Images part of the S&W Personalisation project with Nokia, where you can read about the metal and fabric phones.

I’m part of a small design shop, a kind of creative consultancy, called Schulze & Webb. There are two of us.

These pictures are from a project we did with Nokia, looking at mobile phone personalisation.

The premise is that the process of manufacture is trending towards shorter runs, and people want to personalise their mobile phones more and more. It turns out that if you’re making only 200 or 300 phones at a go, it’s cheaper to make them out of, say, wood, instead of tooling up a plastics factory.

What we did was try to help designers think about different forms of mobile phones by making them out of other materials and seeing what happens. And the materials lead to different experiences and interfaces.

The phone on the right is a fabric phone. It was just something to try. We found that layering of gauze seemed really natural. And that lends itself to a phone surface that peels off over time, or builds up. And that makes me think of patchworks, and people decorating patches for each other and swapping them. You know, the important bit isn’t the object itself, but the social world it sits in.

The one on the left is made our of a metal that melts totally at a really low temperature, so we can melt your phone and re-freeze it into a different shape, right in-front of you.

Anyway, that’s kind of where I’m coming from.

Matt Webb, S&W, posted 2006-07-31 (talk on 2006-07-21)