rbrick's mystique

The Japanese Daruma doll's eyes are completely white because the doll's owner is supposed to color it in himself, while making a wish. Should the wish come true, only then is he allowed to color the other eye. Traditionally, one is supposed to burn it in a bonfire after completion, but most owners keep it as a reminder of their accomplishment.

To the Japanese, the doll is a popular symbol of luck and the completion of goals.

The Daruma Be@rbrick (right) is quite beautiful, and that is why it is sought after by most collectors. it belongs to Series 2, and is considered a 'secret' or a 'chase' Be@rbrick – a surprise bonus design that is rare and unadvertised.

I first saw this Be@rbrick years ago at a shop in Mongkok, Hong Kong.
I was immediately attracted to it but the owner wouldn't sell. 'Personal collection,' he said despite my pleading. Well, last November 2006, an eBay seller simply sold his last Daruma Be@rbrick to me. Painless! Talk about good luck!

sold out! coco loco!

US$400 to 5,999 for a Be@rbrick! Karl Lagerfeld's oversized bear (28 inches), with its signature tweed suit, camellia hair accessory, pearls, sunglasses, and Chanel logo was originally intended as promotional gifts to Manhattan editors. But they were so hot, enterprising eBay sellers made sure they're available to the public – at haute couture prices!

(Chanel Be@rbrick photo from WWD)

Saturday, February 24, 2007

target? or comme de garcons?

Excuuuuse me! Those are not logos of Target on that Be@rbrick. They're concentric patterns designed by Rei Kawakubo, head designer and owner of Comme de Garcons ('like boys' in english), a line of avant garde fashion characterized by deconstruction and sculptural silhouettes.

In her fall 2006 collection, Rei has made repeated use of dot patterns in dresses, shirts, and accessories (see below). In the Philippines, these clothes would have been the perfect outfits to ring in the new year, as dots represent money for most superstitious folks.

(Fashion pics from

Friday, February 23, 2007

be@rbrick was a rolling stone!

The slick Rolling Stone Be@rbrick (above left) is named after Brian Jones (right), the founder and lead/rhythm guitarist of the English rock band. It's inspired by the 60s mod look which Brian, including his other bandmembers – Mick Jagger (above right), Keith Richards – sported in their early years.

Even today, designers such as Versace, Gucci, & Dior would include updated versions of this look in their menswear collections. To wear it well, however, it seems the cocaine-thin body is a must. :-p

(Jagger/Jones photos courtesy of Wikipedia)

bear in designer jeans

A few years back, I fell in love with a Paul Smith vest that I came across in the pages of GQ magazine. It had cutouts of wings hand-sewn rather crudely (in true Paul Smith fashion) on the back. It was a witty juxtaposition of the playful and the classic. Up to today, I have never seen a vest as hip and stylish.

Paul Smith's bear (an item that was sold with a tee at his boutiques) also has the signature hand-sewn look, that deliberate naivete that I find quite charming. But Paul, can you make another one with the signature stripes, please? I want one that matches my shirt.

bear bear bling bling

Rapper Li'l Wayne probably didn't realize how much the phrase "bling bling" would impact on the entire hiphop culture when he first used it in his 1998 track 'Millionaire Dream'. Now, it has even crossed over to the hip toy culture. Featured in the picture is Series 13's 'Skull' Be@rbrick, wearing a crown from a Bangkok bling vendor and real South African diamonds around its neck.

Bling bling
Every time I come around your city
Bling bling
Pinky ring worth about fifty
Bling bling
Every time I buy a new ride
Bling bling
Lorinsers on Yokahama tires
Bling bling

–Li'l Wayne (the dude on the right)
from the B.G. song 'Bling Bling'

fashionista be@rbrick

Bathing Ape, Japan's hottest (and priciest) teen fashion brand has also jumped into the Be@rbrick bandwagon. They produced a whole line of camouflage-
patterned Be@rbricks in popsicle colors (though the one i showed here is the grey version). The camouflage design is a recurring motif in Bathing Ape jackets, caps and shoes. Bears in camo? Way cool!

uotake poetry be@rbricks

These are three of four Be@rbricks designed by Japanese poet Sandaimeuotakehamadashigeo, who has released several cds of his live poetry readings. Can someone translate these for me, please?

This minimalist trio is currently not available for sale anywhere. Not at any online toy store nor at ebay. Truly rare. Even i don't have any of these three. (Photo courtesy of

Thursday, February 22, 2007

profile of a be@rbrick collector

In the Philippines, I've only met two other people who collect Be@rbricks. One is a charming 10 year old girl named Zoe (left), daughter of one of the creative directors in our office. Once, I gave her a Thermo Be@rbrick which changed color according to temperature. Her mother, Kat, told me that upon coming home one night, she opened their freezer to find a pale, frosty Be@rbrick sitting on the ice tray, right next to a slab of frozen Angus.

The other collector is a more unlikely kind of toy geek. His name is Jason (right), a hunky Filipino-Australian commerical model. During one of our shoots (for a product our ad agency handled), he revealed that he owned seventy (70) Be@rbricks. And that he always carried a bear with him (one with an Australian flag motif) whenever he traveled away from home. How sweet!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

what is a be@rbrick?

Be@rbrick is a collectible toy designed and produced by MediCom Toy Incorporated. The name is derived from the fact that the figure is a cartoon-style representation of a bear, and that it is a variation of MediCom's Kubrick design. The at sign in the place of the letter a is a visual device that is a part of the Be@rbrick brand, and as such, a trademark of MediCom Toy.

The Be@rbrick figure is an anthropo-morphized bear with an extremely simplified form and a pot belly. Each plastic figure features nine parts (widely referred to as tools in the toy industry): head, torso, hips, arms, hands, and legs; These nine tools allow eight points of articulation: swivel head, swivel waist, ball joint arms, swivel wrists, and ball joint legs.

The standard size is six centimeters high, although there are also 24-centimeter figures called 400% Be@rbricks, and 60-centimeter figures called 1000% Be@rbricks.

Be@rbricks differ from their predecessor Kubricks, in that each series includes 18 figures in 10 different themes, which are constant from series to series:

Basic, a solid-color figure with a letter in a second color on its chest; when all nine figures are placed in a row, they spell the word Be@rbrick.

Jelly Bean, a solid-color figure molded in translucent plastic.

Pattern, a figure with a patterned deco that may range from polka dots to patterns designed by artists and designers such as Charles Eames.

Flag, a figure painted as a nation's flag.

Horror, a figure with a theme based upon a well-known horror film, or other source in the horror genre.

SF (an abbreviation of science fiction), a figure with a theme based upon a science fiction source, often a film.

Cute, a figure which visually represents the concept of cuteness.

Animal, a figure which depicts an actual animal.

Artist: two figures, each designed by a visual artist.

Be@rbricks are most often sold individually in "blind box" assortments, in which figures are packed in small boxes, and the only way to know which particular figure is inside a particular box is to purchase and open the box. The box states the frequency of each figure in percentages: Basic, 14.58 percent; Jelly Bean, 11.45 percent; Pattern, 11.45 percent; Flag 9.37 percent; Horror, 9.37 percent; SF, 10.41 percent; Cute, 13.54 percent; Animal, 8.33 percent; first Artist, 4.16 percent; and second Artist, 1.04 percent. While many retailers sell Be@rbricks in blind boxes, each for the same price, other retailers calculate the frequency of the figures, and sell them at prices that vary accordingly; in this instance, the Basic figure would be the least expensive, as it occurs most often in a case, and the second of the two Artist figures would be the most expensive, as it occurs least often in a case. The figures most valued by collectors are "chase" figures, which are unannounced and not shown in advertisements or on the box alongside other figures in the series.

Within these pre-determined ratios, Be@rbricks are produced in limited numbers, and not re-released. They are highly collectible, and predominantly collected by adults. Their packaging states that the figures are adult collectibles, not toys, and recommends them to collectors 15 years or older.

Many contemporary artists and designers from Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America have designed figures. Designing a Be@rbrick figure means creating a design scheme, or deco, for the standard mold. Contributors range from visual artists such as H. R. Giger to illustrators such as Pushead, graffiti artists such as Stash, and fashion designers including Karl Lagerfeld and Vivienne Westwood. As a result of their limited production, and the participation of artists, Be@rbricks are generally considered designer toys.

MediCom also produces Be@rbricks outside the regular release schedule of the basic figures. For example, a Kill Bill Be@rbrick was created in 2003 as a promotional piece for customers who purchased pre-sale tickets to see the film Kill Bill Volume 2 in Japan. Another Kill Bill Be@rbrick, called Murder Bride, was included in the packaging for the Japanese DVD release of Kill Bill Volume 1, released in April 2004. Exclusive pieces such as these are highly-sought after and difficult to obtain for collectors outside of Japan; they are often purchased on the secondary market, especially online auctions.

(From Wikipedia)

first love

Originally uploaded by Juan Ariel Comia.
The very first set of Be@rbricks that i bought (all of 55) during a Hong Kong trip.

I now have 370 of them!