From quirky to downright eccentric, 50 designers get creative with their take on toilet paper holders!


Toilet paper is 2020’s hottest commodity. Everyone wants a piece – in fact, at one point near the start of quarantine, some of us were willing to fight one another for just a piece. That’s all to say, assuming that it’s a household item we use everyday, toilet paper is more important than we sometimes feel comfortable acknowledging.

In Echo Park, an east side neighborhood in LA, the Marta gallery showcased more than fifty different toilet paper holder designs as part of an exhibition called, “Under/Over,” that responded, in short, to the recent toilet paper shortage that reached the far corners of the USA. As a result of anxious pre-quarantine shoppers hoarding loads of toilet paper, the paper goods aisles in plenty of grocery stores were emptied out for weeks at a time. This prompted a unique design showcase where artists of varying mediums were given a space to get creative with their distinct take on the toilet paper roll holder.

The curators behind this exhibition, Heidi Korsavong, and Benjamin Critton recognized the comedy behind this anxious hoarding but also sought to comment on the environmental implications of our silent dependence on toilet paper. 37 gallons of water are needed in order to produce a single roll of toilet paper. That’s a lot of water down the drain and once we flush, it’s out of sight, out of mind. We give toilet paper little to no thought unless it reaches the point of a dire need for it and when we’re actively trying to avoid getting to that point, toilet paper turns into somewhat of a luxurious expectation no matter where we might find ourselves sitting…with our dire needs.

The designs ranged from chic, clean aesthetics that prioritized minimalism and style to more intimate and culturally significant interpretations that rubbed shoulders with folk art. My personal favorite turns the toilet paper holder into a mammoth-sized, shining-wet, orange tongue. The designs that adorned the walls of Marta Gallery spoke to the idle, yet inherent autonomy that could bring the need for toilet paper from afterthought to center stage. This provides much-needed commentary on our collective claim to environmental provisions, such as trees for toilet paper. “Under/Over,” begs the question, When did we expect toilet paper to be there the same way we expect our bodies to produce the need for it? The cycle of destroying virgin forests in order to create toilet paper for human needs might never end, but we can get creative with slowing it down in the meantime. The exhibition’s curators proved that getting creative in the meantime will always be worthwhile.

In order to provide an ecological alternative from which to jump off, the toilet paper presented at “Under/Over” was made entirely from organic bamboo pulp, in collaboration with Plant Paper, in order to incorporate an appeal for ecologically moral alternatives to the everyday toilet paper roll. The founders of Marta Gallery, Heidi Korsavong and Benjamin Critton aimed to inspire a sense of enchantment in the exhibition’s attendees with the hopes that upon leaving the toilet paper-lined gallery walls, they’d feel capable of producing their very own toilet paper holder, to go along with their very own need for it. Further, Critton says, “Our hope is that the sheer presence of some of these pieces prompts delight or reflection in such a way that someone might question their implicit ‘collaboration’ with the companies supplying them their toilet paper.”

Check out the exhibition in Echo Park by scheduling an appointment between September 10 and November 1, 2020, or scroll through the designs below, feel inspired, and get creative in the meantime!

Curators: Heidi Korsavong and Benjamin Critton.

The magnetic levitating spheres of this abstract clock makes time-telling a futuristic experience!

Time is constantly moving forward and also never seems to move quickly enough. The time of day is the first thing we learn when we wake up in the morning and from that moment on, it guides us everywhere. The hour and second hands are the pillars that give our world structure to help make sense of it. It’s no wonder clocks are circular as, in many ways, time makes the world go ‘round. But what would happen if the way we read time changed entirely? What would it look like?

The designers, led by Alfredo Mendez with Bitshake Studio, behind O’clock took it upon themselves to find out. In 2020, O’clock recently received Red Dot’s Design Award for its meditative storytelling techniques and innovative re-interpretation of time through design. The timepiece connects to your WiFi router, recognizing your specific timezone, in order to provide accurate information regarding the time of day. Then, a built-in IMU, a tool that collects data regarding a device’s movement, measures its location around the timepiece’s circle and adjusts the clock’s indicators accordingly with each second. The indicators used are three separate, metallic spheres that move with the changing hours, minutes, and seconds of each day. The second-sphere rotates along the bottom perimeter of the timepiece, the minute-sphere travels the front-facing perimeter, and the hour-sphere slides along the inside of the clock. These indicators work thanks to 132 linear PCB motors that are embedded inside the clock’s metallic body, which support and connect a magnetic field that works around the clock, 24/7, 365! This provides an electromagnetic field that keeps the spheres rotating as long as time keeps moving.

Time is absolute, which is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as, “true, right, or the same in all situations and not depending on anything else.” Time is absolute because humans have made it so, but O’clock redefines the way we read it. Since time is a human-centered concept, it travels in an absolute forward motion, which in turn keeps each of us moving forward, but O’clock is distinct in its own construct of time, making the way O’clock presents time as an entirely centerless concept.

This Project is a 2020 Red Dot: Design Concept winner.

Designer: Alfredo Mendez x Bitshake Studio

Furniture designed with hidden details that put your IKEA furniture to shame: Part 6

Moving apartments can be a pain, but I’ve found a way that makes it seem less painful – it’s a way to stock up on new furniture! My love for detailed furniture designs has been a long-lasting affair – there is something eloquent yet beautiful in the intricate woodworking details, a satisfaction that a trip to your nearest can’t IKEA can never fulfill (maybe Phoebe had it right when she wants to stay away from Pottery Barn!). Furniture designs that are beautiful to look at and soothe your soul are how I will describe this collection of furniture to you and I hope it will inspire you to take a second look at the woodworking artist displaying his designs the next time you are out looking for any furniture!

The 2 basic building materials – steel and wood come together in this table designed by Slick+DesignUSA. You know you can expect great things from the team that has been providing award-winning architecture designs for over 25 years! For this design, the team collaborated with their friends at Demeter Millwork for a classic design with sturdy construction that is sure to stand the test of time!

Made in Melbourne, the Grace Entrance Table by Arquette Furniture boasts of hand dovetailed drawers that come with Blum push to open, soft close mechanisms, seamlessly merging traditional joinery with modern-day designs. The table here is made of solid American Whitewood and the simplicity of the entire design makes it seem effortlessly elegant!

A sofa deconstructed is what Pedro Franco Design brings to the table with their Underconstruction Sofa. Available in different material options, the sofa features thick individual strips of padded material woven around the sofa frame to form the sitting space of this design. While the obvious designs would match those of a woolen/knit surface, the designer has gone ahead and created leather and metallic fabric options for those with a more adventurous taste in furniture!

2020 has been such an iconic year, we are surely going to have more than one furniture dedicated to it. I can’t speak for the designs that are yet to arrive, but the 2020 stool by Ville Aakula holds a special place with its intricate weaving and the block-fitting of this design makes it a visual masterpiece. A well-designed, detailed reminder of the year that is surely going to leave an impact on our minds!

Töjbox is an oak wardrobe, but here’s the beauty – it uses no screws, nails, or glue. The purity of their design makes it the perfect fit for bachelors or families that change apartments often, just disassemble and set it up when you’re in your new place. made by the Danish studio ‘Made by Michael’ for Would Studio, this wardrobe is Scandinavian simplicity brought to life!

What happens when 2 designers match their love for unique, custom-created designs? The tempo bookshelf happens. Crafted with care, the tempo bookshelf features concrete bows by Mark George Studios in the assembly by Origins Work.

Boasting of vegetable-dyes hemp cords, the Che Stools come with multiple seating combinations. The top of the stool easily latches onto the frame of the stool and the more designs you have, the more stools you can play with! Latina Form’s design brings sustainable designs right to the comfort of your home.

The Plymå bench by Studio Mattias Stenberg began designing this bench with a question – how do we make a seat look soft without actually being seated on it? This intriguing question led to an even more intriguing design! Every form of this bench features soft/rounded edges that invite the users to come, have a seat on this bench even though it is made of wood. This bench is comfort personified!

Meet Title Bed-04, the minimally beautiful yet luxurious hero of Mast Furniture’s range of beds. Made of solid timber and with an inlaid slat system, this bed will automatically imbibe your bedroom with a sense of quiet bespoke luxury that will help you relax the moment you step into that space.

The cross lap joint detail of this dining table design (which is still WIP) has us completely wow-ed! The first idea might be that this is a steam-bent design. But designer Hugh McCarthy reveals that the curved joint is actually a piece cut from a solid piece of oak. I don’t know what the tabletop design will be like, but the base has us excited enough to want more!

For more detailed furniture design, check out the previous posts in this series for beautifully detailed interior decor inspiration!

This furniture design doubling as a home gym is the perfect fit for your home interiors!

Working out in your own home can get overwhelming. Crowded spaces and clunky machinery are eyesores in any space. It seems the only available workout equipment on the market today caters to those who already have space, money, and time for a separate home gym altogether, so putting a big treadmill in the middle of the living room isn’t even part of the question. Hannah Fink, a designer with Pratt Institute, constructed The Groove in order to make the benefits of working out possible while maintaining comfortable living spaces.

The Groove was conceptualized based around the efficiency of pilates reformers, resistance training, and gymnastics, integrating an entire gym into one piece of furniture. Fink reimagined working out at home by merging practicality with style. The Groove mounts three cushioned units onto quiet, rubber wheels and connects them with resistance bands, allowing for a catalog of possible exercises: heel raises, bicep curls, leg presses, sliding planks. Pulling on inspiration from pilates and gymnastics, The Groove incorporates the four pillars of fitness: aerobic, strengthening, stretching, and balance. Since most pieces of home gym equipment focus on only one pillar, users might unknowingly neglect other muscle groups, which can lead to an imbalance that contributes to overuse injuries.

Home gyms should provide versatility for bodily ambulation; miniature experimentation offered Fink insight as to how The Groove could deliver that. The three levels of resistance that connect the units emphasize that mutability. After working alongside fitness professionals, Fink conceptualized and manufactured a final product that implements resistance bands of varying strength levels, along with handles, and barbell attachments for seated rows, tricep extensions, and bicep curls. Solid, white oak wood with beveled edges enhance the furniture’s aesthetic value, and an upholstered cushion made from weatherproof, washable fabric can easily be removed for deep cleaning. The versatility and simplicity of The Groove remind us that taking care of our physical health can be as convenient as it is healthful, so long as we allow it to be.

Designer: Hannah Fink

This eccentric looking armchair interprets furniture as a postmodern art-piece!

The Varier Ekstrem was built to evoke a reaction. Now it doesn’t matter what reaction it is as long as it’s extreme (as the chair’s name suggests), but I’m guessing designer Terje Ekstrøm is going for a combination of shock-value and absolute delight, because as eccentric as the Ekstrem armchair looks, it surely looks hypnotic too!

The Ekstrem comes with an incredibly bold-looking silhouette, thanks to its pipe-shaped design. The chair distills the seating experience to its most basic form, and then exaggerates it with thick cushioned columns that curve and intersect to create a seat that’s still comfortable to sit on. The armchair comes with a backrest and a seat, each created by four pipe-columns merging together. The pipes then branch out, becoming either the armrests, or the legs of the chair, creating something that’s absurd to look at, but something you’ll undeniably want to sit on!

Each chair comes with an internal stainless steel frame, covered with PU foam, giving the chair its soft appeal. The foam members are individually upholstered with a bespoke woven woolen fabric, giving it breathability along with elasticity that allows the fabric weave to naturally stretch when you sit on it. The chair comes in six Pantone color variants, ranging from the classic black and light Gray Violet, to more vibrant options like Shaded Spruce, Port (maroon), Sulphur (yellow), and Bridge Orange.

Designer: Terje Ekstrøm for Varier

Varier Ekstrem Extrem Slangenstoel

This Lego-inspired modular furniture design lets you to custom-build your seating arrangement

Imagine if you could build your dream couch out of Lego-style cushions. That is essentially the design inspiration behind the Blok seating arrangement. With this set of upholstered building “bloks,” and a simple grid-frame, this product allows users to create a modular furniture set that can be easily changed to fit your comfort needs.

How does it work? First, you build the frame: a 2500 x 2000 mm textile board that is folded into a U-shape and reinforced by vertical panels. This serves as the seating base and backrest, the barebones frame of the couch. A larger screen is then fixed behind the backrest, acting as a makeshift room divider from anyone who might also be sharing the space. Once you finish the base, the customization of the seating arrangements can begin. The base has a grid system of strategically placed holes, which align with small pegs on the seating bloks, allowing each cushion piece to fit snugly, no matter where you place it — just like with legos. The cushion pieces come in various sizes: some are flat and long, used as seats or backrests; others are thicker and taller, used as armrests; there are even flat wooden pieces that serve as small tables. The possibilities may not be infinite, but they are in the multitudes.

The Blok system has been marketed for workspaces, but it could easily be integrated into cafes, food courts, waiting rooms, or any public indoor space. Since the pieces are so easy to dismantle and reassemble, it could also be easy to transport and rebuild in a new environment.

Designer: Markus Melcher

blok workspace

This shape-shifting cork furniture transforms to be a lounger, center table or even a side bench!

Modern design aesthetics demand functional furniture that takes less space and does more. The ability to quickly reconfigure the individual elements depending on the usage and the environment is highly rated in modern times. That’s why modular furniture is fancied by people who like minimalistic interiors without compromising on the multitude of uses that a thoughtful furniture piece can offer.

Architect, designer, and creative director – José Manuel Carvalho Araújo who Graduated in architecture from the architecture schools of Oporto and Lisbon, Carvalho Araújo, has a keen eye for product design, making him a well-renowned name in his spheres. His simple yet highly useful chair design christened Tumble is the perfect example of intuitive product design which is well-tailored for ultra-modern interiors. It is essentially a platform that serves as a chair, side table, bench seat, storage unit, bookshelf, center table, or a lounger. Depending on the nature of use and the available interior space, Tumble can be put to good use with a bit of creative thinking. The furniture piece is crafted out of natural agglomerated cork and natural oak, making it good for the environment too. The use of these biodegradable materials should not let you into believing that the modular platform lacks in structural strength. It can take the weight of an above-average weighing adult and the only thing you need to cautious of is to keep water away from it.

Tumble comes in two size configurations – Tumble 600 and Tumble 300. Both have a total width of 1200 mm and a height of 870 mm. The only difference is the depth which is 600 mm for the former and 300 mm for the latter. Also, the weight varies for them at 33 kg and 16.5 kg respectively.

Designger: José Manuel Carvalho Araújo

This James Dyson award-winning sleeping aid uses an OLED screen to help you destress + fall asleep

To fall asleep at night, I imagine my bed turning into a hammock, swinging somewhere on a sandy beach. It typically does the trick, but when it doesn’t, I can usually chalk it up to my anxiety or sleep apnea. Receiving 2020’s James Dyson Award, Nocturnal, designed by Alexander Braga, is an interactive sleeping aid that specifically aims to help insomnia sufferers. With user-defined technological and personalized features, this design solution makes restful sleep possible. On this point, Braga says, “Nocturnal combines both digital and beautiful design, language and form to improve sleep quality for insomniacs as a sustainable solution for the future.”

Surrounding the bed is an OLED, a film of an organic compound, emitting light, which bridges digital solutions with the human experience. The OLED screen is the sleeping aid’s primary charm and uses rollable, flexible technology in order to envelop the top half of your body and project images from the depths of your most peaceful, relaxing imagination. By promoting the beneficial and curated use of Artificial Intelligence, stressors such as anxiety and depression can be managed. Through research and conducted interviews, Alexander Braga concluded, “Dreams have always fascinated me and I wanted to add this celestial component, in combination with beautiful aesthetics to completely change the way we as humans sleep. I had looked into current bed sizes, ergonomic considerations through interaction and resting positions, and sustainable material selections. Once I achieved a better understanding of traditional sleeping habits, I looked into accessible technology that could stimulate our senses to fall asleep and provide the user with a dreamland sensation.”

Each component of the bed and its features are made up of entirely natural materials, enhancing the design’s appeal to sustainability. Additionally, the bed frame mimics the shape of a sailboat which will only enrich the user’s imagination. While these aspects certainly augment Nocturnal’s commitment to optimal rest, the defining feature is the design’s interactive programming. Nocturnal integrates haptic sensors and voice recognition technology in order to help maintain an intimate relationship with sleep, through visual, touch, and verbal feedback. Furthering that relationship, the underlying haptic sensors, inside Nocturnal’s mattress, adjusts to your body’s distinct contour, providing you with ideal comfort levels before falling asleep. Living with anxiety himself, Braga designed Nocturnal in order to supply those of us who suffer from varying mental stressors with a good night’s rest because sleeping’s for everyone, Nocturnal makes sure of it.

Designer: Alexander Braga

This soundproof whiteboard is the social distancing partition you want in your office!

When I think of a whiteboard, I imagine a rectangular drawing space framed by painted steel or aluminum: a purely utilitarian design. I don’t imagine whiteboards as practical and decorative pieces for an office space. That is what makes the OMI whiteboard room divider unique: it reimagines what an office partition can be.

Several design elements deviate from what we expect from a whiteboard or a room divider. First, its frame uses wood instead of gray or black material, which normally blends into the background. In contrast, the OMI’s frame is its most noticeable feature — more so than the whiteboard itself. It looks thicker and heavier than most whiteboards, but the wheels make it easy to maneuver through a room. The individual parts also look easy to dismantle and reassemble, adding to the product’s mobility.

The OMI’s shape is also quite unusual, resembling a full-length mirror more than a whiteboard. Its frame is quite bulky, not the most modern or sleek design, but I think it makes the most of its build by including sound-absorbent pads and storage bins underneath the whiteboard. This shape might be the best design choice considering its thick wooden frame, but it also limits the available drawing space.

Overall, the critiques mentioned above are minor. The OMI room divider isn’t trying to be the most utilitarian option, but a happy medium between looks and practicality. I imagine this product as a homey cubicle divider for an open-office, something to brighten up your workspace or classroom.

Designer: Sebastian Medrano Casas