Dialectical Dielectric Design

Scott Amron’s designs contain more irony and puns than you’d even find in an english class studying poetry. His designs offer unique insight into how functional and poetic design don’t have to be opponents fighting for supremacy but can harmoniously co-exist.

In my first article, I concluded by questioning the value of conceptual design and how this is often in stark juxtaposition with the objective, tangible value of utilitarian design. Scott Amron, however, gives compelling evidence that these two seemingly conflicting approaches to design can actually compliment each other; creating objects that embody a uniquely dialectical approach to design.

Amron is a ‘product design engineer’ who cleverly treads the fine line between philosophy and functionality; creating objects that unite the practice of ‘poetic’ and ‘literal’ design. His background experiences of tertiary education in both electrical and mechatronic engineering have set him up with a distinct – yet broad – set of skills that has naturally led to extensive experimentation within those two fields. As the boss and owner of his self-named business, Amron Experimental, he’s available to hire as a designer, researcher, engineer and prototype manufacturer. Judging by a whole host of impressive clients (NASA, OXO and Victoria’s secret to name a few) and by a seemingly endless list of international awards, it’s extremely clear that this Amron guy is quite a big deal.

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Candull, 2007

Put simply, Candull is a can candle adapted to screw into a light bulb socket. When placed in a electronic lamps as a replacement of a regular bulb, it transforms them into elaborate candle-holders. Candle is an apt example of the way in which Amron often redefines a viewer’s preconceived thoughts of an object’s primary purpose – challenging how we engage with everyday things. This dismissal (or perhaps reconfiguration) of norms and standards makes for unique interactions that hold figurative significance. Amongst other conceptual intentions and interpretations, Candull experimentally promotes sustainability and the conservation of energy. The project belongs to a prototype series created in 2007, Die Electric, that focuses on reimagining our use of household electrical outlets and products.

“A dielectric is an insulating material. It does not conduct electricity. The ‘Die Electric’ experiment makes use of the AC power plugs and sockets to lessen the flow of electricity.”

Even from a brief perusal of his works in this series, it is immediately clear to a viewer that Amron’s products are highly original and quirky. The use of puns and wit in his titling adds humour to his projects and also offers insight into how they are a unique blend of the functional and conceptual traits of design.

Keybrid

Key/Ring, 2010

Amron’s Key/Ring similarly embodies the union of utilitarian and poetic design. Described by ID Magazine as: “Brilliantly simple and simply brilliant!”, this object is a key and keyring in one. Although fairly gimmicky (and further evidence of a light-hearted play on words), Key/Ring offers insight into the simple joy found in this sort of dialectical design. Interestingly, the act of merging objects or concepts can be interpreted as both a display of pragmatic efficiency and of poetry. For example, a simile or metaphor makes a link between two different things. Amron’s projects are therefore particularly interesting because, although many of them are saturated with characteristics that make them poetic, they often simultaneously have some sort of functional ability embedded within the design.

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