Loneliness affects 1 in 10 people in the UK, a number that despite what many expect, is higher in younger generations. For many it is the modern mode of life, that of increasing urbanisation, increasing pressure to perform professionally and increasing saturation of digital content, that is driving this decrease in real social connection within the working population.
Amicus is a product designed to tackle this issue. Removing the user from conventional digital means of communication, Amicus connects users together with the commonality of feeling alone. Fostering meaningful communication and spanning the social prejudices that so often preclude social interaction within our everyday lives, the beacon allows us to open up, communicate and share. The beacon is an analogue expression of a digital connection.
Designed in conjunction with the Design Museum, the project won the 2015 Design Factory competition.
A beacon of connection fostering meaningful communication, spanning the social prejudices that often preclude social interaction.
Fundamental to the design was the need to create an engaging experience for the user. From the soft glow of the copper inlayed beacon during conversation, to the simple action of twisting the device on its base to generate a connection, the overall feel is intended to be an analogue expression of what is essentially a digital connection.
Materiality was essential to the project. The use of responsibly sourced materials and design for end of use separation give the device a lowered environmental footprint, reflecting the societal benefits the device strives for. Primarily however, the materiality provides the analogue ‘warmth’ that draws you into the product and makes you want to engage with it.
The design of Amicus evolved progressively from a traditional lighting form to one that evokes the values and actions related to a traditional candlestick telephone.
Throughout the design process potential users were encouraged to put forward their thoughts and shape the design, both ergonomically and emotionally.
Sketch models were used as an aid to discussion, helping visualise and ‘shape’ the evolution of the devices form.
Copyright Matt Canham 2018
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