For this first exercise I am going to have a look at a new Swedish company and its innovative products. I do not even now if they are established as a company or if they are simply a group of creative professionals cooperating as a team. As a matter of fact this is the way they choose to introduce themselves on their website www.flyte.se:
We are a small team of creatives, engineers, designers and artists who met in Sweden. Our goal is to create intelligent and inspiring products with the absolute WOW factor.
With a background in branding, communication and product design, Flyte creates products and experiences that captivate the imagination combining vintage design with innovative techniques.
They imagine, develop, create and finally bring in mass production new products through projects that are backed and funded by http://kickstarter.com, a ‘global community built around creativity and creative projects.’ Kickstarter itself is a new concept in which people who have an innovative idea – be them artists, filmmakers, designers or makers – retain a complete creative control over their projects. More on kickstarter also from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kickstarter
Here is the last campaign launched on Kickstarter by Flyte for their third project STORY: The Levitating Timepiece, which their describe as ‘the first levitating timepiece that travels through the air, allowing you to personalize your most unique journeys.’
At its core it is a clock, so it certainly is an old idea, and it is possible to turn on and off a LED display to show the time, but it can also be used as a personal timer or, how the company says, in ‘journey mode’, in which case the floating sphere levitates around its wooden base as around an orbit in a freely chosen time frame, starting from the 12 o’clock position and completing its orbit in a month, or any number of days or any other interval of choice. And it can be connected to the e-cloud through a mobile phone and display moon phases, sunrises and sunsets, the meteorological data and so on.
I think that as a product it shows several contemporary and innovative features:
- it personalizes the concept of time I would say almost in postmodern terms, time becomes flexible and adapts itself to the personal vision of who uses the product, and the name STORY is very interesting in this sense as is the concept of ‘JOURNEY MODE’, that underlines the feeling of personal travel and discovery
- it stresses the importance of immaterial, imaginative and ‘slow’ values but in contemporary technological ways
- it has a very sleek and hi-tech design
At the same time its features also connect this product to the past and to established values:
- the concept of a sphere levitating around an orbit makes it eternal and establishes a relation with ancient devices which measured time according to astronomical movements like the sundial or the pendulum
- it adopts age-old traditional materials like wood and metal and ‘rediscovers’ and ‘gives a new skin’ to traditional human values
- underlines the need for physically sharing an experience as against the distance created by computers and social media
- as a design it continues the Scandinavian tradition of simplicity, functionality and minimalism
Perhaps this product could become dated because of the same characteristics that make it contemporary today:
- it seems to me that a product like this can be viewed within the contemporary trend towards a natural and simple living and recycling, and as such the consumers might find it old when the trend changes
- maybe the way the product is crafted might age and take on an old look as techniques and materials change
- the levitating concept, which Flyte uses for the third time in a project, might become obvious in time and seen as used-up and not inspiring anymore