Bobble your Life
by Thomas Wagner
Feb 22, 2016

Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg have not quite abolished their raised thumb symbolizing a “Like” yet. But they no longer want to rely on the thumb alone. For on the cusp of the current wave of emotions other “reactions” now count more, and these come in the guise of icons charged with affect, such as hearts or smileys. Which is to forget that there is a really practical thumb, even if (how horrific) it is utterly analogous, guaranteed free of algorithms, and not the slightest bit virtual.

We would never have found it without Sebastian Bergne. Because according to the laws of probability, there is perhaps no trade fair that serves up such a broad and varied range of products as the “Ambiente”, the “world’s most important consumer goods fair”. Here, the world of products and with it close to 4,400 exhibitors are presented, sub-divided into the three key segments of existence: Dining, Giving, Living. To put it a little more trivially, the focus is on all those products that more or less rule our everyday lives, both very practically and also aesthetically. In short, products for the table, the kitchen and for household use.

But back to the thumb. With the assistance of two experts, Bergne chose it as one of his favorites for the special “Solutions” presentation and has presented it at the “Ambiente”. So there it lay, on the large wooden table in the foyer of Hall 4 at the Frankfurt trade-fair complex. No helping hand, and yet nevertheless salvation: the extra packaging thumb. We all know the problem: When tying up a parcel you can pull the string at both ends, but without a third finger or thumb it’s hard to keep the knot tight before it’s tied. This is exactly what the extra packaging thumb offers: It holds the knot in place and thus facilitates the packing process.

Indeed, and we definitely have Bergne to thank for this, it was good to not have to spend time searching for the one or other really practical and really attractive and innovative item from among the many thousands on display. For example, there’s the “ÜX”, the variable “over-broom” with the angled broom head. Or the “Mono-Softmesh” cleaning fabric destined to help give your pots, pans, vases and carafes that added shine.

Of course, there’s no reason to rave about absolutely everything that pops up at the fair. Sometimes, you may find yourself wanting to exclaim: The superfluous things in life still exist! But what always happens in such situations is that at the very next booth you invariably discover something to prove you wrong. After all, life, and especially life in advanced capitalism with its pluralism of commodities, is full of surprises and has much more to offer than we would ever have been able to imagine. And a few things definitely bear mentioning.

A prime example would be all the thermos-cups, the “Bobbles” or drinking bottles for your breakfast coffee when you’re in the car, tube, or train – or simply wanting to picnic indoors. The Bobbles are available with or without filters and in all manner of colors. The thermos versions – the French “canette isotherme” certainly has a sweeter ring to it – shed a sharp light on all those urban nomads who don’t even have time for a decent cup of coffee in the morning and instead of popping into a small bar as Italian culture commends simply walk through the day slurping from their thermos-cups.

Then there are all those wondrous objects, often made of glass, or sometimes of metal: animals such as eagles, elks or oxen that have simply found a place in our hearts and which we therefore want to have as replicas in our living rooms.
And, last but not least, there’s the desecration of Walter Gropius’ famous TAC tableware set that we’re having to endure courtesy of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Philip Rosenthal. While the spirit of Modernism knew only black and white, now, how twee, the version created by “Young Designer Ewelina Wisniowska” boasts a “decidedly sculptural gold décor” that (parametrically) revisits the pig, hay and fence from the design for a pigsty that after losing a bet Gropius once drew for Rosenthal’s home pig “RoRo”. Small wonder that the Marketing department has the perfect spin on this: “The result is a unique texture that combines history and the present, tradition and Modernism, craftsmanship and technology as perfectly as Gropius and Rosenthal would have wanted: forging design objects with a radiant aura for everyday life.” Incidentally, the sty never got built. Which has not preserved us from having to now encounter it in the form of a banal trade-fair booth with little side rods or from having to see RoRo come back to life as a deco-pig designed by Sebastian Herkner. Incidentally, there is no record that Gropius and Rosenthal ever even so much as contemplated combining a pig sty and the tableware set, which would no doubt then count as stableware.

MORE on Stylepark:

Shards are the chance: Sebastian Herkner is to boost business for Rosenthal with porcelain vases and teapots.
(09 November 2015)

„Bobble“ the perfect partner for urban nomads. Photo © Thomas Wagner, Stylepark
No helping hand, nevertheless salvation: the packaging thumb.
Photo © Thomas Wagner, Stylepark
Thermo french way: “canette isotherme” by Yoko Design. Photo © Thomas Wagner, Stylepark
Who handles the elements in the kitchen, lives better. Photo © Thomas Wagner, Stylepark
Just to have a look: at the booth of Wesco. Photo © Thomas Wagner, Stylepark
Consum goods and kitsch are related to each other. Photo © Thomas Wagner, Stylepark
Different moking assets. Photo © Thomas Wagner, Stylepark
Some of the claims requested much fantasy. Photo © Thomas Wagner, Stylepark
In courtesy of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Philip Rosenthal the designer Ewelina Wisniowska decorated the Walter Gropius’ famous TAC tableware.
Photo © Thomas Wagner, Stylepark
When a classic became merchandise: “RoRo” – Rosenthal’s home pig is worth it.
Photo © Thomas Wagner, Stylepark