The Tangle holds an interesting place in design history; depending on who you ask, it's a desk toy, decorative object or therapeutic device. It stands to reason that an object based on perpetual motion and the concept of infinity would be open to endless interpretation and use.
Artist Richard X. Zawitz is a longtime student of Taoism who created his first twist in 1972 and patented the Tangle in 1982. The interlocking curved sections can be rotated into countless forms. A staple in museum shops since its debut, the Tangle's therapeutic value has been touted for stress relief, muscle and joint rehabilitation and as a fidget toy.
My dad brought a bright red one home from an early 80s business trip. He promptly displayed it on our coffee table, where it was surrounded by the other art and design objects that my parents collected. No guest could resist it, and I played with it for hours on end. I forgot about our Tangle until rediscovering it at the MOMA Store, and now I need to get one for my own coffee table.
Learn more about Tangle's history and see all of the different versions at Tangle Creations.
(Image: MOMA Store)