Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Day 322, on which John gets busy with it [17.11.10]

Dag tre hundrede toogtyve. Sorry, guys, sorry sorry sorry. I keep missing days, not something I'd like to do, but I think I'm becoming complacent with it all. Now, 322 days in, I guess it just doesn't seem all that important, but I need to keep telling myself that it is important, that I didn't blog for hundreds of other days just to abandon it here at the last hurdle. There've been so many hurdles before, why is this last goddamn hurdle so frustrating? Look - just there - I got a feeling that I'm too tired and should just give up and not blog for tonight. Well, fuck you, inner self. Let's see this through to the end. Tiredness or otherwise. Final hurdle or otherwise. An inspirational team-talk to myself would help here, but look, I'm tired - I'm no miracle-worker.

Well, the reason I've been busy is because I've been working hard at this design competition I was chosen to enter at my school. It's a nation-wide competition and the nice lads at my school's DT department identified me as being an 'exceptional DT student' ('bout time too, haha) and I was entered in this competition. The brief? To design a product, any product, under £10 retail price, to be sold in the London Design Museum gift shop. This is a pretty wide brief, for sure, and luckily I had three other guys to form a group and we worked together at this.

Our final product? Well, I can't really tell you much about it at the moment, 'cause it's meant to be secretive and all - we wouldn't want those other treacherous groups stealing our ideas - but I can tell you it's a clock. A very special modernist clock. Modernist, yes, modernist - I was in charge of the design so I had to go modernist. And Scandinavian (purity of form, remember?). But, a clock requires a lot more effort to interpret the function of a product. It's not simply a table, which has a flat top and possible storage space hanging underneath. It's depicting time. But what is time? What can we quantify it to? The clocks we use quantify time to two clear variables: minute and hour. So innovative (I hate that I'm saying that word), non-traditional clock designs should seek to interpret and present these two variables in the simplest, more ergonomic way possible. That's really all it is.

I'll explain how I interpreted this concept another day (no telling and all), but until we end today's post I'd like to show you a wonderful modern timepiece, 200 Series by Uniform Wares. This simplistic, funtional watch is just darn beautiful. Could do with a little more refining, but that's just me and my Danishness.

Series 200 © Uniform Wares
This thing is great. No numbers, which is really nice to see after so many goddamn Roman numerals, plus a one-tone wrist strap and some great negative space on the face. So many people wear massive shiny silver beasts of watches on their wrists, which I think are awful. Where's the design appeal in wearing something that was designed to show off as much shiny expensive metal as possible? That has more dials that you'd ever hope to use, especially when the dials just distract you from the hands? Once again, it's our consumer culture that's made the big and shiny desirable. No longer is design valued for being ergonomic and aesthetic, like back in Dieter Rams' days. Nope, nowadays people like designs that show off your bling. That have a whopping great logo on them. Even paper that's watermarked with a famous logo. This is, in the simplest way I can say it, excess. Too much. Overdesign. Overcomplicated products. Distracting patterns, logos, text, dials, buttons, etc etc etc that are not needed. Dieter Rams and the Bauhaus movement didn't turn around the entire history of design in the 1920s just for people to return to finding overcomplicated, bling-adorned products desirable 90 years later. It's just another way of adding in frills and this and that, just like in the Victorian times when chair legs were filled up with different shaped blobs, shapes and whatnot. Goddamn consumerism.

God knows why I got picked for this project... I've no interest in design, ahahaha.

~John

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