Hank Beyer is an industrial designer working at the intersection of sculpture, furniture, and product. His work explores applying art and craft processes to mass-produced goods.
Currently designing hardware at Google.
For the Rest of Us
A Journey into Personal Computing and the Intangible Values of Regional Materials
Throughout the past year, we explored parts of Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan and New York in search of regional material sources and their associated processes, people, history, politics and values.
Products around us are often optimized for universal appeal, aesthetics, usability and industry which suggests an only means to provide value in an idealized consumer life. This project seeks to spur discourse and challenge common preconceptions of materiality within everyday objects by displacing the notion that materials best for industry are best for humanity.
During the course of these firsthand inquiries into materials and their origins, we sought to investigate not only the physical, but also the emotional. By presenting materials and using storytelling in a way that celebrates intangible values, we can imagine a more preferable material future that better acknowledges the richness of human experience.
To illustrate our findings and to serve as an aid in imagining unconventional materiality in everyday life, we chose to reinterpret the archetype of a desktop computer. As one of the most recognizable objects of the past three decades, it provides a point of familiarity that allows an individual to insert themselves into an alternative reality. By providing this access point suddenly the abstract, ironic, humorous and other-worldly can be considered, questioned, discussed and discovered.
Designers have a responsibility to explore these seemingly impossible realities in order to push our world towards more meaningful physical futures.
From June until September of 2018 the project is on show at the Design Parade Hyères 13th International Festival of Design at the Villa Noailles in Hyères, France.
Collaboration with Alex Sizemore. See more at fortherest.co.
Made from ice, peat, coal, limestone, lard, beeswax, sandstone, and clay.
Linen Hardcover11 x 8.5 in296 pp
by Hank Beyer and Alex Sizemore
A book exploring eight materials across the American midwest. It investigates the processes, people, history, politics and values of each regional material source, and envisions how the material could be used to create a desktop computer.
The photography and artwork is printed on a sheetfed, seven color, digital offset printer. The book is printed and hand-bound by Bookart, a division of Anteism publishing, in Montreal, Canada.
From June until September of 2018 this project is on show at the Design Parade Hyères 13th International Festival of Design at the Villa Noailles in Hyères, France.
A series of fictional electronic objects that exist in a speculative world without telephones.
Caravanserai is a contemporary reinterpretation of the Photophone, a device invented by Alexander Graham Bell prior to the telephone. It uses line of sight light communication to send messages over a distance. I chose this archetype as a vehicle to re-imagine how an alternate world of telecommunication might exist today if the phone had never been invented. People wishing to send a message must locate a network balloon floating in the sky, aim and calibrate the light emitting device, and enter a message cipher. The process mimics the method of encrypting telegrams.
As a result of this process, messages are more concise and intentioned, but still carry much of the same whimsical matter that makes up social communication today.
The resulting series of objects serve as a reminder of the immortality, and absurdity of modern communication infrastructure, and ultimately questions if what we are saying merits the systems through which we say it with.
Made from acrylic and re-purposed electronic components.
Featured in iGNANT. A part of Dread & Desire- Urban Futures at the Scale of the Human Body, an exhibition shown at the Reed Gallery in 2016.
Loraine County, Ohio contains some of the most homogeneous and permeable beds of sandstone in the world. During the summer of 2017 we spent time investigating and observing the operations of a family-owned quarry along the stone formation running from Erie to Adams County. All processes, from quarrying to cutting, occur on the same piece of land.
Free from faults, mineral impurities and variegation, the finest stone is reserved for cutting petroleum test cores. Ninety-three percent of this strain of stone is pure silica and weighs one hundred and forty pounds per cubic foot. These cores measure four to six inches across and two to four feet long. In a laboratory setting, crude or refined oil mixed with brine is forced from one end of the sandstone core to the other; this process is known as core flooding. Flow rate and pressure changes revealed by these tests provide valuable data used to optimize oil extraction processes. No known synthetic material can replace the sandstone used in these experiments.
After becoming familiar with the quarry, their production methods and various machining procedures, our interest shifted toward the excess of offcuts. In addition to the rough faces cut from larger stones and the negative spaces created while drilling, entire cores are often neglected after a cross-cut reveals an oxidized iron vein.
This collection of tables, stools, lamps and trays is the result of an exploration into alternative outcomes for discarded material.
Part of DAMNº67 light special. Collaboration with Alex Sizemore.
This aluminum task light celebrates the tactility of an analog switch. The top of the light is an oversized toggle tilted at a just perceptible three degrees. When off, the floating panel rests at an imperfect angle. When on, the panel aligns to a horizontal position. Magnets underneath the panel allow it to toggle back and forth, completing or breaking the circuit within.
All of the aluminum pieces used in the light were first machined out of two separate blocks of 6061 Aluminum. After lots of filing, sanding, tapping, and drilling, each part was carefully sandblasted and then anodized before assembly.
Made from Aluminum.
Drilled in an even grid, divets in ancient counting boards served as a placeholder for beads, shells, grains and other similarly sized objects. This system inspired this reinterpretation of the early calculator, and reconsiders the primitive and repetitive ritual of counting.
The set of adaptable porcelain dishes and beads invites one to be more mindful of the act of counting. This could involve a short and practical task like keeping track of how often a plant gets watered, or it could be a longer more thoughtful ritual like counting the years of your life. The various reservoir sizes and layouts do not prescribe a specific use case, and allow one to choose how and what they wish to count.
Made from cast porcelain.
A set of lidded wooden storage vessels machined from hard maple. To allow for stacking, each lid is depressed inward, mimicking the inverse curvature on the bottom of each cup. The same tool paths are used to machine any sized cup, all that varies is the placement of each blank in the aluminum soft jaw before machining.
Produced with the assistance of Aaron Von Minden and Brian Cutter.
Made from hard maple.
U-1 Universal Speaker
Inspired by a sheet of dot paper, Universal is a speaker which distills a product down to only the necessary. It is a vision for how products can evolve with their surroundings over time.
Prototyped from acrylic.