Good Design Makes a Product Useful: the Voong
Highlighting Deter Rams's second principle of good design (i.e. "Good Design Makes a Product Useful"), let's look at Toronto design firm Castor's porcelain Voong, which is a combination water pipe + flower vase. Its dual functionality as a water pipe that, even when in use, still manages to work as a flower vase, further underscores the design's ingenuity.
Castor recognized the industrial design potential for this breed of smoking device as an "opportunity to modernize an object that has been exclusive to the domain of craft."
As further noted by the design firm:
As Canada begins to gauge its comfort with mainstream pot smoking and the inevitability of decriminalization or legalization, an increasing number of design-minded people are in the market for a new aesthetic for paraphernalia.
The piece was created as part of Castor Design’s CU exhibition and was included in Umbra Ltd.’s Compact Living exhibition and demonstrated scenarios for use when “Home Alone” (as a bong) or “When the Parents Come to Visit” (as a vase), which plays with the idea of a pot culture that is coming out of hiding.
While the bong-as-flower-vase motif has long been acknowledged as a joke among the cannabis-forward set (notably in the 2006 B-comedy Grandma's Boy), the Voong's exterior white glaze and electroform copper slide and handle render it as more than just a pretty, covetable vessel that holds flowers. The piece's ergonomically contoured neck and mouthpiece enhance the experience of smoking.
And if you're curious about the aforementioned joke, knock yourself out: