Our built environments tend to feel harsh and angular, defined by straight lines and strict rectilinear geometries. But look to nature and our own bodies, and you’ll find soft, amorphous shapes that are intrinsically comforting and intimate. So-called “blobjects” bring these fluid, organic qualities into our homes in the form of furniture, candles, decor, and other items.
Some of the most famous blobjects to appear in stores since the trend first exploded in the late 1990s, like the Bobble water bottle, were created by Egyptian-born designer Karim Rashid. Now, Rashid has teamed up with Gantri to create “Kobble,” a biomorphic lighting collection that aims to infuse your home with sensuality.
Kobble consists of four lamps: a vaguely egg-shaped table light, a bulbous floor lamp, an elongated wall light, and a fun task light sort of reminiscent of an animated creature. All of them are inspired by the idea that shapes affect our mood, with soft edges evoking a sense of harmony and positive energy.
Rashid wanted each one to be both iconic and accessible, looking like something that could be in a modern art museum but also functional and easy to use. They come in four colors: carbon black, blossom pink, sprout green, and glossy snow white.
“This collection shares the human-friendly shape language of my design sensibility – I used soft edges because the human form is soft,” Rashid says. “They are more than just lights, they are statement pieces that function as companions to the owner’s lifestyle and tastes.”
The $148 Kobble Wall Light is envisioned as the perfect addition to bedrooms and darkened corners, measuring nine inches tall. The 18-inch $248 Kobble Task Light was created with small urban apartments in mind, providing directional light without sacrificing style. The diminutive 9.5-inch $198 Kobble Table Light casts a soft glow upward for ambient lighting, and the $398 Kobble Floor Light provides an alternative to overhead lighting standing 64 inches tall.
The designs are inspired by cobblestones, hence their name. “Cobblestone is a soft form that is universal,” Rashid says. “It feels at home anywhere just like the Kobble lights. I love geological forms that appeal to the senses. I see this collection as a reflection of sensual minimalism – the ergonomic character that makes lighting inviting and comfortable.”
Rashid is a highly prolific designer with over 4,000 designs in production and over 400 awards. A look through his portfolio reveals many blobjects with a similar feel to Kobble. Nearly every piece is sinuous and ergonomic, the kind of design that makes you want to cradle it in your arms. Along with the Bobble, you might recognize some popular consumer products found in your local Target, like the rounded EOS lip balm packaging, the classic Umbra trash can, and other items designed for brands like Sony, Soda Stream, 3M and Haier.
“I believe that we could be living in a totally different world – one that is full of real contemporary inspiring objects, spaces, places, worlds, spirits and experiences,” Rashid says. “Design has been the cultural shaper of our world from the start. We have designed systems, cities, and commodities. We have addressed the world’s problems. Now design is not about solving problems, but about a rigorous beautification of our built environments.”