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When objects speak

When I came up with this umbrella stand, I couldn't believe that someone else hadn't already done it *. In fact, this is the most natural form (a large cone holds small cones very well), and it clearly says 'I am an umbrella stand, put your umbrella here'. An object that talks makes life a little easier.

I recently designed a talking clothes hanger: it literally speaks, says hello and utters other phrases when you hang your clothes on it. We have been used to talking to electronic devices for a long time, but always for functional purposes. This one is different, because it enters a private sphere in an unexpected way. It raises the bar in the growing process of humanising objects, which is both intriguing and disturbing for the design world. Perhaps the next umbrella stand, when one is about to leave the house, will say, "Hey, it's going to rain, take your umbrella with you!"

* In fact, someone else did it before me, and who else but a fortune teller? This is an umbrella stand that, years after I designed mine, I photographed in the waiting room of a Taiwanese fortune teller's 'studio'. Umbrella aside, he didn't get one right about me!


© 2021 Massimo Mussapi

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