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Steampunk in Contemporary Design

Design Inspiration

Steampunk, the design language based on how the world could have looked now and [a century] into the future if we had taken the path of the steam engine instead of the oil engine, have had a major inpact of some of the most amazing products recently. Seen in watches, cars, motorcycles and hollywood movies, it has made a serious impact much to my delight.

Poisson Oeil by Pierre Matter

Poisson Oeil by Pierre Matter, photo by Pierre Matter.

The most striking element of this kind of design is the use of “real” materials, no material is trying to fake that it’s something else, metal is the material of choice and plastics are very seldom used and then it’s usually carbon fiber which have its own merits both in terms of performance andaesthetics.

Most of these are analog machines, even though some things can be made much better (and infinitely cheaper) using digital technology, they are built as perfected hand-operated machines. The producer not only manufactures them as products, they are hand-crafted works of art. But even more important is that they crave for the users engagement by making the operation an occasion that lets the user train and perfect his own skill.

Elektra Micro Casa a Leva Crank

A detail from my Micro Casa a Leva, the crank for the lever.

Most stuff here is found in the high-end of their respective sectors. Is it because the average person can’t appreciate the beauty or their function? Is it because the manufacturing and engineering are too expensive? Is it because the market is too small?

In a number of upcoming posts I’m going to explore the product types where steampunk influences can be found in the very best of the products available. These machines are all some of the coolest, most beautiful and arguably highest performing in their field. None are cheap although some are slightly more accessible than the others…



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