There are screws all around us. Hundreds and thousands of them. In doors and fences and electrical outlets. This is what makes Japanese designer Yuma Kano’s participatory art project so brilliant. In short, the screw 🙂 project is an initiative to swap out regular screws all around the world for smiley-faced ones, and plot them on a map so others can find them. Think of the joy and surprise one would have discovering this special screw. As the designer puts it: “quietly changing the world with one tiny screw.”
“Ever since its invention, the screw hasn’t changed its style and function. Actually it’s never needed to change at all. Screws are used everywhere but are easily overlooked.”
It’s been 2 years since Kano originally developed the 🙂 screw, along with Komuro Seisakusho, a screw factory in East Osaka, Japan. Here’s Kano:
Ever since its invention, the screw hasn’t changed its style and function. Actually it’s never needed to change at all. Screws are used everywhere but are easily overlooked. This time, I focused on them.
Not only can it be used as a tool, but by adding the joy of discovery, the concept of the design is the enjoyment of sharing the joy of discovering small surprises with others.
Together with the screw factory, Kano has made the screws and screw drivers commercially available. Buying a screwdriver gives you special access to uploading photos of screws as they’re planted. Others can then use the map to locate and find the screws. The only problem we can see is the price. Apparently, designing and manufacturing an entirely new kind of screw isn’t easy. Or cheap. The starter set, which comes with 5 screws is 6000 yen (about $53). A pack of 5 additional screws is 1800 yen (about $16).
However, the project delivers more than just smiles on screws. It delivers smiles on children, too. For each screw sold, one dose of polio vaccine will be given to a child in need through a registered NPO. The project just began and so far there are 34 screws around the world. The majority are in Japan with a few in Asia, Europe and also the U.S. In time, the designer hopes that the smiles will spread 🙂