1 Roland Lam’s Seaboard
In 2013, Roland Lamb invented a technologically advanced keyboard that some say is set to revolutionize music. Called Seaboard, the instrument follows the usual configuration of piano notes, but it allows players to manipulate sound by massaging its silicone surface in various directions, which alters pitch and vibrato. Using advanced sensor technology, two rows of rubberized keys enable a solo player to sound like a full ensemble when he or she caresses the keys back and forth or up and down.
Lamb, originally from the U.S. and a musician himself, fine-tuned the instrument while studying under Ron Arad at the Royal College of Art. He has since founded his company, Roli, in London and launched the inaugural Seaboard Grand. The Design Museum of London has also taken note, and earlier this year named the instrument Product Design of the Year. – Erin Donnelly
2 Artisan-enhanced chairs by TOG
In São Paolo, a novel way to customize furniture encourages everyone to collaborate. Called TOG All Creators Together, the newly minted company lets shoppers choose a piece of furniture online and then search a network of affiliated artisans to individualize it, adding such unique touches as beadwork, handwoven upholstery or carving to chairs, tables, lamps and other pieces. The initiative is being bankrolled by Grendene, the Brazilian footwear giant that makes the Melissa shoe, and it has commissioned Philippe Starck and Sebastian Bergne, among other big names, to design the first line of naked products.
The artisan community now numbers in the dozens, but the plan is to expand to thousands around the globe, engineering a new way for designers, consumers and craftspeople to join creative forces. As the brand develops, nascent technologies, including 3‑D printing, will be employed to further push the maker movement into the mass bespoke market. – Matthew Hague