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

This off-grid trailer expands to include an outdoor shower and MasterChef worthy kitchen

Living on the road comes with its own set of challenges and everyday experiences which can be better dealt with a mindfully designed camper trailer. Queensland-based OFFTRAX has come up with its latest iteration of an off-road camping trailer which is crafted to look simple, bearing a compact form-factor – yet giving the occupants more than enough room to stay cozy for long unplanned adventures. Named the OFFTRAX Camper, it is perfect for two people with its base camp like aesthetics which can be tweaked to the specific needs, thereby, proving a living space reminiscent of the comforts of home.

The base camp setup has an outdoor wet bathroom, an elaborate kitchen setup that boasts dual grills, and a hard-shelled pop-up topper tent. Since the camper is made in Australia, it brings top-notch off-road freedom for people who seek a new adventure every morning they embrace the sunrise. It has a low center of gravity courtesy of the sunken battery and water pans. Also, for longer durability, the center beam of the chassis reinforces structural strength. The fact that the trailer comes with a 5005 aluminum trailer body having independent sections that pop, drop and slide out from all sides – the optimum use of available space is worth appreciating. For example, the kitchen has a split pantry setup that allows for plenty of working area – after all, it has a dedicated solar-powered dual-burner stove, a sink, and a fridge for preparing mouth-watering delicacies, anytime anywhere. The grill compartment under the stove burners has the option to drop the Weber Baby Q onto the front worktop in any direction – now you are ready to prepare MasterChef worthy meals in the outdoors!

So, one person could be cooking stew on the stove while the other grills steaks at the same time. Taking the multi-utility further – the off-grid camper has a 130-L water supply connected to the gas water heater for the outdoor shower which is concealed by a drop-down tent which acts as a portable toilet. For sleeping OFFTRAX has a Camp King two-sleeper roof-top tent having space for a secondary tent or swag as space is not needed for a custom awning. OFFTRAX camper trailer is available in Australia for a starting price tag of $40,425 and is soon expected to make it to the US marketplace.

Designer: OFFTRAX

The Google Nest Clock puts a sleek, informative smart-display on your wall

If you’ve got Google‘s slew of products around your home, there’s a lot of information you can access right at your fingertips, from the time of the day to the weather, weekly forecast, indoor temperature, your appointments, new email notification, to mention a few. The Google Nest Clock concept gives you a display to view that information on the wall of your house, offering a better alternative to browsing through your phone, or asking your Google Nest Home smart-speaker and having it narrate things in audio back to you.

The Google Nest Clock concept builds on the design format of the Nest thermostat, but strips away the thermostat functions and just makes it a sleek, elegant-looking clock. With a variety of clock-faces, and the ability to lay out crucial information for you, from the weather to what the traffic looks like on the way to work, the Nest Clock provides the experience of having a smart-display you can speak commands to.

Think of the Google Nest Clock as a smartwatch, but bigger. It plugs into an outlet using a USB-C connection and hangs on the wall, with a perpetually on display giving you the time, date, weather, and a lot of other information. Just like a smart-speaker, you can talk to your clock too, telling it to change its face-style, asking it to display family photos, having it notify you if you get a new email, or of your daily appointments, or just display motivational quotes. The fact that it has a dynamic display means the Nest Clock works anywhere in any sort of home. You can choose between informative, minimalist, or decorative clock-faces, just like you can with a smart-watch, and at the same time, you can even tell your Nest Clock to control various aspects of your smart home for you, from setting the thermostat to switching on/off the lights, to potentially even asking it to display who’s at the front door!

Designer: Abdelrahman Shaapan

This Smart Robot Is The Perfect Quarantine Companion For Youngsters!

Quarantine has been an adjustment period for everyone, but especially for young children who only got a taste of what socializing and education could offer prior to the onset of today’s global pandemic. The world is most likely forever changed as a result, which true creatives embrace accordingly. Designers behind products like Xiaole, an educational company robot for young minds, adapt to today’s world while acknowledging the connective companionship that molded our world of yesterday. Xiaole offers a touch of sentimentality in its friendly accompaniment and an artful amount of respect for the young person of today in regard to their future world.

Companionship is essential for young children, so globally mandated quarantines might get in the way of fundamental growth. Jerry C, the designer behind Xiaole, created the smart companion prior to 2020, but it’s timelier than ever. Xiaole’s digital library is filled with high-quality content that helps inspire self-motivated education amongst youngsters. Reminiscent of robot characters from science-fiction films, this robot is also naturally comforting and familiar to young minds, so learning will always feel welcome and accessible. Speaking to the product’s accessibility, the digital library is stocked with integrated translators, encyclopedias, and entertainment components. This all-encompassing library provides thoughtful and leisurely entertainment for children of varying ages and backgrounds. Xiaole is warm in its shape, emotional in its digitized expressions, and dynamic is physical gestures. This smart robot is intuitive in its control buttons, so anyone, no matter how old or young, will be able to bring Xiaole to life With this merging of innovation and sensitivity, Jerry C notes that Xiaole is a “smart companion robot with a sense of technology and affinity.”

Ahead of its time, Xiaole’s design was conceived before the age of COVID-19, but its early arrival speaks to the young human’s inevitable need for connection and stimulation. With or without quarantine, we all need some good friends in today’s world, especially young kids, and if there ever was a time to implement lighthearted respect for our unstoppable future world through design, the time is now.

Designer: Jerry C

This award-winning soldering iron’s smoke purifying design is the modern avatar of this age-old tool!

For DIY welding aficionados, the details are key with soldering tools. The welder has to be an appropriate size, the time it takes for the iron to heat up could make or break the experience, and the amount of heat generated has to make sense for each job. That’s why Red Dot gave their 2020 Design Award to an electric soldering iron with smoke purification capabilities – it managed to check all the boxes.

The lead designer behind this safety welder, Wang Guoqiang, implemented a built-in air purifier in order to filter toxic fumes that are inevitably inhaled when using other soldering tools on the market. The main body of the tool is comprised of an internal purification system that incorporates an exhaust and suction mechanism in order to filter harmful fumes that come from soldering. At the head of the tool, a tube of glass contains the flow of heat and air so burns that could result from touching hot, exposed iron are entirely avoided. The electric soldering iron works on built-in, rechargeable, lithium batteries so that it functions wirelessly and you don’t have to worry about messy wires while you’re getting a job done. This electric soldering iron with smoke purification features is the size of a pen for easy clean-up and storage, making it the perfect portable or household tool.

Designer: Wang Guoqiang x Ningbo Fonu

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 sleek wearable microphone with real-time audio backup is the need of the hour!

With virtual work in full swing thanks to COVID-19,  practically half of our workdays depend on functional audio systems. Treating patients on Zoom can get difficult when a laptop’s built-in microphone doesn’t quite catch the diagnosis. Teachers sometimes have no other choice but to raise their voices when addressing a full classroom on Zoom since everyone’s using the same quality mic and the louder you speak, the more likely you’ll be heard. Fortunately, Anthony Mattana, the designer behind Hooke Lav, a wireless, wearable microphone that transmits professional-grade sound, has a solution.

In our world, where content is money, professionals of all ages need a microphone with which we can always rely upon. Hooke Lav, from Hooke audio, is a wearable microphone that has a 24-bit-depth, records in 48kHz with low latency, and is compatible with iPhones, Androids, DSLR’s, GoPro’s, various field recorders, and Mac/PC. Through Bluetooth 5.0, this mic allows users to record anything, anywhere, but since Bluetooth isn’t always reliable, Hooke Lav has 8GB worth of internal storage so that each and every audio recording is backed up in real-time, making capturing audio seamlessly foolproof.

To get started, just slip the mic on wherever with the light facing inside and press record – simple as that, no bulky hardware necessary. The designers with Hooke Audio know that sound matters above all else. With built-in microphones, our voices are constantly challenged to compete against background noises, spotty service, and far distances, but with Hooke Lav, pro-grade audio can be recorded from any distance to any device. Since the need for microphones changes from day to day, Hooke Lav incorporates some mutable features. In solo mode, only one mic records audio and transmits it to your device. In duet mode, two microphones can capture two separate streams of audio so that every voice is heard crystal clear, which makes it the perfect microphone for podcasts, interviews, or YouTube videos.

Young content creators know which equipment works best for their channels so, in addition to Hooke Lav’s compatibility with several different operating systems, when the mic is set to receiver mode, audio is transmitted from the mic onto a smartphone or other content-creating hardware, overriding any built-in microphone in the process. This means that you can live stream from Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube without the worry of your mic picking up on any other voice but your own. Alternatively, when Hooke Lav is set to island mode, the mic works like a recorder, so any sound you record can be stored for later use.

With an app to pair with its hardware and seven hours of continuous battery life, Hooke Audio seems to have considered any potential roadblock. Thanks to its wireless capabilities, the absolute commitment to zero-bulk hardware, and its user-friendliness, Hooke Lav beats out the competition and rises to every occasion, exactly how it will record your voice.

Designer: Hooke Audio

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Hooke Lav: A Sleek Wireless Mic With Pro-Grade Sound

A wearable microphone with studio-quality sound that captures dropout-free audio with one click.

Hooke Lav is a wireless microphone that captures pro-grade sound with no wires, no dropouts, and no hassle. The Bluetooth lav has 8GB of internal storage and connects to any device with the click of a button. This slick, minimalist microphone maximizes your freedom to record with no setup necessary!

It’s the first truly wireless device to send high-quality audio over Bluetooth at low latency. The stylish, clip-on gives you professional quality audio recording in the studio, on the go, and out in the wild. It eliminates wind noise, cuts the cord and, thanks to its internal storage, picks up every second of audio even if Bluetooth cuts out.

Give your phone or camera a mega upgrade

Smartphone cameras have been upgraded year after year, but their mics still don’t measure up, leaving you with subpar sound on crystal-clear videos. The same goes for mics on DSLR cameras and laptops—the quality isn’t there!

The only way to improve sound quality is upgrading to a better microphone, but that often requires sizable funds, technical know-how, and a learning curve. And on top of that, most “quality” lavalier microphones on the market have messy cords or bulky design.

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This portable Coffee Maker’s nesting design is the ultimate travel companion!

As I prepared for my first camping trip, coffee was the only thing on my mind. I thought my worries were solved once I packed my stovetop coffeemaker and portable propane stove, but then the propane ran out, so my first cup of coffee had to wait. Situations like these are exactly why the Nesting Cafe, designed by Songhwa Park, was created. Whether you’re at a sporting event or on a camping trip, the Nesting Cafe will make sure you stay caffeinated no matter what.

Nesting Cafe’s design reinterprets the iconic Matryoshka doll by attaching a capsule coffee maker to the inside of its steel tumbler and removable wooden cup. The bottom of the wooden cup utilizes a magnet in order to securely attach to the coffee maker so that you can bring it everywhere you go. Once the coffee is finished brewing, then the user can decide whether they’d like to sip it straight from the tumbler, where the coffee from the capsule is poured into, or drink some out of the accompanying wooden mug. The product is comprised of three main parts: its carrying case, which includes a leather strap for easy transportation and the compartment for pods to brew your coffee, a tumbler, which fills up with coffee once brewed, and lastly, the removable wooden mug which provides an additional option from which to drink. Nesting Cafe was also designed in an assortment of different tones and shades so that no matter where you might find yourself, coffee will always follow.

Upon first glance, Nesting Cafe might look like a really slick, modern take on the Russian doll we’ve come to cherish. While that would be an accurate assumption, it’s also so much more. Opening the product’s front door, the user sees all that comprises the portable coffee maker. Just like the beloved Russian doll, Nesting Cafe brings new life to an otherwise timeless appliance.

Designer: Songhwa Park

This self-sustaining compost system turns your food scraps into a thriving indoor garden!

The world as we once knew it is changing. While the list of changes seems too long to share – gardening would be considered one of them. The environment and sustainable living have been hot topics for some time now, but in 2020, they’ve turned into personal commitments for people across the globe. Composting is one way to promote sustainability in your own living space, as proved by AQUA, a sustainable, contained gardening system. AQUA was created by OG Design so that environmentally conscious people can curate their very own self-sustaining indoor garden no matter where they live.

AQUA’s system is comprised of three main working parts: a container for food waste, an elevated light structure, and three soil pots. The food waste container is located on one side of the indoor planter and turns your leftover food scraps into compost for fertilizer. Composting is a method used to decompose organic solid waste and fertilize the soil for gardening. The slim, attractive light fixture is situated directly above AQUA’s garden pots and provides the mini garden with nourishing light-energy. The indoor, gardening system is completely self-sustaining and conveniently sized in order to fit into any kitchen or living space. The system itself works after food waste is dumped into the container on the left-hand side, fertilizing the soil contained in the trio of modestly sized pots, each of which provides energy for plants to then grow and thrive.

OG Design conceptualized AQUA in order to “[keep] food from entering landfills” and for users “to cultivate their own small vegetable garden,” because food accounts for 46.2% of combustible waste. The interest in gardening, especially indoor gardening, and sustainable living is rising with younger generations as city living becomes more popular. In urban spaces, ecologically conscious living is tricky as there’s less yard space and community gardens can be hard to come by. AQUA makes sustainable living possible for any city home, from the small efficiency studio to the three-story townhouse. As long as you’ve got a kitchen counter or windowsill, your personal vegetable garden awaits.

Designer: OG Design