Knauf and Brown encourages mindful
engagement with everyday objects

| 3 comments

Canadian studio Knauf and Brown has designed a collection of items to override the subconscious way in which people interact with commonplace objects in their homes (+ movie).

The Standard Table Lamp by Knauf and Brown

The Standard Collection comprises a table lamp, a mirror and a side table, all of which have had access to their functionality subverted in some way.



The Standard Table Lamp does not have an on or off switch. Instead, a separate light fitting with a tan leather shade is placed into a low-voltage copper coil tower to complete an electric circuit.

The Standard Table Lamp by Knauf and Brown

Either a flood or a spot LED light can be inserted into the coil and positioned so a matching exposed copper section on the stem touches the metal. This connects to the power supply in the solid oak base to illuminate the bulb.

The Standard Table Lamp by Knauf and Brown

To turn the light off, the user breaks the circuit by removing the fixture and returning it to a frosted acrylic vase, which features a quilted calfskin interior.

The Standard Table Lamp by Knauf and Brown

"The more often a user flips a light switch, the less they think about it," said the designers. "Flipping a switch allows them to become passive in their interactions with objects.

The Standard Table Lamp by Knauf and Brown

"When the user engages the Standard Lamp, they are forced to make several small decisions that change with each use: which type of light, where, and at what angle," they added.

The Standard Vanity Mirror by Knauf and Brown

The Standard Vanity Mirror is a rotating panel with two halves: one half is mirrored, the other covered with vegetable-tanned leather and rails that can be used to display pictures or mementos.

The Standard Vanity Mirror by Knauf and Brown

The user has to rotate the mirrored surface out of its solid oak enclosure in order to see their reflection.

The Standard Vanity Mirror by Knauf and Brown

A polished copper tube intersects the flat structure at a right angle to provide stability.

The Standard Vanity Mirror by Knauf and Brown

"The Standard Vanity Mirror is a tabletop vanity mirror that engages the user more intimately," the designers explained.

The Standard Vanity Mirror by Knauf and Brown

"Illuminating the user's reflection is [usually] accomplished without any physical interaction or decision making."

The Standard Floor Coaster by Knauf and Brown

The Standard Floor Coaster is a small side table and storage unit that is designed to move around the floor, following the user.

A steel drum is capped at the top and bottom with solid oak. On either side, large acrylic wheels with rubber treads provide mobility.

The Standard Floor Coaster by Knauf and Brown

The surface is slightly concave to prevent small items rolling off when in motion, and the interior is padded with quilted calfskin leather so items can be gently thrown in without damage.

"Side tables rarely get touched," said the designers. "The user puts their drink down and that's it. However, because it is not in a fixed, familiar position, the Standard Floor Coaster gets touched and thought about every time it is used."

The Standard Floor Coaster by Knauf and Brown

"It leads a nomadic life around the living room and stores anything the user might want handy," they continued. "Its off-kilter angle when at rest is meant to give the impression that it is never fully settled in one spot."

The name Standard Collection comes from the American and Canadian use of the word "standard" to describe manual rather than automatic operation, often used to in reference to car gear boxes.

The collection was displayed at Sight Unseen's Offsite exhibition during New York design week in May – see our highlights from the show.

The Standard Lamp received a Young Professional Award when it was exhibited at Design Plus for Light and Building 2014 in Frankfurt.

  • otto

    Deja vu.

  • Elliot Morgan

    It’s not healthy to have a home full of products that demand so much thought to be put into them every time they are used; surely that’s exhausting!

  • uh?wha?

    I think if you find that type of decision making exhausting, there might be something wrong with your brain. Girl in the video didn’t seem to have any trouble.