Archive for the ‘Design’ Category


March 29, 2021

Another chapter in the design of everyday objects — objects crafted to perform their functions well, and to provide pleasure to the user or the viewer. The occasion is the early summer sprucing up of my front patio, just outside the big windows by the table where I work, providing me, during my long months in pandemic isolation, with the visual satisfactions of a substantial container garden and temptations for birds and squirrels (and, alas, a small but tenacious colony of roof rats).

Now it is finally both warm and usually dry, and I’m mostly recovered from my reactions to the Pfizer vaccine: notably, an unfortunate interaction — twice — between the vaccine and my osteoarthritis that caused many of the finger joints on my right hand to swell painfully, making that hand virtually unusable.

But now I can begin coping with the mess that the patio has become, including trimming and pruning the plants, cutting out the old wood, and chopping up the plants that have died. So I discover that my secateurs, or pruning shears, had gotten exposed to our rainy season and needed replacing. With an object much like this excellent tool from the local Ace Hardware:

(#1) Ace anvil pruners

On anvil vs. bypass pruners, see below. But first, on the terms secateurs, pruning shears, and pruners.


Annals of everyday objects: Anchor ovenware

December 26, 2018

A continuing series on well-designed everyday objects: serving their function well, handsome to look at. In this case, a piece of cobalt blue Anchor ovenware, a square baking dish 8 x 8 x 2.25 in. (2 qt. capacity). Seen here posed on top of another well-designed object, a Blueair air purifier (the top, or exhaust, surface, with a rayed pattern of circular holes):



Smart Design

May 10, 2018

The title of Joost Swarte’s cover for the May 14th New Yorker:


Some instances of smart design, in two superimposed inverted worlds. Plus the light bulb of inspiration, and the initials AZ (to which my attentional mechanisms are exquisitely attuned, so that the AZ was the first thing I focused on when I looked at the cover).


The cheese grater

May 1, 2018

Deployed in my kitchen yesterday to grate cheese, the plastic Mouli Grater:


A wonderful piece of design: elegantly simple, useful, surprisingy sturdy (for a plastic tool), safe (no more skinned knuckles or fingertips), ambidextrous, adjustable (the high-end model comes with cylinders in three different grating sizes), and, in the plastic version, cheery.