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Behind the Blobject: A Bold and Unusual Design Trend

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Meet the blobject, where curves and vibrant colors provide some much-needed relief from boring, angular minimalism. Let’s explore the history, design, and examples of these blob-shaped objects that have become an enduring design trend across technology and architecture. Then, we’ll look at some blobjects for sale today.

What is a Blobject?

Coined by industrial designer Karim Rashid, this portmanteau of “blob” and “object” is a term for designs that have round and organic characteristics. These curvilinear shapes are typically seen in bright colors and have soft, playful features.

Close-ups of pink chairs with many curvy elements
Karim Rashid’s Blobject Chair

The Blobject of Your Designer

The blobject aesthetic gained popularity in the ‘90s as a counter to minimalism and is most recognizable in tech form. Its often vibrant designs drew a stark contrast with bulky, angular, neutral colors that most computers and tech devices had at the time.

Apple’s iMac G3 is the most famous example of this design trend, boldly setting itself apart from its competitors.

Blobjects have evolved over the years, with products ranging from full-on blobject to having subtle characteristics from the trend.

Some argue that the design is dated or too trendy, while others would point to its modern resurgence alongside other ‘90s and ‘00s trends. With maximalist aesthetics becoming increasingly popular, you’ll notice blobjects (or blobject-inspired objects) all over as a reaction to a dwindling minimalism theme.

Read more about blobjects in Blobjects and Beyond: The New Fluidity in Design by Steven Skov Holt and Mara Holt Skov.

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What are some examples of blobjects?

Blobjects come in the form of everything from computers and cars to furniture and kitchen gadgets.

Related: This Famous Jazz Aesthetic Is Hella ’90s (And Off-Limits)

Here are some more blobjects you can buy today:

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Blobjects + Architecture = Blobitecture

Also known as blobism, these amoeba-shaped buildings carry many of the same characteristics as other blobjects.

“Blob” had been used as far back as the ‘80s and “blob architecture” was coined by Greg Lynn in 1995 — around the same time “blobject” took off. It seems this design trend took over in a big way in the late ‘90s.

Selfridges’ The Blob building
Photo: Sheen

One of the most famous examples is Selfridges’ building “The Blob” in Birmingham, created by architect Jan Kaplicky of Future Systems.

Others include the Guggenheim museums (in New York, Venice, Bilbao, and Abu Dhabi), the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) in Seattle, and Chicago’s Cloud Gate in Millennium Park.

Chicago's Cloud Gate reflective bean-shaped structure
Photo: Christopher Alvarenga

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Last update on 2023-11-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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