In what is surely a preemptive response to Amid Moradganjeh's "Rimino" concept, New Zealand-based designer/photographer Richard Clarkson has developed a prototype of "Rotary Mechanical," a hypothetical smartphone design that is as much an art object as an exercise in form. Yet Clarkson's original point of departure is remarkably similar to Moradganjeh's endeavor to create "technology that is more integrated and more sensitive to the human experience.":
The rotary mechanical smartphone is based on the idea of incorporating more feeling and life into our everyday digital objects. In modern times these objects have come to define us, but who and what defines these objects? Are we happy with generic rectangles of a touchscreen or do we want something with more tangibility, something with more life, something with more aura?
Where Moradganjeh arrives at poster design as an analog means of communication, Clarkson arguably digs deeper, exploring the physical organ of UI:I have looked at where industrial design has come from, and where it might be going to, and by doing so have tried to create an object that is true to both, a harmonious combination of mechanical parts and digital technologies. Rotary mechanical is a question not only about the ever increasing 'digital take-over' of everything in our lives but also what is lost when this happens.
Clarkson's design splits the difference between the DIY steampunk aesthetic and Ramsian minimalism—literally two sides of the same device—to emphasize the contrast between modern and traditional.
The phone comes with a pair of interchangeable brass plates: a true rotary dial and one with a traditional numeric keypad, where "the act of changing these is inspired from changing the lenses on a camera."
As with Moradganjeh's project, the photography is gorgeous. Larger images are available for viewing on Clarkson's Flickr page.