How can we design a shell for Google’s OnHub router that will make a user want to openly display it in their home?
Google asked my father, Martin Blank and me to design a custom hand-blown glass cover for their OnHub router. Routers work better when they are out in the open, so they were interested in designing a series of different covers that would fit better in people’s spaces. They also made the dimensions and CAD for the OnHub public so that anyone could make their own cover.
We were interested in using this project as an opportunity to explore the different ways hand-blown glass could be finished, colored, and layered. For the outer shell we used a process called a blow-through to create a gradient from opaque white to fully transparent. We then acid-dipped the whole outer shell to frost it. We wanted the inner layer to be a bright color and to have a form that felt though it was emitting a signal.
My father and I worked together on numerous iterations of the design by sketching and creating form models out of clay. After we arrived at a final form, I 3D modeled and rendered the shell. We then worked with a mold maker in Seattle to have the form CNC’d into wood.
Once we had the wood mold that we knew was exactly dimensioned to fit the OnHub, Martin gathered his team at his Seattle hotshop. All of the glass was hand blown on site and finished in his studio. Checkout some of the process photos below.