Tutor: Juan Sanin

Timetable: Tuesday 2:30pm – 5:30pm

Location: 009.02.018

This class builds on frameworks of Design Anthropology and the notion of everyday design to analyse the things that people do with ‘design objects’ at home, and you will hack an Ikea product so people can do other things with it.

The design objects that we find in a marketplace are somehow sterile and unfinished and are only completed and alive when they are appropriated by users and adapted to the context of their everyday lives. Ikea products, for example, only become alive after they have left the shop, have been unpackaged, assembled, and placed in their use environments at home. It is at this moment that their real functions, meanings and structures take shape, and that we realise that they are ‘real’ things, different to the ‘ideal’ objects we saw in the catalogue and the showroom.

The process by which we (and everyone else) appropriate design objects and adapt them to our own ways of life is known as ‘everyday design’, and sometimes referred to as ‘design without designers’. In the context of Design Anthropology these concepts are useful to understand that people’s needs and wants not always match assumptions and original intentions of designers. Everyday design also reminds us that design is an open-ended process and that design objects should leave room for the creative work (e.g. adaptations, transformations, second meanings, etc.) that non-designers do in the context of the everyday life.

This class builds on frameworks of Design Anthropology and the notion of everyday design to analyse how people adapt and transform ‘design objects’ at home. Based on results of this analysis and through a practical exercise based on principles and practices of hacking, we will appropriate an Ikea product to redesign its name, packaging and instructions so people can do other things with this object. At the end of the course we will set up our own hacked catalogue and showroom.