Wednesday, July 28, 2010

An argument against ergonomics

Image from
There is an Eames Lounge that has taken up residence in my living room. It is not an original because the shock absorbing rings are plastic, yet it is not very new because wood is 5 plies thick, not 7. It is from the late 1960s-early '70s. It is upholsered with brown leather and this may be one of the reasons that it is a lot uglier than I had realized before.

I remember this chair from when I was a kid. It belonged to my grandparents, and was occupied by a life (human) size Snoopy doll. There was one in every therapist's office that I have ever been in. (There is something about modernist furniture that therapists love. Dr. S had a Joe Colombo Boby trolly in his office as well as an Aeron chair for himself and an Eames lounge for the patient. I think he had some sort of therapist discount at Design Within Reach. Every week when I sat in his lounge chair I would shift my body down so that my head rested on the top pillow and my feet could touch the floor. I never used the ottoman because I had shoes on and did not want to scratch the leather.)

The chair that is sitting next to me now is not comfortable. I realize that when I sit properly in the chair I have no headrest and only my toes touch the floor. My torso is very long, and causes a lot of trouble with furniture. Usually the trouble is only that I sit a lot taller than others, sometimes my head touches the ceiling of small cars though. I had thought that the Eames lounge chair was the epitome of comfort style and ergonomics. Now I know that this is a chair that for maybe 1/4 of the population has no neck support, and a good portion of people have a head rest, but dangling toes.

This chair is not a demonstration of the understanding of human factors. It is comfortable for the average body, and to me this is unacceptable.

Things that claim to provide comfort and support need sizes, like bras and shoes.

Otherwise they are uncomfortable for a good portion of the population. the next time I make something involving human factors I will think harder about this, knowing that it is not good enough to forget about range and focus only on the average.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Postmodern Retrofit Kit

I found this image on flickr and thought that it would be fun to test out this kit on a few boring contemporary objects.
The IKEA salt and pepper shaker
My inhaler
The classic Honeywell thermostat
I think the thermostat was the biggest change. On a scale of Bauhaus to Archizoom it scores an 8.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The future of the past is cooler than the future of the present.

Think about it...
Future of the past

Future of the present

Friday, July 23, 2010

Form follows value systems

After extensive rambling in my sketchbook today, I came to the conclusion that designers are no longer focused on conveying a function through the form of a product. They are more concerned that the value system of the consumer matches the values conveyed by the designed object. Starting with the actual evaluation of the cost, manufacturing, environmental and social impact of the essential materials and function, a designer can choose the market segment which they choose to sell to. It would make sense that the design itself would convey the values that it is built upon, but this is not where the job of the designer ends. The value system must then be translated into the visual language of the form of the product. Consumers are attracted by reinterpretations of the signifiers which represent their values, not the values themselves. This is why objects are styled, rather than simply engineered.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A thought on the train

I was on the train today watching all of the commuters use their entertainment devices.

The man sitting next to me played air hockey on his iphone (4).
I contemplated the balance between optimal aesthetics and efficiency.

What would things look like if there were no such thing as beauty?

If I were more interested in my appearance would I have fashionable electronics?

If I had fashionable electronics with distracting games would I ever have asked these questions, or would I have been too distracted to think?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Many more uses for plastidip

There was a lot of rubber left over from painting the soles on my shoes. I used it to make a few other things.

I dipped an old set of fake pearls in the rubber, and they turned out well. I made a few more out of some other fake pearls that i had around the house.

These thinner strands came out pretty nicely, have already turned them into longer necklaces.
I dipped the rings from my old Pretty Pretty Princess game in the rubber, and the black ring came out nicely.
I also dipped one of my heels, I think these shoes are a lot more interesting now.

More to come later

Monday, July 12, 2010

Are these shoes finished?

These are the shoes that I have been working on for so long. I used plastidip to coat the sole with rubber. They are not slippery at all, and they are probably somewhat water resistant. I still have not decided whether they should have some sort of stitching on them. If you have an opinion, please leave a comment to let me know.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Dipped Shoe Project III

These are the boots so far. Do they look like the sketches? I think they do. Somebody help me decide where the blue stitching should go. I am totally stuck on the stitching.

Finalizing Sketches

I made a bunch more sketches and made the cuts. I think that there needs to be some stitching so that they look less elfy. I think blue may be the best color. One of the sketches has some blue on it. I am doing some taping to see where stitching should go. Stitching could probably give some structure to the felt in certain areas.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Dipped Shoe Project

I am getting some stuff lined up to dip in rubber. I got my can of plastidip to make some soles for my felt boots. It dries out really quickly, so I need to have a plan before the can is opened. It is really difficult to choose a sketch to work from. I have plenty of ideas, but it is hard to know what the rubber will look like on the felt. I also only have one shot to make something nice and the pressure makes the final decision that much harder.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

This is rather surprising...

This morning I found a surprising amount of traffic leading to my flickr account. I went to find the source, and was shocked to find this. Thank you Becky Stern for writing about my "noodle chair" and for linking to my portfolio.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

By the way...

I decided to redesign. I hope it looks good.

Friday, July 2, 2010

I want the option to dislike

Why is it that most websites allow people to like things, but not to dislike things. For example, when I see something truly horrible on etsy, why is there no option to give negative hearts. Are people's egos so fragile that they could not handle knowing that people do not like what they do? If I am on facebook, and someone has a status of "doing homework" or "dog died this morning :( " I have no optioon to dislike that these things have happened.

All I want is the option to dislike.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Birthday Present for the Roommate

I got a package today from HereInSmallTownUSA, a fellow Etsy seller and friend whom I met in chat. Her shop is mostly full of creatively preserved dead things, perfect gifts for anyone who is curious about taxidermy, biology, or snakes. I ordered a skunk skull, paired with some feather earrings and a set of five vertebrae as a birthday present for my roommate.
The skunk skull is cute, I got the one on the right. It maybe 3" long, and fits nicely in my hand. The vertebrae are super cool, and really interesting. They fit together and move as they would in the snake. They are also a great value for such a unique and interesting set of bones. They are still available in her shop, and would make some really awesome kinetic jewelry. In fact, they are so cool that I am keeping a set of two for myself.

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