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The Saddest-Ever Fireworks Display for Your Office Cube

An amusing invention with a dark origin story. 

Feeling miserable because the boss has you working this Independence Day? Then perhaps you should try fabricating this whimsical multistage celebration system, which lights up your office cube with (and I didn't think this was possible) a very sad "fireworks" show.

"Desktop Fireworks" was created by Tomomi Sayuda, a recent graduate of London's Royal College of Design and a proponent of making shy public speakers wear weird masks. The system looks like a regular cubicle setup save for a prominent red button. When you slap this button—and note that Tomomi says it "should only be pressed at times of extreme stress"—it triggers a cavalcade of flashy events. A spinning light paints the walls with at-da-club rainbows, a machine blows soap bubbles, the pen holder pulses with a strange white glow, and then pow!  violent charges set off geysers of confetti that rain down into your coworkers' coffee.

So why is this so depressing? Well to start, the mere fact this happytime generator exists speaks to the soul-deadening toll a cube life can take. And if a little shower of confetti is enough to make you feel better about your job, then maybe you need to allocate more fun into your private life.

But what's truly sad about this project is that Tomomi was inspired to build "Desktop Fireworks" after a crushing office job did in her dad. "This is dedicated to my father Kenichi Sayuda, who committed suicide on 8th July 1995 – aged 37, due to his stress at work." And there goes any hope for carefree enjoyment over this amusing invention.

Here's a brief primer on "Fireworks" getting set off. Don't press that button, dude...

Don't press it...


And now it's vacuuming time.

H/t MocoLoco

About the Author

  • John Metcalfe
    John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.