These are common objects that we use in our daily life but they only look as the others. In addition to their practical function, they are provided with a sound effect: a little alarm, a pleasant sound or something inspired to the music world. These objects are endowed with a life of their own, more complex than what one might imagine. For this reason, using them stimulates our senses and gives us a new insight into the world around us, often making us smile.
Leslie Borg and Anita Silva
2012 – Prototype
_scape, created by London designers Leslie Borg and Anita Silva, modifies our on-board experience, distracts us from anxieties and transforms a flight into an interactive journey through the senses. It looks like a book with numerous layers featuring sounds, scents and visuals inspired by Icelandic nature. The interior is made of Arctic wool, a delicate fabric that will, like nature, disintegrate if handled extensively. Exploring the different layers, the passenger will discover two removable earphones producing sounds according to different presets. In this way, _scape turns into a “sound pillow”.
2012 – Bosa Sensai
A next generation ceramic lamp whose wraparound features conceal an innovative sound transmission system, This is a perfectly balanced hybrid and dynamic experiment in integrating new forms and functions. The final form reveals the soft ceramic’s hitherto unknown ability to resonate sound. The lamp interweaves light and sound frequencies, the former adjusted by a high precision dimmer, the latter modulated by any Wi-Fi or Bluetooth enabled device.
2011 – MICA Gallery
They may look like loudspeakers but in fact they are pots and receptacles. Matali Crasset designed these wooden objects and their quality stands for high carving standards. The beauty of this process is based on an effect of perceptive alienation. Since the objects do not immediately prove to be what they are, the viewer is enticed into wanting to understand more and to touch them. The fascination rests on the prototype-quality these objects possess, something that brings us to an ancient technology, the one that was just starting to silently experiment in the field of sound broadcasting.
2012 – Prototypes
The musical box is the quintessential sound object. It holds an emblematic evocative function, halfway between a plaything and a musical instrument, both visual and auditory. These aspects particularly embody a tribute to John Cage, who is also present in the form of an interview, which the musical score is based on. The two running tapes reproduce, in a looping mechanism, questions and answers. This results in something more than musical sounds: it is rather a work opening itself to the conceptual space, harmonically in keeping with the heritage of the great author this object pays tribute to.
The Alarming Clock TAC 001/CTAC 001
2010/12 – Alarming Industries
The concept behind this alarm clock is that sleep has a vital importance. The designer’s aim was to produce a pleasant signal, something different from the bleep that usually transforms our waking experience into a traumatic event. The “beak” reproduces the sound of a woodpecker gently tapping on whatever object you will put near it. The clock features two alarms: one morning and one evening alarm. If you want to feel refreshed in the morning and live an healthy life, the evening alarm will encourage you to enjoy eight hours of good sleep.
2006 – Prototype
A traditionally lathe crafted ceramic boiler is enhanced with a musical function. The well known principle of producing sounds through boiling vapours is applied at the very moulding stage and it occurs without auxiliary devices.
The result is in some ways closer to a proper musical instrument, something like a very unique trumpet: a musical instrument to be also used for boiling water in the making of hot drinks, rather than the other way around.
According to psychologists pillows are ideal “transitional objects”, items we tend to attach a very powerful emotive bond to, from our childhood onwards. Gumdesign have thus chosen to take them as the focal point of a journey into the psychological implications of the act of falling sleep, a moment of very dramatic importance both in children and in adults. The transition between wake and sleep requires comfort, attention and tenderness. This is why the Tuscan designers opted for Merino wool, with its warm fibres, and chose neutral and relaxing colours. Moreover they gave their pillow pockets, to make hugging easier, but also a lullaby to lead you into the arms of Morpheus on a nostalgic, innocent note.
2012 – Prototype
New forms of interaction between humans and objects create multiple new functions. Based on the assumption that people are more accustomed to the idea of moving their hands in space rather than wielding a keyboard or mouse, here sensors interpret everyday gestures to create inventive interactions with everyday objects. Now, even the humdrum act of looking in the mirror becomes an opportunity to manage the music we love with simple hand movements, even if they are wet and unable to touch a digital device.
Peter van der Jagt
Bottoms up doorbell
1994 – Droog
Gijs Bakker and Renny Ramakers founded Droog (“dry” in Dutch) in 1993 to create original, quirky and ironic design pieces which are nevertheless easily understood. What we know as a doorbell, a square box, does not actually indicate its function. In Bottoms up doorbell the sound is created and symbolized by the crystal wineglasses.
The guests are announced with a musical toast by this doorbell in a design which won Peter van der Jagt the 2007 Red Dot Design Award.
Bruno Munari and Davide Mosconi
Invece del campanello
1991 – Lualdi
If homes are amongst the most personal things one can design, why do all doorbells have to sound the same and why are they so little customized? Assuming these questions as his point of departure, Bruno Munari, together with Davide Mosconi’s expertise, designed a series of peculiar and cut-to-size devices to be put up on home doors. “Almost everybody has the same doorbell, / The brass knocker is almost obsolete / It’s about time we invented something / To replace the doorbell”, said the author. Each of these elements has therefore to state details about those living behind the door, providing insight into some personal aspects, as a sort of presentation on the threshold between the public and the private spheres.
2005 – Artigiana Design
Originally designed as a small stand for pre-dinner drinks at the Casa del Jazz restaurant in Rome, this has evolved into a small table with one very important difference: a part of the structure comes with a series of cut out grooves, measured to hold various vinyl record format sizes, so one can choose to display their most treasured disc. Though this is a memorable piece of design for music and non-music lovers alike, it is in fact a vinyl lover’s dream come true, as the table is not just a tactile way to relive memories – instead of relying on nostalgia – but is functional too.
2005 – Artigiana Design
A keyboard or a cupboard? This piece of furniture design re-works our traditional assumptions and expectations of the piano keyboard by presenting it vertically as opposed to horizontally.
The keys open to accommodate jackets and bags, but then return to their two tone upright position to preserve the musical theme. “Like a mute and fetishistic dada object, it evokes the illusion of sound. One can melodramatically suspend garments from its frame, or keep it as a testament to grand lyricism, while the more obsessive can utilise it as an optical frame around an entire room: a piece of hyper-real vaudeville” (thoughts from the designer). Originally conceived for the Casa del Jazz in Rome, Henrikpianò is for people who love music in all its forms.
The Domestic Soundscape
[Incalmi Carafe, Incalmi Glass, IJOK II, Toolkit for Impact Sounds] 2010
Glass objects but also the tool kit of a sound-effect person:
this and many more are the sound objects that literally embody the awareness of life’s daily soundtrack. The domestic landscape becomes an acoustic one. “This project – in the designer’s words – is an exploration on sounds and rhythms in the domestic environment. The aim is to celebrate the beauty coming from a conscious experience of the variety of sounds we live in, in particular focusing on the positive and pleasant aspects of auditory experiences. The scenario in which the research takes place is that of the household.
The physical outcomes reflect the attempt to incorporate sound into common objects of the domestic dimension and to evoke different and new levels of experience”.
2011 – Pandora Design
The whistles designed by Lorenzo Palmeri reproduce some of Milan’s architectural landmarks (the Velasca Tower, the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio, the Pirelli Tower and the Triennale Palace) and serve as acoustic souvenirs of the city as well.
“Fiskio – argues the designer-architect-musician – is a tribute to great architects and great architecture; Fiskio gives the city a voice and turns it into a musical lesson that moves us to excellence. Fiskio is both a movement and a symbol; it is an example, a statement. Fiskio possesses both punk and virtuous elements; it’s a wake-up call, a discovery; it’s memory. Fiskio pleads for a fresh start”.
An ordinary table that serves its ordinary purpose, but it’s also a table with a twist: it can be transformed into a musical instrument, a xylophone for an impromptu session amongst banqueters at the end of a meal. Matteo Ragni has been performing research into everyday objects that nevertheless can function as entertaining and humorous alternatives to common and foreseeable behaviours. But there’s always a deeper idea underneath the laughter. The “Xylotable” is an example of how we can quit the habit of passively sitting in front of the TV set and take up a more constructive and creative dimension of entertainment.
1983 – Alessi
In devising the first of Alessi’s designer boilers, Sapper wanted to ‘tame’ one of the noisy aspects of this commonly used appliance throughout Northern Europe, that is its violent, almost oppressive, whistling sound. His idea was to obtain a “somewhat civilized whistle”, therefore challenging a small object to issue a lower sound. He then researched the dynamics of bird whistles, tiny instruments that can nevertheless produce soft call sounds. What may be considered a marginal feature became consequently the core of a more complex piece of research, where the acoustic effect is what matters. As vapour passes through the brass whistle, this lets a pleasing melody out, bringing multisensory good vibrations into the kitchen.
Sovrappensiero Design Studio
2008 – Prototype
This piece is part of a series designed for the blind and thus based on a disability. At the same time it is conceived with the intention of creating objects that draw attention to the psychological and symbolic status of things that surround all of us.“Diapason translates reflected sunlight into a deep musical sound by way of a solar panel and an electromagnetic device. A sunny day or cloudy sky can change our mood. Waking up and feeling the light filtering through the window means it will be a beautiful day! Going out and meeting someone wrapped in the warmth of the sun and the exciting ‘sound’ of light is a voyage of genuine discovery, not just hard facts.” (words of the designers).
Ombretta Valenti and Silvia Gemma
2012 – Prototype
We live in public spaces where sometimes the need for quiet and a private dimension turns into an urge. Sofuto represents a peaceful island where you can listen to music, re-energize or protect yourself from noise pollution. Its shape resembles an origami and its folded structure expands and shrinks as if it were breathing. After use, Sofuto can be easily put away and stored as it takes up minimal space.