Jake Frey's design philosophy is succinct: "I create things that make sense." So when Frey, an industrial-design student at Philadelphia University, imagined the Magnetic Switch Cover—a quick fix for keeping track of keys—it only made sense to model the wall plate after the iconic horseshoe magnet. For others looking to reinvent the stale piece of hardware, absentmindedness is an unusual, though effective, source of inspiration. "I always forget to mail things on time, and then I'd lock myself out of my apartment," says New York-based Paul Koh, whose design doubles as a key hook and entryway table for the urban-dwelling masses, offering a place to drop mail. Koh crafted the ultra-minimal slip-on piece to stay just shy of invisible. "Every entryway already has a light switch, so you don't even have to drill holes in the wall," he says. "It's an elegant solution."
A version of this article appeared in the November 2011 issue of Fast Company magazine.