The word “useful” is mainly used to describe objects of a utilitarian nature with set purposes. Today, quantity often takes precedence and we end up surrounded by more things than we need. While some possessions cycle through and are passed along, ending up in the arms of strangers, a select number remain with us over the years. These are the most special of objects, often acquired in interesting ways, and their stories are being told in the 100 Useful Things project.
Launched in August by Danish design studio Double, 100 Useful Things is a curated collection of objects that are durable, beautiful and functional in equal measure. “We’re celebrating well-crafted items through the stories of people’s relationships with them,” says Daniel Flösser, a partner and creative director at Double. The objects — ranging from an iconic Flag Halyard chair to a pair of Indian tailoring scissors — are brought to life in stories told from the perspective of their owners, many of whom are people the team at Double admire greatly. For instance, Cereal magazine’s Rosa Parks; Jens. H. Jensen, the Japan editor for Wallpaper* magazine, and Ryan Willms of Inventory magazine, to name just a few.
“I’ve noticed among a lot of our friends that the more successful they get, the less stuff they want,” Flösser says. “They want to travel light, [enjoying] the mobility that comes with less stuff. Time, learning, personal development, lots of esoteric things come before actual stuff.” 100 Useful Things presents this trend in a way that creates a dialogue on the topic of our consumption of objects. It gives the project’s readers an opportunity to reflect upon their own relationships with the objects they collect.
“WE’RE CELEBRATING WELL-CRAFTED ITEMS THROUGH THE STORIES OF PEOPLE’S RELATIONSHIPS WITH THEM.”
—DANIEL FLÖSSER, 100 USEFUL THINGS
100 Useful Things highlights the practice of a more monogamous approach to the acquirement of things. With its implied call to arms, the project imparts its vision for a life in which we’re not so dependent on the number of things we have, but rather their quality and ensuring their use and purpose. “People buy boatloads of mediocre stuff they don’t need, and don’t care about, instead of buying fewer, better things,” Flösser states. “Good products get better with age, are easy to update and fix if need be, and stay relevant through the years.”