Bog-roll as the new black
Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 06:47PM
Malcolm Lambe

renovablack.jpgThis is another of those ideas where you go "Darn! Why didn't I think of that?" Come to think of it, I had thought of it but dismissed it as being completely impractical - "who'd want black bog-roll?" I thought. Seems we've moved on. There's a market for cool black toilet paper in your designer dunny. But I gotta ask - wouldn't it be hard to use?

This report brought to us from the throne-rooms of Cool News

"So, there’s this story in The New York Times by Penelope Green, quoting a designer named Miles Redd about a paper mogul named da Silva who has introduced toilet paper that’s black. Naturally, it didn’t take long for Green to find a woman named Black — Laurie Black — to get a consumer’s reaction: “It certainly doesn’t jump out at you,” says Laurie of the black toilet-paper, strategically placed in one of the all-black restrooms at Double Seven, a trendy 14th Street nightclub. “I imagine once you’d pulled it out your train of thought would be interrupted … You’d stop worrying about whether or not you’d paid for your last drink or whether you were going to go home with this guy. You’d think, wow, black toilet paper. Am I really going to use this?”

Which is pretty much the kind of reaction da Silva — Paulo Miguel Pereira da Silva, maker of Renova Black toilet paper — wants. “In a design sense (black means) irreverence, maybe touching a bit on the core nature of art, which is to break rules and set new ones … Culturally, deep down, Renova Black invites people to break down whatever might be limiting as common sense ideas.”

Um...excuse me for jumping in here, matey, but what the fuck are you on about? "Renova Black invites people to break down whatever might be limiting as common sense ideas". What a load of crap. It's toilet paper for fucks sake. Toilet paper that just happens to be black.

"It’s also an open invitation to Kelley Blevins, a public relations guy, who no doubt placed this article in the Times in addition to placing Renova Black (which also comes in — brace yourself — red) in “urgent hot spots” as well as with hot designers for their “furniture fair parties.” Kelley’s previous claim to fame was “making the Chupa Chup lollipop a fashion accessory a few years ago.” So this assignment should be a snap.

What does Redd think of black? “My theory is that most everything can be chic at some point or for some period of time,” says Miles Redd, an interior designer who “has never ‘done’ toilet paper, though he has gone so far as to choose toothpaste for a client because the packaging appealed” (I’ll bet it was Extreme Clean). He thinks the “shock value” has appeal, although Henry Petroski, author of “Success Through Failure,” thinks people go to the bathroom for “calm and solitude” not to be shocked. Then there’s David Rockwell, "veteran of so-called entertainment architecture" who says: "We’ve reached the logical end for thinking about that product. Black doesn’t really say anything to me about the particular use of the product. It’s not really form following function; it’s counterintuitive, so that’s sort of interesting." Um hum. He does think Band-Aids have potential, though (and I’d say Apples, too)."

What about black toothpaste? Black milk? Black tiles in the bathroom anyone? I painted a bedroom black, once. Found it very restful. I also painted the bathroom Fire-Engine Red at the same time. Isn't that a Stones lyric? - I see a red room and I want it painted black.

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