Makers & Brothers

A Drinking Glass

In this simple video Ilse Crawford discusses a household object of her enduring affection – a drinking glass. In the context of the everyday she introduces the ‘Bellman’ drinking glass and shares with us why it is so special to her.

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Objects of everyday use rarely get the attention they deserve both in their creation or daily actions. A silent presence is often most welcome however a lack of awareness by the user is not so good. Life is coming at us faster than ever before, creating far too many individuals primed for passive consumption. As a society of individuals, we have in many respects become unconscious of our surrounding environment. We take no more than a glance at much of what we come across each day.

A passing peek, as a society we have become unbelievably ocular, we engage with little more than our eyes in all we surround ourselves with. There is a very real bias to the visual so much so that our other senses are becoming weak at perceiving details beyond what is in sight. In turn this weakness is leading to poor design where objects these days are developed to look good above all else – a self-destructive approach to design.

Real human contact is obviously far more than visual - it happens with the hands, the feet, nose, ears, lips and so much more. Contact, and as such connections are all encompassing. They go beyond the physical, they are emotive. A sensitive thing, when one engages with an object, one does so with so much more than just the eyes.

Daily use is wonderfully normal and a well-designed object welcomes such actions. Well-designed takes account of materiality, weight, balance, haptic connections, and historical context; all this and much more besides. Embracing this thinking, interactions with objects build into a comforting routine and over time the routines condense to rituals. If even some of the objects one surrounds oneself with are well designed then they can easily become part of a daily routine, they become a special thing.  Treasured, their use can easily justify their existence and encourages care; they last a lifetime and happily become objects of our enduring affection. All that is really needed is some common sense at the time of their genesis.

“My obsession is with the idea of ‘extraordinary ordinary’, things that upgrade the everyday”

The Bellman drinking glass was designed by Ingegerd Råman, Swedish glass designer, in 1961. Made by Skruf Glassworks, each glass is hand blown which results in the imperfections Ilse mentions in the video, but it is also moulded to perfect dimensions for use and stacking. As an everyday object, it is well designed, sensitive to both its function and aesthetic and deserves to be treasured.

"My work is always a link between simplicity, function and aesthetic values" -Ingegerd Råman

For Ilse Crawford, academic, designer, creative director and founder of Studioilse, her interests lie in upgrading the everyday with objects that enhance everyday life. Her latest book ‘A Frame for Life’ illustrates Ilse’s design philosophy and is full of beautiful images and intelligent writings.

Video courtesy of

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