Modern Contemporary Design


Pocket Watch Alarm Clock


Nicolas Cheng sent us two of his projects; Pocket Watch Alarm Clock and Mix Culture. The Clock (above) contrasts old and new with a slot for a traditional pocket watch on one side and an LED alarm clock on the other. Says Cheng; “The [watch] collector just collects it as an antique object more than a watch. The aim is to give the pocket watch new value… it becomes revalued as an alarm clock”. Mix Culture is the “union of eastern and western cultures” via tableware. It’s a set of mixed eating utensils from the East and the West that have their unique functions and characters when used separately, but when stacked together “have the function of keeping food warm and forms a decorative centerpiece”.



Mix Culture.

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13 thoughts on “Pocket Watch Alarm Clock

October 25, 2006 Robert Laing Reply

The tableware looks curiously like Emiko Oki’s trophy dinner set, which she started in 2004. Hmm.

thats great item! where can i get it??

I don’t believe Mix Culture by Nicolas Cheng is original. A friend of mine called Emiko Oki who is a designer designed something just like it years ago and hers has just gone into production. Her product was featured in many major magazines such as TimeOut so…I don’t know if he is just unfortunate or something worse. I’m going to forward this link to Emiko.

didn’t EOOS do a set that was very similar to this as well?

I have known some designer or artist also used trophy element by stack object in their work before, so I don’t think that kind of elements you can say original or not in my opinion.

Finally! I was waiting for a few more people to chime in on this before I did.

It’s a tough call, isn’t it? The design world is so tightly coiled. Often a designer is trained to understand precedent and encouraged to site the past to justify what they’re doing in the present. Even outside of objects, plagiarism is a slippery slope. Unless there is any sort of intent or premeditation in copying, you can’t fault things for being alike.

Nothing is worse, to a designer, than to come up with a brilliant idea only to realize you saw it somewhere else, years before, in passing. Maybe you thought it was a dream, maybe your mind made a subconscious connection between what you scribbled on a napkin, and what you saw in a four-year-old issue of IDEA.

One thing I do know is that honesty is always the best policy, and there seems to be more than enough room for like design in the world. Just go to Target and see how many designers are getting blatantly ripped off (Question: can Michael Graves’ exclusive Target merch actually get ripped off by other Target merch? The answer may surprise you.)

I must say that the similarity I saw between the Emiko Oki and the Nicolas Cheng pieces was startling at first, but I started to notice major differences the more I looked at their work.

I would never make a judgement call about an artist’s influences without talking to the artist personally- that’s the bottom line for me.

I checked Emiko Oki’s website, another project she did pint glass series, curiously like wieki somers’s trophees.;jsessionid=AF336E2C644279A0EC3ABD1F32D1F3D2?date=1138682429531

October 27, 2006 Robert Laing Reply

I think that Jw’s comment is pretty much on target, but we have the good old internets now, so it’s pretty easy to see if you’re stepping on someone’s toes. If I had the idea for a dinner set now that turned into a trophy I would probably at least google it. Before spending hours and hours and hours making it 🙂,GGGL:2006-38,GGGL:en&q=trophy+dinner+set

Yes, you or I might do some Web-based research, but believe me- I work with around 60 designers of varying ages on a daily basis, and I think about 15 of them actively use the web as a resource. At least half of them are only minimally computer savvy. Some people just don’t think the way you or I might.

October 27, 2006 Will MacCormac Reply

Product Designers obviously have similar ideas/concepts all the time, but it is in the execution and detail which show if someone has plagarised.

I spent 6 months helping with the development of Emiko Oki’s Trophyware;

There many elements/details which are the same, but on this, the tea cup is not on top but between the eggcup and bowl which seems rather precarious(stability).

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

I have been working in design magazine and some design blog for 5 year. I agree with Jw; some designers really not get use to internet for research. And I think you guys are close friend with Emiko Oki’s, so you know what’s going on there. And by the way, I’m also first time to see Emiko Oki’s and Nicolas Cheng’s work.

Just to add- I looked at the links above and I don’t see a trophytableware set with plate, teapot, eggcup, bowls etc, and with the same stacking process bar the teacup


People who follow/have an interest in product design will be familiar with Emiko Oki’s design.

It has had plenty of exposure/press-not just on internet design websites; it has exhibited at Milan, London and Tokyo.

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