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iPad as Retro TV

frogs do some pretty fascinating things in their spare time, combining their passion for technology with their artistry. So, when frog Creative Director Jonas Damon transformed a fruit crate into a retro iPad charging doc, we wanted to get the full scoop.

A statement from the resourceful artist, Jonas Damon:
I’ve heard designers lament the end of industrial design for some time now: single-purpose products like calculators and alarm clocks are being replaced by smart devices, leaving nothing more than a screen in a minimal enclosure.  Another woe is that design is increasingly being offered by off shore OEMs and ODMs, leaving design quality to suffer at the hand of the cheap cost.
I’ve got a different way of looking at it: all this advanced technology is actually enabling industrial design. A product’s form used to be dictated by its mechanical function. Products had distinctive shapes largely because the composition of the internal components mandated a certain form. But, as mechanics are being replaced by microchips, these constraints are disappearing. Designers have more opportunity with form now ; ergonomics and expression no longer need compromising.

This is the thinking behind the iPad dock I built for my personal use. It takes the form of a 1970’s or 1980’s era television, complete with the cathode ray tube housing.  Hartmut Esslinger kick-started his career and frog design with the iconic design of a television for the German manufacturer WEGA (later absorbed by Sony). Up until then, TV’s were largely made to look like furniture: wooden cabinets complete with spindly legs. His premise was that this technology should proudly assert its own identity. My iPad dock reverses this thinking. Lacking a distinct expression, I sought to enrich the iPad with something I have an emotional connection to – the home appliances of my upbringing.  This lo-fidelity design language is very appealing in contrast to the gloss-black slick design trends that are currently the norm.  However, what I’ve done is not unique. Every day we are seeing ordinary people adapting products like the iPad to suit their particular needs, lifestyles and desires. The lack of personality of the iPad has enabled people to create their own enclosures. In this sense, industrial design, or folk-industrial design, is thriving.



As frog's Content and Community manager, Kristina Loring curates, writes, and edits the design mind platform. When she's not spreading frog's ideas across the Internet and the city, you can find her raving about digital activism, the power to humanize tech, and community-led innovation.