Breaded Escalope's touch-responsive clock tells the time with shadows

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Vienna Design Week 2015: Vienna design collective Breaded Escalope has created a clock that uses shadows to display the time when a finger is placed within its face (+ movie).

Shadowplay Clock by Breaded Escalope

Mounted onto a flat vertical surface, the Shadowplay Clock comprises a raised plywood ring with LEDs underneath that shine into its centre.

By placing a finger in the middle of the circle, the user activates sensors that turn off all but three of the lights.

Shadowplay Clock by Breaded Escalope

Each casts a shadow of the outstretched arm in the directions that clock hands would point to at that given moment. Seconds are marked by a fainter shadow than the minute and hours "hands".



"At first sight this clock is just some ambient light on the wall, until you interact with it," Breaded Escalope co-founder Michael Tatschl told Dezeen. "Then it actually makes you to the most important component of the whole concept."

Shadowplay Clock by Breaded Escalope

The sensors are connected to an Arduino electronic platform, which relays the signal to turn off the lights. The human input required to make the product function is intended to "surprise and reach people emotionally".

"We had the feeling that this outcome is a nice contemporary combination of crafts, technology and human interaction," said Tatschl, who founded Breaded Escalope in 2008 with Sascha Mikel and Martin Schnabl. "It was quite important to us to keep that balance."

Shadowplay Clock by Breaded Escalope

The clock was presented at the Ganz Neue Gallerie, opened by Breaded Escalope with fellow Vienna studio Chmara.Rosinke and designer Patrick Rampelotto during the city's design week from 25 September to 4 October 2015.

Breaded Escalope also presented a two-person bar modelled on an Adolf Loos speakeasy at the gallery during the event.

Shadowplay Clock by Breaded Escalope

Many designers have experimented with materials and technologies to create clocks. Zelf Koelman's design spells out the time with magnetic fluid, while Rachel Suming created a clock using engraved aluminium plates that overlap every three hours to show the time.

  • Marko Gligorov

    Sooooo, you’re telling me I have walk up to the clock and touch it in order to see the time… Market value = 0. It looks nice though.

    • Martin

      You can have a rubber ball that you throw to the wall to show time for a few seconds. Or you can just buy a regular clock instead.

      • Marko Gligorov

        Yeah, or just put a stick in the centre to make a sun clock!

  • olof

    Lovely idea, but which one is the minutes and which is the hours?

  • Laura Ryerson

    The gif displayed on the main page for this article is wonderfully expressive of design intention. I always love to see appliance designers who have a real sense of photographic documentation; Nendo is another company that perfectly expresses intention with their photographs.

    The design is fantastic, the only critique I have is that the second hand doesn’t seem very visible in the video (maybe it does up close).