Every once in awhile, I come across products in stores or online that are difficult to determine just exactly what they are meant for. Here’s a series I photographed of some of these strange commercial products.
It all started with a vacuum. I was looking for a small hand vac for the studio, when I came upon this weird, out-of-this-world thing, in blue & white, with silver accents. I did a double take. Was it some sort of found object from a UFO? A store tool to assist with inventory, like a scanner? Or, some kind of “man in black” nuke detector? Whatever it was, it had a price tag. And it begged to be photographed.Not too long after that, I was in Sur la Table looking for a lemon squeeze. I was blinded by a glint of light bouncing off of a chrome cylinder. I looked up to see this crazy looking contraption hovering above me (ok, on a shelf). It looked like something from Home Depot in the paint section, like someone had returned it to the wrong store. The bright orange handles beckoned. The levered action on their pivot was ingenious, effortless, making this fat plunger in the center shift up or down (bringing up memories of Darth Vader’s bald head when his helmet was lifted). Since I was in the “juicing” aisle, I had a vague vision of what it was, but it had to be tried to be believed. I plunked down the cash and raced to the studio.There was a time when photos were not relegated to phones alone. I know it is the distant past, but at one point, I actually owned a video camera that had no other function than video and still images. And the best part – it was waterproof. I loved the smooth contours of the exterior design, the subtle chrome on the buttons, and the LCD screen that could rotate 360 degrees (for selfies, naturally). My kids were young, and I took it with us to the pool, beach, even a water park, where it was handy to use, without fear of shorting out from moisture.Toasters can be boring. My wife, Nita, and I are interior design geeks. Its an aesthetic we have always cherished, mutually. So it is natural that when we go shopping for items in our home, we like to find unique and curious items with impressive industrial design. Toasters are not usually thought of as beautiful. But the yellow one we have on our counter has relaxed styling that can also be called “cute”. That works for us.Coffee pods are convenient ways to have an instantly made cup of joe, without all the fuss and mess. Along with the influx of pod brewing machines, has come some pretty cool product designs. The one above looked to me not so much as a beverage maker, than a Star-Trek era instant food machine!Lastly, was this blender. The super symmetrical face and whimsical green color were a far cry from the ugly off-white brick of a device I grew up with. Not so much an appliance as a centerpiece, this blender could fit into just about any style of decor.
Thank goodness for modern product design, and competition for home products. These appliances may be a little strange, but so much better to gawk at than the appliances from yesteryear.