• 12.21.12

A Mechanical Clock Tells Time With Numbers Composed Of Scrolling Tape

This prototype from Art. Lebedev Studio is a simple display with complex interior.

Art. Lebedev Studio has almost 200 items listed under its site’s Industrial Design tab; the Moscow-based firm has produced or prototyped everything from figure skates to microwaves to “fuck the rain” umbrellas, and, of course, the LCD Optimus Polaris keyboard. Clocks, however–the kind once commonly seen bedside, with a standard digital display–seem to be a particular favorite, making several appearances, each with a twist on a standard presentation of the time.


Lentus looks simple. Each number is composed of straightforward lines: three horizontal and two vertical. Watching the digits switch as time passes, however, is where things get interesting. As detailed on the process page, each line is in fact a strip of translucent tape, which travels a complex path behind the scenes and within the piece’s plastic shell, before making its overlapping appearance on the facade.

This extensive look at the creative process includes early sketches and paper models, and the transparency is somewhat of a signature for the company. When Co.Design’s Suzanne LaBarre interviewed Artistic Director Artemy Lebedev about his simplification of the Moscow Metro map, he explained, via an interpreter: “My method is simple: Share all the ideas as wide as possible because there are more ideas on the way. I have no shortage of them so I’m not worried that someday there will be nothing to share. And just in case someone worries: this method works very well.”