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Brief Published: 27 Oct 2015

Shadowplay: A Touch-Responsive Clock

Vienna design collective Breaded Escalope has developed a touch-responsive clock that uses light and shadow to tell the time, bringing an ambient and ethereal approach to an everyday activity.

The Shadowplay clock consists of a wall-mounted wooden ring encasing a series of LEDs that shine into the centre. The lights produce a soft glow, which creates a calm and warming feeling. When a user wants to tell the time, they simply place their finger on the wall in the middle of the circle. This movement triggers the responsive sensors, which turn off all the lights except three, which indicate where the hands of a conventional clock would point. The second hand light is dimmer than the minutes and hours to make the time easier to distinguish.

The clock uses light as a material to add ambience and a transient element to the design, evoking a sense of wonder in the viewer. This approach feeds into our S/S 16 Design Direction, Trace, an aesthetic underpinned by the use of light to create softening and temporal effects that play with shadow.

In our Get Real Macro Trend we identified how technology designs that engage a wide range of senses are gaining traction, as consumers seek more emotional and contemplative connections to products and brands. See Raw Human for further insight. For more on fresh approaches that suggest the passing of time and add illusionary surprise, see Exploring Ephemerality.

Shadowplay was exhibited during Vienna Design Week (September 25-October 4). These events provide a platform for emerging design talent and opportunities to discover cutting-edge concepts and experimental design. Look out for our upcoming coverage of Dutch Design Week for more forward-thinking approaches.