There are very few innovators in the kitchen products space. Aside from OXO’s grippy peelers and those glittery curly straws you can buy at Target, the home kitchen is mostly modeled after the commercial one, a small, industrial workspace designed for utility, filled with objects your grandma would recognize. And that’s a crazy thing. We’re in the middle of the biggest food revolution in fifty years—chefs are becoming artist-scientists—yet our kitchens are only acknowledging steel and granite, tropes of luxury and industry.
Gordon Segal—best known for founding Crate & Barrel—has assembled a new group of designers to buck the rut of the kitchen market under the moniker DesignLab. And their first product, the Wave Dishnest System by Herbst, reimagines the dish rack as one flowing piece of Silicone and Polypropylene.
"It’s critical that [housewares’ not only perform flawlessly but also that a consequence of their ‘utility’ is their simple, elegant poise in the backdrop of our visual space," Scot Herbst tells Co.Design. Indeed, Wave is a striking object on a counter. But as the video demo will show, the dainty-looking structure operates with surprising rigidity. It can as soon support a fragile glass as it can a hulking Le Creuset, and the waves themselves are remarkably versatile, with ridges that seem to fit anything you can throw at them in their own way.
But the wave shape itself was the only "a-ha! moment" behind the product. Look closer, and you’ll spot the near-invisible touches that make a kitchen gimmick into a beautiful, functional kitchen product. The Wave’s edges have the slightest of lips, to make sure water doesn’t drip off the sides. And the entire rack actually contours inwards, pooling water toward the center to evaporate from the silicone rather than your counter.
It will be fascinating to see whether DesignLab develops an aesthetic all its own, or if the brand’s goal is entirely the opposite, to simply deconstruct kitchen gear as just today’s chefs have our favorite foods. But if the Wave is any indication, we’re in for an interesting new take on cooking, either way. Herbst tells us that there should be about 6-8 products on the market this summer. The Wave will be available this July for $25.