New York broom sweeps clean: Designers at the heart of the matter.

A broom is a broom is a broom. The aim of young product designers Joseph Guerra and Sina Sohrab is to reduce an object to its very essence. At Ambiente 2015, these two New Yorkers could be seen making a clean sweep of the Talents stand. We find out why at #TalentsTuesday.

Visibility is the name of the design studio which Joseph Guerra and Sina Sohrab launched in Brooklyn in 2012. “Visibility aims to distil an object to what it wants to be, retaining what appeals to our human sensibilities”– in other words, if a broom wants to be a broom, it is a broom.

Sweeping the board
But why choose a broom? Cleaning up got these young designers thinking – and they came up with the ‘Suna Broom’. Its head swivels so it can serve as either a handheld brush or a broom. The loop on the broom handle allows it to hang in a cupboard or on the wall. A handy, multifunctional domestic tool – like so many products from Visibility Studio. The design reminds us of a giant toothbrush that can get into all the corners. The designers, graduates of Rhode Island School of Design, demonstrate how the broom works at their Ambiente stand. As they sweep, they laugh slightly self-consciously. We assure them that even witches would love this multifaceted broom – it would certainly corner nicely when ridden!


No cowboys
On the subject of getting around, unfortunately neither of them are horse riders. Joseph Guerra was born in Los Angeles, and Sina Sohrab in Tehran. They’re no Texas cowboys. However, they have dared to design a horse: a wooden one, which rocks. We joke that perhaps the animal died of thirst out in the desert. All we can see of the toy are its bones. The body is made of wooden struts, rather than fur or fabric. The message is clear: it’s the clarity of the idea that counts. “It’s a hard ride without a cushion”, admit its creators.


Fine brush approach
A little darling, worth its weight in gold. Our talented artists were commissioned by the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York to design a paintbrush for an exhibition on DIY. Now that brush is on sale in the museum’s shop. Although the commission was for a ‘conventional brush’, the item supplied was also innovative: the handle end helps with the potentially tricky task of opening the paint tin.


Design for the future
Red Riding Hood would be amazed if she saw this sturdy basket on her fairytale travels. Although the shape is traditional, its materials and versatility are bang up to date. This basket uses design as a tool for urban transformation. You can use it any way you want, and it looks great. The bigger picture is about adding aesthetic value to the urban environment. And everybody can play their part, with a conscious choice of stylish products. The New York designers are exponents of the future-focussed approach which struck us at so many stands during Ambiente 2015. Gone are the days when designers were relegated to adding pretty little finishing touches. The new philosophy is ‘design for the future’.


The basket designed by the two New Yorkers is laser-cut, robust and simple to fold into shape. “Of course, it’d be very handy to carry round at Ambiente”, the designers agree. If you no longer need the basket, it can be folded down flat and stored in a small space until you need it again.