June 7, 2007

Rookie, The World's Slowest Rocking Horse, By Hidetaka Nakahara


It's always interesting how things can look different from the opposite side of the world.

For example, if I had designed a rocking horse with hinged hindquarters that could actually move forward as you rock it, I might look at other rocking horses--which go absolutely nowhere--and say that mine is "The World's Fastest Rocking Horse." IN YOUR FACE, STATIONARY ROCKING HORSES!

Japanese artist Nakahara Hidetaka, by contrast, calls Rookie "The World's Slowest," perhaps to underscore the fact that it, while the rocking horse does move, it would take freakin' forever to actually get anywhere. Which makes it perfect for a small child. In a small house.


Rookie was created as part of the Rendez Vous Project, an initiative by the online store Spiral to get artists to design stuff. The horse is made of smooth-finished birch laminate, leather, and something hairy for the mane. From the profile shot, I could not figure out what's going on with Rookie's head, but from an angle, you can see he's got kind of a faceted, structural face. Turns out the front rockers are angled out slightly, which helps the forward motion process and gives Rookie a little more breadth.

The only caveat I would have--well, there are two: the kid in the demo video looks too old to be riding Rookie; do you have to be 5yo to figure it out and make it work? Also, Rookie's gait is not a canter or a gallop; it's more of a hop. If your kid's taking riding lessons, Rookie may screw her up her seat, the way playing racquetball messes with your tennis game. Priorities, I guess.

The red button next to Rookie launches a movie: Rookie, the world's slowest rocking horse [rendezvous-project.com]
Rookie is 56,700 Yen at Spiral Store, but they don't ship internationally [store.spiral.co.jp]

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