Spark is a compact light designed for the emerging sport known as urbex, or urban exploration. By considering a wide range of use cases, modules allow the device to be mounted in a variety of ways to facilitate night time adventures.
For this project, I looked at the emerging activity known as “urbex”, or urban exploration. It is defined as “the exploration of manmade structures, usually abandoned ruins or hidden components of the manmade environment. Photography and historical interest/documentation are heavily featured in the hobby and it sometimes involves trespassing onto private property.”
To better understand this user, I compiled imagery capturing this individuals aesthetics, the activities they perform, and some of the products they use in their adventure. Informed by this, the user I chose to design towards a young city dweller that seeks new experiences and Instagrammable moments. They treat the metropolis as their playground for sport and other activities that go against the grain.
The objective I defined was to “Create a lighting device for urban explorers that can adapt to the environment and activity to enhance their adventure”.
By considering a wide range of urbex activities including graffiti, skateboarding, and BMX among others, similarities appeared in how users would interact with Spark. Here we have an user biking to a site to tag a wall. They use the bike mount and then transition to the head mount when they get to the location.
Spark features a quarter-turn locking mechanism which allows it to attach to various modules according to the users activity. This includes a head mount, bike mount, and clip that can attach to any strap or bag. The device can also be used without a module in the hand or by resting on its side.
A large part of this project was developing and refining a form that feels compact while containing the proper battery size to allow the device to last for hours. The final design allows for a 1600mAh battery which could supply about 2 hours of light on low brightness.
This project taught me the importance of storytelling and developing criteria to validate the design. With personal projects like this, it is easy to design for yourself, but I forced myself to keep the Urban Adventurer at the center of the concept. I plan on extending the Urbex brand with graphics and packaging in the near future.