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Cute Design That Isn’t Dumb

Cute is the enemy of serious–so it makes sense that a slew of designers, when trying to find something fresher than the tyranny of cleanly modernism, resort to what’s kitschy, goofy, or light-hearted.

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The problem is, most of that stuff rarely rises beyond the level of gimmicks. One exception is the portfolio of Merry, a small, relatively unknown Spanish design firm that does interiors and products. Their general approach is to find a new way to interact with objects that you’d never give much thought to, outside of how they look. What results is charming. Check it out:

Trash cans are usually designed to fade from view. Merry’s Leggs trash can–part of a series–takes a different tack, literally elevating the bin to become an icon and center of attention:

merry design studio

Screen, a stool that doubles as a floor lamp:

Lamp

The “Socks” end tables look handsome enough, with slip-covers that slide over the legs. But take away the bottom drawer, and the anthropomorphic design becomes unmistakable–the piece takes on the look of a cuddly Space Invader:

Socks

merry design studio

Panrico is lifted from the produce trays you’d find in the stock room at a grocery store. But with a few elegant wooden touches, the piece takes on a newfound handsomeness:

Trays

merry design studio

Maybe the most ingenious piece of the lot, the Ziplamp. Rather than an electronic dimmer, you adjust the amount of light by unzipping the jacket that surrounds the bulb. Kind of reminds you of a chummy version of the movie poster for Alien.

merry design studio

[Hat tip to Design Milk]

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