HoMedics Inc. is using design to rethink two common objects in the home and office shredders and humidifiers.
Shredders have traditionally just been a black box, said Elyse Kaye, senior product manager workplace solutions for HoMedics. We really wanted to focus in on it with design and make it a new home appliance, she said at the International Home + Housewares Show, held March 14-16 in Chicago .
The shredders, sold under the Black & Decker name by HoMedics, still use the same basic materials as the company's existing products. However, HoMedics has created a new look for the shredders by softening their shape and improving their cosmetics so they can be placed out in the open rather than hidden away in a corner where they won't be seen.
The iShred vertical shredder has a cylindrical top half with a cone-shaped bin that is easier to empty. The white thermoplastic body is intended to imitate modern furniture.
We're bringing it out of the closet or from under the desk and out into the open, Kaye said.
Another new product from HoMedics combines the shredder with a wall-mounted message board and organizer. A front panel also serves as a magnetic white board, a convenient place to post messages.
A third new model will house both a shredder and modular recycling bins made using post-consumer plastic. It will hit the market in late 2010.
If shredders have a more aesthetic design, she said, people will be more likely to place them in areas where they're easier to access and will use them more frequently.
Shredders are not the only products getting a new look. HoMedics also put a design twist on two new room humidifiers, a table-top and a floor model. The humidifiers sport curved shapes and bright colors for more cosmetic appeal.
HoMedics is based in the Detroit suburb of Commerce Township, Mich.
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