by Inigo del Castillo in New Design on Thursday 6 February 2014

Designer Chris Dimino astounded us all with his ability to turn useless old items into wacky, re-purposed inventions. We got to talk to Chris and pick his thoughts on his design process, where he gets inspiration, and new designs from his drawing board. [read our original post on the Waffle Iron Typewriter]

You created The Corona-matic for an exhibition years back. Where did the bolt of inspiration come from for the idea to make a waffle maker out of a typewriter?
I think it just came from a lot of doodling and putting my thoughts on paper as I tried to come up with ways to re-purpose a typewriter.

In the case of the Corona-Matic, I didn’t have the actual machine in front of me, so I just kept drawing typewriters over and over- breaking them down into their essential parts. Many hours and days later, in a quick sketch of a keyboard, I loosely made cris-crossing lines that kind of resembled a waffle, and that’s when it hit me.

Tell us about the design process involved in turning an old typewriter into something useful again?
For me, the process depends on the idea, but for the Corona-Matic, I had to sketch out what I wanted the final product to look like. This was a marriage between a 60′s Smith Corona typewriter, and an equally dated waffle iron.

They both had great visual elements to work with, so things came together pretty naturally when reassembling the two into one.

The mirror chrome lid of the waffle iron worked really well with the body of the Smith Corona, and the long handle and angled legs tied it all together. As a detail, I utilized the back or the typewriter where the roller once was as a place to put powdered sugar and jams, and of course, the waffle designed itself with the keyboard pattern.

How long did it take you to refurbish the typewriter?
From start to finish, it took me three weeks to create. The thing to keep in mind is that this was for an exhibit that had a due date, so I was simply working with the window of time I was given, though six weeks would’ve been nice, as the bulk of the work was done in the final week.

Was the typewriter just for the exhibit or did you actually take it home for everyday use?
It’s funny because I remember being so focused on the concept of the piece that the idea of it’s actual functionality wasn’t a priority at the time, especially given my three-week deadline.

I realize now how crazy that sounds especially since I love waffles, but at the time I was committed solely to making a great piece of concept art for the exhibition. The exhibition was a huge success thanks to Kevin O’Callaghan who conceived and curated the show for the School of Visual Arts.

What new design or projects are you currently working on?
Coincidentally, I’m working on making a functioning Keyboard waffle iron! A lot of time has passed since I made the Corona-Matic, yet the idea of making keyboard-shaped waffles still excites me. While I could make a handful of waffle irons from recycled typewriters, the notion of mass producing them is impractical, to say the least.

So I’m currently working a simple design that will let people make keyboard-shaped waffles to their heart’s content. I’m planning to create a limited set of Keyboard Waffle Irons by winter of 2014 and you will be able to check out the production status on my upcoming website at Keyboardwaffleiron.

Beyond that I have plans to develop and produce another conceptual design: The Shining Cuckoo Clock (image below).