The male / female connections of these toys were the most celebrated feature of the form of each part. The little raised cylinders on top of the lego block brazenly beg to be connected, built upon, and to aggregate.
In the age of the iPhone, the impenetrable object is irresistible and striking, but pure form cannot help but disconnect the user from the process, materiality, and true nature of the object. Here's a great article on that subject: http://supercolossal.ch/2011/07/11/megaexterior/
The Flat Pack furniture I've been making over the past year is a study in mass-customization, affordable design, CNC tooling, the principal of affordance, minimal material usage, and an aesthetic effect that celebrates all of the above.
The furniture is all made from 3/4" birch plywood and 3/4" galvanized pipe and fittings that can be found at Home Depot.
The design of each piece can be called reflexive: I start with the basic design parameters such as comfortable desk height, practical drawer dimensions, etc. and design a generic piece in 3D. This piece is then laid out in relation to a sheet of virtual plywood. It then becomes apparent that certain elements have to be re-designed to fit within the sheet to minimize waste. The elements are then re-designed in relation to the whole, and back and forth, until the design is complete- hopefully giving equal weight to the design and the fabrication in the end.
Dinner Table: All plywood with tab-and-slot joints. Each square edged joint has a half-circle leading out; this is the diameter of the router bit. Allowing the tool to "color outside the lines" makes for faster assembly, less post-processing (i.e. chiseling out a rounded edge), and indexes the process of the object's making. I would argue that this is an "honest" joint.
Desk: More of the same kind of joinery using galvanized steel legs. The trough in the back is useful for computer peripherals, cables, etc. This layout makes for even less material waste.