Buried under an oversize sweater and blankets as I type through the first major snowstorm of 2021, spring seems like an abstract concept. But while the elements may tell us it’s not yet time to come out of hibernation, we can still perk up our surroundings.
Last week, the MoMA Design Store held a press preview for its spring 2021 additions. Given that we’ve been working through the dregs of winter for several weeks now, I was most interested in the pieces that can brighten up workspaces and give the monotony of working from home an energy boost. Here’s what I have my eye on. (All of the products will be available on the MoMA Design Store website in mid-February.)
These bookends designed by Eugenia Ramos take up little space but are big on color. Individually, each slim piece has a distinct and simple shape: green triangle, blue semicircle, yellow U, and red arch. When stacked together, they resemble a bright landscape view, enclosed by a red window, or “fenestra” in Latin—the namesake for the set of four, which costs $55.
If you’re like me, you’ve spent a lot of time in makeshift work-from-home seating. This variable kneeling chair by designers Peter Opsvik and Shane Schneck is a far cry from the four-leg variety. The chair, which has an arched frame to allow rocking, sits low to the ground with two kneepads in front of the seat. The design encourages people to mix up their position, making the case that just because you’re seated doesn’t mean you need to be sedentary. Think of it as 2021’s exercise ball. The chair comes in pastel green, blue, and toffee brown, all colors that can mix up the look and feel of your office. $449 each.
Lite-Brite for adults
Few of us are commuting these days, but this clever subway map is a great way to bring the New York of yesteryear to you, without the risk of contracting a virus. The functional art piece by Richard Hawthorn takes Massimo Vignelli’s subway map to the next level by showing the locations of New York City subway trains in real time with 599 LED lights. The board receives data from the MTA through a Wi-Fi connection. The luminescent fuchsias, tangerines, and aqua LEDs will add a pop of bright light to your home office and just might have you missing the morning rush. $219 each.
Keep you and your devices fully charged
This self-heating ceramic mug will keep you going through spring. The mug and heating coaster use electromagnetic energy to keep your beverage heated to 130°F all day. And there’s a bonus: You can use the coaster to charge your phone, keeping both you and your device fully energized for this last blast of winter cold. The set comes in cream, gray, and black. Available now, $75.
Portable rays of artificial sunshine
These Hay PC portable lamps by Pierre Charpin return in new multicolor variations. The lamps, which come in red and black, teal and yellow, and aqua and brown, resemble modular mushroom caps. But unlike your typical lamp, these are completely freestanding and portable, so you can add a wash of light and a punctuation of color no matter where your desk is that day. The lamps charge with a USB cable and cost $95 each. These lamps will be available mid-February, but you can check out the monochromatic versions in the meantime.
Your plants are art. So give them a frame.
You might already consider your succulents your plant babies. So why not go full stage mom and give them the platform they deserve? Put drab wall space to good use with the Modern Sprout smart grow frame, which comes in vivid white, yellow, and a more staid mossy green. The frame is a micro example of light design innovation: It has a customizable LED grow light to ensure your plants get the light they need. $190 each.
Retire your basic task light
These earthenware Raawi signal lamps by Panter&Tourron, exclusive to MoMA, will give your workspace a boost of primary color. The boxy lights are inspired by vintage Morse code lamps and cast a moody, atmospheric glow. The lamps require an E26 light bulb that’s not included. Large blue: $325. Small yellow: $275.
Carpet your space in color
Last but not least, tie your home office together with a colorful rug. It’s a lot cheaper than a paint job, and is a quick, easy way to add lots of color to a space—especially if you’re renting. This utility floor mat, a MoMA exclusive, does the job with large stripes that span its width in an array of colors, offering up a modernist take on the typical spring motif. The mat comes in blue and purple color schemes. Plus, the price is right: $45 to carpet your space in color. Take that, old man winter.