19th February 2017
72 S Woodside Rd
Tucked away beside the River Kelvin, this breakfast spot lay unknown to me for far too long and after unfortunately finding it closed last weekend I had been kept waiting just that little bit longer. Located just a few minutes from my flat, this visit would be looking to put The Pocket as a contender for my number one local breakfast spot.
Punkt. - a company founded in 2008 by Petter Nerby - has continually popped up within the design community with each product they release. With a clear vision "to offer a viable alternative to those feeling overwhelmed by the advanced technologies that have pervaded modern lifestyles", they focus on creating products that combine beautiful design with simplicity to create results that give you "everything you need and nothing you don't". The Punkt. line-up has grown from the original DP01 cordless phone into a range of products designed to use simplicity as an aid to making your life just that little bit easier and as a company they should be admired for maintaining such consistent brand values and adhering to a specific goal. I shall focus this discussion on their MP01 smartphone alternative as I feel that, from the range, this would be the most extreme change that I cold make to the technology in my life.
Firstly, the pure physical design of the phone is near flawless - not that we should expect anything less, being created by Jasper Morrison. The user interface expresses clarity and is both functional and intuitive, it is crafted from high-quality materials that offer both cosmetic and tactile appeal and every aspect of the product has a clear purpose - to emphasise its usefulness and disregard any additional features that may detract from its purpose. Pulling all this together with the way in which it offers technology without forcing it upon you, it achieves the principal goal of making the user's life easier.
This leads into the greater question associated with this phone. It may bring simplicity and clarity to the user's life, but does it actually improve their life. Is it a viable option? It may be great design and the idea behind it may appear to remove unnecessary stress from our lives, but personally, I find it hard to believe that it would be a practical solution.
Instead of simply dwelling on the idea and imagining the results, I decided to try it for myself. I turned off both mobile data and wifi communications and placed tape over the camera of my iPhone, leaving only cellular transmissions and Bluetooth for the device to communicate through - hopefully giving me an idea of how it would feel to use the MP01. So, on the 9th of January - apologies to anyone who didn't receive replies from me on this day, you now know why - I carried out a 24-hour test run with my "MP01".
The first thing I noticed was that - being a work day - I had my MacBook on or at least with me for the majority of the day. This revealed something relatively pleasing. Apart from Whatsapp, I was still able to receive notifications from all other communication sources. Meaning that, when I was effectively in "work mode" I could still be reached with important messages and deal with tasks that required the internet, but my journey to University or even popping to the shop, took me away from the constant push notifications and left me with nothing to do but take in the world around me. Perfect! The MP01 would, in fact, improve my life.
However, this would not be the end of the story, when later that day I had a meeting scheduled at the engineering building. I double checked the meeting place on my laptop before setting off, but when I arrived, I was met by a dark empty room. During the 15 minute journey from my flat, my colleagues had communicated through Facebook Messenger and decided to move the meeting somewhere else. After checking my laptop - an inconvenience more than an improvement - I made my way to the new location, eventually arriving 10 minutes late for the meeting. In this case, not a catastrophic problem but it is easy to see how it could have been avoided.
In the evening, a similar occurrence happened at work when my boss tried to inform me of a shift change. He initially notified me through Facebook, as usual, then attempted through Whatsapp - platforms where I would usually respond in minutes. With no reply, he eventually phoned me, questioning my lack of response. In this case, I had removed complexity from my life by eliminating a stream of messages, but in turn caused my boss much un-needed stress.
Yes, the MP01 has translated the simplicity of older mobile phones into a piece of beautiful modern design, but the reason why this old method of communication used to work is because - at the time - it was the pinnacle method and no one expected to reach you in any other way. For me, I cannot say that it would be a practical solution.
There is one final resolve that I feel may be the answer. In June 2016, Punkt. ran the Digital Detox Challenge, where participants used the MP01 for 48 hours and documented their journey. The reviews were slightly biased as many saw it as an opportunity to go for a hike or do a little less work than usual, but it did clearly show the benefits of a digital detox. There was, however, a trend that I believed to be a good solution. It was clear that the smartphone's ability to condense multiple devices down to a pocket-sized object simplifies our lives and day-to-day the MP01 is not a viable option for this reason. The compromise that many people found was, to use the MP01 when they consciously needed to remove themselves from technology: date nights, family dinners, Sunday walks, etc. - I'm sure we all know the situations where we should have our phones turned off. I can see this working, as it appears to utilise the MP01 as a tool to improve well-being instead of letting it force this idealistic lifestyle upon us
So, the MP01. It is inarguably good design, it has sparked numerous discussions regarding how technology affects our well-being and it has remained true to its purpose. It has also made me realise that putting my iPhone into "Punkt. Mode" from time to time is definitely a welcome treat, so maybe it has achieved its goal after all, even if I didn't buy one. As a method of achieving the result in a cheaper and more practical fashion, perhaps Apple should expand upon its offerings of Night Shift mode and also consider a Digital Detox mode...
All I can say is “Worth the wait!”. The humble exterior, squeezed in under the bridge, leads you into the pocket, feeling as though you have stepped into a secret hideaway. Greeted by friendly staff and a vast array of mouthwatering cakes and pastries, there is just something that makes you feel as though you have discovered a hidden gem.
I chose to sample a Bacon and Cheddar Scone, a mini Sticky Toffee Loaf and an oven fresh Cinnamon Bun, as I couldn’t possibly narrow down my choice to just one. All were baked to perfection and the accompaniment of a rich coffee and soulful Otis Redding hits, ticked all the boxes of a perfect breakfast for me. Located conveniently between home and university, I don't doubt that a few more visits will be made in the near future.