PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 September, 2009, 12:00am

Like vases, cushions and fruit bowls, clocks have often been an afterthought, with little consideration given to their design appeal. But a new crop of innovative timepieces created for the home is turning that thinking on its head. Brands are putting some of their best brains into making the merely functional wall clock a relic.

A handful of them are so conceptual they haven't yet gone into production, even if they have been setting the design blogosphere ablaze. Japan-based Mile Project's ( Good Afternoon is a minimalist and somewhat eerie wall clock that is essentially three wispy rays of light, representing hours, minutes and seconds, peering through a glass bezel. The piece debut- ed last year at Salone Satellite in Milan, Italy, to much acclaim.

Something a bit more tangible is the Tid ceramic clock (below left), designed by Marianne Abelsson. The piece is simultaneously dramatic and practical; the large, round clock can be hung on the wall or placed on a flat surface and comes in variations of black and white. International orders can be placed through

Italian brand Alessi (inquiries: 2175 0800) also has a few standouts. Its Firenze wall clock comes in colours such as turquoise and peach and features elongated Roman numerals while its Blow Up style (bottom right), with slender red hands, looks as though dozens of silver pick-up sticks have been pasted together. The effect is striking.

Dutch designer Sander Mulder (sandermulder. com) has a distinctly original take on time-telling. His Pong Clock, which resembles the iconic Atari game of the 1970s, came out in a limited-edition run of 400 and sold out in a day. New from him is the Continue Time clock (above right), in a limited edition of 40 pieces. It is essentially a zigzag attached to a central axis. The clock is a fascinating piece of work, although it might take a while figuring out how to read it. To acquire one, e-mail the designer through his website.

Another Dutch design house, Studio Mango (, has come up with something innovative, if potentially controversial. Its Jesus Clock is the silhouette of the son of God on the crucifix, his hands turning to indicate the time. Designers at Studio Mango say they came up with the concept after constantly hearing peo- ple say, 'Jesus, look at the time.' It's not being sold wholesale yet but the studio welcomes questions (e-mailed through the website) about where one can buy the piece.