_scape is actually much more than a book. In addition to its unconventional form, inspired by an Icelandic rock, it invokes the nature of Iceland through the senses. It can also be used as headphones, a soft head rest, and a sort of lap pet rock... that's a book, that's also an MP3 player.
In the words of designers Leslie Borg and Anita Silva:_scape is a concept for an onboard experience created especially for Icelandair. It encourages passengers to break away from the confinement of their seat by inviting them to embark on an imaginary journey.
This is done through a collection of Iceland-inspired sensory elements which have been packaged into a tactile, soft, organic shape. The shape, an exact replica of a rock picked up by the designers in Iceland, functions as a book with numerous layers to explore.
Within this, sounds, visuals, textures, scents and tastes can be discovered, designed to evoke and trigger the passenger's imagination. Although inspired by Iceland, the elements in the kit are non-didactic, thus leaving space for fantasy and memory, becoming truly individual to the user.
_scape is made to contrast the straight lines and rather clinical interior of the airplane cabin. Inspired by Icelandic nature, it is made to look wild and untamed. Depending on how it is held, the body changes from black to white, representing the two dominant features in the Icelandic landscape: lava rock and ice. The interior is partly made of arctic wool, a delicate fabric that will, like nature, disintegrate if handled extensively.
_scape proposes to preserve the rare moment in which air-travel forces its passengers to become "disconnected" and to utilize this time to connect with their own, "inner" entertainment system.
It functions as a distraction from boredom and anxieties as well as a platform for passengers to reflect, broaden and become aware of their sensory perceptions. Its aim, in the long run, is to revise the commercial flight from being simply a mode of transport and restoring it to a sentimental, memorable experience.
Michael Doyle is a Detroit-based experience designer and amateur cultural critic. He is interested in the spaces between design, art, music and culture, and has contributed to a variety of design blogs for more than a decade. Michael is a co-founder of the hackerspace OmniCorpDetroit, as well as DJ collectives Dethlab and Dorkwave. When not designing interactive environments for o2, record covers for Ghostly International, or collaborating with the likes of the Hypothetical Development Organization, he may be found playing music at sushi bars or organizing croquet socials in abandoned factories.