Residences are rife with objects meant to help occupants more efficiently complete daily tasks. While most designs are adequate—think bottle openers, armchairs, coffee mugs, and toasters— product designers wouldn’t be product designers if they left well-enough alone. In Star Product Designers: Prototypes, Products, and Sketches from the World’s Top Designers (Harper Design, 2013), author Irene Alegre indexes the latest product innovations by designers worldwide. From a workspace that folds into a box when not in use to an LED fixture that lets users modify its light’s output, this taxonomy of everyday products revisited proves that our evolving lifestyles continue to drive discovery among even the finest aspects of daily life. Highlights include:
Norm Architects, Copenhagen
Norm Architects inverted the forms of street lights in Paris, Barcelona, and New York to create the Mass Light. The ceiling pendant’s glass bulbs contrast their brown-marble holders and extend at varied lengths from the same canopy.
Zinnobergruen, Düsseldorf, Germany
Tiny apartments often suffer from sub-standard kitchens. Modular kitchen system Miniki comprises cooktops, sinks, cabinets, and appliances that can be combined to fit most small spaces. The system is available in a range of color combinations and features a pull-down lid that can be used to keep the kitchen out of sight when it’s not in use.
Sebastian Bergne, London
Curl, a sculptural LED lamp, reflects light on its curved white surface, which can be modified to change the direction and angle of its cast.
Diez + Diez Diseno, Madrid
This modular seating system comprises concave and convex members that can be arranged into many patterns such as an undulating curve, a circle, and semi circles. The Dove’s seats are available with an optional backrest.
Paperclip Design, Hong Kong
Having to jockey for armrest space on long flights or when seated in crowded waiting rooms can force unwanted elbow-rubbing, all while constricting one’s personal space. The Paperclip Armrest offers a solution by re-configuring the classic seat-divider into two planes—one atop the other with a small space in between the two—providing each user with a designated place to rest their arm.
Atelier Opa, Tokyo
The home office gets a redux with the Kenchikukago foldaway workspace. Encased in a container-like shell, the system comprises a 100-cm-long and 50-cm-deep LED-lit desktop, shelves, and a chair with integrated storage. The unit measures 1,500-cm tall, 1,000-cm long, and 500-cm deep.