…nomically speaking, the chair I am sat in as I type this is either too high for the table, or the table is too low for the chair as I am hunched over the keyboard like a neanderthal man.
This week, Richard has tasked us with truly getting to grips with dimensions. Exciting I know. Please bear with me, dear reader, as I shall spice this up a bit.
If we are tasked with designing a piece of furniture for the BBC – we have, as yet, not chosen our desired brief – then we need to be aware of the shape of a human, average or not. We are all different shapes and sizes, yet we are presented with the same piece of furniture. It needs to fit me, as comfortable as it would fit every other person in the this building. How on earth are we meant to figure out what the right size is? By using stuff! We were asked to pair up and sketch each other interacting with various types of sitting device and shelving unit, satisfying the Orangebox and Bisley brief respectively.
I paired up with Cal, and we proceeded to wander around, looking for every conceivable type of chair and storage unit, but rather than sketching in situ – we may have looked a bit weird doing this – we simply took a photo of each other interacting with the item and recorded measurements. We could then trace over these and pick out the details needed.
Someone Call A Chiropractor
The most notable difference that I spotted was how we generally interacted so differently with each item. I had arms like a chimp and seemed to bend my back rather than using my joints to bend, whilst Cal seemed to use his brain and position himself appropriate to the object. This has been an interesting exercise. Realising how similar we can seem in structure, but how unexpected we choose to interact with that object. Also, a beanbag is surprising supportive and much more comfortable than a regular ‘L’ shaped chair.
Orangebox. Next question. To expand, I have decided to follow the OB brief. I feel it allows me the chance to develop something a little more playful and innovative, rather than (potentially), being restrained by the Bisley brief of modifying one of their existing ranges. Moreover, I really believe in the OB way of using materials carefully, and designing the product to have a second life. So many products are made everyday, with no thought placed to where they end up at the end of life. I did have some interesting ideas for the Bisley brief, but without a direction – at time of writing, they have not given us clear direction of what they want – I do not want to pursue them. For another day, perhaps.
With a chosen brief, Richard tasked us with capturing how people have been observed using devices within a contemporary office. People don’t just sit on a chair anymore, they slump, slouch, multi-task, sit side saddle, drink coffee and generally position themselves in a way that makes all the desk chair posture analysis redundant. So, with the help of some good buddies on the course, we took a series of photos of colleagues in various poses, on differing types of ‘chair’. From here, we were to make an outline sketch of the situation, ready for use in the next stage of this process: sketching prototypes.