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Design

This clock shapeshifts to tell the time, and it’s freakin’ amazing

Who knew checking the time could be so soothing?

London-based studio Animaro has designed a clock that gracefully expands and contracts with each passing hour of the day.

The timepiece, called Solstice, features a flower-like frame whose movement follows that of the sun. Gradually opening and closing over a 12-hour period, the clock is at its largest during midday, and at its smallest when the sun is low at 6pm.

There’s also a mode that allows the hand-assembled clock to complete a full rotation every minute, resulting in a near-hypnotic motion that could be likened to moving art.

“For many, time and a need for absolute accuracy has become a source of stress,” said Animaro founder Matt Gilbert. “When designing the Solstice clock, I wanted to make its movement represent the passing of time in a way that was beautiful and peaceful, taking inspiration from flowers opening in response to light.”

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Solstice is now on Kickstarter! You can check out the campaign page using the link in the bio. Earlybird prices are limited and won't be available for long. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Solstice is a clock that gradually opens and closes during the day, offering a new way to see the time through shape and pattern. It also has a demo mode where it completes one rotation every 60 seconds. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ #kickstarter #kickstartercampaign #furniture #animaro #kinetic #clock #clockdesign #featureclock #interiordesign #productdesign #woodenlight #walnut #cnc #handmade #furnituredesigner #designermaker #industrialstyle #industrialfurniture

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Solstice just launched on Kickstarter, where you can pre-order one for £395 (about US$507 or AUS$696). As of writing, Animaro is already nearing its funding goal after only a couple of days since its debut.

We recently had the chance to chat with Matt Gilbert to know more about Solstice. Continue below to read his insights about art, design, and engineering:

Where did you get the idea to make a kinetic clock?

“I was interested in the idea of showing time in a new way, through shape and pattern. The idea that if people lived with the clock, they would start to understand time from the size and shape of the clock face as opposed to the location of the hands.

“I also liked the idea of creating a timepiece that appeared to ‘breathe’ throughout the day, operating on the same timescale as the movement of the sun.

“I think that time and a need for absolute accuracy has become a source of stress in modern day life. Solstice seeks to work against this trend, presenting time in a calming and meditative way.”

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One of the images from the kickstarter filming. The Solstice clock forms a moving backdrop to your life, forming different shapes throughout the day. It offers a new more more relaxing way to tell the time. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Solstice launches in 3 days on Kickstarter!! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Photography by @dunjaopalko ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ #kickstarter #kickstartercampaign #furniture #animaro #kinetic #lighting #lightingdesign #coollamp #interiordesign #productdesign #woodenlight #walnut #cnc #handmade #furnituredesigner #designermaker #industrialstyle #industrialfurniture #featurel

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Please take us through your creative process. What was it like designing a clock that’s never been done before? What were the challenges you encountered, and how did you respond?

“First, I always try to create a rough prototype as fast as possible and show at an event for feedback. In the case of Solstice, the fair was the Salone del Mobile in Milan and it took about three months to build a prototype for this. I then used the feedback to help develop the design to completion.

“In the early stages, the first challenge with the design was how to connect the clock hour hand to the circular expanding mechanism. To solve this I looked to things that already existed and took inspiration from old steam train wheels.

“The main challenge throughout the entire process has been how to achieve something with minimal friction. The solution to this generally has been to continuously try new parts and new systems and then measure how well they work.”

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Close up shot of a development model of the Solstice Clock. The central body of the clock is machined from a single block of aluminium and the rails are stainless steel. This will launch on Kickstarter in 2 weeks on November 13th! Link in bio takes you to our website where you can sign up to be first to know when it is available to purchase. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Link in bio takes you to our website where you can buy or sign up to the mailing list for updates on sales and product releases! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ #kickstarter #kickstartercampaign #furniture #animaro #kinetic #lighting #lightingdesign #coollamp #interiordesign #productdesign #woodenlight #walnut #cnc #handmade #furnituredesigner #designermaker #industrialstyle #industrialfurniture

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Also, how long did the development process take? And how many prototypes did you make before you got to the final product?

“It took three months to build the initial prototype then approximately six months to develop it from there to completion. I took a year break in between where I developed another product, the Crane Lamp.

“It’s a little hard to say how many prototypes were built because it was more of an evolutionary process of a single prototype, with parts continuously getting swapped in and out. However, there were three distinct phases of this process where the prototype looked very different in each.

“The first prototype was the one I exhibited which was built almost entirely from off-the-shelf parts. The second prototype I changed visually to accommodate the feedback from the event, but it did not work well mechanically. The third looked good and worked smoothly and was the most difficult stage of the three!”

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A close up snippet of the Equinox clock in action. This clock makes one rotation every 12 hours, turning the passing of time into a moving artwork. Why does the passing of time need to be associated with stress and deadlines? We will launch a clock very similar to this on kickstarter in early November, called Solstice. Watch this space! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Solstice clock launching on kickstarter November 13th – sign up to mailing list on website to get the earlybird price! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ #kickstarter #kickstartercampaign #furniture #animaro #kinetic #lighting #lightingdesign #coollamp #interiordesign #productdesign #woodenlight #walnut #cnc #handmade #furnituredesigner #designermaker #industrialstyle #industrialfurniture #featurel

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We noticed you also design other items, such as a lamp. What’s your personal design philosophy? And what’s your vision for Animaro?

“I combine art and engineering to create objects of meditative beauty. I do not like beauty for beauty’s sake, but I like to create things that are visually engaging by virtue of the way they work and are put together. In this way it is meditative.

“I am often inspired by old mechanisms and defunct machines and seek to bring back some of the fun that they brought to homes. As fantastic as modern technology is, it also hides much of its inner workings from the consumer. There are no pulleys or gears or whirring belts, just transistors and microchips encased in a protective shell.

“I like the generosity of mechanical devices, in that they share with the user how they work and to some extent how the physical laws of the world around us work.”

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This is the solstice clock- a product I am currently finalizing. It is a sculptural clock which changes shape throughout the day, giving an abstract expression of time. At midday, when the sun is higher in the sky, the clock is larger. In the evening when the sun is lower in the sky it is smaller. There are 12 'petals' to the structure to denote the 12 hours of the day. The solstice clock not only tells the time, but provides an ever changing sculpture which breathes with the spinning of the earth. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ #LibertyOpenCall #featureclock #kineticart #kineticsculpture #time #timeflies #makingtheinvisiblevisible #designer #furnituredesigner #kickstarter

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Finally, what do you hope for this clock to become or mean for its users?

“I hope this clock can help people slow down a little and appreciate the moment more. That it can change people’s perception and attitude towards time. Amongst a growing consumer market of hyper-connectivity, I would like Solstice to represent a more meaningful way of interacting with objects in our home.”

If you’d like to own a Solstice timepiece, you can pre-order one at Animaro’s Kickstarter page.

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