Inventions thrive over time because they make our lives easier or better. But they aren't always designed well or look good.
Take for instance, the humidifier.
This household appliance emits moisture in the air indoors to help people breathe easier and live more comfortably. It's especially helpful for people who suffer from allergies or have trouble breathing in dry air. The most common types are either an evaporative or "cool mist" vaporizer or "warm mist" steam humidifier. They're often appliances that are stuffed away out of sight when not in use. They're often more of an eyesore than anything that enhances your décor.
But there are some new designs that might have you dusting off a permanent spot in your room for your humidifier.
The Bionic Humidifier by designer Gonglue Jiang is a prime example. The appliance masquerades as a potted flower that cues its owner to water it by wilting. The water sets off the humidifying action to moisturize your space. The appliance's interactive quality taps into people's desire to nurture.
Designed for an industrial-design education conference in China in 2008, it's not clear whether it's actually available for purchase.
Then there are some clever designs below from our friends in Japan, all of which can be purchased at the Japan Trend Shop
The Amadana Aroma Humidifier comes in a compact, stylish shell that fits into any modern, minimalist-styled room. Not only does it emit moisture via a vapor tray at the top but also scents the air with pleasing aromas of your choice, dispensed from an aroma-oils tray.
Also from Japan, the Mini Chimney by Takumi comes in a variety of bright hues, including mango, berry and melon. It also doubles as an aromatizer and is housed in a sleek, cylindrical shape that adds a little color pop to any flat surface.
Plusminuszero and designer Naoto Fukasawa give us glossy, candy-like warm-mist humidifiers. We'd like to plop one -- in each of its mouthwatering colors -- into every room.
A tour of the humidifiers
page at the Japan Trend Store will no doubt make you breathe easier knowing your allergies can be alleviated with some ingenious style.