Often a company’s product line-up is dictated by the type of designers that they get on board, individuals like Jasper Morrison and Naoto Fukasawa are synonymous with a simplistic / functional ideology, so it’s obvious when they’re hired what sort of ethos that company is striving for. Companies like Plus Minus Zero and MUJI, for example, are intriguing to say the least. Although I love the fact that everything is based on functionality and has limited branding, I’m constantly troubled by the idea of downgrading quality for profit.
Actually, whether it is profit (I’m pretty sure it is!) is something for the big businessmen and accountants sitting inside the corporations to squabble over. Unfortunately, when the creative influence is not at the top of the pack you lose meaning and purpose, if the idea was based on making affordable wares that look good, someone like MUJI might be winning the race, but if quality and functionality were thrown in, I’d say they were losing. I’ve owned various objects in my lifetime that look beautiful on the eye, but when in use in the home obvious flaws become apparent after such a short space of time, in the end the product is just another one for the landfill. It just shows, even with good intentions as a designer your product can be manipulated in such a way, via low-grade materials and cheaper manufacturing, that it’s no longer what you originally intended to end up in this world.
These thoughts and considerations bring me on to a little company that goes by the name of KINTO, and for me these are actually tried and tested. I own a few pieces personally. When I first set eyes on this beautiful kitchenware I was slightly skeptical, mainly through previous problems with other works of the same nature. But I’ve been more than pleasantly surprised by the UNITEA set of teaware designed by the ever so talented Fumie Shibata of Design Studio S, so I picked out a selection from the new range at KINTO for all of you to admire. They have some classic shapes alongside those that are slightly more intriguing, as with all tableware I’m looking for alternatives to existing solutions, and KINTO are definitely one company pushing this way of thinking.