Jarring Those Aesthetic Sensibilities


When I talk to people about the possibilities of rapid-manufacturing (RM), I wonder if I should start by pointing them to this toaster I caught over on MoCo Loco (Link). It’s still apparently fabricated using regular old manufacturing processes (the sides look like stamped metal riveted to the standard internal box), so it’s not an accurate representation; however, it’s sufficiently over-the-top that maybe the aesthetic as defined by high-volume manufacturing processes will be jarred loose inside their heads. I don’t believe most people realize how much the manufactured aesthetic influences them. I still recall the first time I saw one of my products used on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and thinking, “Why would they have products with draft and parting lines?” After that I caught another one of my designs on Star Trek: Voyager, a friend’s product on another Star Trek, and noticed yet another one that I later learned was designed by a former co-worker. All were forms based on 20th Century plastic injection-molding technology. We can’t even visualize our future without this aesthetic.

However, once someone groks that toasters, or anything else comprised of mostly simple shapes ejected out of steel molds, is not the best we can do, then perhaps other possibilities might gain a foothold in their mind’s eye. Maybe they’ll see a future that I see: one where natural forms and handmade craft aesthetics become the norm and not something you see in specialty import shops.

It’s just too bad this thing looks so bloody nightmarish. I’m almost afraid to use this as an example when explaining RM because it shows the potential for ugly, disfunctional stuff as well. What was designer Olivier Gregoire thinking? Freedom of form and freedom of expression are good things, the results of those two, on the other hand… seem to get you on MoCo Loco, I guess.

{Image source: MoCo Loco}

3 thoughts on “Jarring Those Aesthetic Sensibilities

  1. It seems that everyone in the industry is on a big “fishing trip” looking for a new direction in design.

    MANY Thanks to the reBang weblog for some fresh and sober perspective.

  2. I just call ’em like I see ’em. If I were Gehry, I’d send a Cease & Desist for mauling an aesthetic.

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