A View from John Maeda

The Blade Keeper

A simple sustainable design captures the unsustainable practice of storing used blades for disposal.

  • June 7, 2008

I visited the Boston architectural firm Shepley Bulfinch about a month ago to give a lecture with professor Kyna Leski, of RISD. When I first began to design, I recall being fascinated by the importance of having a sharp blade in addition to a fine-tip pen. The pen, of course, was absolutely un-dangerous. The blade, however, was always a source of fear because when it became dull, you would want to either replace it or snap off the tip to get a new sharp blade. This created the built-in problem of having to figure out what one does with the leftover blade bits.

Novice or generally irresponsible creatives are known to simply leave the bits lying around on tables. Although un-sharp, they’re sufficiently sharp enough to puncture the skin. Ouch. This simple juice-bottle design is a classic solution to a significant problem, and it successfully adopts the sustainable theme of reuse. On the other hand, the un-sustainable aspect is embodied by the act of disposable blades. We live in an un-thinking yet thoughtful world.

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