Phones. They're the thing we all carry, the distilled essence of our very being, and… artwork? A year ago, I discovered the company Grid Studio, which takes old technology and injects new life by stripping it down, attaching it to pinboards, and labeling what each component does. The result is the most incredible artwork and something I've now become a collector of.
When I first saw this on my old business partner's wall, I wondered, "what is that"? The Grid Studio Frame is a conversation starter and what begins as an exercise of curiosity fast becomes one of, "where do I buy that"?
Having discovered the Grid Studio website, my inner geek came to the forte. Dubbed the ultimate nostalgia for Apple fans, the company offers much more than just Apple products, although iconic Apple devices are, and likely always will be, its bread and butter.
The artwork I never knew I needed
What started with just a few Apple devices has turned into a mega collection including almost a hundred different choices, spread over Apple devices, games consoles, other notable tech items, and a new pin collection.
Whenever I get the Grid Studio newsletter, I quickly check out what's new. In one email a few months back, I read they were launching a limited drop of the Apple Grid 1, i.e., the original iPhone. Grid Studio listed a time and date, which went straight into my calendar. I secured one and now it holds a place of pride on my office wall — and in my new home it'll be hanging in my living room.
Every single device is unique in that no two are alike, down to the different blemishes.
These Grids are not cheap, at least relatively, but they are worth every penny. As I'm writing this, I'm now scrolling through their website, and I've just noticed they have the 1st generation MacBook Air and 1st generation iPad Mini available. Both are iconic Apple devices — the former more so than the latter — and both need to find their way onto my wall.
Others that I really want to acquire, but annoyingly always miss, include the original Apple Watch. That makes these frames so interesting and unique: every single device is unique in that no two are alike, right down to the different blemishes.
Given that Grid Studio is sourcing second-hand stock of devices that aren't always easily find, there's a finite amount of these available. The older the device, the harder — and more expensive — it is to acquire.
Far more than just Apple products
Beyond just Apple, there are a host of other fantastic Grids I would like to add to my collection, some that Grid Studio hasn't yet disassembled and mounted. I already have the original Galaxy S, but I'd love to see something like the Galaxy S4, or the original Galaxy Note. These aren't available just yet, but I can hope. There's also the original Google Pixel which is usually in stock, and the first Android phone (the T-Mobile G1) is usually out of stock and's firmly on my wishlist.
Grid Studio is an experience to be celebrated.
Rather apt for the CB fam is the BlackBerry Bold 9000 Grid. One of the most iconic BlackBerry devices ever made — I have two in a drawer still — you can buy the Bold 9000 Grid, but it doesn't have the detailed explainers or as deep a breakdown as you'll find with the Apple devices. Grid Studio appeals to Apple lovers first and foremost, but this still makes for beautiful artwork.
My history as a tech writer began in the world of Nokia back in the mid-2000s, and there are two Grids that I've just ordered: one breaking down the Nokia E71, and the other of the Nokia 3310. The latter is one of the most popular Nokia devices ever, a beast of durability and the world's introduction to the Snake game, and I can't wait for it to arrive.
Even if you aren't a major phone geek, you'll find something interesting that ignites your nostalgic side. There are several in the games console collection, and they all look incredible, including an Xbox One Controller, the Game Boy Advance, the original Game Boy, the PSP1000, an N64 Controller, and the PS Vita.
Now available in a smaller size
The most recent addition to the Grid Studio collections is "pins" (they call them Badges), which also look amazing. Rather than break down actual tech, these are little enamel pins of all the devices in that collection. The Apple Badge collection contains almost every device in Apple's history, all in a little pin form. There's also a separate iPhone and iPad collection, a stripped-down version of the Apple collection, and separate ones for the iPod and the Mac.
I personally love the idea of pins as they're something that can be enjoyed by everyone. Many may not consider a disassembled phone on the wall as "artwork", but these pin collections look beautiful and unique in their own right, while still acting as conversation starters.
Grid Studio is an experience
When I received my first Grid, one thing became clear: this is more than just a product; this is an experience to be celebrated.
Each package is wrapped inside beautiful packaging with a gift-set bow on top. Whether it's for you, or as a gift to give to someone, it's a great experience before you even get to the product. The entire package is also protected extremely well during shipment from China, and it's clear that the company puts a lot of care into every part of the experience.
What if you want something truly unique? Grid Studio also has you covered. While browsing all of the different listings a few months ago, I noticed this super unique custom project. The backstory is that someone requested a custom one-off project featuring every iPhone camera, as a gift for their friend who runs the camera division at Apple.
The ability to create something this unique makes Grid Studio special. Imagine requesting any company to create something completely different — not just a customized version of an existing product, but an entirely new one — and the company delivers at a reasonable price. I've already been thinking about requesting a few custom pieces, and potentially even providing the items to the company for them to break down.
Grid Studio takes a piece of tech you have fond memories of and turns it into a conversation starter that lets you tell your own story.
Since I got my first Grid, I've absolutely loved them. They take my favorite thing — mobile technology — and turn it into something I can proudly display on my wall. More importantly, each of these brings back a lot of meaning for me and helps me reflect on a career and technology addiction that's almost 20 years old.
When I look at Grid 1, I'm reminded of my early retail career and trying to sell the Nokia N97 to people standing in line for the new iPhone. It's rare to find something that can illicit such great memories, but Grid Studio achieves exactly this; it takes a piece of tech you have fond memories of and turns it into a conversation starter that lets you tell your own story.
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