Design Form & Function for Home & Office

Cool gadgets bring whimsy and practicality to our spaces
SMALT Bluetooth Salt Shaker

Design. Apple founder Steve Jobs once said, “Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But, of course if you dig deeper, it is really how it works“. This month, Welum is exploring the theme of design and its form and function in art and architecture, fashion and food, film and music and in the things that are in our lives (or could be).

For today’s article, I have scoured the globe searching for office and home items that have intuitive or fun designs and yet are fully functional, like the SMALT Bluetooth speaker salt shaker. Smalt says it is the “first multi-sensory device to make dining experience fun (sic)”. Smalt streams music. It can “make any moment more memorable with the color-changing mood light,” according to its promotional material. It also serves as a conversational centerpiece. Oh, and true to its “dumber” ancestral origins, it can be used to shake salt, too.

Speedlink’s Axon silent and antibacterial mouse fits your hand perfectly with its ergonomic design, and its smooth surface feels sensual to the touch. The mouse features an antibacterial coating that kills “up to 99 percent of bacteria within 24 hours,” the product’s box says. And the coating has been tested for its effectiveness against Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli. Axon has an optical sensor, a 1.5-meter cable with a USB connector and silent buttons, making it my new favorite computer mouse. 

XD Design has created a colorful USB Flower Hub. The white vase and white stems (that light up red when plugged in) support four USB slotted “flowers” in sky blue, carnation, orange and lime. At a height of 14 cm and a width and depth of half that, the Flower Hub is an easy and space-saving way to get extra connectivity while bringing a bit of a rainbow into your workspace.

An attention-grabbing bookend can help organize books on a desk or on a shelf. Ini Archibong’s 3D printed Carlo porcelain bookend gives a nod to the architectural geometry of Carlo Scarpa (hence its name). Its high gloss white finish coordinates with any décor, and Archibong says his favorite part of this piece is that which cannot be seen with the eye, the bookend’s center of gravity. Available in a numbered limited edition.

To add whimsy to your next wine social event, bring out the elephant corkscrew, which is adorable and functional. As its advertising says, “Have this clever elephant corkscrew handy and you'll never forget how to open that bottle of wine. His trunk unfolds into a bottle opener, and his tail becomes a corkscrew“.

AKOAK tea infuser brings humor to your daily cuppa. The infuser is made from food-safe silicone and looks like an adorable little fellow that turns your tea cup into a 'hot tub'. By having flexible little arms, he can perch on cups of all sizes. He will have no problem keeping any kind of loose tea leaves or teabags in his snug grey pants.

And lastly, Josh Owen’s Torq nutcracker adds industrial style to any kitchen. It is 3D printed (and numbered) in matte steel so it will be durable for years to come. The Torq nutcracker is an echo of hearthside’s past, but it is thoroughly modern in its understatement and its combination of elegance and force.  

All of the aforementioned products have met the challenge of design, articulated by fashion designer Donna Karan, “to balance comfort with luxe and the practical with the desirable”. And though these products span a range of categories, they have all been designed to appeal to the senses and still fulfill their functional purposes.