A hand-selected, hand-crafted and hand-finished (by myself) solitaire board game crafted from 200 year old reclaimed Ballachulish slate, Obeche wood and steel. This product was created as part of a project and is currently on sale for a limited time at the Glasgow School of Art shop.
Ballachulish slate quarry closed over 50 years ago, as did all slate producing quarries in Scotland, but it was incredibly successful in the 19th early 20th century and thus many houses in Scotland still feature Ballachulish slates on their roof. The slate has a remarkable surface quality and features many imperfections, such as iron pyrites (or fool’s gold) which add to its rustic charm.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh favoured Ballachulish slate over other quarries and he designed most of his buildings to feature them.
This game celebrates Scottish industry and the traditional home, and shines a light on the simple beauty of combing slate, steel and wood to create a unique and elegant product.
Beyond endorsement, this is a blog about great design after all, is this an example of said great design? I would say no, partially due to the nature of the project. This project was, for me, a massive learning curve and I had the chance to play with numerous materials and improve my knowledge and skills working with them.
However, I think a great design needs to have more purpose and benefits, in addition to delighting the user even though that is important. I have featured some quite playful items in previous posts, but great design means more to me than that. It needs to change something, to improve lives on a large scale or solve a problem that has never before been solved in a new and creative way.
This product does none of these things, and yet still I am proud of its making. Sometimes a product that delights doesn’t need to be great design for someone to enjoy it, and in this way I believe my product is well designed, and well made.