A mass of cables in the house is an inevitable consequence of our hi-tech age, made worse by the fact so many people work from home. Luckily, designers are turning their attention to cable clutter, coming up with innovative and stylish ways to eliminate the chaos.
The market is full of simple solutions. There are little red ties - a 10-pack costs US$4.99 from Target.com - and rubber shells that cables can be wrapped around (www.containerstore.com). But it's the design element that separates the fabulous from the functional. Take the Cable Carpet (below) from German designer Britta Bohne (www.brittaboehne.de). Her thinking? Embrace cable clutter. So she has cut swirling pathways in her carpet that the cables snap into.
Swedish designer Joacin Wahlstroms recently created the Work table (above) for his agency, Launch Design Partner (www.launchdesignpartner.com). Essentially a slab on legs, the table folds up and comes equipped with pivoting holes through which cables can be laced, keeping them out of sight.
London's Craig Jones (www.craigjonesdesign.com) has come up with a nylon tube that encases power and data cables and can be tucked neatly behind or underneath a desk. Similarly, Alain Berteau made a system called Shift for Antwerp label Feld (www.feld.be). It consists of consoles, desks, tables and shelves that incorporate hidden drawers and beams in which to hide cables. The furniture itself is made of thick laminate panels and oak veneer plywood, and comes either unfinished, varnished or lacquered, making it ideal for a spartan office space or a snug, living-room corner.
From New York-based Topdeq (www.topdeq.com) comes Cableworms, an aptly named coiling gadget. The gizmo wraps neatly around wires and cables and can then slither underneath a desk. It comes in silver or black, can run horizontally or vertically, and can be adjusted in length according to requirements. In a similar vein, the store at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (www.momastore.org) has Wiresnakes, a cool Danish-made rubber contraption that houses cables behind a desk.
Of course, the best solution is to get rid of cables entirely. Milan-based Transalpin (transalpin.net) has created a collection of furniture called wood.e, which allows electrical equipment to be plugged directly into the surface of tables, benches and chairs, providing the ultimate sleek finish.