Comfort Gun by Francis North, images via Fast.Co
Spotted this gem of a design on Co.Design this morning, adding support to my theory that UK designers/critics are just more comfortable than USers using guns and gun-forms to provoke critical thought.
The Comfort Gun is a hot water bottle that effectively puns on the ritual of sleeping with a pistol beneath one’s pillow. I know people who actually do this. And I have observed that gun possession generally has a strong talismanic aspect– some gun owners are afforded great psychological safety from just knowing that their Colt/Glock/Beretta is close at hand.
But what I love about this design is the way that it flipped this ritual into the space of the cozy and banal practice of sleeping with a hot water bottle. Instead of the sense of preparedness, intrigue, and danger that I associate with the gun-beneath-the-pillow, Comfort Gun makes me think of Grannies in flanel nightgowns and warm glasses of milk. And then my brain jumbles all these impressions together until I have burly gangsters in flannel nightgowns and cozy Grannies holding smoking guns.
It does this, in part, through the color palette certainly (though there are no shortage of fully operational pink firearms) but also the small quarter-inch edge around the pistol-shape. This was probably a result of the vacum-forming process but serves as the main cue indicating a non-operational gun. In my mind, that quarter-inch rim acts like the frame of a painting, removing the form of the thing from the use of the thing. Very interesting.