Principles of Thoughtful Design

More than anything else you use, the products you use every day should delight you. From your coffee machine to your shoes, we believe it’s your everyday staples that deserve extra-special attention, not just the one-off luxuries.

This everyday delight comes from what we like to call “thoughtful design”: tools that have been crafted to perform their task effortlessly, beautifully and sustainably - so they can continue to elevate your day for years to come.

Though this note might make it seem otherwise, thoughtful design isn’t so much a philosophy, but a series of questions we ask ourselves constantly as we create every Altere. More specifically, we ask (in order): is it functional? is it beautiful? and will it last? Anything that meets these criteria is something not only worthy of being used every day, but capable of lasting day after day, for year after year.

Shop here to get your Altere, or keep reading to learn more.

Function is the form

When it comes to functionality, everyday products have nowhere to hide. Take a pair of shoes: you might have some fancy evening shoes for special occasions that are a little too tight on your toes, but you can definitely survive the few nights a year you wear them.

But what if your daily trainers are too tight? You’ll blister up and be in pain day after day: unless you get a different pair, you’ll stop using them and you might even stop working out altogether.

To us, function has to dictate form, not the other way around. When it comes to our wellness tools, we’re meticulous about understanding what you need to be able to do, and designing a form that enables you to do that more easily and more comfortably than ever.

Take our Bells: at the very least, you’ve got to flow between a swing, snatch and press without losing control or experiencing any pain. Where other kettlebells built for manufacturing simplicity, not function, might dig into your forearm or slip around as you sweat, ours don’t.

Put simply, there’s no place for tools that put form over function.

Back to beautiful

Beauty is so often overlooked in everyday things. For some reason, everyday tools are often confused with mundane objects that should blend into the background and do their job without expressing too much character.

On the contrary, we believe you’re only going to use tools every day if they speak personally to you, and feel in many ways like an extension of you and your values.

When it comes to aesthetics, we think about how the things we create elevate your space when they’re at rest, and elevate your performance when they’re in use.

Taking cues from nature and natural materials like stone, Alteres should spark curiosity when they’re seen from a distance, inviting you to touch them and interact with them organically, as if you’ve already used them a hundred times.

Do it again and again

It goes without saying that everyday tools need to make it through the wear and tear that comes with daily usage.

More than that, they should be anti-fragile: gaining character and performing better, not worse, as you put them to use. When thinking about longevity, we always find ourselves coming back to nature: in particular, solid stone surfaces weathered over millions of years into unique patterns, textures and shapes.

In ancient times, the Greeks and Romans thought similarly, which is why they made the first free-weights - called Halteres - out of chiselled stone. As you’ve probably guessed: this historical connection is what originally inspired us to create - and name - Altere in the way we have.

Altere’s respect for nature also means only using the materials we need, and not only minimising our environmental footprint, but having a net-positive impact on the world around us. Our tools repurpose construction waste both because it contributes to the betterment of our planet, and because - coming from a family of architects - we’ve always thought there’s something beautifully human about breathing life back into old buildings.

Thoughtful design also leads us to make every Altere by hand, in small batches, using traditional casting processes. This isn’t just because it’s lighter on energy usage, but because we’re creating ergonomic tools made for human hands - so it only makes sense that they’re also made by, and tested in, human hands.

When you take a step back and think about it, thoughtful design is the most intuitive, human thing ever. We live our lives alongside tools built to make us and our days somehow better: so why would we settle for anything less than tools that do their job so well that they feel immediately like second-nature to us; that make us feel special while using them; and allow us to use them time and again while improving, not infringing on, the world around us? We wouldn’t - and shouldn’t have to.

By asking ourselves these questions about everything we do, we’re striving to create objects that spark joy - whether they’re in use or simply in view - every single day.