What A MacBook Looks Like On The Assembly Line

Would you recognize your MacBook Pro stripped of its screen and keys, reduced to a 15-inch slab of aluminum? How about your Coca-Cola can as a nearly naked silver cylinder?

When we talk about transparency in manufacturing, we tend to mean humane working conditions in factories, or materials that come from ethical suppliers. An exhibit at The Design Museum in London, called In the Making, adds a new layer of meaning: What do products look like on the assembly line?

“We spend a lot of time in factories,” says designer Edward Barber in an interview with The Guardian. Barber and his design partner, Jay Osgerby, curated the exhibit. “It’s the first place we go when we get a new commission, and we often see things that are more beautiful in their unfinished state than in the completed product,” Barber says.

Barger Osgerby designed the torch for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and have done work for Louis Vuitton, Sony, and H&M. It makes sense that the duo would be fascinated by half-created objects–as designers, they bring products to life, from sketches to realized objects. But even a design neophyte can appreciate seeing the skeletons of everyday objects. The 24 half-made items reveal hidden steps in the production process, like how a tube of aluminum gets pressure-squeezed into the paper thin metal of a soda can. Or, how a MacBook casing passes through 85 different machines before it’s ready to delight and be bought by consumers.

In the Making is on view at The Design Museum in London until May 4, 2014.MR