„Smart“ Furniture (Künstlerisches Gestalten)
Furniture is a central element of our everyday life. Beds, chairs, sofas, armchairs, tables, shelves cupboards or carpets all serve quite practical purposes. At the same time, each type of furniture has a rich symbolic as well as emotional meaning. Its supports expressing our lifestyle, our individuality, and defines an emotionally important place, the home. More importantly, furniture plays a role in a huge number of important practices. The sofa is a place to relax, maybe with a friend, and to watch movies. The shelf is a place to store, curate and display belongings to oneself and others. The table defines a place to come together, to talk, laugh and eat. Each type of furniture is rich in potential meaning.
The progressing digitalization of everyday life creates a strange situation. Many of personally relevant things start to live in separate spaces. For example, some real books rest on the book shelf or the coffee table, while digital books in a computer or Kindle. While reading a book as an activity and the general understanding of what a book is remains the same, the way we deal with physical or digital books is quite different due to the different technologies. And in fact, each “technology”, the physical as well as the digital, has some unique advantages. For example, a digital bookshelf sorts itself and it is much easier to find a particular book. In contrast, through its tangibility, physical books invite to browse, become more present in one’s everyday life and are, for example, more accessible to house guest and easier to lend (but harder to get back). Obviously, it would be desirable to explore ways to combine advantages and to bridge the obvious gap between the physical and the digital world.
In this course we will start an expedition into this. We will start our journey in the physical world of furniture, its current meaning and the social practices it is involved in. Based on this, we will attempt to find aesthetically appealing ways to include the digital world, thus, to turn furniture into a portal to relevant digital functionality.
The course will focus on making. Of course, most of you are not furniture designer or carpenters. We will thus start from existing furniture, for example a Billy, and look for ways to extend. Beware, this is not simply done by glueing screens to tables! The goal is to create interesting, expressive, innovative, critical and aesthetically pleasing interactive concepts - furniture, which aims at overcoming the divide between the physical and the digital.
The course will be supported by Tim Zum Hoff and Peter Kubior, both experienced in designing and actually making furniture as well as in designing interaction.