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RISD furniture design student Joseph Guerra has a noble ambition “to design useful, mass market objects that exhibit a simplicity and beauty that challenge traditional societal notions of value.” This is a goal he’s gotten closer to reaching over the past few years. Much of his early work is more art object than practical design. His latest piece, Utility Mirror, is probably the most practical, but his Flashlight is, to me at least, the most beautiful.
The flashlight’s components are housed in a CNC-cut cork case that can be disassembled to replace the batteries, making production easier. But that’s not the only practical aspect of this design. The fact that its rectangular and sits flat instead of rolling around like a typical flashlight is, perhaps, one of the unintentional bonuses. Not unintentional at all is the choice to use cork and a contrasting white handle. Cork is one of my favorite materials, and I love to see used thoughtfully or unexpectedly. Flashlights are usually made of cold, hard metal, but Guerra makes the flashlight a touchable, almost comforting object, one that you want to leave out instead of tucking it away into the tool shed.