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BEN PROUT 11018655

The more familiar we become with ‘everyday’ objects, the more we accept them and take them for granted. Using the notion of sharing as a starting point, you are required to select an everyday item and turn the experience of using it into an ‘event’ that instigates or develops a relationship between it and the user(s) beyond mere function. Explore possible ways of improving, enhancing and innovating with regard to the objects’ functionality, form and manufacture, thereby giving it new value, meaning and market relevance. This project gives you the opportunity to explore how and why certain simple, everyday products can attain levels of worth far greater than their material cost. Your product should utilise low–cost, volume production technologies and be capable of being batch produced.

A: Presentation 5 minute presentation on your approach to the design project and thoughts on the notion of ‘sharing’ B: Concept Development The communication of ten different concepts -Three concepts developed in detail -One concept fully developed and resolved C: Presentation - Presentation boards that illustrate the product and how it addresses the brief -An A3 promotional poster created using adobe InDesign to include cut out images of your design solution on a white background, and a 300 word statement explaining what the product is and how it addresses the brief -An appropriately-scaled model -Product development drawings (AutoCAD/ Solid Works) D: Digital Portfolio


The following ideas stem from the concept of the ‘other half’, sometimes known as a ‘better half’. Having one of these is essential if you want to be a human being: pop lyrics, perfume ads and good old natural selection constantly remind us that there is something fundamentally wrong with being alone This ‘pressure to share’ is immense; from toasters to cars to flats, the world is absolutely built for two. These concepts celebrate the complete and utter inadequacy of singleness compared with the joyous fulfilment of being someone else’s component part.


Perfect for picnics, this is a hip flask that comes in two halves, one for each person, therefore rendering it completely unusable unless the two people come together to share it.

A romantic piece of jewellery in two halves, one for each partner. Like either partner, useless on its own; but when the couple spend time together, the pieces are attached, the circuit completed, and the timer begins. This keeps a running total of time spent in one another's company. In a society obsessed with technologically recording and preserving moments and experiences, this seems an appropriate extension.

Perfect either for commemorating anniversaries, or quoting figures in arguments

This gives the relationship a sense of exclusivity; neither person can use the flask with another partner, nor can they use it on their own. Each partner has a complete monopoly over the other.

‘EQUALITY CRACKER’ Sharing is all about fairness. In competition we are told that it is not the winning but the taking part that counts. Like everyone getting a medal at sports day, or pass the parcel with a gift on every layer, this seasonal re-innovation epitomises inclusiveness to the extreme.

(N.B. The ‘bang’ noise is optional and could be removed if considered too violent or alarming.)

From Noah’s ark to a rainy walk in the park, an umbrella is essential for pairs. Like the hipflask, this design reinforces the sense of vulnerability and inadequacy in being single, and allows the couple, once united, to revel in their smugness (see left).

Incidentally, cracker jokes are the ultimate in sharing; never too obscene or technical to exclude certain member of the family, and always dire enough for everyone to share a groan or cringe over.

Perforated exactly down the middle there are no losers at the dinner table, no family grudges. After all, at such a peaceful, ungreedy time of year, where we all get along with each other and settle for less, rivalry surely has no place.



I recently rediscovered this; an utterly charming product, yet painfully obsolete outside of the retro-fetish circuit. Traditionally used to store addresses and phone numbers, it seems now fatally wounded by handheld technology. However, with deep thought, I believe I can re-innovate this design beyond nostalgia and make it genuinely relevant again.

This traditional African musical instrument has tines that are plucked with the thumbs. The length of the tines from the bar affects the pitch. It is held as a mobile phone or Gameboy might be.

Make shorter so less top-heavy when held in hands

The slider categories could be changed depending on the information to be sorted:

Wider curved button for thumbs

Alphabetical Numerical Date/Month/Year Customisable titles for sections.

Could be a more slim-line, handheld, pocket-sized design

Interestingly, the design also doubles as a handy trebuchet; the dial allows you to adjust how much weight flips up.

Although this all seems rather vague, the product probably addresses the brief more than any of the other concepts: a simple everyday item in need of an kick up the arse. The ‘sharing’ notion is something to develop to give the product relevance.

My development of the flip-top organizer reminded me of this: the Kalimba, or thumb piano.

Although the kalimba would be traditionally handmade, it would be easy to produce an acceptable product cheaply in quantity.

Especially with small handheld games or gadgets, there is a tendency towards hoarding whilst other people ‘want a go’. A musical instrument playable by more than one person would be an interesting project, although it would have to be greater than the sum of its parts i.e. something more than having a single instrument each .

Tines extended to two sides, or perhaps in a circular pattern, would allow multiple users. These could be adjustable in length, or be colour/number coded, to create a system of scales or a more collaborative method of playing. This is vague at the moment, but something I will develop later.


COLLABORATIVE CREATION Other than piano for four hands, I struggled to think of any collaborative musical instruments. This may be for good reason, although I feel an interesting, well considered design may be an useful learning tool and may encourage collaborative music creation rather than isolation and self-centred playing.

A horse costume requires a strong sense of communication and co-ordination between the two halves to move properly and avoid falling over. Both halves must put in effort and also work together for success. Based around a mechanical push-base animal toy, this design takes a very simple toy design and expands it for four hands. Push base toys are often used as stress relief on a desk; this design could be used to defuse hostilities and disagreements through collaboration.

There is something quite intimidating about the keyboard, with its black and white keys like teeth, and its’ assumption of musical theory knowledge.. Most people have a naff keyboard in the loft somewhere that never gets played.

Below, I wondered if a combination of handles and levers could be used for different actions of the horse i.e. up-down, legs on cams etc. With one in each hand, it would be an interesting co-ordination device, akin to rubbing one’s stomach whilst patting one’s head.

Without getting too technological, there may be design opportunities for a musical instrument with a more democratic, accessible playing design than the black and white key configuration, and that requires more than one person to work it.

At this stage, the concept that best addresses the brief is the flip-top organizer. In order to develop something meaningful from this product, I decided to look at other everyday designs that I like and discover why this is. I will then bring this information to the flip-top organizer in order to hone and focus its’ own charm into something presentable and desirable. I realised that what these designs have in common is their capacity for ‘mindless’ movement; an almost hypnotic state of interation which transcends the actual purpose. For example, the rolltop and the phone dial, are two designs I remember from being a small child at my late grandma’s house; I was obviously too young to understand or care what the actual purpose was. Likewise, the tin winding music box. It only has four notes, and could easily be annoyingly repetetive, but I find that its limitations make it charming and hypnotic.

ORGANIZER DEVELOPMENT It is the contrasting movements of the slider and the flipper-button that give the sense of playfulness. By exagerating or ‘amplifying’ these mechanisms, the product gains something beyond its intended function; in other words, the act of using the object transcends its actual use. The slider on the current design makes a faint clicking, scraping nosie, like crickets or a frog.

The flip-top organizer in its original form was a swish new tool for secrataries or homeowners to quickly and stylishly look up names and numbers, rather than fussing around with a notebook. Since this system has been superseded by smartphones and databases, the mechanism itself is no longer required to aid pure, efficient organization, and can be detatched from its original purpose, becoming more playful and even playing to a sense of randomness...

The tines make this sound more interesting and prominent. Also, the gaps between the tines hold the slider in the category positions, eliminating the need for the current indented strip along the inside of the lid. A comb gave the inspiration for this addition. By using tines similar to those in the music box, the slider creates a distinguished sound when used. The letters along the lid reminded me of musical notes; indeed, the tines could be tuned to a scale to create a slide instrument.

Whereas the original product was meant as a single-user, personal or corporate tool, the sounds produced mechanisms of the new design already make the product grab attention if used in the vicinity of other humans. The fact that it cannot be used without sharing some kind of noise already make it inclusive and conversatinal before we even reach the main purpose...


The original product encompassed sharing in that it was a social tool; for sharing contact details and aiding communication. Sharing speech, either vocally or by letter or e-mail, is perhaps the most basic act of human sharing after the mammoth meat was shared within a tribe. I would like to keep this communication aspect to the design, but make it into something more playful.

Lines for lyrics/ poems:

The systematic nature of the organizer could be exploited to give a When reading, I ofmore unusual chanceten come across words Often a case of writers block can be eased based desk tool for that I don’t know the creatives rather than meaning of. I then look by adding a sense of them up, write out the chance to proceedings. executives.The musical nature of the mechaA Dadaist method of definition and aim to nisms create an all-inuse them either in con- song/poetry writing, one writing tool. versation or writing.This later used by lyricists would make use of the such as David Bowie and Brian Eno, involves existing alphabetical using isolated sentences index. or words in a random order, taking the exclusive act of creation away from the artist for less predictable results.

A Dictionary of Discoverd words:


For doodles and other procrastinatory paraphernalia:

As I mentioned earlier, cracker jokes are one of the most timeless designs of sharing. This organizer could sort Although the original them by theme or select was based around text completely at random. and numbers, there is no reason why image-based information could not be introduced. Short Stories: The alphabetical categories would be replaced by either chapter numbers or a chance slider similar to flicking through the pages of a book

These could be sorted into group games such as the completing the squiggle or the head-body-legs game (the Dada ‘exquisite corpse’) Perhaps some laminated, wipable pages could be used.


A very simple concept that stemmed from the ideas of mindless movement, in particular the music box. Indeed, a similar mechanism of tines could be adapted to this to make it also generate sound. Thematically, this design is quite playful; the pepper-grinder has a hovering, impending presence over the dinner table, releasing small flecks; not disimilar to an armed helicopter. The key here is to not make the design simply a propeller stuck on a peppermill, nor be too literal with the helecopter theme.

Propeller could be either collapsable or removable for ease of storage in cupboard.


The PepperCopter is a playful re-innovation of the traditional peppermill. Looking for fuel to develop an earlier concept, I made a closer examination of why I found certain objects charming, and found that it was the sense of ‘mindless’ movement about them. For example, an old fashioned phone dial or the roll-top organizer; now largely obsolete, the purpose these mechanisms served is superseded by their tangibility and the impulse to fidget and use them. I aimed to exagerate these qualities with the PepperCopter. Though I examined different notions of sharing, such as collaborative creation and other halves, I decided to develop the interpretation of sharing as the act of being conspicuous and demanding attention. I intended to have metal tines of different pitches housed inside the mill, which would be plucked by the rotating propeller, similar to a tin winding music box, though this interfered too much with the shape. Many of my other concepts used the idea of exaggerated sound and movement, but it seemed to apply best to this concept. Of course, besides the obvious link of sharing a condiment in a meal, the act of grinding a single corn of pepper into multiple pieces could be seen as a deeper level of sharing.

Height 172mm Width


Propeller Radius 77mm


PepperCopter A REINNOVATION BY BEN PROUT 11018655 The traditional peppermill has an almost anthropomorphic quality in its shape. During use, its hovering presence over the table contrasts with the imposing manner in which it is held, as if it would be brought down heavily like a judge’s hammer. I feel my re-innovation enhances these semantic qualities to create an ‘event’ during use. The theme of the helicopter dropping pepper shrapnel gives a military feel, yet the shape is not so literal; instead somewhere between a windmill, a pyramid and a tombstone, which suggests relics. This contrasts with the vitality and kinetics of the exaggerated grinding mechanism, giving a sense of power in age rather than obsolescence. Conspicuous without encroaching, the PepperCopter projects character both the air and at rest on the table.



BEN PROUT 11018655



2nd Year Project

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