Useful and beautiful should fit as tightly as a dovetailed joint, and that’s what Toronto-based Hero Design Lab is after with the HERO 365 range of products. The duo behind the range say the products are about “creating an elegantly utiliarian lifestyle for the sustainable modernist”, balancing sustainability, aesthetics, durability and function.

I like the way they have reinvented familiar products as extraordinary everyday objects, like this RC-1 rain collector, for starters.

365 rain collector

Who would have thought such a practical object could come in so elegant a guise? The RC-1 holds up to 45 gallons of water, which can be released into the watering can through a brass spigot on the base.

And then there’s the aluminium DR-1 drying rack on wheels, which can happily stand in the corner of any stylish living room, disguised as a pretty screen.

RC drying rack1

To dry laundry on the DR-1 , simply rotate out as many bars as you need to hang or drape your wet items.

365 drying rack open

Beautiful and useful shouldn’t come as such a surprise, because that’s the mark of good design, after all. But it’s surprisingly rare. And when it’s sustainable, elegant and easy to move too, it’s definitely got hero status in my books.