We often talk about planned obsolescence as a major factor in the build up of waste, especially electronic waste, in our landfills. While creating products that are designed to break within a year or two is certainly a problem, our waste issues are exacerbated by the fact that modern products can’t multitask.
Expensive products that are only capable of meeting one need during their short time on this planet were very troubling to then industrial design student Ky Snyder. During his third year at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Snyder embarked on a studio project that reexamined existing products to see if they could be upcycled into more versatile things. One outcome of the project was Cuebilux, a DIY furniture design that turns a milk crate into a stylish bar accessory.
“Cuebilux was just one outcome as a part of a much larger research project undertaken in a studio called ‘Redesign’ across both RMIT and Monash University as a part of our third year of Industrial design,” explained Snyder. Using a milk crate, a drill battery and other components found in ‘dead’ consumer products, Cuebilux emerged as one part bar stool, one part solar-powered lamp. With a solar panel on its base it collects the sun’s rays during the day then emits this stored energy as light by simply flipping it over.
Unfortunately, the prototype was designed for the studio project and not fully developed for public use, so there’s no indication of how weatherproof Cuebilux is–something that would be important to know if it was really going to be used for outdoor bars or back yard parties. Snyder did point out that there’s a polypro diffuser for the light on the inside which doubles as protection for electrical components. There’s also little information available about how long it would take to fully charge the Cuebilux or how long it would give light once fully charged. But we like where Snyder’s head is at.
“The aim of all this was to develop a greater understanding of components used in consumer goods and how they can be given a second life, redesigned to enable ease of further lifecycle and give insight to creating a system for distributing components,” said Snyder.