Joey Roth is on the list of my favorite contemporary designers.
“The planter’s naturally porous earthenware allows water in the central chamber to seep into the surrounding soil. The plant’s need for water regulates this capillary action.”
I made a trip to midtown yesterday to one of my favorite stores, Kinokuiya, to stock up on some Japanese magazines and books. I was also hunting down the elusive Bear Pond Espresso book, which is sadly out of print and could not be special ordered.
The trip wasn’t in vain though as I picked up the latest edition of TooLs.
TooLs bills itself as a users guide book of 365 items, ranging from socks to inflatable rafts to desk lamps. The editors introduce the book with the set of criteria they used to choose the objects.
“An item is listed in the guidebook if it is defined as:
1. Useful as a tool
2. Relevant to creation
3. High quality or right cost
4. Easily handled
Guidebook Policy with suppliers and users:
The guidebook has no influence by suppliers, except for supplying accurate information in exchange. Our responsibility is to the CATALOG users and the goodness of tools that connects one another.
Please bear in mind some products may have sold out or had to stop production for various reasons, such as matter of season or lack of materials. Also, prices are subject to ups and downs. Prices, addresses, suppliers, and all access information re as current as the most recent printing date. “
What I love about this series is not only the variety (here you see a classic varsity jacket along with some plastic buckets), but the catalogs ability to reshape what you consider great design. Any publication can put together a list of fancy items with high price tags to wow readers, but those lists become irrelevant in the context of function because of their price (i.e. it is no longer useful if the people that it is intended for cannot purchase it).
It took me a while to figure out what they meant by “relevant to creation” (Rule 2). It didn’t hit me until I saw these Japanese Safety Helmets (my favorite item in the book) when I realized it was just a slight translation hiccup. Is the item a creative new design? Yes. Not only that, the helmets do what they were designed to do (Rule 1), are the right cost at around $37US (Rule 3) and are easy to handle because they stack easy without slipping like round helmets (Rule 4).
The book ends with a list of places where each item can be purchased, though as noted in the introduction, some items might be harder to get than others.
I highly recommend you tracking this book down if you’re a design geek like me. Though it might be hard to find outside of Japan at its retail price (about $19USD), you can pick it up at Kinokuiya for $29.