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Pillow by Snarkitecture

Hand-cast from gypsum cement, the design firm's latest concept fools the eyes and cradles your phone

by David Graver in Design on 23 July 2013

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Founded by architect Alex Mustonen and contemporary artist Daniel Arsham, design firm Snarkitecture has a history of making work from the unexpected. Their latest product, a resting dock for your iPhone aptly dubbed Pillow, continues along this tradition. Individually hand-cast in Brooklyn from gypsum cement, Pillow appears as a soft, gentle place for your phone to lie, yet it provides the security of a solid structure.

Between their trunk project and our partnership during the Design Master Class, we've grown fond of Snarkitecture. The idea of a dedicated resting space for your phone demonstrates functional imagination. The underside also has a built-in groove to keep a charging cord in place, so your iPhone can power up while it's not in use. Pillow is just the first in a series of objects that will allow everyday items to have a rest. We took a few moments to touch base with Mustonen to find out why Snarkitecture made a cement pillow their next move.

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Why this particular material?

We looked at a range of materials for this object, and in the end we were really happy with the weight and tactile qualities of the gypsum cement. It's a simple and elegant material that has a soft, matte feel—even though it's very durable. The hardness of the material is a play on the softness of the form, this object that appears to be a soft pillow indented by the weight of your phone.

What was the initial inspiration for a pillow for your phone?

When I come home, I empty my pockets onto the kitchen counter. The initial idea was to have a dedicated place for these everyday objects to rest when not in use, whether on your counter, desk or nightstand. Pillow functions in this way, but is also an interesting object even when the phone is not on it. The memory or trace of the phone imbedded in its surface implies the function of the object. There's also something helpful about having a single memorable place where these essential items live in your home or office—you know that they're either there or in your pocket or bag.

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What other products are you planning on constructing the pillow for?

The larger series we are working on is based on this idea of a resting place for the everyday items that you carry. The next ones on the list are the things that everyone carries: Keys, sunglasses, headphones, change, wallet. The idea is that someone could get one, two or five of these trays and arrange them in whatever configuration they like.

How do design products like the pillow fit into the bigger picture of Snarkitecture as a design house?

We are interested in creating a complete world. We intend to make everything from the scale of Pillow up to the scale of a building. The one constant is the simplicity and material reinvention that we bring to our work. We make objects and architecture perform in ways they shouldn't and reinvent possibilities for our world.

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Pillow retails for $68 and can be purchased online from Snarkitecture or at retailers like Colette, The Standard, Grey Area and Stampd LA when it hits select stores next month.

Images courtesy of Snarkitecture

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