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Form follows function, right? Didn’t we learn that in school? It was actually architect Louis Henri Sullivan who adopted the phrase, ‘form ever follows function’ and made it famous. The idea that design should be reduced to its basic function was the impetus behind the Modernist and Bauhaus movements, and some people in intellectual circles somewhere probably still debate the morality of ‘ornament is a crime’ in design theory.

But you know what? I love ornament. And I love contradiction. One cool example of contradiction in design is Guido Ooms’ new USB memory sticks (pun intended). Ooms finds pieces of timber and fallen branches near his home and inserts memory sticks in them that range from 128 Megs to 1 Gig of storage. He says, “I thought it would be funny to stick the USB in the foreign environment that totally goes against computers and plastics.” And he’s right. It is funny.

Another completely awesome innovation on form was featured in Metropolis magazine. The VM Houses, a residential project in Copenhagen designed by PLOT, take the problem of fitting optimum housing design into one square city block and solve it beautifully. The houses feature 221 units with 76 floor plans. None of the units repeat more than a dozen times and over a dozen of them are completely unique. In addition, none of the units directly face each other so everyone gets a view and no one is staring across the courtyard at another apartment. The layout won the Forum Prize for best new building in Scandinavia, and the sheer abundance of unique elevations is worth checking out.