These beautiful books are actually podcasts

These beautiful books are actually podcasts
Credit: Seung Tae Oh

I’m head over heels in love with Seung Tae Oh’s latest art project, a clever reimagination of popular podcasts as physical objects. Currently pursuing his MA in product design at the Royal College of Art, Oh turned two podcasts into books, filling them with items that bring their episodes to life.

It’s a brilliant exercise in extrapolating what it might be like to actually hold a podcast in your hands; unlike music albums, they aren’t available as discs or collectible vinyls. Oh told Fast Co. Design:

We can listen to our favorite stories anytime, anywhere. But I think it overlooks how people own, collect, and share their favorite things with friends and family like we do with books and CDs. That’s why I started exploring the possibilities of physical form. Also, physical elements will augment the experience of listening by giving more information.

He didn’t just design pretty hardcovers, though. For Serial’s murder-trial-gone-wrong podcast, Oh packed a bookcase with images from the crime scene and of the victim, as well as a speaker with which to hear audio from the first season of the show. There’s an envelope for each episode, which contains an RFID tag that activates playback when it’s slid into the built-in sleeve.

Credit: Seung Tae Oh

For 99 Percent Invisible, which focuses on small but important design details in the world around us, Oh designed episodic packets with artwork based on the topic covered in each show. Inside, customers will find a QR code they can scan to listen to the episode on their phone, along with a booklet containing supplementary information about the subject matter they’re hearing about.

Credit: Seung Tae Oh
99 Percent Invisible’s episodes on design reimagined as individual info packets

And while it’s not a book, perhaps the most inventive project of the lot is Oh’s take on It’s Your Universe, which aims to explain the wonders of the solar system’s planets.

Seung Tae Oh's physical representation of the It's Your Universe podcast
Credit: Seung Tae Oh
Seung Tae Oh’s physical representation of the It’s Your Universe podcast

He created several spheres to represent each planet, all of the same size but with weights that correspond to their gravitational force. A visualization of the planet on the top and bottom surface plays an episode on your phone when you scan with an image-recognition app.

Oh’s idea isn’t just beautiful, it’s also practical. Podcast producers are always looking for ways to get listeners to pay for their work (while also offering up their shows for free); I imagine that fans will be only too happy to pay for memorabilia that’s so cleverly tied to their favorite episodes.

Get a closer look at Oh’s work over at his site.

Via Fast Co. Design

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