Monday, May 17, 2010

Task 5: The Story of Bottled Water

The idea that we are being charged 2000 times the amount for bottled water than from our own taps is ludicrous. What is more obscene is that people actually believe that bottled water is better for them, especially in a country that can provide clean tap water at almost no charge.

A water bottle is not only physically useless and a waste of precious resources, but its contribution to landfill is unacceptable. In a time where the world is looking for solutions to minimise the effect of releasing toxic chemicals into the air, water bottles amazingly still remain. Companies have poured millions of dollars into research for 'green' cars, to implement cleaner ways of producing electricity, and for more efficient recycling of necessary products, yet water bottles still remain. It would seem that the geniuses at companies which produce these bottles of water do not have any education, or do not wish to make less money, and do not care at all that their products are nothing but a burden on the environment.

These companies openly encourage drinking bottled water, promoting the 'fact' that tap water is dirty - that the bottled water is much purer and healthier - yet most of these are bottled from the same source as our tap water and those that aren't are no different anyway.

It is good to know that people are showing promise in changing their opinions of bottled water. It is not seen as the convenience item that it once was, as consumers become smarter about these large corporations' tricky methods of selling. Hopefully soon this product will stop being produced due to lack of sales, and the worlds' landfill sites can be used for objects that have no other place to go, not for bottle of water that should never have been produced in the first place.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Final Design: Reflection

Looking back on this project over the past couple of weeks, I can see how big an impact many of the products could make on the world. Every situation gives rise to a number of design opportunities that I believe could lead to a solid design piece.

Before this project I had no knowledge whatsoever of maritime disasters, or any type of maritime products for that matter. This meant that every step of this assignment I was learning something new and fun, but it also meant that it was a challenge every day. Designing products for land isn't easy, but there are things that are concrete and well known, such as how to stabilise products so they stand straight. Change to designing products for water use and suddenly something as simple as this is completely different. Also, keeping a product afloat is a science - boats can stay afloat regardless of their gigantic weight because of water disposition, but without testing the product in a real life situation, it is hard to assume that it will work perfectly. These are, I think, the two issues that are not completely resolved with my design and the areas I would look into if I were to take the design further.

Overall I enjoyed the challenge set by this assignment, not only for the difference in environment, but designing for a specific demographic - the developing world. Not only was designing for water difficult, but also ensuring this design would fit in with a different lifestyle than I'm used to designing for.

Final Design: Evacuate

The evacuate system is a rapid deployment unit that answers the need for evacuation preparation on many operational maritime vessels in developing countries.
As has been seen many times, these countries lack the ability to handle such disasters & this increases the devastating impact it has. In specific relation to the evacuate system, most vessels lack the ability to properly provide life saving rafts, for reasons such as damaged equipment.
This leads to problems in evacuating personnel from the ship as there is nowhere to go – resulting in sporadic distribution of the few who do make it into the water. However, trying to find one survivor in the ocean is likened to looking for a needle in a stack of needles. This presents an opportunity for the deployment of a system that not only serves as a backup life saving device, but one that increases chances of being rescued by increasing surface area covered in the water – The larger the object the easier to spot. This is the main idea behind EVACUATE.
Technically, Evacuate is a one piece roto-moulded HDPE flotation device with a solar powered safety light. However, these base units are connected using high strength copolymer rope and joined using carabineers. Once joined, an evacuation area is formed and it is this area that survivors congregate.
The units themselves are an easily visible bright orange that fits with the visual language of the marine rescue environment. The attached solar light is used for visibility in lower light conditions for both survivors looking for the evacuation point and for rescuers.
Deployment of the evacuate system is via cranes similar to those that exist on many ships for deploying life rafts. Essentially Evacuate is deployed as a whole unit that once in the water, each unit drift apart from each other and create a contained area.
Once inside this area, survivors activate the attached sea marker dyes that will release a bright green, highly visible dye into the water that further increases chance of being spotted. Once rescued, the evacuate unit can also be collected and reused, furthering product life.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Task 4: Design for Life

To begin, Philippe Stark comes across as a very moral person. He has his own strict personal design rules that he adheres to vigorously. He also designs for a better society, as can be seen through the projects he sets his team (e.g finding good vs poorly designed products). After watching Stark give criticism to the contestants in this program, it is clear that he is extremely subjective. At times he does not let the contestants explain themselves as he has already formed an opinion of the idea in his head. As a design student, this is an expected yet somewhat annoying trait possessed by many designers in his position.

In his own words, design was built as a society for the rich and rare. Each product was expensive to purchase and hard to find so much so that the normal person could not indulge in design. Stark has since set his personal mission to make his products available to as many people as possible, focusing on mass production while delivering a product that will better the users life. He also believes that sustainability should be the most important thing on any designers mind. This is also a very socially responsible ethical choice and also keeps with his design for the better of people attitude.

His methods and designs using such a philosophy are very well recieved, if not somewhat eclectic. As someone described him during the series, 'One minute you think you know what he is doing, then he designs a stool in the shape of a garden gnome'. Many of his products have recieved international acclaim such as the lemon juicer designed for Alessi. Although this particular product seems to contradict his personal mission of mass producing useful products, as the product itself does not function as a juicer.

However, this can be seen as a one off, as most of his design portfolio is extremely well known, especially his furniture which can even be seen in popular TV shows. Phillipe Starck is a prolific designer of the 20th and 21st century, one who has helped shift the design world in a new and better direction.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Design Charette 1: Final Design

·         How will the proposed solution improve the emotional attachment of the user to the chair?
In terms of increasing emotional attachment to the user, this redesign uses both aesthetic appeal and increased comfort. By creating a chair more visually pleasing, the user experiences higher levels of attachment to the chair as it becomes a piece that adds character to their house and current furniture - it can also become a talking point between the user and friends.
The original design did not compensate very much for the physical comfort of the chair. Yet comfort also plays a big role in the emotional attachment of this chair. As the user sits in the chair it would become clear to them that it is good for their posture and enjoyable to sit in. This reinforces the users decision about purchasing this attachment and develops and emotional - physical relationship with the comfort level and posture correctiveness of the design.

·         What are the proposed materials?
The attachment would be made from a bent plywood to fit the visual style of the original pinewood chair.

·         How do you expect the consumer to use it?
The attachment fits directly into existing slots that are present in the original chair. The user simply takes out the existing backrest and places the new improved attachment in its place - increasing ergonomics and visual appeal.

·         What stimulus will encourage the user to modify the chair or buy the aftermarket attachments for the chair (eg, change in life circumstances, etc)
The original chair can be seen as a cheap and quick solution to seating needs. It could be assumed that the user is looking for a utility chair rather than a luxurious one. This could be because the user has a small budget and/or does not require such an expensive chair at this point. However, as the consumer ages and earns more money, they will most definitely look to replace this cheap chair. By incorporating an attachment that will benefit the consumer both ergonomically and visually, we hope that this attachment would be purchased instead of a whole new chair.

Design Charette 1: Concepts

Mind Maps

Psycho/Socio Attachments

This design focuses on the psycho/socio attachment of customisation. As the original chair comes in a standard flat pack variety - adding a simple way to let users customise the design will in turn add connectivity to the object. This will allow users to make their chairs unique to them.

This design, like the one above, also focuses on customisation but also personalisation. It incorporates a simple cloth backing to the chair somewhat reminiscent of hanging clothes on the back. These backings would come in all styles and brands, and would allow each chair in the house to be unique and belong to a certain family member. This could also bring about a sense of nostalgia if the chair was ever to be disposed of, and could add to its life cycle.

Physio Attachments

Extending the life of a product can be done by adding extra functionality that would be lost if the product was disposed of. By adding a simple storage system into the bottom of the chair, users could find other uses for the chair once it has passed its sitting life time.

A comfortable chair is much harder to rid of than an uncomfortable one. The original chair was very cheap and stiff, adding a cushion that could be customisable (and also play with the psycho/socio attachments) would make the chair much more comfortable and enjoyable to use.

Using the same idea as above, designing the backrest to be more comfortable and better for posture could ensure the product is much more enjoyable and physically comfortable to sit on.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Task 3: The 11th Hour

No longer are the words 'global warming' uncommon in todays world. The phenomenon is responsible for cataclysmic changes in our world including droughts, tougher hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters. The amount of carbon dioxide that is pumped into the atmosphere is incubating our planet, warming it up and causing it to fight back. Devastating amounts of human lives have been lost through events which can be linked back to this changing climate, yet it is still on the rise.

We live in a world that is culturally used to comforts such as cars, electricity on demand, fresh water and such. We seem to have grown so dependant on the accessibility of such resources without giving too much thought to their deliverance to us. Every time we drive our cars, we are personally responsible for increasing the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere - however, given the other options, a car is the fastest and the most comfortable form of travel. This reasoning can be applied to almost everything and it is this reasoning that we must change if we are to reverse the damage already done to our planet.

As Industrial Designers, climate change should be at the forefront of every object we concieve. It should become as important, if not more so, as form and function. We are responsible for creating the products that people so desire because that is our job, and that is what creates an economy. This sort of thinking needs to be abolished if we are to succeed in fighting climate change. Products need to be designed with the environment in mind, whether it be with recyclable materials, expanding its life cycle or decreasing the effect its waste has on the planet. Industrial Designers pride themselves on being lateral problem solvers; creative. It is important now more than ever to show the world that we can help to solve the problem that is global warming.