Ad-Hoc is a tabletop game with a simple goal; to build. Segmented plastic water bottles support and connect rounded forms of cork and together act as building blocks. The cork is painted to resemble marble, creating a contrast in materials encouraging the user to consider what determines value in our daily lives.
The phrase-word ad hoc in Latin literally means ad "for" + hoc "this" or “for this” which describes a makeshift improvised object to serve an immediate need. The user is encouraged to look to their own waste stream to extend the game and its possibilities. For instance, a tin can will open up different opportunities and configurations.
The possibilities are open-ended and the objective is to use the supplied and found objects to build the tallest, most intricate tower possible without having it topple over. Team-work is encouraged too. Games for ‘adults’ tend to be more fact based, strategic and competitive rather than kinetic and creative. Ad-Hoc serves to reconnect the user with their resourceful inner child and encourages ‘play’. Just like a cardboard box presents infinite imaginative possibilities to a child and endless functional opportunities to the homeless, this imagination and makeshift approach should transcend age and economic status especially in a time where material resources are depleting rapidly for all.
The forms are made of cork because it’s a light weight material with good grip. Cork is a sustainable material sourced from the bark of the cork oak tree. It can be harvested every nine years. The cork sourced for Ad-Hoc is pre-consumer waste, the leftover material after wine corks are punched out of the bark. The perforated leftovers are grinded down and reformed as eggs, spheres and prisms using a biodegradable corn resin.
The marble texture is painted by hand with organic paint. The decision to disguise the cork as marble is a play on values. Marble as a material is finite, it doesn’t renew itself at a sustainable rate. The juxtaposition of a material that reads luxury like marble and a ‘disposable’ material like a plastic water-bottle is unexpected and will resonate with the user especially once realizing it is cork disguised as marble. What do we perceive as luxury? Is it the finite quality of a material? And therefore the consequence of this is to increase its monetary value? And can we use innovation and craftsmanship to increase a materials value in accordance to what is more plentiful?
The second material is the water-bottle. Plastic water-bottles are symbolic to the problems in our waste system in the USA and the world at large. Statistics on plastic water bottle use in the US are extremely alarming. “Americans used about 50 billion plastic water bottles last year (2007). However, the U.S.'s recycling rate for plastic is only 23 percent, which means 38 billion water bottles – more than $1 billion worth of plastic – are wasted each year”. (Fishman, Charles. “Message in a Bottle.” Fast Company Magazine July 2007: 110.)
The great sculptor Isamu Noguchi was an inspiration to this project and all the symbolism of man’s primitive marks on land versus the astronomical impact we have to face the consequences of in our present day life “standing stones, humanity’s earliest attempts to dominate nature and explain existence” (Noguchi, n.d.)
Ad-Hoc should encourage us to look at what we discard and find new creative uses. A plastic water-bottle is now passed off as a luxurious object. When not in use, Ad-Hoc stands as a sculpture in the home and does not need to be stored. And of course, at the end of the product's life each component of Ad-Hoc can be recycled.