Ultra-Minimalism: 19 Cool Products That Are Almost Impossible to Use

Sometimes modern design and minimalism go a little too far and it’s hard to figure out exactly what the products are. We’ve tracked down 19 products that look quite cool but leave you wondering wtf?


The Cell Tankless Toilet

Even in the most modern bathroom design, a toilet is a toilet right? Apparently not, which is fine with us because why should your bathroom have to revolve around the throne? Downplay it with the egg shaped design of the Cell Tankless Toilet. [Via Yanko]


Recycled Paper Side Table

It’s kind of easy to call anything that could technically support a lamp and some magazines a “side table” which gives lots of room to minimalist designers. The Recycled Paper Side Table by Matt Gagnon technically fits the requirement of being able to hold something on it, although until you put a lamp on it people will have no clue what it is. $2798 [Source]


KONE Vacuum System

Usually you’re looking for a place to stash your vacuum in your tiny city apartment, but here’s one that you can leave out as a piece of modern art. The Dirt Devil Kone Vacuum is cordless, bagless and the coolest looking vacuum you never knew you wanted. $40 at Amazon


Das Keyboard Ultimate

Das Keyboard was designed to be the best keyboard ever made and it provides the best tactile typing experience… That’s great but why does it have blank keys? Apparently real typists can feel their way though so silly things like marked keys are unnecessary. daskeyboard.com


Flavor of Time

It’s been said that our most powerful sense is the sense of smell and that the scent of a fond memory can stay with you forever—like homemade cookies from when you were a kid, or the way that that she smelled the first time you kissed… But you probably never thought you’d be telling the time based on smell alone. That’s the idea behind the Flavor of Time Clock. There are 12 different “flavor capsules” so each hour a different scent is exuded from the holes on the face of the clock. Source


End Table Bookspine Saver

As most minimalist products you might not know what this is until you see it in use. And like the best minimalist designs, once you realize what Habitual Bedside Table is you realize it’s really the ONLY way to design a bedside table… especially if you read a lot. Via Boing Boing


Harmony Salt & Pepper Shakers

Is that one of those new tiny speakers I’ve heard so much about? Yeah, that’s got to be it. They’re for your iPod right? This product looks way more complicated than it is… seriously, it’s just a salt and pepper shaker. The outer part holds pepper while the center blob holds salt. corinagarona.com Source



Fuksas Mocha Cups

Don’t be surprised if your friends try to ash their cigarettes, or ignore these altogether because they look like art. The Fuksas Mocha Cups eliminate handles and that tired ‘cup’ shape most mugs have. Simple and of course very unique. Source


Mondrian T Lamp

Unless it’s on you might think this was some kind of hat rack or something. The Mondrian T is about as simple as it gets for lighting and you get the benefit of clean lines without loads of color which is usually what comes to mind when there’s a mention of something “Mondrian.” See it Source


Osorom Bench

A bench huh? It’s hard to imagine something that looks like this would have a purpose, but apparently it does. Actually the curved sides might be pretty comfortable as opposed to a hard square corner. Although those holes all over it seem like if you sit on this thing you’re asking for some uncomfortable snaggage. Yeah nevermind about the Osorom Bench seeming comfortable. Source


Pano Logic Computer

If you think that even the Mac mini has too many bells and whistles then you’ll appreciate the Pano Logic Computer. It literally fits in the palm of your hand, doesn’t have any disk drives, or even a hard drive and processor. We’re not really sure how it works, but we think some kind of voodoo may be involved. (Actually, all of the real computing is done off site somewhere which is subscription based) $300 panologic.com<


Phillippe Starck Veiled Watch

If you’re a fan of the slick metal bands on a men’s watch, but hate a big clunky face you’re gonna dig the Phillippe Starck Veiled Watch. At first you’ll think this is just a cool metal bracelet but upon further inspection you’ll notice the subtle hands underneath… or you might not notice—they’re pretty obscure. $150 at Amazon


Sliding Shower

You could give someone all day to guess what that weird panel on the wall was and they’d probably never figure it out without the context of a bathroom or someone using it. The Sliding Shower feels like something straight out of a sci-fi movie and seems like it’s designed to make you feel uncomfortable with change. Source


Samsung ML-1630 Printer

Usually when you think of a minimalist gadget you think of mp3 players, speakers, maybe even computers, but printers? The Samsung ML-1630 Printer makes fools of us all. At first glance we weren’t sure if it was a digital scale or some kind of light-up paperweight, but we certainly didn’t think it was a printer. Kudos Samsung for making us want a printer for looking cool rather than what it does. $159 at Amazon


Stick Sound FM Radio

Hey that’s a neat penholder. No? Um, oh, it’s a joystick for video games? Oh it’s not? The Stick Sound FM Radio makes its purpose known when you grab the stick which tunes the radio, adjusts the volume and turns it on and off. And if that’s not cool enough for you, it’s base glows blue when it’s on. $39 at Singulier


Pendulum Wall Clock

This is the result of creating a minimalist grandfather clock. No numbers, no face, no housing… just hands and a pendulum mounted to a wall. It’s a pretty cool design, but we have to wonder what the point of a pendulum is on a minimalist clock since we don’t see the point of them on a regular clock. $114 Source


Ultimate Wheel

Who needs bike chains… or handle bars…. or a seat for that matter? The Nimbus Ultimate Wheel is as basic as it gets. Until now we though the unicycle was the stripped down version of the bicycle… but no, apparent it’s a wheel with some pedals. And sure, you may look at this and know what it’s for right away, but we dare you to use it! $90 at Unicycle.com via Geekologie


Bluetooth Laser Virtual Keyboard

This is definitely one of those products that you’ll have absolutely no clue what it is until it’s in use. And it uses lasers, which is always a plus. The idea behind this product is that instead of typing on the keys, this virtual keyboard can tell what you’re trying to type by how you interrupt the laser… it even simulates the typing “click” sounds so it feels pretty natural. $150 at ThinkGeek


Transformer Shelves

One of the marks of great minimalist design is that it actually serves a great purpose that you might not have noticed right away. The Transformer Shelves look like a table that makes cool uses of lines in its design, but it turns out it’s actually a very complicated customizable storage system. Or a very big rubix cube perhaps. Source




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  • John

    Seen the laser keyboard before, looks pretty cool although I imagine it hurts your fingertips after a while tapping on a solid surface. Next step – holographic interfaces, as seen in *every sci fi ever*!

    Also saw an awesome concept design once for what looked like a set of pens in a stand, but turns out to be a laser keyboard, screen projector, webcam, trackball/stylus thingy and wireless aerial for the processor in the stand.

  • anon

    if you don’t believe anyone can use the ultimate wheel check out this dude! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cU-HlDpWag&NR=1

  • Mike

    The Pano isn’t subscription based, it runs a virtual workstation from a vmware server. It is basically a thin client but without the limitations of other thin clients. I run about 30 of them on my network.