gumption design: afro collection gumption design: afro collection
jul 09, 2010

gumption design: afro collection

thailand-based gumption design presented their ‘afro’ collection as part of designboom’s ‘asia now‘ exhibition at dwell on design in los angeles.

‘afro’ brush

a brush with a 70s afro look. the handle of the brush is in the form of a cool ‘hippy’ with a colourful bush of hair – the brush.

toilet brushes disguised as brightly colored ‘afros’

‘afro’ brushes

‘afro’ cushions on display at ‘asia now’ in los angeles image © designboom

the ‘afro’ series also includes a collection of brightly colored cushions, floor mats, mouse pads, toilet brushes, cd holders and coaster.

‘afro’ brushes shown at ‘asia now’ image © designboom

presentation of gumption design at ‘asia now’ image © designboom

thailand section of the ‘asia now’ show image © designboom

detail of the thailand panel showing the work of gumption design image © designboom

  • Oh man, this would never fly in America.

    Lester says:
  • doesn’t the water drips down on the floor after using it

    BL says:
  • So, you get a plastic human, hold him upside down and scrap your poo left overs with him.

    Jeez, who thought of that?

    FetaPapa says:
  • This would be considered racist by some.

    M.A. Enriquez says:
  • well, i think that these are really fun!

    jan says:
  • alessi produces [url=http://www.alessi.com/en/2/3558/bathroom-accessories/amgi02-az-mr-suicide-bathtub-plug-with-float] mr.suicide [/url] and nobody is that shocked!
    these toilets brush ARE FUN.

    himes says:
  • the designer himself has afro hair, where is the racist aspect?

    a friend of gumption says:
  • Yes, I guess the water drips down.
    It would need the usual container, maybe made of transparent plastic. The problem is that the guy would be upside down.

    Kerr says:
  • The afro hair style originally was a symbol of CIVIL RIGHTS, and Black Self awareness. Previously black women would where wigs and try to fit in . The afro came to symbolize “I am black and proud” and also free of the constraints of the segregation era.

    It became known as the “natural”l hairstyle…and women gladly stopped perming, straightening their hair. It became a fashion statement, and white people started copying it too.

    The symbolism of natural African American hair is still a controversial and powerful one…there are entire blogs and magazine articles about going “natural” or trying to “be ‘white” by straightening one’s hair.

    Creating a toilet bowl scrub brush using this symbol is just so wrong. Maybe its a generational thing but its Not retro, and certainly NOT “groovy.” Maybe you should go back and read the history when this look was going on. I lived it.

    urban woodswalker says:
  • this black person brush….turning him upside down and using his hair to scrub out a toilet bowl is a terrible thing. its not unlike all that racist crap…watermelon eating pickininnies, and dancing white men in black face. lawn jockies…..mammys, as maids, and all that other 1930s and before shit.

    This is not about hair styles..its about black people, toilet bowls, and shit!!!!

    beau lee james says:
  • get them to sell some buddah-toiletbrushes in thailand….
    this design is just racist, stupid and uneducated… i would like to see the designers presenting their work in brooklyn….

    malcolm x says:
  • its all gravy , shaking it up is good , where ever you guys are from you obviously dont have enough love in your life to realise that design is freedom to create , what ever the pun intended ..
    The peverse in intervention of a dark mind is the greatest cause of all the down falls of humanity , lighten the uck up , lifes for laughing , not for picking and prodding and putting down others , cheer up you lifes not that bad is it hahahahahaha

    from New Zealand says:
  • I would have loved one looking like “W” bush… along with the pillow and the doormat. Where was this man from 2000-2008??? <8-}

    peen says:
  • to a friend of gumption: what I am curious about…if the designer “has an afro” then I am guessing he is of African dark skinned descent…and that he lacks both knowledge of the ancient history, and of modern history. He lacks love of himself, and of his brothers and sisters.

    Who would design a copy of themselves or their family to scrub out toilets?

    M.A Enriquez says:
  • yeah, even designers have limits. you shouldn’t design something that you KNOW is going to offend others. In this case, perhaps he the designer wasn’t aware of minstrel shows and the black coon stereotype. Understandable. So the brushes aren’t deliberately racist (though they are very ugly, IMO) but the still carry symbols that may seem degrading to some people.

    Lucy says:
  • Interesting discussion here…i hope people are commenting on that link.

    The toilet brush is very cool at first…but then…one sees the black features. One thinks of the intended use of this product…then one thinks of all the iconagraphy of Blacks protrayed in media over the entire history of the Americas (not the 21st century)…the maids, the mammys, the dancing black faced fools, Amos & Andy, the pickininnies, the Step n fetch it (A real actor in old movies though I don’t know how to properly spell his name), the watermelon eatters, and all the portrayals that would not be acceptable today.

    Its the intent of the product that makes me mad. The features are of a black person.

    As designers yes, we all have the freedom to create. We can create anything we want….but some of it can be hurtful. We shouldn’t yell “fire” in a crowded movie theater….even though we could.

    for more about this product there is a 60 page discussion here:

    http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6571024

    urban woodswalker says:
  • Strip away the racial faux pas & appreciate just how funky & cool they really are. BTW, they will end up as (expensive) collectors items once banned from the US by the politically correct crowd – so get them while they are cheap

    Juan O'connor says:
  • Oh man – those are so cool. I am getting one of those.

    Jon says:
  • gumption is a very peaceful thai designer who has portrayed himself in this toilet brush and in the cushions.
    he does have afro hair and wears sunglasses and is skinny.

    the self-ironic and funny intent might not be readable universally, but we can assure you all,
    that there is no evidence of racism and there are no intentions of promoting racist feelings.

    we understand all the comments of the anti-racist activists,
    in fact we don’t cut them off, but we feel that all this bad energy has nothing to do with the designer himself.

    we just spotted that among our readers there is cliff kuang, writer for [url=http://www.fastcodesign.com/1661878/racist-design-an-afro-headed-toilet-brush] fast company magazine [/url].
    cliff, your article is misleading and we do not agree with your point of view. unfortunately there is no comment
    area on fast companies’ blog, so we cannot add any statement.
    cliff, if you want to interview gumption, please let us know. designboom is happy to help to clarify this.
    please email us.

    birgit/ designboom says:

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