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Veteran studying at KU designs Muse Clock

Monday, December 02, 2013

LAWRENCE — If you ask him what time it is, University of Kansas student Nate Borozinski, Olathe, could literally tell you how to build a clock. The industrial design student designed and built the Muse Clock as a industrial-design class project, and it has taken the world of design blogs by storm. So far five different websites have featured the timepiece.   

Borozinski served as a nuclear mechanic on a U.S. Navy submarine for four years and is now going to school on the GI Bill. He says he came to the university with a lot of design ideas, but he gives the classes he has taken in the Design Department most of the credit for learning to develop them.

“Coming from an engineering background, where everything was function-based, I didn’t really have an eye for design. Now I see things more as an artist, stepping back from a project and looking at it from a different point of view. Previously it was all about, ‘How do I make this work?’”

The clock began as an assignment in a course taught by May Tveit, associate professor of industrial design. “She challenged the class to develop a way of looking at the passage of time in a different way than we normally do. We were required to use laser-cut materials to create a clock illustrate to our concept,” Borozinski said.

“I decided to design a clock that would seem to slow time down. My wife and I just had our second child, and things were moving way too fast,” he said.  

Borozinski accomplished that by requiring the time-pressed to adapt to a nonstandard system for showing the time. “The clock splits the 24-hour day into two twelve-hour periods,” Borozinski said. “It is the same base-12 system Egyptians used thousands of year ago.”

Concentric circular lines are masked by wedge-shapes cut out of two discs that are layered one on top of the other. They rotate around a single axis, yielding a colorful, ever-changing clock face that is as pleasing to the eye as it is utilitarian. He is also currently working on a prototype of a watch that will operate in the same fashion.

Now, whatever time Borozonski once might have had on his hands has expired. Besides going to school, running a wedding photography business with his wife and raising two sons, he will soon begin running an online store. He’ll be filling orders for more than 200 clocks and possibly more. The majority are the result of an online crowd-funding campaign, which raised nearly $18,000.

“Whatever is left over after I make the clocks I will use to develop several more prototypes and to start my own design studio,” he said. “What is great about crowd funding is that now you can show the public your ideas and they can more or less vote on them.”

If the idea doesn’t work, Borozinski wouldn’t have to waste time and money going into production. He said he’s further developed his acumen as business owner by taking entrepreneurship courses in KU’s School of Business. “I feel like I’ve taken a lot of the resources that the university offers and used them in combination to point a lot of things in the same direction. That will help me launch my business.”

Still, it would seem that his KU classes have turned Borozinski from rational engineer, designer and businessman to philosopher as well as artist. His slogan for the Muse Clock: “There is no past nor future, there is only now. So, make every moment beautiful.”

The Muse Clock has been featured in Fubiz, France's No. 1 design blog; Brit + Co., [In] Stash; Crowdfundica and Trendy Graphic.