This redesigned egg carton has been making the rounds on a couple design blogs and magazines. It comes from design student Gil Rodrigues, who reimagines the familiar eggcrate as a dramatic unfolding, snail shell-like container. Designed to hold a half dozen eggs, the wheel saves fridge space and protects each egg in its own little pyramid. It’s architecture for your refrigerator. And the perfect complement to a cheese wheel. Two very different things immediately came to mind when I saw this project. One similar in form and one similar in concept.
First up, this pedestrian bridge in London spanning the inlet of the Grand Union Canal at Paddington Basin. The aim of designers Heatherwick studio “was to make the movement the extraordinary aspect of the bridge.” Like the eggcrate, the design transforms a normal functional object into something more, something beautiful and sculptural. Rather than merely pivoting on a single point, Heatherwick’s hydraulic bridge curls up to allow boats to pass by.
The other thing that came to mind are another redesign of an everyday kitchen item most of us probably take for granted. These clever tea-bags come from product designer Naoto Fukasawa, whose designs “affect the unconscious realm,” according to Muji art director Kenya Hara, “so that people using things he’s designed are hardly aware of design’s function.” Able to tap into our previous experiences and memories, Fukasawa exploits unconscious habits and desires to create objects that feel almost inevitable.
The innovation to his first teabag design is subtle but profound: a simple brown ring at the end of the string, colored to match properly brewed tea. The ring isn’t intended as an explicit instruction, but something that might be used as a relative measure as the user gradually becomes aware of it: “I like my tea a little lighter than the ring.” The ring also acts as a form of packaging of the bag. Another of Fukasawa’s designs is a little more playful:
The teabag marionette is a natural response to the bobbing motion a lot of people make when brewing their favorite cuppa. This is precisely the type of unconscious behavior that Fukasawa so skillfully explores. Why not transform the ritual in a full-on performance? It’s perfect for tea time or "Howdy Doody" time.