06 July 2011

unnecessary things

every now and then i see designs for clocks that offer new ways of telling time. many  times these clocks are heavily designed ... you know, over designed... stylized shapes and mechanisms that lead to intriguing objects but poor time pieces... what's wrong with how time is measured now? ... i keep looking at these clocks in search of a valid reason for creating a new way of communicating time... the search never ends well. i always go back to the design of mondaine watches and hope that every time piece was as good. the purpose of mondaine watche's is simply to tell time effectively. no grand ideas of telling time differently... just easier, clearer, better.

the "lean" chair/table  was recently featured in core77. this object is supposed to "challenge the limitations of urban space" ... what a nice challenge, i thought. so the solution is a piece that is unstable by itself and completely dependent on the urban space it tries to challenge. if i need to sit on it, i need two walls to rest it against, leaving me confined to a corner. if i need a table i need to make sure that i add weight to one of the sides so that it doesn't tip over and i also need to watch out for those pointy corners... if i really need to challenge urban space, i don't need to come up with an overcomplicated design in order to succeed. take a simple box, for example... it can serve as a table, a chair, a bookshelf... it doesn't need walls or special surroundings.... and for aesthetics, it can be as clean and beautiful as i want it to be.

i recently bought a pair of shorts. i'm in love with them, mostly because they are so simple. I analyze their components and find no excess... no unnecessary details, decorations or components.  they were very inexpensive, too. i can imagine the design brief: nice shorts under ten dollars. it's so nice to see the work of a designer that didn't turn inexpensive into cheap. just get rid of the unnecessary details that increase need for materials, production and complexity.  in contrast to these clean, simple shorts, i just spent over an hour fixing a pair of pants. i bought them some time ago and even with their lightweight fabric they have become impossible to wear in the summer weather. after a closer inspection i realized the ridiculous amount of unnecessary elements that these pants have.  i cut and trimmed layers and layers of fabric around the pockets, seams, etc. i ended up removing over half a pound of unnecessary fabric. as i was re-sewing the pants, i kept thinking about how could the designer of this pants got away with a design that is wasteful and makes users unhappy.

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