Strangeharvest is a collection of writing and projects about architecture and design. Strangeharvest is made by Sam Jacob.
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Aromatherapy Washing Up Liquid

liquid1.jpgDirty dishes are like a hangover you can look at  A pile in the sink thats last night pleasure congealed into todays misery. Bythe morning its too much for the robot washer tucked under your worktop. A job that only brute force and chemistry are going to deal with. But don't worry, just reach for that Sunday morning alka seltzer for you and your Saturday night sink: Aromatheraphy Washing Up Liquid. A chemical wedding of a white witch bride to a industial strength groom  in an ezy-squeez bottle.

It takes some kind of twisted genius to take on the most every day and ever present domestic chores and flip it into a moment of other-worldly luxury. The kind of twist that is a powerful design model: The grafting togetherof two unrelated functions, a  formula of X plus more equalling something brand new. 


The design draws on traditional detergent product design. The designer’s lucid analysis of this tradition has liberated them.Recognising the distinct workings of detergent products: Soap as the primaryfunctional element (theres dirty dishes in the sink), and perfumeas secondary (to make it a desirable product). But the idea that the perfumecould also deliver function on a par with its primary partner is what makes Aromatherapy Washing Up Liquid remarkable. 


Fairy Liquid used to reassure housewives that it was soft on your hands; as a way of counterspinning the effect of detergent on skin. And what an effect it has.  I once had a job hand washing the 80 000 seats at Wembley Stadium with a bucket of something that certainly wasn't soft on my hands. By the end of day two my skin had soldidified to a state something  like the perished grippy hands on an old  Action Man. Still, I did get to walk up the steps to the Royal box and lift the bucket above my head like a cut price Tony Adams. Fairy Liquid was shying away from claiming to be a beauty product, ashamed becauseit so obviously wasn't. But there was enough of a hint, just enough promiseto suggest otherwise. Luckily, the promise remained buried deep in the soulof one pioneering cleaning product designer.
If only this anonymous designer could be let loose on the rest of the world. It is an optimistic belief indesign as something that can take on the stubborn stains of realismand come out stronger, brighter, cleaner and feeling better.

Posted by sam at May 2, 2004 01:22 AM
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