TAKE A SEAT
tinkering.. and what chairs can teach us about interaction design
Everyday objects, like chairs, can teach us important lessons about interaction design. For real, let me explain. Lewis Mumford, a philosopher of technology in the early 1900s, explained that, “In order to cope with modern technology the human being must be fully integrated physically and psychically with that technology” whereby technology would become naturalized. He went on to emphasize, "The site at which these two elements meet - human and machine (what we today call the interface) - must therefore be the site of design reform."
The traditional armchair was built by hand and weighed 45+ pounds, and it was gradually being superseded by chairs made out of less material and designed to be mass produced. They lost their character a bit. A winner of the MOMA competition in 1934, the Eames' chair established the need and desire for a more organic, naturalized relationship between people and objects. Design provided the answer, and it continues to do so today in the way humans interact with technology. If you want to geek out like me on the history of chairs and how they play a part in interaction design you can have a listen here.
Anywho.. this brings me to my collection of chairs. I like teensy things. Mini shampoo bottles. Tiny salt spoons. Anything that comfortably fits in my paw. I also like making things. Paper airplanes. Food. Ikea furniture. And miniature chairs. This is my take on transforming everyday objects into tiny chairs and using design to reimagine the way we think about the things around us.
Besides, we usually sit for 8+ hours a day. Shouldn't we make it interesting?