Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

STYLE: DESIGN : Domestic Affairs

January 16, 1994|SUSAN SUBTLE DINTENFASS

Europeans have long savored much about everyday life; they approach even humdrum tasks--cooking, cleaning, eating--with great style and wit. Americans, too, are cultivating an appreciation for the elegantly functional, investing in items that are handsome, useful and--when appropriate--amusing. So it's a happy circumstance that more designers around the world are packing ingenuity and good looks into objects we take for granted yet couldn't live without.

Imagine, for instance, a fly swatter made not of pastel plastic and painted wire but smooth polyester strands and stainless steel. A humble household fixture once relegated to the utility closet becomes attractive enough to display. Other updated classics include a toilet scrubber that comes in its own sleek, easy-to-clean aluminum-and-glass container, a wastepaper basket with expandable accordion pleats and a pen blown from glass that has 16 tiny grooves to hold a page's worth of ink.

On the food front, well-designed objects address practical needs--a glass pitcher with an outer pocket to keep ice and liquids separate. They provide multicultural solutions--eating utensils that serve as, depending on which end you grip, chopsticks or a fork and knife. And they can be whimsical--magnetic salt and pepper shakers that swing around a metal pole like a pair of circus acrobats, adding flavor and fun to meals.

When it comes to good design, there's little room for the cluttered or clumsy. By the same token, all the style in the world won't make a whit of difference if something doesn't perform as it should. As Marsha Armitage, product buyer for the Museum of Modern Art gift shop and catalogue, puts it: "I look for a simple, clean product that does the job, and if it has anything to offer me other than functionality, it should be beautiful in its simplicity."

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|