While Dane Whitehurst has a pretty decent dayjob as the Creative Director of Burgopak, a packaging design company, the London-based designer has also been known to dabble in "Products for the Modern Thinker" on the side.
The things that interest, bother, upset, delight and define my outlook on the world are what drive my personal work. Each project has a message, some obvious, some more subtle but all exist as a means to provoke thought and discussion.
He recently reached out to us about his most recent design, the "iPeace," which is easily Whitehurst's most utilitarian design: a pair of earplugs with a carrying case. "iPeace allows you to carry a set of earplugs wherever you go, and by significantly reducing background noise will help those hectic moments to be that much more... peaceful."
As someone who can't bear to be on the train or plane sans iPod+earbuds, I appreciate the sentiment, but I still feel that the iPeace doesn't quite fit the bill as a necessity for the "modern thinker." I personally carry a Bullet (bike valve adapter), and I can see how a flashlight would be handy, but I can't imagine there's a huge market—of modern thinkers or otherwise—for everyday-carry earplugs.
Nevertheless, Whitehurst's website invites at least a little bit of "what's-behind-door-#2" exploration for a curious visitor, and I was pleased to discover that his other concepts are truer to their target audience. The "Martyr," above, is a playful take on a nightlight:
The Martyr is an energy saving fundamentalist. He wrestles tirelessly with the uncomfortable notion that in order to fulfill his ultimate cause in life; to save as much energy as possible he must extinguish his own light by pulling himself out of his socket.
His other designs venture further afield from practical application towards clever conceptual designs: the "Cliffhanger" mug lies somewhere between quotidian houseware and speculative object. It's a "seat-of-the-pants workout for the domestic thrill-seeker," a set of mugs that are characterized by "climbing holds instead of handles to provide a more challenging way to enjoy a cup of tea."
Photograph by Nick Ballon
The "Horoculars," on the other hand, offer a more cerebral twist on one's otherwise mundane surroundings, allowing a user to envision a given location through a historical lens... literally.
The optical device that lets you look back in time as well as forwards. By re-working the optics in a pair of binoculars and converting the left eye-piece into a slide viewer it is possible to insert images from the past and visualize direct comparisons with the present by shifting focus between eyes.
This project is an interpretation of the work of Alastair Bonnett, Professor of Social Geography at the University of Newcastle. His research relates to Urban Memory and Active Nostalgia and he is particularly interested in encouraging people to actively explore and record nostalgic attachments to place. It is hoped that this may help to develop a greater sympathy towards sites of nostalgic importance within contemporary urban development.
Photograph by Nick Ballon
It's the analog equivalent of an Augmented Reality app, a veritable grown-up ViewMaster. "Horoculars form part of a Social Geographers field kit. Together with lots of maps and wayfinding equipment, the Horoculars allow researchers to chart the memories and evolution of place as well as evoke nostalgic attachments to specific sites." Insofar as the "Horoculars" grant a sort of hindsight, I can only imagine a future version that allows you to turn back the days, months and years simply by adjusting the fine and coarse adjustment knobs.
It is said that by using the golden ration a face can be divided into harmonious proportions, and that the closer a persons facial features adhere to these proportions, the more beautiful they are.
Upon confronting this mirror each person can see how close or far away they are from being truly beautiful by judging how well they fit within the defined grid, cut into the surface of the glass.
Last but not least, Whitehurst demonstrates his packaging design prowess with his work for "Eye Candy," a "conceptual confectionary product."