Friday, 7 May 2010

Day 127 (07.05.10)

Dag hundrede og syveogtyve. Damn, damn and damn again. My family is switching our internet line, which means the only access to teh interwebz I'll get over the next few days (3 or 4) is through a garish pink Vodafone USB dongle. That means restricted surfing (it's on Pay as you Go) and increased embarrassment. I have to stay away from Spotify (streams through the internet), ANR (same) and cut down my webpages to only the necessary ones (Facebook, this blog, and Flickr). This is going to be tough.

A japanese example of flexible space, using panels to separate off parts of a room
So here's a quick design blag to keep you busy until Tuesday when I'll have some new content. Remember when I was talking about my interior design ethic? "Interior space must be flexible" was how it went. So how do we achieve that flexibility? How do we make it easy for users to realise the possibilities of a flexible living/working space? By hiding it in plain sight. Flexibility must be ergonomic; it must be clear to the user what possibilities a multi-function piece of furniture presents.

Glub glub glub.

One of the simplest (and most Denmark-related) arguments against this is in Verner Panton's beautiful Panton chair (1999). There is something so intuitive about the design of the chair, that makes it totally ambiguous. Some people may argue that a chair needs to look like a chair, but the Panton chair ignores this. Simply because it doesn't immediately strike you as looking like a chair, it becomes an undefined thing. This is perfect for flexible workspaces - the chair is not treated like a chair. It can be used for anything. And it can also be stored in small spaces is you need to clear more space in the room.

So what's the solution to flexible space? Is is clearly presenting the possibilities of a piece of furniture? Or is it creating an ambiguous 'thing' that can be whatever the user imagines it to be? Contrary to what I said two paragraphs ago (my opinion has since swung), I think Verner Panton got it right. But that doesn't mean all chairs/tables should be simple cubes!

OK, let's quickly go through the whole challenge thing. Did I enjoy life today? Not particularly. Technology test, forgot maths homework, extremely over tired and drew up a chair design at lunch which I then noticed had been already made by someone else (must have seen the design before, then it subliminally inspired me). So I hereby carry on the challenge to enjoy the day onto tomorrow. Let's hope it goes a bit better than today.


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