Design vs. function

August 3, 2009

I love good design. And this is really such a gorgeously designed little sink arrangement isn’t it?

The colors, the shapes, texture, the careful placement: who wouldn’t want to look at it every day in their home?

But … what is it, exactly? And where is it? Let’s dig a little deeper.

The oranges suggest that it might be a kitchen sink. Yet, it’s too tiny to be a prep sink. And it doesn’t have a “bar sink” vibe.

The many GFI outlets suggest it might be a bathroom sink. But: those oranges.

Either way, let’s be practical: Is it possible to turn on the water, use the sink and NOT water-spot or even ruin that beautiful framed photograph? And that little blue dish. Maybe a soap holder? Is it possible to use it without getting soap scum all over it?

And then, the oranges. Do they sit in pools of splashed water and rot?

I think this is one of the most beautiful sink/arrangements I’ve ever seen. But it’s not usable. It’s more a static work of art, to look at from a distance.

This so reminds me of engaging annual report designers for the Silicon Valley high techs I worked for.

At the time, the design aesthetic for the body copy of annual reports (not the financial section, but the section that talked about the company’s accomplishments) was teensy little sans serif type, usually grey.

Completely illegible to anyone over 40. And who was the target audience for annual reports? Investors over 40.

These reports were great works of art by design standards, yet the designers had a hard time understanding that they failed as communications vehicles. Which was their purpose.

Same with this beautiful sink.

Oh, I covet it.

But it’s a museum piece.

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