After years of aggressively shaped, violently coloured domestic appliances, the tide seems to have turned, as if to underline the value of the home as a haven, a tranquillising place where you want to surround yourself with articles that are useful, of course, but also “pure”, not over-designed and straightforward to use. In a word: white.

Two examples, very different in use but inspired by the same longing, can stand as archetypes of the new mood: the (white) Apple computer and the small (white) domestic appliances designed by Jasper Morrison for Rowenta and by George Sowden and Hiroshi Ono for F.lli Guzzini.

The latest Apple Computers are by Jonathan Ive, 2003 Designer of the Year (the award is assigned every year by the London Design Museum).
Since 2001, under the general title “Sorry, no beige”, Ive has designed whiter-than-white computers like the eMac, the iBook (laptop) and the 20” iMac, pursuing a line of thought based on a process of elimination to create products that are clean-cut, orderly and simple.

Like Ive, Jasper Morrison also aims to eliminate the decorative flourish. For Rowenta, a German brand founded in 1884 and taken over by the SEB Group in the late Eighties, Morrison has created a Brunch Set (toaster, kettle, cafetière), on which everything depends on dimensions, on precisely calibrated curves and on proportions.

These new appliances use plastics processed to create sophisticated tactile and visual effects. Characterised by the simplicity of their controls, such items are less trendy than timeless, the epitome of an analytical approach that identifies form as the synthesis and expression, not merely of function, but primarily of their users’ aspirations.

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 146

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