design history January 26, 2018

Small Thing. Big Idea: the history of everyday objects

A few days ago I attended a conference about the future of design in Lisboa Roca Gallery.

For those who are not familiarized with Roca; it’s a 100 years old company from Barcelona that designs bathroom spaces.

What is Roca have to do with design? Everything of course.

I know that when you’re sitting in your throne, doing your business and scrolling through Instagram, you don’t get lost on thoughts thinking about what company designed your toilet (do you? That would be a first!).

A toilet ’s just one of those things that we normally take for granted. Like many other objects, we never questioned its existence or even noticed it that much because it’s a utilitarian object. We normally just expect everyday objects to be functional and that’s it.

But reflect on that for a moment. What would your life be like if you couldn’t afford or couldn’t have access to a toilet? Without toilets, would there be sewers? Picture that and you can see the importance of it now.

The importance of everyday objects

On that note, Ted created a video series called Small Thing. Big Idea.

Every week a video between 3 and 4 minutes will reveal the history of a daily object and how much that small object impacts our daily life.

So far, I’ve watched the two released episodes: the first one is about subway maps and the second explains where does the jump rope come from historically.

I was so surprised to find out that jumping with a rope was something potentially invented by Egyptians.

Later on, in the 50s and up until the 70s, in America, young women embrace the jump rope as a way of staying healthy but also as something that bound them together. Since they weren’t allowed to play much of the other sports, this was something exclusively theirs, like an exclusive girl-only thing. And that’s pretty cool to me.

If you’re curious about the upcoming episodes, follow Small Thing. Big Idea. on Facebook and every Tuesday you will find out something new about an everyday object.

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