Suissa's Enlighten PC looks like anything but


Someone once described G.K. Chesterton as a man who could rediscover the magic of a lamp post every time he encountered one. He would experience it with a fresh mind, delighted by the post's rigid contours or the magical glowing of the electrically-charged bulb. As much as I love Chesterton, I have to admit, I always thought this description of Chesterton was not meant kindly: hang out with the sort of giggling man-child constantly rediscovering the "magic" of salt shakers and mailboxes and I guarantee you'll want to karate chop his thorax within a few minutes.

Still, I'd like to impart at least some tincture of that world view into my day-to-day life. After all, why do things always look like the things they look like? That may seem like a question only grammatically clever and in actuality pretty stupid, but bear with me: why must a stereo look like a stereo, or a computer look like a computer? Their appearances are only casings for the jumble of guts within. And, in truth, designers do seem to experiment with gadgets that eschew the traditional design motifs of, say, a "computer" or "stereo..." but ultimately, people don't really want a G.K. Chesterton experience when they walk into a room. They don't want to have to rediscover the magic of a computer or a stereo when they walk into a new room: they just want to be able to use it. Usability will always trump design in importance, and the truth of the matter is that 9/10ths of usability is through familiarity.

Anyway, just some early morning navel gazing, prompted by the Suissa Enlighten Computer... a wooden cased PC containing a quad-core Intel processor, a 1 TB drive and 4GB of memory and which looks absolutely nothing like a PC. You can't buy it, only commission it, so it doubtlessly costs gobs. That's fine: if it was more attainable, it might become popular, and if it became popular, it would be emulated, and then it'd lose its real appeal (at least to me): it'd start looking like a PC again.

Suissa Enlighten Computer [Official Site via Red Ferret]

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1 Comment

  1. “After all, why do things always look like the things they look like?”

    You succeed at philosophy, and that obscure niche in every market. Speaking of stereo’s, that thing does look seriously like a stereo- albeit a highly stylised one. 1TB of Storage… insane (and useful). Also agreement on how the more popularity it would garner the less appealing it would become. We found that our enjoyment of something (at least for us geeky folkjobs) is oft directly proportional to how little-known it is.

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