the hour glass — a shape we associate with sand, and the spine of a black widow spider — hasn’t changed much since its arrival, antiquity. typically, two facing-triangular-shapes combine to funnel trickling, gravity-sensitive sand down a narrow (usually glass or plastic) corridor, then back out again. but with the rise of digital clocks and the fall of sand-powered technology, the iconic hourglass has become something less typically used — more symbolic, more sentimentally used in cliched stories.
amid this transition from useful tool to spiritual trope, nendo plays with expectation, gravity, math, speed, and angle to reimagine what time looks like. they’ve redesigned the hourglass and will present the results at milan design week 2018.
all images and video by akihiro yoshida
hourglass 1, time divided, measures five minutes worth of sand via two time pockets. for two minutes, the sand falls into the left-most-chamber. but it takes the sand three minutes to travel into the right chamber — both speed, and space have an effect on these rivers of time, and the particles that pass through them.
hourglass 2, time converted, measures two minutes of time, and one minute of time — depending on the orientation of the glass. when upright, the angles and chambers control the flow of the sands to trickle down the right passageway for a count of two minutes. when flipped over, time isn’t as consistent. the sands are angled down the left, less narrow passage way, for a count of one minute.
in hourglass 3, time doubled, the sand passes down from chamber to chamber. once again, at different speeds, the same amount of sand falls for one minute and then falls again, slower, deeper down into the second chamber for a recorded time of two minutes.
the final hourglass, hourglass 4, times three, leaves 3 puddle like cavities, open and exposed at the top. the amount of time for which the sand travels depends entirely on which cavity the sand is poured into; if it takes one minute for sand to travel down the quickest cavity, it would take the same amount of sand two minutes to travel down another, and three minutes for the same amount of sand to traverse the third.
we can’t easily experience time like flowing rivers, but with these, we can try. with undulations that flow more like unpredictable, sliding water — less like a predictable, gravitational abyss), nendo reminds us that the shape of time is an organic one. the colored sands travel down these rivers, land like drops, and ripple like tiny, unobservable puddles.
zach andrews I designboom
mar 28, 2018