12/2/09

Presto Toaster Oven - Well Done

In another life, I think I could have been really happy as an industrial designer. "We need a toothbrush holder. Design one that looks good." That sounds like a decent way to spend my day. The trouble is, as with most creative efforts, that there's always a committee of visually illiterate drones who have to all agree on your design. That's how good ideas get mangled. This 1968 toaster oven from Presto made my eyebrows go up. I think it looks pretty cool.
A toaster oven is hard to get excited about. You just want it to work and not look like an ugly lump on your kitchen counter. This one is an artful collection of a few simple rectangles that manage to look elegant and light. The can opener / knife sharpener is pretty great, too.

We are currently in the design era of biomorphic shapes. Nobody wants to admit that consumer products are basically made of rectangles. The guts of the device are rectilinear in nature, but then they're wrapped in a plastic shell that is desperately trying to look swoopy and curvy, concealing the shapes inside. This doesn't work. This "rectangle shame" results in a product that, to me, looks forced, awkward, and embarrassed of it's true nature.

Here are some examples of current toaster ovens that a quick google search showed me.

All of these designs started with a rectangle or shoebox shape. They then had blobby shapes stuck on them to make them seem... I dunno, organic? It's like the head of the design house threatens to fire anyone who puts a straight line on anything. Straight lines are efficient and simple. These examples are overcomplicated things that look more congealed than designed. Biomorphic designs can be done well, of course, but we rarely see good examples. There must be some. Why is it so hard to think of any? Frogs? Swans? Parameciums? Those are all good shapes, but I don't want to cook my breakfast in any of them.





1 comments:

Muhammad Amir said...

These examples are overcomplicated things that look more congealed than designed. Biomorphic designs can be done well. oster toaster oven

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