Collective Needs is a series of objects that addresses connection and togetherness through common human behaviors.
They function in a traditional sense - as a surface to eat from, a place to sit, and a source of light. However, along with the obvious functions comes an unexpected or unfamiliar interaction that creates the space for conversation or reflection about our shared behaviors.
The shifting role of a designer in the current social-political climate in combination with a global, emphatic call for compassion and empathy provides the context for this exploration. I dove into the "divisiveness" and studied the way social media and modern means of communication leave us less connected. I studied the cycle of identity and group forming in which we differentiate ourselves from the masses by expressing our beliefs, only to seek the comfort and anonymity that comes with belonging to a group of like-minded folk.
QUESTION How do we address the “us vs. them” mentality within the United States using design?
OBJECTIVE Create empathy instruments for divisive times that assist humans in breaking down barriers of division and having honest interactions despite or about their perceived differences.
A surface for sharing stories, meals, and mindsets.
Gather round, share with someone.
The object is a table, a plate, a bowl, and a desk - its functionality only fully achieved
when supported by you and at least one someone else.
Resting atop knees or thighs, the object acts as an anchor for mealtime. It is a literal surface
for holding food or objects and a conceptual surface for connection.
A source of calm, relaxation, and unconscious unity.
Take a moment, notice your breath.
The object dims and brightens at the pace of an average resting respiratory rate,
existing as a silent and meditative metronome for your lungs.
Passively seated in the corner of your space, the object serves as a gentle
reminder of our unconscious life-sustaining behaviors.
A place to find rest, support, and connection.
Get off your feet, accept the unexpected.
The object seats two people, providing a cooperative, comfortable seat. The simplified structure removes distraction and brings focus to the interaction.
Visually familiar, the object both accomplishes and defies functional expectations, creating unusual physical connections through mundane behaviors.