Book Review: Tools for Living: A Sourcebook of Iconic Designs for the Home

Simply good design

The Fiell's have written plenty of books on design and I often wondered, while looking through the few I have, how wonderful it would be if I could buy this or that design. Now it's possible because this book has an interesting editorial remit of only showing design that is available (and as Dieter Ram's Braun calculator isn't included I guess it's not made anymore) so every item has a web address, though that is not to say everything is available worldwide.

The ten chapters: kitchenware; tableware; furniture; lighting; office, bathroom; maintenance; children; garden and one called 'other' (with a selection of door handles, amazingly fourteen included, wall clocks, CD racks etcetera) show one product a page and I was pleased to see that a lot of the old favorites are still being made. Timo Sarpaneva's cooking pot (1960) and wonderful Rosenthal Suomi dinnerware (1976) Max Bill's wall clock (1956) Henning Koppel's pitcher (1952) and fish dish (1954) Egmont Aren's kitchen mixer (1937) and of course Charles Eames lounger (1956) which will always be available.

Some of the kitchenware objects, though you might consider them mundane, still retain good, simple looks. The Sherman Kelly ice-cream scoop (1933) Rosle Design Team whisk (1978) Smart Design pastry brush (2006) and the incredibly simple and obvious cheese slicer designed by Norwegian Thor Bjorklund in 1925. Perhaps, predictably, the majority of products in the book are European and nicely many are Scandinavian. The Fiell's Scandinavian Design is a remarkable visual look at the timeless design that has come out of these four countries over the decades.

I thought 'Tools for living' (incidentally, a handsome looking book with everything in color) the ideal guide to help you fill your home with products that work and also look good.

Tools for Living: A Sourcebook of Iconic Designs for the Home is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN) and Book Depository

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Rolling pins from 2001 and pastry brush from 2006, both by Smart design.

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Right: Alfred Neweczeral's 1947 peeler, not the most elegant design in the book but it works a treat so why change it.

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Right: Timo Sarpaneva's 1960 cooking pot with a detatchable handle used to lift the lid.

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Left: small bowl with an interlocking spoon. Designed by Peter Moritz, 2008.

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Right: Timo Sarpaneva's timeless Suomi dinnerware, for Rosenthal, 1976.

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Right: Theo Williams 2003 calculator.

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Anna Castelli's Componibili storage units from 1969. I'm still using mine.

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Left: a classic! The Eames 1956 lounger.

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Left: Max Bill's elegant, simple wall clock from 1956. He and Henning Koppel (for Georg Jensen) seemed to have designed the best time pieces in the world.

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