You might recognize this vending machine as the one that lived in Hatcher Library, where it stocked healthy snacks, school supplies, and other materials. After it's recent retirement by the Library, the Shapiro Design Lab transformed it into <dramatic voice> the Design-o-Matic 4000.
The inspiration for this project came back during my graduate school at the University of Minnesota. While there, I saw an Art-o-Mat for the first time, Clark Whittington's project where he restores and repurposes old cigarette vending machines to sell small pieces of art. The location of Minnesota's Art-o-Mat was especially apt; the vintage cigarette dispenser was located in the campus health center.
A few years and many small art packages later, I jumped at the chance to have our own version of an Art-o-Mat in the Shapiro Design Lab. We've given it a bit of a twist however: everything's free!
The first round of items in the Design-o-Matic illustrates its role in distributing both art and information to visitors of the Lab: printed material about a variety of Library services, mini-comics from Ann Arbor artists Anne and Jerzy Drozd, stickers from Girls Rock Detroit, information and art from other campus organizations (the Ginsberg Center, the Center for Engaged and Academic Learning, Innovate Blue, Wolverine Press, and WCBN, among others), and much more. Plus, mystery envelopes! Who knows what you'll get?
When you come see it, you'll see a few rows are empty. We want you to help us fill the Design-o-Matic! If you have an idea or have material you'd like to put in the machine, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. A few things to keep in mind when submitting an idea:
1) Items should be reusable, recyclable, or compostable. We don't need to make more waste!
2) Material should be inexpensive and easily distributed, since everything in the machine is free.
3) Content should be suitable for all ages.
Stop by the Shapiro Design Lab, located on the first floor of the Shapiro Undergraduate Library, to see the Design-o-Matic in action and try it for yourself!