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Originally published Friday, October 12, 2012 at 8:00 PM

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Power strips: Who says they have to be dull?

You can hide them under your desk, or make one a statement piece.

New York Times News Service

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Rich Thrush has a strategy when it comes to power strips, one he practices religiously at home and work: “I have one strip for devices that need to be on all the time and another for devices that can be shut off periodically, like backup camera batteries and phone chargers.”

And all of those power strips are hidden from view. “They’re under the bed, and under the sofa in the living room,” he said. “And in my office, they’re hidden behind rows of models on the windowsill.”

An avowed minimalist, Thrush is the director of industrial design at Kaz, a company that makes products for brands like Braun, Vicks and Honeywell. He had agreed to shop for interesting-looking power strips, despite his own predilection for hiding them. But he began by offering a word of warning.

Making a statement is fine, he said, standing in the middle of AC Gears, the electronics and gadgets store, holding a lightning bolt, a bright yellow power strip that demanded to be put on display. “Just don’t fill a room with statements,” he said. “It’s annoying and confusing when everyone speaks at once.”

While the lightning bolt might not make its way into Thrush’s home or workplace, the Pivot Power Strip, which he found at the Museum of Modern Art Design Store in SoHo, was a stronger candidate. “I often find myself modifying products to fit specific situations, but not everyone is handy,” he said. “This allows for a consumer to modify it to fit specific situations, or just to noodle around.”

Scott Wilson’s Power Pod, which Thrush spotted online at Coalesse, was a favorite because it combined two things everyone needs: a pencil cup and power.

“Instead of trying to hide the outlets under the desk where they’re difficult to deal with,” he said, “they’re right there where you need them” — under the pencil cup. Even better, he added, is “the option to make them less unsightly when not in use,” by hiding them under the cup.

The Blue Lounge cable box, which he also found online, offered a different version of a similar strategy.

“It takes the power strip and changes it into something else,” Thrush said. “It’s almost like a little storage box or a landing spot for your phone.”

But for a minimalist like Thrush, there was one obvious choice: the Belkin Conceal surge protector.

“I love the orderliness of the cords and the ability to hard-mount it,” he said. And “if you hard-mount it in an inconspicuous spot, it just becomes part of the architecture.”


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