Try as you might, it’s tough to think of something as purely functional as a dumbbell as an aesthetic object. But the Italian communications research center and design studio Fabrica has done the unimaginable, redesigning hand weights–and a bevy of other previously boring everyday items–into sculptural displays.
For the Extra-Ordinary Gallery, Fabrica commissioned designers from its network to think about some of their most routine behaviors, such as tacking pictures to the wall or refrigerator, or having an afterwork drink. Then they said to make those little actions more exquisite.
The project has yielded new housewares that are both eye-catching and conceptual, and all are made from materials sourced in Italy. Quadro is a magnetic frame that looks almost hand-drawn by pen; it delineates a blank space of wall with a square and an “X,” and holds notes or postcards. Geometric white cuts of stones replace square ice cubes, and the Heracles dumbbells replace rubber weights with faceted stones. Other pieces are more abstract, like a wall clock that resembles a blank sheet of computer paper and therefore breathes new life into the standard 8″ by 11″.