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In Praise of Good Design

Commonly made of wood or plastic, these everyday items also come in stone or glass varieties. You undoubtedly own one, as do the majority of households in the developed world. They’re simple and easy to use, but how can we improve them? I’m talking about the simple, seldom elegant, chopping board. And as for improving upon them, who would even think about it? What more can you do to a chopping board?

Chop2PotThat’s what I thought before I visited Dublin’s Urban Outfitters store and came across the Chop2Pot designed by Joseph Joseph and invented by Mark Sanders of MAS Design. This ingenious reinvention of a household staple was simple but effective – allow a rigid board to bend into a tapering shape to direct chopped food into a pan.

While it’s very easy to use (you just squeeze the handle), there are things you need to take into consideration. A small quibble of mine is that plastic just isn’t as hygienic as wood, but I suppose that’s the compromise you have to make, as you can’t make one of these out of wood, can you? But how about the longevity of the board? The continual bending of the plastic hinge will eventually cause it to break, meaning you’ll have to go out and buy another one, even if the board was still ‘usable’ in its ‘complete’ state. Regarding bacteria and discolouration? I currently replace my plastic chopping boards every year or so as with the variety of foods I use it for it gets discoloured quickly, becomes ‘messy’ due to the countless grooves cut into it, and builds up a cavalry of bacteria – the Chop2Pot will almost certainly be no exception.

But then again, it comes with a three year guarantee and costs only £10 ($20.10 haha!), so if it breaks you get your money back, and when it becomes too unhygienic or grooved to use (or too smelly if you’re a student) you can afford to throw it away and get another.

I won’t be getting one though, as a good quality butcher’s block – for three times the price – will, with proper care, last a lifetime. Plus, let’s face it: it’ll look a lot better in your kitchen.

Just like all the items on Don Norman’s ‘In Praise of Good Design’ page, the Chop2Pot is a mundane, commonplace commodity that’s been improved. “Hurrah for those who look at old things in a new light.” Indeed.