Alice Wang Design proposes products for the future of marriage
Taiwan studio Alice Wang Design has imagined a series of objects for a future where technology and longer life spans change the way marriage works, including a ring for couples that counts down the days until their vows expire (+ movie).
As people are living increasingly longer, Royal College of Art graduate Alice Wang's eponymous design studio considered the consequences this will have on relationships.
"An average of three months is being added to life expectancy every year at the moment and experts estimate there could be a million centenarians across the world by 2030," said Wang, who has previously designed a range of weighing scales that allow the user to deceive themselves about their weight.
"Is our society ready for this? Are we still doing four years of college? Are we still going to retire at the same age? And are we still going to be married to one partner until death do us part?"
The Future Marriage project suggests three proposals for products that might allow for a different approach to a healthy marriage.
The first is a ring that replaces the traditional diamond with a digital display showing a pre-arranged number of days that the couple could agree to be married for.
"In the future, rather than being married for life, can couples decide how long they want to be married for?" asked Wang. "Can the marriage certificate be more like a love contract where terms are pre-agreed?"
Couples would sign a certificate that legally binds them for a set period of time, after which they could go their separate ways or decide to renew the contract.
"Instead of using negative phrases such as 'divorced' or 'separated', can marriages end more peacefully and happily? If so, perhaps the number on the ring would be far more important than how big the diamond is!"
The digits on the ring would count down the number of days left in the marriage from the wedding.
Wang's second design is a table that blocks mobile and Wi-Fi signal on diner's phones or tablet devices.
"As we're more and more reliant on our mobile phones, we are no longer able to have a quiet and focused meal with our loved ones," said Wang. "Will we need objects around us to help us provide a signal free environment?"
Three small masts in the centre of the white table would create a phone and internet dead-zone around the eating area when it senses people sat on either sides, so couples could "have a proper face-to-face dining experience" without the distractions of their handheld gadgets.
Finally, Wang added a wedding ring to a computer mouse. The user slips the ring onto their fourth finger whenever they're controlling the mouse, reminding them of their wedding vows while browsing and chatting online.
"Flirting in cyber space has always been a grey area, whether it counts or not has been highly debatable," Wang said. "When one is browsing through social medias or chatting platforms, it heats up slightly as a gentle reminder that he/she is married."