Introducing the Tools for Everyday Life


BEDG Northumbria

Project Overview

Pronunciation: /tuːl/


  • a device or implement, especially one held in the hand, used to carry out a particular function
  • a thing used to help perform a job
  • a person used or exploited by another
  • a southerner

Whilst the definition of a tool can just as easily refer to an object of complexity/ simplicity/ new or old technology, there is elegance to certain functional tools that connect users with a task. This connection might achieve further reverence by requiring the skill acquired by many hours of craft practice. Or the bond between operative and result is made ‘sweet’ because the tool takes all the pain out of a task. Either way tools that transcend being a means to an end and are an end in themselves are one of life’s joys.

Made from materials and shaped by processes that acknowledge the physical and physiological contexts of use a ‘good’ tool reminds the user that there is sometimes nothing wrong with liking ‘stuff’.

The intention of this project is to investigate the language of task focused objects. The method for doing so is to build a collection of products created by the community of design practice that surrounds the BA(hons) 3D Design programme and the Designers in Residence scheme at Northumbria University.

The first products to enter the The Tools for Everyday Life collection were first exhibited at the ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair) in 2011 to notable press coverage. The project has gone on to be showcased at both Design Junction and Tom Dixon’s Dock as part of the London Design Festival.   All subsequent products and projects have the same premise, that of designing beautiful and useful things (characteristics of good tools).


Products in Introducing the Tools for Everyday Life

Project Summary
As a research project the intention of the ‘Tools for Everyday Life’ project is to not just examine how skilled manufacture can lead to beautiful things, it is to allow the designers a space to explore and reflect on ‘making’ as a commercially relevant process in the manufacture of functionally useful things. Hence the reference to ‘tools’ in the... project title and the siting of the products at trade fairs along side established design-led brands rather than in isolated gallery environments.