Finding Beautifully Designed, Practical Objects
May 8, 2017 10:36 AM   Subscribe

I'm really digging New York Magazine's week of coverage on practical, affordable, well-designed objects from Japan (most available for purchase on Amazon). Help me find more?

I absolutely love going to Muji when I'm in New York and hey, I get pretty excited when the new Ikea catalog shows up in the mail too.

As a person who lives in a very tiny urban apartment, I just can't own that much stuff. When I buy something, it's gotta be good: practical, easy to store, high quality, aesthetically pleasing. I just really enjoy well-designed mundane objects that can improve day-to-day mundane tasks, from a really excellent mandoline slicer to a top-rate set of nail-clippers.

Are there any blogs or websites that regularly highlight these kinds of really well-designed, functional objects? If I love Muji what other online stores should I check out?
posted by forkisbetter to Grab Bag (22 answers total) 111 users marked this as a favorite
Canoe is a Portland store full of quality goods.
posted by tofu_crouton at 10:54 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]

Joseph Joseph is known for this and the price points are very reasonable.
posted by rada at 11:09 AM on May 8

You might like some of the things at Lee Valley - they sell tools, but also gifts and such.

Lee Valley
posted by Dressed to Kill at 11:35 AM on May 8 [3 favorites]

I love Oxo for kitchen stuff. And Poppin has a lot of cute office supplies that all mix and match.
posted by helloimjennsco at 11:37 AM on May 8

Mmmmm, Manufactum.

Also, I would say the Joseph Joseph stuff borderlines on novelty items (I only say this because I worked for a client of theirs, and have broad experience with their goods). In terms of quality, their stuff lies on a broad spectrum of 'pretty alright' to 'straight junk.' Their focus sits more on the "attractive/aesthetic" side than on the practical, well designed stuff. Their kitchen items are usually super cute, but very difficult to use (their products often show up on America's Test Kitchen, and...well, lets just say the reviews are not kind).
posted by furnace.heart at 11:44 AM on May 8 [3 favorites]

Alas, Kiosk the store is closed, but their archive lists all the items they sold.
posted by gyusan at 11:47 AM on May 8 [3 favorites]

Garrett Wade is great for this.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 11:54 AM on May 8

Apologies if this is oblique to what you're asking, but as a fellow apartment dweller, when I have that "I only have space for one [thing] and it has to be the BEST MOST FUNCTIONAL AND CONVENIENT version of [thing]" I go to The Wirecutter/Sweethome. They don't focus on design as a per se virtue, but because size and performance factor hugely into their recommendations, design almost always ends up coming into play as a necessary intersection of those attributes.
posted by superfluousm at 11:58 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]

Present and Correct, is an english stationer: so gorgeous
posted by PinkMoose at 1:02 PM on May 8 [2 favorites]

I like Kikkerland.
posted by TheGoodBlood at 1:15 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]

You may enjoy Amazon's Interesting Finds Page.

You may also lose hours browsing it.
posted by Cranialtorque at 2:43 PM on May 8

You'd like Jasper Morrison's store - it's curated according to what I think you're looking for, and he's written and been involved in a few books on the design of household items.
posted by sagc at 3:50 PM on May 8

posted by xammerboy at 5:51 PM on May 8

Whoops. I guess it doesn't exist anymore...
posted by xammerboy at 5:52 PM on May 8

The Museum of Useful Things shop might be right up your alley.
posted by vers at 5:56 PM on May 8

MochiThings has plenty of fun stuff!
posted by greta_01 at 5:59 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]

I looked through the list and all of this is available at Daiso. Do you have one nearby?
posted by k8t at 8:46 PM on May 8

Scandinavian design: DesignTorget.

Kind of a mixed range of price points, and their site is not US-friendly, but I really enjoyed shopping there in Sweden a couple years ago.

Seconding Canoe in Portland - a very nicely curated collection of things you'll want.
posted by ortoLANparty at 11:23 PM on May 8

Best Made Company
A+R Store
Snow Peak (the US store doesn't have the full range that the JP store does)
posted by evoque at 6:09 AM on May 9

Whoops. I guess it doesn't exist anymore...

This one?
posted by DynamiteToast at 8:07 AM on May 9

Umami Mart has a lot of lovely home goods and kitchen stuff from Japan, including beautiful cocktail barware. Not cheap, but highly covetable.
posted by letourneau at 9:54 AM on May 9

Do you enjoy pickles, or kimchi, or sauerkraut? Or fermented/pickled stuff in general? Make it yourself at home, with one of these foolproof super-awesome fermenting containers.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:51 PM on May 9

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