What would an hourglass look like if it was invented 2020?
A Project in Cooperation with Shannon McLachlan.


We believe this perfectly sustainable everlasting solution to measure time, would look a lot different today. In this speculative project we assume the role of the commercial designer and develop an updated hourglass, to fit the market of today's needs.

Like the vast majority of everyday products it is not ‘built to last’ but rather ‘built to fail’. The hourglass is open on the top and bottom, relying on disposable sand and leaving a mess behind every time it is used. It forces the customer to buy refills which in turn makes more profit for the ‘Timeless’ company. Greenwashing strategies are used to align with the fashion of sustainability and distract the user from the faulty design.

The product comes in a recycled cardboard tube, embossed with the ’Timeless’ logo. The sand refills are a mixture of recycled and natural, with different colours to individualise the user experience. Sand is sourced from all around the world, ranging from the scenic beach of Anse Source D’Argent in Seychelles to the polluted Baotou lake in Mongolia. The sand from the microplastic ridden Juhu Beach in India offers a multicolour time measuring experience, which is presented to the consumer as ‘recycling’. The use of sands from sites of beauty, as well as reusing sands that have been coloured by some man made disaster, aims to highlight the cannibalistic nature of design under the influence of capitalism; which could be avoided by swapping the economics of profit for the economics of empathy. We are sure it would win sustainable design prizes and make millions.

Dear colleagues designing printers, tech products based on planned obsolescence:
Lay down your pencils and stop designing faulty products. Let’s use our creativity to ask ourselves how we can contribute to solutions that are really needed and truly timeless.