Mechanical Picture Frame
The Mechanical Picture Frame is based on an imaginary machine that uses fire to
a heat boiler of water, the steam from which drives a piston up and down. This
motion is transfered via a brass chain to a series of gears that convert the
reciprocating motion back into rotary motion that in turn… actually I think I’ve
just remembered the idea was the other way around; heating coal produces coal
gas that illuminates the picture with foot lights, then goes on to…. you get the
idea. I like designing things that give the impression of having a real purpose,
even if they are purely decorative.
In addition, I love the look
of metallic components
against dark stained wood.
Hence the variety of
copper, brass and steel parts
with a real stained wooden
background. There is also a
glass domed pressure gauge
which catches the light
nicely and distorts the
gauge’s dial. I do like a
nice bit of optical distortion
- if it was good enough for
the Victorians, it’s certainly
good enough for me, and
• The frame stands 26.5cm high by
19.5cm wide. When hung on a wall it
is 2cm deep or, when free standing on
the built in fold out card support, 10cm
• The frame will display a portrait
image 15cm wide by 21cm high, losing
about 0.5cm around the edges.
• To allow easy wall hanging, the frame
has a keyhole slot at the back which
will hang on a screw or picture hook.
• The frame can accommodate normal
sized photos and prints, but is not
suitable for thick pieces of art.
I was keen to give it depth, so there are many different levels to the design. From
the curved upper piston pipe, to the holographic flames under the boiler. The
shadows from these varying levels providing extra visual interest.