British plug gets a makeover

Everyone knows the British plug – and chances are, it sees plenty of action outside of the British islands as well, considering how at one point in time, the sun never set on the British Empire, hence seeing the British power plug in action across other countries. You know the saying – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Having said that, the British plug has remained unchanged in terms of design after the Second World War, which is more than six decades – and counting. I guess no one really found any real reason to change it, but perhaps things might not be the same any more down the road.

After all, that (normally) white chunk of plastic that is a permanent fixture in millions of homes has certainly put on some weight – relatively speaking, of course, compared to the notebooks, smartphones, TVs and tablets that we have come to know and love. Min-Kyu Choi, a designer who hails from South Korea and was trained at London’s Royal College of Art, has managed to come up with the first folding plug in the world.


This smaller version of the standard 4.5cm plug measures a mere 1cm, and will not compromise on safety in any way, complying to the UK’s stringent regulations. This particular prototype of his has already picked up a fair bunch of design awards (somewhat akin to Adele and her Grammys, I suppose) when it was originally unveiled back in 2009. In fact, sculptor Antony Gormley has declared it to be “intelligent, elegant and inventive” in terms of design. At long last, it will hit the production lines, and we might soon see a change in how homes carry their plugs.

As usual, if you want to get something done, then do it yourself – and that is what Choi set out to do, saying, “I was frustrated by the dimensions of the traditional plug, and felt that the existing unit, which dates back to 1947, was out of touch and incongruous with modern design. My idea was very simple – redesign the plug to bring it in line with the clean look and feel of today’s technology; without compromising functionality.”

This folding plug will be known as The Mu, where you can pick it up from and from London’s Design Museum at £25 a pop. Sounds pretty expensive, but then again, good taste had always come at a price.