Karim Blowout @ Target

I was just at Target during lunch and saw several end caps with a mountain of Karim’s ZOOP watering cans being discounted at 75% off.

Now it’s easy to be critical, but…

  • Was Target too optimistic about a marquee designer’s latest concept and ordered WAY too many?

  • Did people have a tough time trying to understand the design at a mass retail store?

  • Is it a bad design?

Do we really need a watering can that makes such a loud statement?
I say no, and I’m guessing the average Target consumer agrees.

bad design, might work in a hospital though for the bed ridden.

I forgot to mention. The regular price was $14.99. Discounted down 75% = $3.75 each.


You could go to IKEA and buy this for $1.99:

What would turn me off is the amount of space it seems to take up. I keep our watering can under my sink with a bunch of other stuff. Those “arms” look ready to knock over everything else under my sink every time I go to water a plant!

You’re not supposed to store it under the sink. It’s supposed to sit on your sofa end table as sculpture.


You know, those might make great paintball jugs for filling pods…hmmm. A paintball jug is like $20, this is a steal!

I like them, they look friendly, but certainly not practical, buy a few for posterity?

actually I had heard karim mandated that we install a pedestal in the center of the living room to accommodate the watering can. I assume you all know to take anything off the walls and paint them white like a gallery as well.

I’m going to stick up for Karim here and say that I really like these. They are sculptures that serve a purpose. I have a similar one (not Karim) from a few years back that I paid I think $45 for, and it sits out on a bookshelf. People always comment on it. I like the idea of making simple, functional objects into art. Frank Lloyd Wright has a particular distaste for closets in American homes. His thought was that if you owned anything you had to hide, you probably shouldn’t own it.

Ikea did a great job making the $1.99 watering can, and you can see cost was the goal from the get go. Those cans nest so you can fit a huge amount into a carton, unpack, and merchandize. I think that this makes it beautiful in its own way, and they certainly did some wonderful form work, but it doesn’t have the Noguchi like beautiful form of the Karim one.

There’s a rub here. You’re now talking about a product that is produced in the hundreds of thousands, if not the millions. Imagine the packaging for these things?

You cross the chasm into retail for the masses, you have to consider the “footprint” of this product. Not only in the shelf/closet/cupboard space, but in the shipping cost, packaging cost, etc. This product alone not only uses a LOT of plastic for a simple purpose, it is burning a heck of a lot more fuel in trasporting it to the distro and then to each Target than the Ikea product.

Chalk up yet another nail in the coffin for ID not following through on the “Design Responsibly” mandate.

well, if you must have a watering can, which I do, you had better like it. and it sounds as though many do.


if you must own something made from plastic, shipped from far away, which i do, you had better like it. and it sounds…

If they are discounted 75% off, then it’s a good bet that not many people have liked it enough to purchase it.

If they colours weren’t so Karim, I might want one for the living room. But that’s moot since Target is not in Canada.


I think the vast majority of Target’s designer products have ended up on the clearance rack. The only things that seem to stick around are the Michael Graves pieces.

Just to throw some more fuel on the fire, check this out…


They must have crapped when they saw him selling the same thing at Target. Tough sell at $30.

This is the first thing I thought as well.

It also doesn’t look very plant friendly.

The only colour that I don’t like is the black. How cold.

Does this look “Plant friendly”?

Is really good dirt called “Black gold”?

Ha. Certainly not, but many of the more modern derivatives of this style, for instance, have become more “friendly” looking in molded plastic. They are more round over all and the exaggerated spout looks like a nice face or flower itself. I am not a plant person, but putting myself into the head, or thinking about watching someone care for plants… It’s like a sort of communion. The Rashid can looks more mechanical and cold. It doesn’t look like it’s meant to nurture. Maybe my practical side is speaking too loudly, but the visual language of the design does not say buy me to make your plants grow. Moss, maybe. Target, no.

Only spouting off about all of this obvious stuff to clarify my train of thought…