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Orcon and Blunt add some beauty to necessity with designer products

It’s a regular feature in any modern home, and in some cases a lifeline for those who live in it, and yet the broadband modem gets little notice for anything other than its function. But Orcon hopes to banish the boring, by bringing together New Zealand artists to turn the modem into a work of art in a designer series.

Otis Frizzell, Hayley King (Flox), Anna Leyland, Askew One and Andrew J. Steel have all crafted unique modem designs for the series, with 500 of each available according to the release.

King has created a stencil mural with the infusion of bright colours and native birds, while Leyland’s ‘Perception’ and Frizzell’s ‘Cable Manaia’ channel Aotearoa designs, and One and Steel’s artworks give a solid nod to their street art roots.

Art may not seem an area of interest for an internet provider, but general manager of Orcon Taryn Hamilton said the series was created to solve a real problem for home broadband users. Every week, he said customer call to say they are experiencing connectivity issues due to where they placed the modem. People hide them out of site in cupboards or tucked under the couch but they should be in a prominent spot for best coverage throughout the house.

“We wanted to shake up the look of these seemingly boring units and what better way than collaborating with a bunch of super-talented Kiwis creatives,” Hamilton said. “We’re stoked with the results – the modems all look amazing, have come out different, and we reckon there’s a modem to appeal to everyone.”

As well as putting the designs on a modem, the artists prepared them on a large scale medium of their choice to be auctioned, with all proceeds going to Forest & Bird.

Speaking of boring objects getting tarted up, North Wharf has partnered with Blunt umbrellas and two Kiwi designers, Harman Grubiša and Huffer , to celebrate the start of New Zealand Fashion Week. Diners eating in the area go into the draw to win one and loan umbrellas will be on offer at the Viaduct Events Centre. 

Modems and umbrellas are not the first and they surely won’t be the last products to be offered up for artistic interpretation. We take a look at a few other colourful creations.

The feet of football players have become a place for artists to leave their mark, and create a possible clash of colours between the shoe and the uniform. These pop art inspired Puma boots show how far the boot has come since black was all the rage – and the only rage.

Image from Foots-Boots

The ears of music listeners have also become a canvas for artists, with Beats by Dre providing a variety of colourful listening devices. This pair was a collaboration with graffiti artist Futura.

Image from Vibe.com.

And Absolut, which has long called on designers to add some interest to its bottles, has taken the pride flag by San Francisco-based artist Gilbert Baker and used it on its bottles to celebrate the right of self-expression.

Review overview