The Electro Craft show, initiated by Studio Tord Boontje, is an exhibition of electronic products by designers who share a fascination with technology and beautifully made objects.
Highlights From The Electro Craft Show
Electro Craft asks the question, ‘what are electrical products and appliances like when they are not designed primarily with mass-production in mind?’ The thirty-or-so works in the exhibition, by numerous emerging and established designers and studios, bring together the values of handcraft with the complexity of electrical technologies.
Qu’est-ce que c’est by Yuri Suzuki
above: In the 1970s Boomboxes and Ghetto Blasters where symbols of urban youth society amongst African American and Hispanic communities. Sound artist Yuri Suzuki has deconstructed the iconic form of the boom box into a wireframe structure, showing off the inner workings of the speakers using only the most essential components.
Not for sale.
Dandelight by Studio Drift
above: Dandelight is a subtle and imaginative light, made of a real dandelion. These are picked in large numbers by hand every spring, and each seed is individually glued onto a LED, a labor-intensive process symbolizing the fragility of life. The light can be understood as a clear statement about mass-production and our prevailing disposable culture. Do rapid technological developments really progress beyond the evolution of nature, of which the dandelion is such a symbolic and transitory example? Dandelight can be seen as an expression of a critical yet utopian vision of the future of our planet, where two seemingly contradictory trends will strike a pact to survive anyway.
Both the Dandelight and the Dandelight with Dome are available for purchase here at MoMA.
Studio Drift Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Electro Craft is an exhibition of electronic products created by a diverse group of designers who share a fascination with technology and beautifully made objects. Working in a field that sometimes seems overwhelmed by bland corporate products with very little aesthetic or artistic value. It seems a relevant moment to me to highlight some of the wonderful work that is also happening in the area of electronics. London is a hub of creativity and digital progress and this exhibition tries to give a flavour of some of this original thinking. – Tord Boontje
Lacuna by Studio Furthermore
above: A lacuna is both ‘an empty space and void’ and the concept behind this collection of unique, crafted lamps. Each one is a voluminous glass hollow, individually made by a master glass blower in the Bohemia region of the Czech Republic, illuminated from above by a chip on board (COB) LED. A single moulded form becomes the stand, shade, insulator and reflector for a pared down electric circuit.
Rust Timepiece by Ariane Prin
above: Comprising twelve sections made using a unique mix of metal particulate and gypsum, the design of this clock highlights the inextricable relationship of the material and time. Each section is put through a controlled oxidisation process that can last weeks or months, producing an infinite variety of hues and patterns.
The Rust Timepiece is a special addition to the Rust collection by PRIN London, designed and produced for Electro Craft. It joins a growing collection of Rust homeware first presented during the London Design Festival in 2015. Available soon.
The objects in Electro Craft are almost all self-initiated works by the designers themselves. Making objects without a specific client in mind might characterize some art and craft, but it is not a tenet of mass-production. This varied collection of ideas invites electrical manufacturers to think differently about how products are conceived, designed, made and used, when the pressures and conventions of mass-production are sidestepped.
YEV-104 by Yamaha
above: This is a new kind of electric violin for live performance inspired by the organic beauty of wood, simple clean lines, and lightweight comfort. Its three-dimensional structure is designed to look beautiful on stage as the smooth lines connecting the front and back inspire both the player and the audience with different silhouettes from every angle. The essential elements of an acoustic violin are preserved to ensure comfortable playability. By matching creative designs to players’ diverse performing styles Yamaha aims to deliver new possibilities for musical expression.
“Yamaha and ROLI (both in this exhibition) represent the kind of small(er) scale producer of high-end and high-spec electrical products where qualities of product performance are more important than the need to streamline and maximize production volumes. The objects also open up possibilities for designers to conceive new ways to use electronics as a craft medium, and for the rest of us, as consumers, to demand entirely new forms of electrical products and devices.” (source: Prof Gareth Williams, Head of Design, Middlesex University)
Seaboard RISE by ROLI
above: The Seaboard RISE is an award-winning musical instrument that lets people shape sound through touch. Modeled on the piano keyboard, it replaces black and white keys with a continuous surface of touch-sensitive “keywaves” made of soft, pliable silicone.
Empty Memory by Poetic Lab
above: Empty Memory is a collection of unique USB memory sticks. Each design contains a physical emptiness in its sculptural form, evoking the metaphor of a blank space that can be filled with your own memories. The designers’ starting point was to create an intimate feeling for these technology products that are generally considered to be soulless. The collection is cast in high-quality 316 stainless steel, hand-polished and finished with various colours. There are two different designs, Structure and Transparency, which are the result of two different approaches to the same concept.
All information courtesy of Electro Craft, Prof Gareth Williams, Head of Design, Middlesex University with images provided by the individual designers.