The Observer: Ryan Gander and Tony Chambers: how we redesigned the kitchen sink

The Observer: Ryan Gander and Tony Chambers: how we redesigned the kitchen sink

This article originally appeared in The Observerpublished on 29 Sept 2019. To read the original article, click here. Words by Richard Benson.

'I don’t want to over-conceptualise this,' says Ryan Gander, enthusiastically showing me the kitchen sink he has designed, 'but the way you deal with this sink cognitively and emotionally is different from the way you deal with a normal kitchen sink. To get 100% out of it, you have to change your perspective on working in the kitchen.'

This is not the sort of sales patter you get at Magnet, but then conceptual artist Gander is known for his ability to theorise everything from household goods to classical sculpture, so big ideas about kitchen sinks were to be expected. To be fair, he has a point. As he moves around his creation, sitting in the middle of his studio in the village of Melton in Suffolk, he explains its system of changeable shelves, chopping boards and containers, and you can see how, yes, it would change the way you work in the kitchen. Arrange it right and you can do all your food preparation and washing in one place. If Gander contributes nothing else, he may liberate us from searching for the chopping knife.

The sink is the first product released by OTOMOTO, the 'lifestyle venture' Gander recently founded with Tony Chambers, former editor-in-chief of Wallpaper*. 'Otomoto' is a Japanese word meaning, loosely, 'close at hand' and the idea is that all the company’s wares (“everything and the kitchen sink”, they quip) should be convenient, ergonomic and make ordinary things pleasurable. 'It’s about elevating the mundane,' says Chambers, who has also come down to the studio. 'And taking pride in the most everyday details.'

'Otomoto things should enrich your life,' Gander says. 'We’re really into the idea that if you do something boring like washing up, it shouldn’t be boring. It should be joyous.'


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