A new clock from Japanese design collective Bril is the perfect way to appreciate what the passage of time truly represents: a gradual march toward death. Rather than a ticking hand or checked off dates, the Coniferous Clock marks the span of a year by the progressive browning of cedar leaves.
The circular cedar frame is filled with leaves that slowly fade from green to brown in the span of a year. The design was inspired by sugidama, a bundled ball of cedar boughs used in sake production to mark the passage of time. Traditionally, sake brewers hung a sugidama right after making sake from that year’s rice harvest. Once the green sugidama turned brown, the rice wine was ready. At the end of the year, the leaves can be removed from the nails that hold them to the clock’s frame, and fresh, green leaves hung up in their place.
Like other annual clocks we’ve seen, the Coniferous Clock shifts the emphasis of time keeping from minute-to-minute scheduling to a more leisurely outlook. Gradual and presumably a bit imprecise, it can’t tell you whether you’ll be late to your next meeting. But hey, looking at plants will make you more productive anyway.