Based in San Francisco and Seoul, SF-SO is an industrial design studio founded by Jaehoon Jung and Hoyoung Joo. One of the studio’s objectives is to focus on the human experience in relation to the designed objects.
Observing that consumerist culture has infiltrated the market with an oversaturated amount of new technological devices that require constant updates and manuals on functions, the design studio wants to offer a solution for intuitive usage of bare essentials in everyday life. By minimising the functions of products and injecting playful elements into the designs, SF-SO hopes to deliver multi-sensory experiences from interactive controls and a balance of power dynamics between human behaviours and digital advancements.
Tamed Digital Product Project (TDPP)—including Cone Bluetooth Speaker, Ball Internet Radio, and Wheel Digital Radio—is a series of minimalist objects developed from the studio’s research on aforementioned observation. Using the main palette of pale grey and a neon pop to indicate markers, these clever gadgets are quirky entities that reduce time and effort that’s often spent examining.
With Cone Bluetooth Speaker, the gravity sensor technology consists of only one movement: flipping. By repositioning its configuration, users can perceptively power on and off the device with great ease. The octagonal conic form is streamlined to have smooth corners, allowing rotating stance and firm grasps.
Ball Internet Radio is a cubic bar that has indentations with markers to hold three magnetic balls. By rolling or lifting and placing the balls accordingly, users are able to change the radio frequency. Playful gesture is an important role in this product, making it not only an amusing act of cooperation between human and the object, but also an intuitive process of exploration.
Upgrading traditional wheel-tuned radios, Wheel Digital Radio is a simple cylindrical device with a bright green needle. Dialing the object results in changes of radio frequency and stations. The analogical familiarity of the design speaks clarity of its interface, giving an outstanding simplicity in comprehensive operation.
By just condensing inspections of contemporary issues in this technological age, SF-SO were able to tackle personal interests and produce minimal designs that shift the interplay of power between users and their products. Often, there is no need to create new living standards; perhaps what we all need are slight enhancements to the old and the familiar. Then, we can understand values of restraint and curation.