Dezeen Magazine

Guitars for OK Go by Moritz Waldemeyer

At a concert in London last week rock band OK Go performed with guitars customised by London designer Moritz Waldemeyer, featuring LEDs and lasers.

Originally created as part of a design performance for fashion brand Fendi at Design Miami in December, the instruments use lasers to create imagery on a video screen in response to the music.

See costumes designed by Waldemeyer for the band in our earlier story.

Here's some text from Design Miami:




This December, Design Miami/ will present another chapter in its ongoing series of Design Performances, introducing a new collaboration between the techno-design pioneer Moritz Waldemeyer and illustrious fashion house FENDI.

This latest edition of the Design Performance program builds on the critically acclaimed Craft Punk exhibition developed with FENDI for the 2009 Salone del Mobile in Milan, in which 10 design studios were invited to create hand-made design objects using FENDI off-cuts and commonly available materials in a free-form, performance art–like, three-day event.

For the Design Miami/ 2009 show, Waldemeyer was invited to reexamine typical notions of craftwork and how it has evolved within our fast-changing, technology-driven, digital world. The resulting project reminds us that experimental and innovative design work will always represent a marriage between the human hand and the mechanical or electronic tools that expand our world of possibilities – even projects that rely heavily on advanced computer programming and the latest in laser and LED product development.

Bringing together the creative worlds of industrial design, rock music, installation art and haute fashion, Waldemeyer has customized a selection of Gibson guitars, outfitting each instrument with laser lights, interactive LEDs and off-cut FENDI materials. When the guitars are played, the lasers engage a video wall and leave traces that illustrate the music in real time.

The lasers emulate the strings of the guitar when strummed by the musician’s hand, and the vibrations transmit abstract graphic interpretations of the music. Waldemeyer has brought on board digital artist Memo Akten to develop the tracking program that allows the guitars to act, essentially, like paintbrushes. The tricked-out, bespoke guitars will be used by the guitar-rock band OK Go on their upcoming tour, and as a preview, OK Go will give a daily concert at Design Miami, everyday between 6:30 and 7:00pm.

Design Miami/ Director Ambra Medda comments, “Our collaboration with Fendi on this Design Performance featuring Waldemeyer and OK Go, combines technology, music, fashion, design and craftsmanship, and provides us with a unique opportunity to experience design process in a completely new and experimental way."

In the few short years that Moritz has built his career, he has already formed strong ties to the world of Rock N Roll, having been commissioned to create stage outfits for bands such as U2, the Black-Eyed Peas and, of course, OK Go. In fact, it was out of his previous collaboration with OK Go that the idea to work with guitars evolved, Ok Go frontman, Damian Kulash comments, “It's such a pleasure to be working with Moritz again.

He's one of those rare and wonderful artists who's equally inventive in the domain of minute technological details and broad, open-ended creative ideas. He designed the LED jackets that we wore in our stage show a couple years ago, and it was a perfect match. Our brand of performance–super- saturated, super visual, super fun -- is precisely the right arena for his design. We knew right away that we needed to make instruments with him, and ever since we've been looking for the opportunity to realize our dream of playing guitars that are their own light show. We're incredibly excited and thankful that Fendi and Design Miami/ have made this possible.