Using Childhood Memories

Have we lost touch with our emotions? Our most powerful emotions are usually influenced by deeply childhood experiences and memories.

David Saldoff of ‘One of Studios’ recalled his fun childhood experience when as a kid, picking fresh fruit from his parent’s apple tree and created a special apple holder called “Newton”. The designer became a founder of ‘One of Studios’ after completing a degree in both Graphic design at American University and Industrial design at University of Cincinnati. According to David, his ultimate goal is “to deliver small run or limited edition design pieces to the public” and he has developed a number of designs. “Newton” is one of his designs that reflect his philosophy, humour or metaphor .

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The design is a simple metal bracket that screws directly into the wall and dangles a fresh apple to be plucked when the moment is right. “Newton” recreates the nostalgic apple-picking experience. So, the experience tickles our sense of emotion and at the same time the design is fulfilling its functional criteria as an apple storing mechanism.

Swing table, designed by ‘Duffy London’ a UK Furniture design company will also bring our childhood’s playground into the boardroom and dining room. The creative design was inspired by a George Bernard Shaw quote: “We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing,” This design certainly brings out the kid in all of us. With the Swing table, corporate meetings or dinners will become a fun and inspiring experience and boring meetings and meal times will be ended.

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Duffy London’s another furniture design, Flying Carpet Coffee Table was inspired by Alddin’s story and his magic carpet. With the Flying Carpet Coffee Table printed with a pixelated Persian rug design in a variety of colours, we may be able to imagine that the table will transport us to a magical place . The designer explains: “The illusion is created by mounting the steel rug on a hidden 5cm-wide cantilever at the centre of the table. A shadow base makes it appear as though it is floating. It also has a wave-like surface to add to the illusion of a magic carpet moving in its stationary position.

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Dane Saunders a Vancouver-based furniture designer also created a simple and poetic coffee table “The Beneath the Surface”. The design was inspired by the designer’s childhood. Before Dane attended the University of Alberta to study industrial design, he grew up in a farm family near. Edmonton. The abstracted shapes of seed pods cut through the wooden uprights of the table. The design allows us “to appreciate both the hard maple shell and the soft inner mahogany” and the organic shape attempts “to both emphasize the beauty of the raw material, and be a symbol of growth”.

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Designs like Saldoff’s Newton, Duffy’s Swing table and Flying carpet coffee table and Saunders’ Beneath the Surface are not only functional but also will take us to our childhood’s imagination while many of us lose touch with our emotions as we grow up.

Technological devices inspired by nature.

The creation of technology inspired by nature is nothing new. From early days, we have always copied the natural world to create our inventions. Tom Gerhardt, a designer as well as a hardware and software developer, is also inspired by nature to design technological devices. Throughout his works he has developed designs which build a connection between technology and nature so the users of his designs can experience more natural sense with technological and digital devices.

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 The Stone Mouse, 2010

The Stone Mouse (2010) , created by Tom , as its name indicates, is a computer mouse transformed by stone. The object is consist of custom electronics embedded into a slim ring, which providesfunctions of standard mouse, and a piece of stone of your choice. The users of the Stone Mouse can click, drag and navigate as they would with any other standard mouse. By choosing stone as a material of the object, the users would feel like they become a Stone Age Man who use stone tools. So ironically design of the object challenges our standard designs of mass produced technological devices as well as our technology which tends to follow standard format of technological devices

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The Mud Tub, 2009

 The Mud Tub (2009),Tom’s another work, is an experimental organic interface that users enable to control a computer while they play in the mud. The device uses users’ actions of sloshing, squishing, pulling and punching in a tub of mud which allows them to control games, simulators, and expressive tools. Using the mud as an interface for a connection between users’ bodies and the digital world, the Mud Tub brings natural and physical experience with the technological world to its users and it also allows the unique movements of humans. While there are rare interaction between users’ actions and traditional standard computers, this innovative object allows humans to use their sense of touch, and creative thinking skills in a more natural way.

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The Firelight, 2015

Recently Tom has designed the FireLight (2015), a lighting system controlled by a candle’s flame. With the design, he also explored our nature: fire, light and wood. The lighting system is operated by interaction between a wooden panel on the wall and Candle Module placed on a table. When the FireLight Candle Module is lit, the FireLight lamp immediately turns on in response to the candle flame’s flickering. And when the FireLight Candle is blown out, the light turns off. The FireLight can be used as light source and it comes with a recharge base station for the Candle Module. From the design once again inspired by our nature, Tom explored a boundary between natural fire and electric lighting system.

Humans have developed numerous technological devices and as a result our lives have become more convenient and efficient. On the other hands, due to the technology development we have lost much of our nature sense. However innovative designers such as Tom Gerhardt try to build a reconnection between our nature and technological world by creating designs for technological devices inspired by nature and by exploring to a boundary between organic nature and digital world.

Electrical vs “Die Electric”

Can you imagine life without electricity? Many would say NO.

In daily life, we tend to be too dependent on electricity. Also in the past, a human being put a lot of effort into converting non-electric objects to electric devices which enabled them to enjoy more convenience of electricity use. The examples are electronic toothbrush, electronic pencil sharpener, and electronic kettle.

Have you ever thought of converting electrical devices into non-electric objects? It is probably hard to think of this because we are get used to using electricity more and more.

Some designers however have promoted the change of such perspectives by dismissing predetermined notions of how we are “supposed” to interact with basic objects.  Scott Amron, an American conceptual artist and electrical engineer, is one of the designers. Scott started his career by studying electrical and mechanical engineering and in 2007 he established his product design firm, Amron Experimental

He designed some non-electric objects which were originally invented as electrical devices. Scott also attempted to remove electrical function from electrical devices in his product deigns. The collection of the designs called “Die Electric” is exhibited in Amron Experimental’s website.

“Candull” is one of the “Die Eletric” designs. With the Candull, a candle replaces light bulb and a function of a light bulb socket is transferred from powering lamps to a candle holder. So the electrical object, a lamp, was totally turned into the non-electrical object, a candle holder. The design may be criticized because of question of usefulness but the concept of the design is the idea of life with no electricity and it may promote change of customers’ perspective on electricity.

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Candull, 2007

Amron’s Experimental contains more designs of his dielectric concept:

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Shelf, 2007

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Firewall, 2007

He designed a series of objects using electrical sockets and electrical wall outlets without conducting electricity, based on dielectric concept. Electrical wall outlets provide energy to electronic devices. Then have you ever thought of plugging non-electric objects into electrical wall outlets? What objects we could plug in, other than electrical devices? Scott plugged in shelf, vases, toothbrush holders, flowerpots and fire extinguishers, all of whose electrical flow is dielectric, that is, not conducting any electrical current. It may be dangerous to plug in such a non-electrical object into electrical wall outlets. And the designs may be also criticized because of the designs’ practicality. Those criticisms can be turned to the view that the designs demonstrate dangers of electricity when we use it excessively as well as how deeply we rely on the use of the wall electrical outlets and electricity. The designs with his brief descritopons about the designs on the Amron’s Experimental website, express his concerns about overuse of electrical energy and electrical devices and furthermore he highlights sustainability.

Scott’s thoughtful designs have shown that how designer’s ethics help designers to create new objects using only base materials. In his approach to converting objects’ own function into another function, Scott succeeded in demonstrating his concepts of the designs.