Do you have an old desk or leather bag whose markers of age give it its character and appeal, that make it uniquely yours? The ability of an object to age gracefully, or simply acquire flaws as part of its visual appeal is something I think that can be important in our relationship with the material world. We are all a form of cyborg – our clothes, vehicles and other items that we use to function are often extensions of our conscious footprint. Our choices are able to convey something about our attitude or view on the world. Some objects stay with us for a long time; some for as long as we inhabit our material world and body. Much is throwaway. Have you ever seen a car designed to grow old and gain flaws, and actually look richer and more characterful for it?
The idea of ‘Millean’ was to design a car that would always be a work of art. The visual and tactile interface would be made of the sort of materials you might find in an antiques shop – hardwood, copper, brass, cast aluminium. The wood could be sanded, repaired and waxed/varnished locally, thus also supporting creative, skilled artisanship. Or, you do it yourself, and enrich your relationship with the item. The skin of the illustrated car is copper plated, and could be chemically pre-patinated, or allowed to patinate over time. Or kept burnished. Or allowed to patinate, then laquered. But you don’t have to worry about it staying perfect, or looking the worse for age.
It is the ultimate in ‘steampunk’ ideology – a philosophy which translates literally as ‘technology rebellion’ – autonomy, independence, and non-linear thought. Taking the best of all eras and combining them in something that has genuine value, along with the concept of the creation of your world and environment through customisation and choices that reflect your identity. Having authentic engagement in your world rather than simply moulding yourself to fit what is regurgitated by media and commerce. The concept, and the life of the object, is therefore very honest.