Blonde's Fold charger concept designed to bring people's attention to the environmental impact of their tech products they use in their daily lives.
London-based design studio Blond has unveiled a foldable charger concept that aims to solve a growing problem e-waste in the tech industry.
People could refurbish or upgrade a universal charger called the Fold, instead of just throwing it away when it becomes useless due to wear and tear or obsolescence. At the moment, the disposal of chargers is a serious problem. According to the European Commission, 11,000 tons of e-waste is generated every year due to old and unused chargers.
Preventing planned obsolescence for short-term products is a priority if the tech industry is to become more “sustainable,” explains Blond founder and creative director James Melia. There will always be components that need to be constantly updated as technology evolves steadily.
The Fold is positioned as a more adaptable alternative to traditional chargers, allowing you to charge three devices at the same time. The device is a customized series of cases for wireless charging of devices connected using a common flexible polymer mat. =”750″ height=”500″ alt=”Foldable charger concept” />
Inspiration for the “skeletal shape”
As Melia explains, whether it's charging a cell phone or a headphone case, Fold strives to meet the ever-growing and ever-changing product needs of different brands.
This was partly inspired by a vacation the designer had to take with him multiple chargers for all their products. “I was looking at all these chargers all over the hotel room and I thought, 'We could just take one foldable charger with us,'” he says.
“Ha-ha!”, — we thought at the DesignNews editors: “maybe this is just part of the designer’s inspiration story? Maybe then his eyes fell on a pack of condoms lying next to the chargers, and “Eureka!” That's the ingenious folding shape!»
But the official release insists that the ability to upgrade the Fold in line with technological advances was one of the driving forces behind the project. Each item will come with a mini screwdriver so users can change the parts themselves, explains Melia.
The designer also considered expanding the charger ecosystem. The packaging is designed so that people can send parts back and get new ones; The package has compartments for storing broken or obsolete parts. Spare parts can also be sent back in the same packaging.
Although several companies use a similar system, such as Fairphone's modular mobile provider, this system needs to be developed. Melia's designer envisions an online presence where people can buy different parts as needed. Let's hope that this will lead to a change in consumer habits. The fold would provide what Melia calls a “skeletal form” that could be configured to meet changing needs.
Transparent design elements
Although this is just a concept, Melia and his team thought about what materials could be used for such a product. “There's always a balance between having something completely recycled and recyclable,” — he says. However, if it were made from recycled material, its durability would be reduced because the quality of the plastic would be lower.
While it could be possible to use recycled plastic, in this scenario, in his opinion, the primary the polymer would be stronger, which would increase the product's durability and encourage reuse.
The case is mostly either translucent or transparent. This limited selection was meant to give consumers a better understanding of what's actually inside the product, Melia said. “It just makes people realize that they see the amount of technology and engineering and obviously what impact it will have on the environment if thrown away,” — he says.
If the product were to be made, opaque colorways could always be used (which could be more in line with consumer taste), but at this stage, a transparent material is a better way to get our message across, Melia explains.
Despite the fact that Fold — it's a concept, the design team thought about what it would take to bring it to life. While the final refinement process would take at least a year, Melia points out that every part of the product can be produced. The designer explains that this will inevitably require the support of a well-known brand. He adds: “It's a long process, but it was designed with manufacturing in mind.”
According to the DesignNews editors, this concept is a good attempt to create a universal convertible charger, but unfortunately smartphone and wearable device manufacturers still far from consensus and continue the battle of connectors and charging standards.