The Domino Clock™ takes a simple, iconic object and transforms it into a new way to tell time. The concept is simple. Three larger-than-life dominoes are equipped with articulating “dots” that flip back-and-forth between black and white to keep time. They hang on the wall or stand free, communicating wirelessly as they quietly mark the passing hours and minutes. By subtly abstracting the idea of time, Carbon’s Domino Clock creates a more relaxing experience.
While the idea itself is pretty straight forward, it challenges the assumptions we make about familiar objects. “People have a lot of immediate associations with everyday things, especially iconic ones,” says Joe Sullivan, industrial designer at Carbon Design Group, a Seattle-based product development consultancy. “It’s interesting to play with these expectations. In this case, we’re taking a well-known object out of its normal context and giving it new capabilities, allowing it to function as something completely different.”
“The numbering scheme on dominoes and dice developed as a way to represent numbers that’s immediately recognizable, so in a lot of ways it makes perfect sense to use it as a time piece,” explains Sullivan. “Everyone gets it, but the fact that we’re not used to seeing it in this context makes it unexpected at the same time.” It’s this shift in context that gives the concept a twist.
The plan is for the Carbon team to bring the concept to life, with the first Domino Clock gracing the walls of their new studio in early 2011. A video interview and demo of the mechanism that makes the dots flip can be found on Carbon’s site.
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