Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Project Design Disaster


Design for Disasters Reflection

During the course of this project, I had to understand what it was like to be in a situation similar to disaster victims to really understand what they would need at certain points. To do this, I had to look at many vivid images and read descriptions of the way the disaster unfolded and how it had affected people’s lives. Doing this really put into perspective the fact that there are many things in the world that are still waiting for someone to design and in a situation like this, it can be a matter of life and death. To put myself in the shoes of the victims and try to image what they were going through will never come close to what they actually experienced but I think just looking at the pictures and watching videos was enough to make me realize that these people could have been helped in a much better way.

Going through the research and trying to figure out something that could be a feasible product was a challenge as I really couldn’t predict what would happen in a disaster. There are many situations that a person could be faced with when a disaster happens. I’ve learned that we can’t solve everything so we should look at one problem and do our best to fully solve it so that others may focus on other problems.

During the model making process, I came across multiple problems in trying to make it look as real as possible. This also made me realize things that I didn’t think of before such as the way a screw or bold would stick out of its attachment or the size of specified products. If those products weren’t available then I would have to go and choose something else that was existing or design it myself.

Overall, I think this was an important learning experience as we can’t keep design chairs our whole lives. There are still things that are needed in this world which require patience to design and a lot of accuracy. Looking back at what I did, I should have asked professionals for my specific problems instead of looking it up on the internet because there may be different interpretations of the same component except in a different context.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Task 5 - Design for Life - Video Reflection

This show, Design for Life, shows a very interesting insight into the way Philippe Starck thinks about current design and more importantly, the affect it has on our world today. Many statements that Starck said in the opening episode made me rethink about the way i am trying to design right now. He says "product designers affect every moment of our life.....our chairs, screen, cups.....Each is the result of deliberate design decision" This put into perspective that design is much more important than just looking good enough to attract consumers to purchase it but to be safe, have a long lifespan and to be something that they want to pass from generation to generation. It must have specific purpose to make people's lives more positive and to help solve problems that people may not even know they have. Starck said it best when he claimed that "design is a force that can change society.....learn how design decisions now will affect all our lives in the future".

Philippe Starck seemed to want to emphasize to the designers that they need to design for everyone and not just a specific group of consumers. I realized this when he said "Its important that design is rooted in everyday life and belong to us all.....where as art is often for elitist"
I think that Starck wanted his young designers to question whether their product is really needed in the world now. His mind frame was that "designers need to question whether they need to design more products" He also said we must have less and less products and to get to that stage, he suggested that one of the designers combine two products into 1.

I think we can all learn a lot about designing for a better world if we heard a lecture from Starck. His examples and theory behind his thinking really opens up peoples' minds as to question what they are doing and if they are really doing as much good as their rationale seems to say about their product.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Task 6 - The Story of Bottled Water - Video Reflection

I always had an idea of how much damage the water bottle industry was doing on the planet but i never knew it to such an extent that it is a major cause of killing the planet. I, like most people in the world, get the impression that bottled water is pure and clean so if a product is pure and clean, it can't possibly be doing that much damage to the environment. This video has proved that theory very wrong.

It is impressive how the bottled water company is able to change the views of almost everybody in their countries that tap water is not safe to drink even tho bottled water is from the same taps and even less regulated than normal tap water. The video explains that this is manufactured demand, where companies put thoughts in peoples heads about the product to sway them to another. It scares me to think that all the decisions i've been making were pretty much made for me even before i thought about it. Besides the fact that companies scare us about tap water with untrue stories or exaggerated facts, i'm not too happy that the manipulate us by putting their product behind an unreal fantasy and telling us misleading facts about how they are environmentally responsible.

What strikes me as a stand out point was the way they recycle. 80% of bottles end up in landfills or get burned releasing toxins. And the ones that get recycled gets shipped to India which is weird because why can't america do their own recycling? So only a small proportion gets recycled and the unrecyclables gets dumped into landfills again. I wouldn't be too happy if they dumped it in my backyard. I think that the bottled water companies should focus more on a sustainable cycle and not just reusing the plastic for the sake of reusing it. Turning plastic bottles into lower quality products is not the solution. Also, the water in many places is undrinkable because of the pollution that bottle industries pour out of their factories so there has to be a way to cut this down and develop a better way to produce these bottles.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Task 3 - The 11th Hour - Video Reflection

I was shocked when i first watched this video. This shows us the outcome of how humanity is living on a whole. We can't pin the blame on one thing but we can look at ourselves and see that we are the problem that is killing everything that was given to us. Guilt is the word i think of after seeing this video and it isn't guilt from the fact that we're not doing enough to save the world. It is the fact that we are doing things that contribute to killing the world.

The subject of discussion that was the most daunting to me was the deforestation issues. Rainforests' were being cut away for timber causing desertification which is the aftermath of the lack of nutrients in the soil so the land turns to grasslands and later turns into a desert land. People don't make the link between cutting down trees excessively and fact that it will have a major affect on them. In countries where a majority of the population grows its own crops, cutting down trees causes irregular flow of water from the mountains then leading to the inability to grow crops in the future.

The video opened up my eyes about what great and useful creations trees are. A tree can hold 57 thousand gallons of water which can prevent landslides and flooding but take that away and natural disasters will occur much easier.
"Thank of all the things that nature does for us for nothing. It would cost the world 35 trillion dollars for us to replace what nature does for us for free" David Suzuki
I've always had a large amount of respect for David Suzuki as he has helped the world in countless ways whether it is to create awareness of what we're doing to our planet or to do something about it physically. That statement is very true as we take for granted what all those trees do for us.

"Rivers, ecosystems, streams, lakes and forests, they have no rights, they are property which means they can be bought, sold, traded or carved up. You are either property or a person."
Tom Linzey
I find this quote by Tom Linzey very eye opening because of the amount of truth behind it. He also goes on to talk about how nature has no rights and we need to change the way we manufacture and use things in order to give rights back to the world.

".....not a problem of global warming or waste, these are just symptoms of the problem. The problem is the way that we are thinking" - Thom Hartmann
Awareness is lacking within our world. People simply do whatever it takes for them to be happy while ignoring all the signs that are showing us that we are killing the world. This exposes the grand scheme of all the problems that we will need to overcome. By eliminating one thing, it is possible that we can solve or at least reduce the effect of all the things that will become our demise if we keep living the way we are.

As a designer, i think we can start by educating ourselves and broadening our knowledge of manufacturing methods and materials in order to avoid large-scale ecological problems and restore balance. By keeping ourselves updated with new findings we can change current problems within our production ways. Kevlar is one of our strongest materials but requires chemical baths, immense pressure and lots of heat but studies show that spiders webs are 10 times stronger than steel but are created with water at room temperature.
Lastly, as designers, we cab design for greener sources. Design products that only use clean energy or sustainable sources. This would promote the development of clean energy as products would only be able to run on these types of energy.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Charette 1 : Stefan Chair (Ikea)

Mind Map of issues regarding why product would be prematurely disposed of and why users would find it hard to be emotionally attached to the product.

Ideas for Prolonged Use and Emotional Value of Product

Additional Accessories: Allows user to add parts to the chair for a different look or feel.

Slots: The seat can be slotted at different heights for different purposes.

Hinges: Option of folding the chair to a more suitable state for storage or ease of moving.

Standout: Making the chair look a little quirky makes the user feel special for owning this particular chair. Comfort is also added from the mesh seating.

Physiological Attachment

Adjustable Back: Small pins can be slotted into holes in the wood to adjust the angle of the back rest according to the preference of the user.

Chair to Table: A chair to suit the user's environment. The user may need a coffee table rather than a chair in a situation. The base is a square frame with legs while there are 2 different attachements to be fitted on top. Arm Rests: Removable arm rests so chair can be used in different situations. Dining room chairs wouldn't have arm rests while living room lounge chairs would. Arm rests slot into holes in the seat of chair.

Psychological/Socialogical Attachment

Love Seat: Single chair that can be changed to a loveseat. Base of chair can fold out for large yet intimate seat for 2.
Butt Groove: Seat is made of soft foam so over time, the user's butt will leave an imprint in the seat signifying all the times they've sat there and who the seat belongs to.
Wear away: The backing and seat of the chair is made of layers of material that delibirately wear away over the years of use. This reveals the layer underneath like displaying a new chair.

Final Design: Underworld Class Chair

Product Poster
Mind Map for issues regarding why product would be disposed prematurely

Scenario Board showing life of the product. Chair is passed on to the next generation and stays with the user of the attachments throughout their life even in hard times as a sentimental reminder of who they spent the time with.

Final design of attachments. Small cubes in which the parents and children stick letters onto. Also comes with cars that fit onto the lower legs of the chair allowing the child to slide them back and forth.

This final design has been made to create a sentimental value between the product and the user. As the blocks that fit onto the chair legs require the parents help, both parent and child will have a memory of the time they participated in this activity together. The chair will not only be a product, it will then become an experience that is shared between adults and children. The design of the blocks are meant to enhance the experience of the chair to more than just a product for sitting on. It includes more than one people into a product that is better known for single person use for the most part. With the addition of the blocks, the lifespan of the chair may last a lot longer than without the blocks. It also creates interest in the chair as another product.

Polyurethane Foam: A soft foam that is malleable to fit onto the chair legs. This material is also safe for children as it is not hazardous to them. It can come in a range of colours to appeal to children. Very light in weight so it can be carried while attached to the chair and not cause any injuries.

The situation in which the user of the chair would buy these attachments are if they had children in the future. The attachements act as a toy for the new addition to the family.

This task has tought me another method of appealing to users beyond the short term appeal and aesthetics. Part of attracting people to become users of your product is how they will interact with it for years to come and possibly even by the next generation. It has become crucial in our day that products can be used in alternate situations so that it will suit a larger majority of users. To be able to appeal to users at an emotional level is a large part of accomplishing what designers want as a result. All these points have challenged me to think of situations in which the user may or may not use the product in to find a sound solution to their needs now and in the future.
Although designing accessories and attachments for products is a good way for users to development an attachment to their product, it is only a bandaid for a product that has long been forgotten about their original product. As a user's relationship with their product fade's, the accessories will only seem new for a while before it will become the same chair that they've grown tired of already. Although i think it is not the best way of getting users to keep their products longer, i think that it is an effective way to cut down on the amount of waste generated. With this method, there is a chance that users will end up keeping their products for a much longer time than its even meant to last for.

I have always thought that collaborative group work is helpful to everyone within the group as there are many opinions and different ways of thinking to solve each problem. Each member can learn from each other and bounce ideas off each other to get to a solution. There is a downside to the large groups that were formed though. Opinions can get lost in the discussion where ideas are just thrown around. In smaller groups or even individual work, all ideas are taken into consideration and people can express their ideas to the fullest without needing to win the vote of others who just simpley may not understand the whole concept.

If i were to design a piece of furniture, i would look at the successful pieces of furniture out there and find out what people think when they are actually using the piece of furniture. I find that people have different opinions of furniture when they are looking at it and when they are actually using it. After finding out the opinions of people, i would figure out an environment in which i think would evoke such emotions and take samples from that environment to generate ideas as to what i want people to feel when using the product.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Task 2 - Reflection on the documentary Objectified by Gary Hustwit

Everyone wants to stand out from each other which is why everyone wants to get the latest thing hoping that they will, even for one second, have something different from the norm but in the end, who are these people actually proving themselves to and how is this affecting the way designers design for a society full of this exact state of mind? The Documentary was an eye opener.

Each designer had a different point of view on what design should be today or how they should go around designing for society. All were legitimate and had an explanation to back their reasoning but a few really caught my attention. From my understanding after watching this video, society has a large impact on the way designers think about a product and manufacturers on what method they choose to produce products with. Today, the goal of Industrial Design is to mass produce and to standardize products universally. This is increasingly true as Henry Ford said “every object tells a story, if you know how to read it” By standardizing products, it can be sold worldwide without wasting time to redesign and remanufacture.

“Good design should be innovative, useful, honest, unobstructive, understandable, consistent in every detail, environmentally friendly and require as little design as possible” – Dieter Rams

I think this is very true of what design should be and it is something that I wish to follow as I develop as a designer. What Dieter has said covers a lot of what our current society requires in design as it appeals to consumers to have a “designed” product but at the same time, it can be used correctly. As Marc Newson said “Companies add value because something has been “designed” when designed items should cost less”. The world is all about making money now so it has become increasingly obvious that things are going to cost more when there is a name attached to it due to the fact that it seems more thought has been put into it. As consumers in this society, we look at names rather than design now. Names equal to reliability but even then there are some harsh products being manufactured.

“Design so people consider it without noticing....people should be calm and think that it is a considerate piece of design rather than think about the struggles the engineers and designers had to come up with the solution” – Jonathan Ive, Apple

Jonathan Ive refers to the light on the front edge of the computer that tells its user that the computer is on even if the lid is shut. Something so simple creates a larger impact on the everyday user than most people think. We like to go through everyday without needing to complain about why something doesn’t work the way we want it to. As a society, we like to complain about many things that irritate us so designers have learnt to deal with every problem down to the smallest details to make our lives much less complex and much smoother.

“...addressing future generations of what they think of a car. Like an avatar showing the outside world of themselves through the car” – Chris Bangle, BMW

We buy products because we are expressing who we are through them whether it is by brand or by look, we choose them because we think they represent us. Chris Bangle also makes a statement about how we are the only ones who we have something to prove to when we buy products. We buy a car because we think it suits us. Society is all about personalizing that even the faces of cars have changed and we inadvertently choose the one that we think suits us best.