Shaker-style tools for household chores feature in Hands to Work show
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Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work

Shaker-style tools for household chores feature in Furnishing Utopia's Hands to Work exhibition

Colourful ridged-glass cleaning bottles, a black broom and a red washing line are among the tools for cooking, cleaning and organising created for a New York exhibition based on the American Shaker movement.

Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
Hands to Work is the third edition of Furnishing Utopia, which asks designers to reinterpret objects and themes from the American Shaker movement

Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work presented over 50 objects for daily chores during this year's NYCxDesign festival, marking the third installment of the Shaker-influenced series led by design collective Furnishing Utopia.

Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
Designs in the Shaker-influenced exhibition are intended for mundane household chores, like these baskets for dirty laundry by Shigeki Fujishiro

Developed in collaboration with retailer Design Within Reach, the project has previously produced works that reinterpret historic designs by the Shakers – a religious sect known for its simple furniture and architecture made in the late 19th century.

But this year, rather than emulate designs, the 26 contributing designers and studios were asked to respond to the simple daily lives of Shaker members, who considered the completion of daily household activities like cleaning and cooking "as a path to enlightenment".

Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
Sophie Lou Jacobsen's collection of containers includes ridged-glass bottles with spray tops for cleaning products

"Chores are conventionally understood as tedious, burdensome work to be avoided, but these activities can also have an association with mindful rituals that have the potential for clearing one's mind, connecting with one's body, and confronting the indifference of the natural world," said a statement from Furnishing Utopia.

Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
Christopher Specce's Ultra Broom features a black carbon fibre handle and bristles with red detailing

Among the designs in the collection is the All Purpose Set by French-American designer Sophie Lou Jacobsen, which comprises a six containers for storing products for cleaning. Jacobsen's set includes two sprays and a bottle with a round, wooden cap, all of which feature ridged glass to make them easy to hold. There is also a pouring jug and a container topped by a funnel.

Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
This red clothes horse by German designer Katrin Greiling is intended for drying kitchen towels and partitioning spaces

A black broom by US designer Christopher Specce, which is detailed with a red tie around its bristles, a glass watering can by Daniel Castillo and a series of handheld brushes by Henry Julier are among the other designs for cleaning.

The pared-back designs of the household items in Hands to Work echoes the minimalist style of the Shakers that has recently become popular with designers. Neri&HuJin KuramotoTorsten Sherwood and Pinch have all recently referenced the movement.

Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
Studio Gorm, one of the exhibit's curators, contributed a long black photograph holder

Featuring a similar aesthetic in Hands to Work are a wooden board and a mortal and pestle for chopping and grinding herbs, by American design brand Fin. These cooking tools could be accompanied in the kitchen by wooden paper towel holder by Norwegian designer Stine Aas and a dish rack by Helsinki-based Studio Tolvanen.

Kitchen tools can also be hung from the red, wooden rack that German designer Katrin Greiling created to also be used to partition rooms. A number of other designs are intended for organising the household, like a set of black storage drawers, a set of cork baskets and two different buckets.

Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
Jamie Wolfond's Wanderoing Planter can be easily moved around on wheels

Canadian designer Jamie Wolfond, founder of Brooklyn-based design studio Good Thing, created the Wandering Planter – a plant pot that is set on wheels so it can be easily moved around.

Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
Also in the collection is the Wastenot set by Ladies & Gentlemen Studio, which includes a bottle holder and a soap tray

A round stool by Danish studio Norm Architects provides a perch for completing tasks low to the ground, while Oregon-based designer Tom Bonamici responded to the brief with his dark Chore Coat to protect clothing when completing messy tasks.

Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
Other pared-back tools include a dustpan brush with striped bristles

Other contributors include the exhibition's creative directors, Brooklyn-based Ladies & Gentlemen Studio, which designed a striped brush with a domed handle and a soap set, including a bottle holder and a soap tray.

Ladies & Gentlemen Studio led the project with curators Studio Gorm – which created a simple black wooden frame for hanging pictures – and Christopher Specce.

Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
Taking a different response to the brief, designer Tom Bonamici created a dark Chore Coat

Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work took place from 19 to 22 May 2018 at 158 Mercer Street, as part of the citywide NYCxDesign festival.

Other highlights from this year's event included an indoor garden that Ladies & Gentlemen Studio created for design brand Muji, a pop-up restaurant built from recycled food packaging and an installation of rotating mirrors erected in A/D/O's courtyard.

Photography is by Charlie Schuck.

More images

Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
Various Handles by Daniel Castillo
Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
Watering Can by Daniel Castillo
Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
Recess Modular Drawers by Earnest Studio
Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
Herb chopping board by Fin
Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
Wooden Mortar and Pestle by Fin
Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
Cork bucket by Hallgeir Homstvedt
Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
Musical brush by Ladies & Gentlemen Studio
Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
Hang Up by Henry Julier and Pete Oyler
Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
Stepstool by MSDS
Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
Trash can by MSDS
Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
OK Bucket by Observatory
Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
Candle Snuffer by Pete Oyler
Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
Family of brushes by Henry Julier
Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
Utility Stools by Norm Architects
Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
Fujishiro basket by Shigeki
Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
Dish rack by Studio Tolvanen
Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
Staver Bucket by Sverre Uhnger
Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
Cooper Boxes by Vera Kyte
Furnishing Utopia 3.0: Hands to Work
Turned Kitchen Roll Holder by Stine Aas