Could you make a record player in just 24 hours? ‘Easy peasy,’ you say. But what about if you could only use materials found in the streets and scrap yards of Peckham.
Furniture designers Hendzel and Hunt set 18 other designers this unusual challenge last weekend, tasking them to design and build a mechanical sound box in just 24 hours.
The race-against-time design challenge was inspired by Hendzel and Hunt’s range of furniture called Made in Peckham, which is made from materials found on doorsteps and outside spaces in the area.
‘Materials and objects hold their own stories, they belong to people and places, they come from specific cultural environments and processes. These valuable stimuli can provide starting points, references and ideas for the design of contemporary objects,’ say Hendzel and Hunt.
The designers also thought about these local stories when setting the brief for the participants, which were a crew of mechanical designers, kinetic artists, industrial engineers, product and furniture designers.
The Edison Bell gramophone factory, which was once located in Peckham, inspired the designers to set a musical brief, asking the challengers to, in groups, create a fully-working mechanical sound box that was capable of playing a 78 rpm record.
Materials for the machine had to be sourced from the Peckham area, by scavenging for found items or scouring local junk yards. As you might expect, the finished results were anything but uniform.
Jan Hendzel says, ‘One machine was 20ft tall, and worked by dropping a weight to spin the record, which was played horizontally rather than vertically.’
Others involved a rotating bin, whereby the record stayed in the same position but the player around it moved, a clockwork machine that resembled a gramophone – the best for sound quality, says Hendzel – and a machine powered by a Singer sewing machine foot peddle.