The idea is a simple and effective one. Working with the element of surprise, designerbox brings original, playful and affordable design to the home.
1-month subscription €39 p/m; 6-month subscription €33 p/m; 12-month subscription €29 p/m + shipping from €3.90
As well as subscribing you can also buy individual items direct from their website.
Further details here.
This is actually a French company, though fortunately, because my French is rusty, their website and emails are also in English as well as French.
I was excited to try out this subscription. Firstly, it is very different from anything else I’ve received; and secondly, their items are both beautiful and unusual. Our home is full of all manner of eclectic stuff, and both my husband Big C and I appreciate design.
Designer Box works with designers from all over Europe to produce unique and aesthetically pleasing items for the home.
Designerbox used to put their items in numbered wooden boxes, but they seem to have stopped doing this. While the boxes were nice, it was sometimes a little difficult to know what to do with them, so I don’t at mind they don’t do this any more.
This month’s Designer Box has two items. They are the result of a recent competition by Designer Box to choose a object to send out. The participating designers are all from Fabrica, a communication research centre founded by Luciano Benetton. This is the winning item, by Chan Wai Hon.
The box also includes the monthly magazine, Iconic news.
This is a beautifully produced magazine. The text is in both French and English.
It contains information about the item enclosed, as well as details about this month’s artist/craftsman. There is also interesting content relating to design in general. It also lists the other ten shortlisted items in the competition.
The first item out is a canvas tote bag.
The pattern is meant to reflect the design of the other item (which I’m coming to!), and the text is meant to remind us that ‘behind every apparently trivial thing hides something greater…’.
Now on to the main item.
The packaging, as always, is beautiful.
It comes in three pieces. These two are a glass tube and a holder.
There is also a pad of paper shaped to fit the holder.
The idea is that you can add a small seasonal flower or piece of greenery to the vase, and use the paper to scribble perhaps thoughts, an inspiring phrase, or an image.
The paper is approximately A5 size, and is in loose sheets. You can see the colours are pale blue and green in alternating bands.
I have to say I’m not quite sure about this. First of all, I don’t think the colours of the paper and the colour of the stand (a sort of light brownish creamy colour) work together particularly well. Apparently the idea is to choose the paper to match the flower, but I think I would have much preferred plain white paper which would go with anything.
I tried a few different plant options (the garden is rather limited at this time of year) and more than one of them, including a magnificent pink geranium, did not work at all.
Additionally, because the tube does not fit snugly in the stand, anything which is moderately heavy (such as the rose I tried) tips the tube to one side.
Any movement of the paper has the same effect, and I’m not sure I want water anywhere near paper I wish to write upon. The tube also has a faintly clinical appearance. The size isn’t too bad, but you do need sufficient clear surface to place it, and that’s in short supply in our home.
I think the idea is a nice one, to have a bud vase and a notepad combined, but I don’t think the execution is up to scratch.
On the other hand, I love the tote bag. I’m a huge fan of tote bags anyway, and this is a fantastic one. It’s nice thick canvas, really roomy, and both the graphic and the text look wonderful. I really like the idea behind the text, that something smaller can contain something bigger, and it’s thought-provoking without being pretentious.
So rather a mixed bag this month. I don’t like the main item, but the accessory is fantastic. It’s attractive and useful, and it will be added to my beloved and regularly-used collection of shopping bags.