In New York City, restaurants are required to post letter grades indicating their adherence to sanitary practices. That’s helpful information. You may not know if the staff members really do wash their hands, but if you dine in A- and B-rated establishments, you probably won’t fork some mouse droppings along with your salad. But here’s an unhygienic practice that most establishments share, regardless of their grade: When cleaning the floor, workers turn chairs upside down so that their seats (the place where patrons place their bums) rest on the table (the surface on which you eat).
Sure, it’s a minor breach of hygiene when you consider the kinds of unsavory acts servers have been known to do to customers’ food. Nevertheless, it deserves a design solution, says Poh Liang Hock, who has come up with a somewhat ordinary-looking chair with a clever innovation: a plastic seat that slides along a track embedded into the backrest, allowing it to lift up and hang on a table’s edge. Hock developed the idea as a student in Taiwan, prototyped it after graduation, and recently won a Red Dot award for the concept, but has been able to put his Hold chair into production.
Hock seems to have a penchant for cleanliness--and an eye for objects ripe for reinvention: We recently featured his ingenious self-standing broom, which also won a Red Dot. If Target really wanted to demonstrate its design savvy, it would hire this guy as an in-house designer, instead of finding another Michael Graves to stylize its products.