Media Democracy

Psychodesign

What if design stood up for itself? What if instead of bowing immediately to our demands, design gently pushed back?
[ssp|path=magazine/78/multimedia/psychodesign|width=668|height=448]

Psychodesign

Design has always submitted to our will. Design’s immediate and unwavering compliance to our demands defines our relationship. It does what we ask of it. Any design refusing to conform to its purpose is discarded or rebuilt, its insolence ruled a defect or a flaw. But what if design stood up for itself? What if instead of bowing immediately to our demands, design gently pushed back?

Square Toilet Paper

For a 2000 exhibition entitled Re-Design: Daily Products of the 21st Century, architect Shigeru Ban re-conceptualized one of the most ubiquitous aspects of daily life – toilet paper. Traditionally structured around a rounded tube, toilet paper is designed to yield abundant amounts with minimal effort. A small tug sets the roll in motion and it gives, gives, gives – inevitably offering more paper than we really need. By changing the shape of the tube – making it square rather than circular – Ban changed both the shape and the nature of the paper molded around it. A tug is met with resistance as the roll's squared corner encounters the edge of the metal dispenser. "Kata," says the roll. "Kata-kata-kata," each corner voicing protest as it passes. Need is no longer met by silent compliance. The roll will yield, but not without dissent. The result, hopefully, is a heightened consciousness of use.

Gel Remote

Inert and lifeless, design is animated only through human use. It exists only by virtue of its functionality, possessing no reality independent of its purpose in our world. Would we think of it differently if it were alive? Constructed of a soft, flesh-like gel, the remote appears cold and dead when off. Once turned on, however, it seems to come to life. A soft light emanates somewhere from within as the center of the device begins to slowly rise and fall, mimicking the tranquil motions of breath. Left undisturbed, the remote will slumber peacefully. But should a human hand approach, sensors inside alert it to the imminent touch. It stops breathing, grows rigid – the light from within is extinguished. A remote is the ideal metaphor for the disturbance electronic distraction poses to life. If we had to interrupt its life before it could interrupt ours, we may think twice before picking it up.

Light Cord

Developed by STATIC!, an energy-awareness project in Sweden, the Power Aware cord visualizes energy rather than concealing it from sight. Represented by a pale blue light, energy begins to flow through the cord from the moment its plugged in. The longer the cord is in use, the more vibrant the light becomes. Eventually the light begins to pulse, then throb, demanding that we become conscious of the energy flowing beneath. Consumption ceases to be abstract – it becomes visible, quantifiable, real. The energy won't resist use – quietly and obediently, it will continue to flow. But at the edge of our consciousness, the light will persistently throb.


Photos from Designing Design by Kenya Hara

42 comments on the article “Psychodesign”

Displaying 11 - 20 of 42

Page 2 of 5

Rob Em

I would prefer satirical design such as a a toilet paper roll mounted to the back of a toilet seat that can be wastefully pulled through your buttcrack from between your legs. Or a light cord that administers small shocks as a postiive punishment in a behaviourist attempt to stop you from plugging so much crap in. Or a remote control controlled by the TV that issues commands at you. There can be a buy button and a spend button and a sit button and a "talk about this stupid-as-fuck TV show in public" button etc.

Rob Em

I would prefer satirical design such as a a toilet paper roll mounted to the back of a toilet seat that can be wastefully pulled through your buttcrack from between your legs. Or a light cord that administers small shocks as a postiive punishment in a behaviourist attempt to stop you from plugging so much crap in. Or a remote control controlled by the TV that issues commands at you. There can be a buy button and a spend button and a sit button and a "talk about this stupid-as-fuck TV show in public" button etc.

Chuck

Rob, great idea, particularly the reverse remote control! Much cooler, to the point, and easier to realize than the flesh thing.

Chuck

Rob, great idea, particularly the reverse remote control! Much cooler, to the point, and easier to realize than the flesh thing.

M

I think its unfair to call designers arrogant.

I am one. And I am not arrogant.

I think these designs are great. We constantly have lectures and classes on user interaction and awareness of what is happening when they use what we create. There is currently a rebellion against apple products because the user has no idea whats inside them or how they work. While this is a trivial example, please reconsider before you blame the designer for a product that can be used unaware. There will always be those who will design anything for money, on the most part, todays designers are conscious of user, use and inward and outward effects of our products.

M

I think its unfair to call designers arrogant.

I am one. And I am not arrogant.

I think these designs are great. We constantly have lectures and classes on user interaction and awareness of what is happening when they use what we create. There is currently a rebellion against apple products because the user has no idea whats inside them or how they work. While this is a trivial example, please reconsider before you blame the designer for a product that can be used unaware. There will always be those who will design anything for money, on the most part, todays designers are conscious of user, use and inward and outward effects of our products.

Lee~Lee

I think these are brilliant!! Not only are they a fusion of trendy and hip, but also a conveyor of the efficiency that us humans have become used to. To be honest I have never once thought about a toilet roll, and the design ergonomics of it. Its always just been, well... a toilet roll. I especially admire how these people are "thinking out the box" to use a cliche!

Lee~Lee

I think these are brilliant!! Not only are they a fusion of trendy and hip, but also a conveyor of the efficiency that us humans have become used to. To be honest I have never once thought about a toilet roll, and the design ergonomics of it. Its always just been, well... a toilet roll. I especially admire how these people are "thinking out the box" to use a cliche!

Pages

Add a new comment

Comments are closed.