When confronted with the challenge of giving a gift to one of their clients, most firms tear into the Harry and David catalog or ship a flurry of Snuggies. But when giving a present to an architect (exactly who, they won’t say), New York firm Pentagram commissioned one of their architecture partners, Daniel Weil, to design a custom clock befitting a design mind. Which is to say, Weil designed a timepiece that helps to explain, very simply, and elegantly, what makes a clock tick.
Weil has made a career of visualizing industrial design. His Radio in a Bag, which he designed in 1981, reduces the familiar form of the radio into colorful, almost toy-like parts, which helps to demystify the technology behind it. But here’s the real brilliance when it comes to gadgets: It also makes the radio more easy to repair, maintain and replace parts if needed. Over the next few decades, Weil did the same thing for clocks, radios, and lights.
For Pentagram, Weil’s work takes a decidedly higher-end approach, made from materials like nickel-plated brass and silver. Mounted on a piece of ash, the clock’s elements is broken down between the time-telling interface and the power source, a thin rubber tube running between them like a conveyor belt.
Supplying energy for the clock’s operations like an onsite power plant is one bright yellow AA battery, which is displayed prominently and even features custom screwheads (look for the plus and minus beneath the battery’s charges). And of course at the center of the face, you’ll see a clever nod to the architect audience: the shape of a house.
“Time can be reduced to hours, minutes and seconds, just as a clock can be reduced to its component parts,” says Weil about the piece. “This doesn’t explain time, but in a way simply exposes its mysterious essence.?