Monday, 5 March 2018

Everyday mass produced objects of pleasure

An email recently exchanged with a friend set me thinking about simple everyday mass produced things which give me pleasure; which I look at at least once a day and enjoy for what they are and wonder why they've disappear from shops when they could go on forever. I show them in no particular order.

For my birthday a few years ago our friends Rosie and Paul who live in Stoke-on-Trent took me and Susan to the Middleport Pottery when it was  run-down and neglected, just hanging on by the skin of its teeth with the help of funding from The Prince of Wales Trust (I'm pleased to say it's now thriving again). I took a fancy to the bowl and decided to buy four. Rosie added the saucers, then bought me the lot as a birthday present for all of £5! We use them every day, they are a pleasure to hold and handle, and great portion control!

This portable reading lamp cost £16 a few years ago. It is elegant and gives off three levels of light from rows of small LED light. During the recent power cut it was bright enough to light our kitchen. Its clean lines make it an object of pleasure just sitting on a bookcase.

Two IKEA items. The plastic garden chair was one of six I bought in 1996 for a new office I was opening for the housing charity I worked for after 11 years working from home. It is one of the most comfortable chairs I have ever sat in and cost £9. When I retired in 2006, they had long been written off the books but still graced the charity's office in Old Basford. When asked what I would like as a retirement present, I chose two of these chairs from the office. IKEA stopped selling them years ago. I can't understand why. The cushion covers will be a different design when they need replacing, but the material is hardwearing and still looking good after 22 years!

The round glass table is an IKEA take-off of a classic design which they no longer sell.

Finally a plastic Cyclax container which contains the home-made shaving balm Susan makes for me. Our local pharmacy in Lenton was selling off end-of-line Cyclax hand and face moisturisers for 50p a pot all of 15 years ago and we bought loads of the lavender lotions. I just love the tactility of this plastic container, how it sits in my hand, the roundness of its lid and the base; no awkward corners, easy to clean. Again, another so so simple pleasing design which has disappeared.

I'm sure that I'm not alone in the enjoyment I get from everyday mass-produced things. Good design matters and something we should all be able to enjoy without having it pointed out to us.

A postscript (6 March 2018).

How could I forget my Lamy fountain pen? This posh version cost all of £19 and was bought for me by Susan to replace the Lamy pen I lost/left somewhere a couple of years ago. She said it being lurid green aluminium should make it harder for me to lose and, so far, she has been proved right (the lost Lamy pen made of clear plastic turned up a few weeks later). The answer to my question appears in the photograph. The pen is an extension of me and, as I say in the last pen written sentence, there can be no better tribute than that!


  1. Was it William Morris who said never have anything in your houses which you do not know to be useful or belive to be beautiful? Something on those lines anyway. All your objects are wonderful in their shape, elegance and usefulness. I've loved reading this post and am glad the bowls still please you:)

  2. Thanks Rosie. William Morris was someone special. Perhaps there's a blog post here for you too - what at home does it for you? Perhaps your Five for Friday?

  3. I've just realised that William Morris didn't really care for 'mass production' but I think he would have approved the style and practicality of your chosen objects. Maybe I'll borrow your idea for a future post - with an acknowledgement and link to yours of course:)