Dear Friends,

Have you been good or bad this year? While I sense a few timid looks out there, I'm confident that the majority of you have behaved sufficiently well over the past 12 months to deserve a little treat for the end of the year.

Your luck is in, because I have donned my Santa hat and carefully curated M.A.D. Gallery goodies that I think you or your friends would love to find nestled at the bottom of the Christmas tree. To help me, I have enlisted my own elves, namely artist Martin Smith and engineer Nick Regan, co-founders of the British creative lab Laikingland.

Martin and Nick have been friends for nearly 30 years, having met at secondary school in the north of England. They’re a seemingly inseparable duo; you’d think they were brothers. They act like kids but speak like grown-ups, or at least try to. In fact, Martin talks so quickly that even his lifelong pal Nick sometimes has trouble understanding what he says.

This so-British duo works closely with invited international artists and designers to help transform their ideas into beautifully-crafted, limited-edition kinetic art pieces. Not just any kinetic art pieces, mind you, but kinetic art that will put a definite smile on your face.

Martin and Nick’s philosophy is all about injecting a touch of playfulness into the lives of those who come into contact with a Laikingland creation. After all, ‘Laik’, from the Old English ‘lác’, means ‘play’ in parts of northern England.

Time to get your wish lists out…

We have already presented Laikingland’s Applause Machine, a whimsical innovation that sees two hands clap together rhythmically when you press its button – a playful way of saying “Bravo!” or to auto-congratulate yourself. Or the Fingers in dark black iron by Nik Ramage, an impatiently-tapping mechanical replica of Nik’s own hand. At the flick of a switch, the realistic digits drum rhythmically.

Continuing the celebration theme, The Party Popper Machine is admittedly a nonsense contraption: It is an elaborate way of firing off those most humble of party toys, party poppers. Still, the comical noise of its mechanism and the suspense of not knowing exactly when the popper will POP certainly add to the whole party-popping experience. Kids in particular love this one!

You can indeed customise the text on the Story Time’s 13-metre ribbon that zigzags round its gears. It could be lines from your first ever children’s book; a passage from your favourite novel or how you and your loved one met. Poetry or prose, fact or fiction, you can make your Story Time story personal – and you can vary the speed of the gears so the ribbon takes 24 hours to pass round, or as little as two hours.

Next up for you, we have a sand timer with a twist: Just About Now by Maarten Baas. You simply scoop sand from a bowl into a glass funnel, which trickles down into a cup attached to a beater, before leaking back into the bowl, causing the beater to strike a gong once the cup is empty. The twist? Well, this ‘timer’ doesn’t measure a specific amount of time – it is intentionally vague. “Knowing the exact time is often irrelevant,” says its creator. “A coffee break, meditation, nap, business meeting… they could all take a few minutes longer or shorter.”

Laikingland collaborated with Joost van Bleiswijk and Kiki van Eijk to create Light A Moment, an exclusive lantern that opens up slowly to reveal a church candle – reflected a thousand times through a fantastic shell of fragmented mirrors. The piece was inspired by a candle put against a mirror in the Shoah memorial in Jerusalem.

This winter, leave the cold behind and come into the MB&F M.A.D. Gallery in Geneva to let Laikingland’s fun-filled creations warm your heart.

With my very best regards as ever,
Eleonor Picciotto
Public Relations
Martin Smith and Nick Regan: the so-british duo
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A.W.E. – the Automated Winding Engine – created especially for the M.A.D. Gallery by Laikingland
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The arm rises when motion sensors pick up your movement before twisting and turning to rotate the watch’s winding rotor
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A.W.E. on paper
A.W.E. being prepared, using the latest 3D printing technologies…
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