It’s almost too easy to produce things these days, with all the advancements in technology and manufacturing that we enjoy. 3D printing opened the doors even wider to people who wouldn’t have access to factory lines. That, however, doesn’t mean that product design has become easier, especially when talking about good product design. That still comes not through mass production but through thoughtful and creative processes. It’s admittedly easy to take product design for granted and even easier to simply equate it with “pretty things.” Form and function are two sides of the same coin, of course, and both have equal roles to play in good product design. And what better examples are there than the exquisite selection shown off at this year’s Maison & Objet, where we got the chance to pick out this year’s best-designed products for your home.
Aarke Water Purifier
Water is critical to human life, even more so clean drinking water. Not all water that goes into our homes, however, is safe to consume for humans and pets. There are plenty of ways to fix this, ranging from simple faucet filters to complex water tanks. Each has its own pros and cons, and there’s almost no solution that fits all, especially when it comes to tasteful design. Aarke’s new purifier is trying to change that by delivering a simple yet novel way to obtain drinking water in an elegant and sustainable carafe.
Unlike your typical purifier in a pitcher, Aarke’s Purifier doesn’t use a plastic container that stains over time and becomes a bacteria magnet when not cleaned properly. The glass pitcher, along with the stainless steel filter, are not only durable but also dishwasher safe, allowing them to be easily and thoroughly cleaned for sanitation. Aside from the silicone bumpers that protect the glass carafe, almost everything about the Aarke Purifier is sustainable.
That is true even for the filters used to clean the water. Instead of a disposable plastic cartridge that you have to replace over and over again, Aarake’s system uses refillable granules that you simply put inside the stainless steel filter. Pure granules clean the water and enhance its taste, while Enhanced granules also add magnesium to turn it into alkaline water. All of these are packed in a stylish design that won’t look out of place among your fine glasses and silverware.
ALUVY Jean Barbecue Furniture
After being cooped up indoors for such long periods of time, it’s not surprising that outdoor activities like camping and barbecues have started trending this past year or so. Some have even evolved to a new level, like the oh-so-convenient glamping. Barbecues are also becoming more convenient and easier to do, but their designs haven’t exactly changed that drastically. ALUVY is challenging those conventions with a set of barbecue products designed to appeal to everyone, not just the males of the species.
Make no mistake, there are plenty of good-looking barbecues around, but almost all of them share a common ancestral DNA. It’s hard to deny they are meant to weather the great outdoors, exuding industrial and functional personalities more than anything else. In contrast, the ALUVY Jean is charming and colorful, almost as if you took a part of your indoor kitchen outside.
Jean is actually a companion to the gas barbecue Lulu or the charcoal barbecue Marcel. All three can have matching colors and look like part of a set with grid-like patterns on their exteriors. Jean functions as spacious storage for all your barbecue equipment, as well as a table to prepare your ingredients. Just because you’re cooking outdoors doesn’t mean you have to stop showing off your bold and colorful furniture.
Atmosfera Boomerang Interactive Furniture
Most of the furniture we buy already has a fixed design, including the flat-packed DIY ones you can get from the likes of IKEA. Even modular furniture still has to stick to a basic form if only to ensure that it can at least offer some basic functionality. It is possible, of course, to have something like LEGO blocks to build your own furniture, but that would also limit you to certain blocky forms. Atmosfera went back to the drawing board and took to nature to find the most basic and most usable building block for furniture, and the answer it got back was a boomerang.
Imagine over a dozen boomerang-shaped pieces of wood stacked together in different ways to create different forms. What you get is a system where you can build different furniture depending on the combination or which hole you use to connect the parts together. It doesn’t have to be a fixed thing either, and you can change a composition the moment your circumstances change as well. One day, you might need a low table, but half a year later, you might want to turn that into a chain instead.
Unlike simple blocks, you end up with furniture that flaunts gorgeous and natural curves that are pleasing to look at. The unique arrangement of interlacing boomerangs also produces interesting visual patterns that almost hypnotize you if you look long enough. In addition to making a visual statement, the use of 100% recyclable wood also makes a sustainability statement that tries to challenge the conventions of standard furniture-making.
Evavaara Design sshhh 1 Phone Booth
Phone booths have been around for decades, but the rise of mobile phones and, later, smartphones have almost made them obsolete. Those very same devices, however, are also making the concepts of private space almost obsolete, whether outdoors or even indoors. When you need to take a call, whether personal or business, you often just do it right then and there, regardless of the people around you. In the future, that may no longer be the case if specialized “phone booths” like this from Evavaara Design become ubiquitous.
Designer: Antti Evavaara (Evavaara Design)
Rather than going inside a box to use a public phone, the “sshhh” is more like a soundproof booth where you can use your own phone or tablet privately. The box is designed to be comfortable, safe, and transportable, creating a space for one or two people to use their gadgets, be it a phone or laptop, in peace. It offers an oasis of privacy when you need to take a personal call or have an impromptu work meeting that should be nobody else’s business.
Gingko Velvet Accordion Lamp
Who said lamps need to come in traditional shapes or sizes? There has recently been an explosion in unusual and creative designs that literally bring light and awe to spaces, both indoor and outdoor. Most of these lamps, however, tend to stay in the same form they were made in, which isn’t exactly a bad thing. For those who want some literal and figurative flexibility, Gingko’s Velvet Accordion Lamp might be a better choice.
Inspired by the musical instrument of the same name, this lamp’s flexible yet durable Tyvek paper covering can curve and bend to your heart’s content and aesthetic tastes. Lay it horizontally flat on a surface as a traditional table lamp, or stand it on both ends to create an arching display. Hanging it loosely like a traditional Chinese lantern, or make both ends meet to form a circular lamp. And, of course, it can fold flat as well, making it easy to slip inside a suitcase to carry with you on your travels. Delightful and beautiful, the Velvet Accordion Lamp puts a playful twist on how lamps should be.
O-LYFE SCREW Corkscrew
It’s almost too easy to take for granted how mundane objects can suddenly become precious items with a little touch of class. A tea set can become an heirloom, and cutlery can become collector’s items. A corkscrew always stays hidden in a drawer until it’s time to be used. O-LYFE SCREW, however, is something that can stand on its own, quite literally even, and it’s something you’ll want to always be on display, even when you have no intention of opening a bottle of wine.
The bespoke, hand-finished corkscrew is quite stunning in its alien-like form, like an otherworldly jellyfish draping its limbs over an elegantly twirling tentacle in the middle. It’s not all just looks, though, and every part of the tool is designed not only to be beautiful but also functional. Those three legs, for example, give a better grip, and the scalloped head design also makes it easier to twist. It’s a rather tasteful example of form and function blending so well together that you almost can’t see where one stops, and the other begins.
Orbitkey Nest Desk Organizer
We have come to depend on so many gadgets and accessories in our lives in addition to the other stuff we usually have scattered around our desks. There are tons of desk accessories out there that offer plenty of compartments, but those can get pretty inconvenient, too, especially when it comes to actually taking out items from them. Orbitkey’s Nest is going the extra mile to make a difference, and it has a few tricks up its sleeves to make that happen.
Nest is a home (get it?) for your everyday tools and accessories, but rather than just being a tenant, it makes you the landlord. Customizable dividers let you split up the space the way you need rather than being confined to what was designed beforehand. A dual-function hinge lets you easily remove the top lid, which also has inside pockets for cards and flat items. That lid also functions as a wireless charging mat, so you aren’t losing functionality even when the Nest is closed. Simple yet effective design tricks like these help turn an ordinary product into a “wow” product.
Schaffengott Tritona AI Home Safety System
Despite the number of smart devices in our homes, safety still remains a problem today. Sure, there are smart locks and smart security cameras, but those mostly only record what has already happened. When it comes to emergencies, many homes are still unprepared, even with smart smoke detectors. Schaffengot is trying to inspire hope in the future of home safety with a system that involves simply pressing an SOS button, at the very least.
Tritona AI almost looks like a smart speaker, but its intelligence lies elsewhere. It is pretty much the modern equivalent of a distress beacon, allowing homeowners to simply press a button to alert emergency services of a dangerous situation. The device also contains a throw-type liquid fire extinguisher as well as a window breaker that can work even on tempered glass. Of course, such a smart emergency device really only works when there’s a proper system in place, but its existence paves the way for developing the smart cities of the future.
Stella Foosball Stella Toi & Moi
Sports fans would love to play their games at any opportunity, but almost all these activities can only happen outdoors. That’s why many of these turn to video games that let them live those experiences from couches, but there is one sport that can also be played indoors without a computer involved. For football (or soccer) fans, there is also the football table or “foosball,” and the name that started it all has an eye-catching 1V1 table to show off at M&O.
The blue and pink motif of this “Toi & Moi” table, not to mention the big “Palm” emblazoned on its side, gives a more laid-back atmosphere that would probably fit the 80s Palm Springs culture. It’s a bit of a deviation from the traditional color schemes of most football tables from the brand’s catalog, which makes it stand out even more. The raised glass tabletop also gives it a different character, allowing it to be used as a more traditional table when you’re not trying to beat each other out in a spinning and kicking match.
WaterRower Exercise Machine
Home exercise equipment has become extremely popular in the past few years as more people have become conscious of their lifestyles. Of course, there has been a rise in smart equipment, offering the latest and greatest technologies for keeping fit and staying healthy. Most of these look like machines from the future, but WaterRower is instead taking inspiration from nature in a way that’s reflected even in its design.
As the name clearly suggests, WaterRower is a rowing machine, but that’s where its similarity with other rowing machines ends. It uses a unique invention that it calls the Water Flywheel that reproduces the physics and dynamics of rowing a boat. And unlike almost all exercise machines, WaterRower makes use of wood, which not only looks exquisite but also absorbs sound and vibration for a quieter and smoother operation. It’s definitely not what you’d expect from an advanced machine, but it’s definitely something you’d want to put on display, even if you’re not faithfully sticking to your exercise schedule.