Areaware has something fresh on its hands with Finn Magee's Flat Life Light and Flat Life Clock. Both the lamp and clock work as you would expect them to, despite their almost totally flat profile. We spoke with the designer of the striking pieces to see what inspired the series.
Magee told us that the idea was rooted in a recent moving experience. He noted that, when he was setting up his work space, "the place looked so much more productive with a task lamp on the desk." The symbolic value of the lamp led to the end product. Magee was seeking to make an icon of productivity into practical art — a sort of "get to work" message for any room with wall space to spare.
He said that the best part of building the original prototype was figuring out the details of turning an image into a functioning lamp. The snaking cord exiting the poster appears to be an illusion at first, but is actually the key to making the product work. Additionally, there's a reflector built into the lamp that projects the light out and down, meaning that the light falls intuitively where you would expect it to.
The initial production run was made by hand in London. After wrangling with local printers to create 50 of each poster, and ensure they were as tough as they were pretty, Magee spent "hours in a studio with a smoking soldering iron and rounds of coffee" to make the posters functional. The originals were sold through art galleries Murray Moss and Phillips de Pury. Areaware was in touch soon after to discuss mass production. The mass market shift meant moving production to China and reaching a whole new audience.
There are three designs in total. In addition to the two at Areaware, Magee also built, alongside Warwick Audio, a Flat Life Sound. The functioning poster is thinnest commercially available speaker in the world. Magee told us that the Flat Life series could see additions, citing "loads of ideas." He says that the series is about striking the balance between "functionality and novelty." He goes on: "The pieces work best when they are of some use."