An iPod Repaired With Bones, And Other Wild Fixes

Paulo Goldstein is best known for his figure work on films like Frankenweenie. So what does he build off the set? Economic criticism.

What would be the simplest means to repair a broken director’s chair? Get some new canvas? Replace some wood? How about bringing in concepts of suspension bridges and mast rigging, using a foldable steel structure and tension cables? Right, that was our third idea, too.


Repair Is Beautiful, by Paulo Goldstein, is a collection of broken objects that have been fixed in the most mechanically ornate ways possible. A broken headphone becomes the cross between an antique telephone and some 1930s chiropractic torture device. An anglepoise lamp is given a wooden pulley system. And yes, even repairing a broken iPod Goldstein bought for $10 on eBay with spare rib bones left over from a meal.

“It was interesting to combine such a primitive ‘technology’ with an ‘almost disposable’ one, clashing different worlds,” Goldstein tells Co.Design. “It is one of my favorite pieces, so far.”

Part of the project stems from Goldstein’s obsession with building intricate, often small objects. His craft has led him to work on the animated models in The Fantastic Mr. Fox and Frankenweenie, and he hopes to be part of the upcoming Guillermo Del Toro remake of Pinocchio. The other part is a response to the current economic climate. His work–a frustration of broken objects–parallels our frustration with the economic crisis. The project’s full title, in fact, is Repair Is Beautiful–Homo Faber and the Broken Things. The name is based partly on E. F. Schumacher’s economic theory, while the addition of “Homo faber” means literally “man the maker” (or “man the creator”).

“This Homo faber persona, with a hands-on approach and use of human ingenuity and creativity, tries to control this uncontrollable and complex scenario of financial crisis, resulting in neurotic behavior, by designing over-repaired objects that reflect its environment,” Goldstein writes. “Repair and craftsmanship play a crucial role in balancing idealism with practicality, showing a different alternative, not better, just different.”

Ultimately, Goldstein’s intricate fixes may be a commentary on our own neuroses, but they are meant to inspire us, reminding us of our own ingenuity. Yet on top of that, the fixes are intended to be so distracting that they do something more than solve a problem: They force us to focus on what is fixed, not what was once broken.

See more of Goldstein’s work here.


[Hat tip: design milk]

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started, a simple way to give back every day.