The Good Stuff at Dwell on Design

Joey Roth Planter.

Yesterday I ranted about techno-utopianism. Today we’ll get back down to earth and take a look at three elegant and simple design interventions I found at this past weekend’s Dwell on Design convention.

Joey Roth Planter

How Roth’s planter works.

Joey Roth has a very clever take on a very old idea: a pot with a built in olla he calls simply Planter which is avaliable on his website for $45. Ollas are ceramic jars buried in the ground to deliver a slow drip of water to plants. Roth’s design is elegant, simple and effective–take an olla and make it integral with a pot. Particularly on a hot day, conventional ceramic pots dry out quickly and Roth’s planter would be great on a hot balcony or porch. His teapot is also an object of great beauty.

Scout Regalia

SR Raised Garden Kit

Scout Regalia’s design team, architects Benjamin Luddy and Makoto Mizutani, had two nice items at the convention. Their “SR Raised Garden Kit” is a set of metal brackets that turn lumber you provide into an atractive raised bed. At $95 it’s a bit over my price range, but it does look a lot better than Simpson ties.

The Scout Regalia bicycle is smart looking and practical. They describe it as a combo of an “English/Dutch town bike, a cycle truck, and a mountain bike.” Looks like the perfect whip for LA’s potholed streets.


The U-Socket is a standard outlet with usb charging ports. What more is there to say other than they’ll probably become ubiquitous in the next few years. Clever idea.

Design Like You Give a Damn [2]

Unlike the reams of purely theoretical CAD renderings that a lot of architects churn out, some designers are actually getting off their duff and building things. Design Like You Give a Damn [2]: Building Change from the Ground Up catalogs efforts by a non-profit, Architecture for Humanity, to “bring design, construction and development services where they are most critically needed.” There’s some really nice projects documented in this book which also functions as a how-to for anyone interested in humanitarian design.

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  1. Now, these are the sorts of things that are genuinely useful! I like the idea of brackets for raised beds – you can find them a little cheaper at Gardener’s Supply:,default,pd.html?start=4&q=raised%20bed%20brackets

    It’s such a shame that the so-called visionaries of the future have such cold, high-tech ideas about how we might best live. There’s plenty of older, human-sized, low tech solutions – sadly abandoned – that our recent ancestors knew that could be dusted off and used successfully by us. It always fascinates me when we visit historical sites to discover just how clever the technology of our forbears really was. Of course, this old stuff has the “disadvantage” of often being cheaper and easier to repair; no shiny new gewgaws to buy in order to keep these visionaries employed.

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