I didn’t buy my Bahco 8071 adjustable spanner. I found it languishing in a damp corner of the cellar, buried at the bottom of an old inherited toolbox where my industrial fabricator grandfather last laid it perhaps 25 years ago. It’s nothing special – new ones are about £18 – but it felt like a crime not to rescue such a nice tool. It was covered in surface rust and the mechanism was seized solid, but a strip, wire brush, oil and rebuild brought it back to perfect operational status. It’s now one of the tools I most reach for in my toolbox, performing today as perfectly as it ever did.
Occasionally though, it comes out of the toolbox just to be looked at. I feel it and adjust it and just consider it. It may initially be considered a cold and industrial item only because it takes some consideration to see beyond one’s preconceived notions of a spanner’s cold and industrial function. Yet doing so allows focus to fall purely on the aesthetic, where hide flowing compound curves like those on a Coke bottle or 1960s Jaguar sports car, intersecting perfect machined edges of a precision reminiscent of lead crystal glassware.
It is an item of exact quality. It is easily user serviceable. It is useful. It is versatile. It is comfortable to use. It is well made. It is solid and long lasting. It is affordable. It is efficient. It is empowering. It is timeless. It is elegant. It represents such perfect harmony of utility and elegance that it exemplifies the inherent beauty of pure and necessary function.
These are the qualities I believe all designs should have. Whether you’re designing a logo, a layout, a piece of software, an item of clothing, furniture, transportation, an entire city or whatever else you might care to imagine, the qualities of this Bahco 8071 adjustable spanner are those I think we all should be striving towards.