Kenya Hara wrote the book “Designing Design“, which is a 472-page tribute to “white” not just as a color but as a design concept. It contains chapters by like-minded designers such as Jasper Morrison and Naota Fukasawa.
The works of German industrial designer Dieter Rams (Braun), and Apple’s “Snow White” design language are other examples of the “less is more” approach to design.
For Kenya Hara, white represents emptiness. It entails abstract concepts like absence and absolute zero. For me, going further back, it brings to mind the spare aesthetic of zen.
Hara was also art director Hara is the art director of the unique Japanese retailer Muji. Their focus is on design minimalism, avoidance of waste, and a no-logo or “no-brand” policy. I like the Muji concept of producing spare, useful products, where the design itself becomes transparent.
Muji products rate quite high on the meta-efficiency scale.
There are several New York Muji stores open now. But there’s also a company in the U.S. with a similar design language called DBA. This company also sells household goods, but its focus is not only on design simplicity but also on green techniques such as efficient construction, intelligent packaging, and the use of responsible materials. Additionally, all their products are produced in the U.S. using wind power.
It’s great to see a real company synthesizing pared-down design with an effective green design.
Here are some DBA products:
The DBA pen is 98% biodegradable: it’s made of potato starch, and contains non-toxic ink.
The DBA Extension Cord is “100% PVC free and has been developed to release no toxic substances in its production, use or disposal”. The recycled polypropylene spool allows 20 feet of cord to fit inside the flat disc.
This is the DBA dish rack — it has a flexible mesh that connects the posts, allowing the structure to be twisted open and rinsed. Both the main body and the tray are recycled polypropylene.