Desktop computers may someday become obsolete; smartphone fads come and go; but Mugi Yamamoto is betting that printers are here to stay. Technology can be a very fickle thing, but the Japanese designer believes the classic office object will continue to be used, which is why, he says, designers should really spend more time thinking about how they can improve the device.“Printers are such common and present objects in our daily life, and still they always look and work almost the same,” he says. “I think that printers are not given enough attention in today’s design world.”
For his diploma project at Lausanne’s ECAL, Yamamoto created the Stack, an inkjet printer that eats its way down a stack of paper, swallowing each piece underneath, printing on it, and depositing it on top of the machine. Yamamoto’s design, which is a fraction of the size of a typical desktop printer, is meant to be portable, easy to use, and an attractive update to the common ugly gray printer.
But more than that, the Stack concept is a smart counter-approach to many of the over-engineered, over-materialized gadgets we see today. Of course, Stack’s slight, simplified build is not without its practical concerns (you’ll need to get something to steady that massive pile of loose-leaf paper), but ultimately the design shows that it’s entirely possible for gadgets to be both beautiful and environmentally aware.