It looks like a gigantic tumbleweed rolling across the plain, but its purpose is deadly serious. Massoud Hansani, a designer and Afghan refugee, created a landmine detonator as his final graduate design project at the Design Academy in Eidenhoven, the Netherlands. For Hassani, whose native Afghanistan is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world, a minesweeper seemed like a practical object that would be in widespread demand. According to the UN, more than 110 million active mines are scattered across 70 countries, with an equal number stockpiled waiting to be planted.
If all the holiday ads featuring Christmas trees were planted side by side, they would fill an entire forest. So it is refreshing to see some companies give their own creative spin to this overworked visual cliche. The message is concise, amusing and not cloyingly sentimental – and the ads are free of reindeer, rosy-cheeked Santa, and overly cute children in bathrobes and fuzzy slippers running to their presents under the Christmas. A nice change of pace. Merry Christmas!