Matthew Gilbert - Animaro

Solstice is a clock that turns passing hours into moving art. Designed by London-based studio Animaro, it gradually changes shape throughout the day to inspire a more relaxed view of time.

“For many, time and a need for absolute accuracy has become a source of stress,” says Matt Gilbert, Founder and Designer at Animaro. “When designing the Solstice clock, I wanted to make its movement represent the passing of time in a way that was beautiful and peaceful, taking inspiration from flowers opening in response to light.”

Unlike traditional clocks, Solstice displays time through shape and pattern, much like a sundial. Gradually opening and closing over a 12 hour period, the clock’s movement follows that of the sun. At midday, when the sun is higher in the sky the clock is at its largest. At 6pm, when the sun is lower the clock is at its smallest.

Solstice has two modes of operation, Clock mode and demo mode. In clock mode Solstice completes one rotation every 12 hours while in demo mode a rotation takes 60 seconds. To switch between this and the clock mode there is a touch sensor on the bottom rail of the clock. One tap to switch Solstice into demonstration mode and another to return to showing the time.

Solstice is not only an engineering feat in terms of its motion, but also in terms of the quality of its construction. The materials have been chosen based on their longevity and strength. The central body of the clock is machined from a single piece of aluminium, making it both durable and beautiful. The wood is engineered walnut and every clock is hand assembled to ensure the highest quality. The clocks are being produced in a UK-based clock factory who specialise in architectural and high end consumer clocks.

Trained as an Architect in the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art, Matt became fascinated with kinetic structures during his Masters program, and since then has refined his skills in developing kinetic structures on a smaller scale, for furniture and homewares. A key principle behind the designs of Animaro is that they are playful and have personality. They are not static but can move and flex and breathe like we do.

The biggest challenge while developing Solstice was to create an incredibly low friction mechanism that also looked good. There are a great number of bearing mechanisms on the market developed for 3D printers, but always designed for functionality and not looks. All the moving parts of Solstice are on show so they needed to be well engineered and beautifully designed.

“I funded and delivered my first project, the Crane lamp, using Kickstarter. There was such a positive response to it that I’m excited to do it again with Solstice,” said designer Matt Gilbert. Solstice was successfully funded on kickstarter in December 2018, reaching 340% of its initial goal. It is now available to pre-order on Indiegogo before the first batch ship out in June 2019.

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