Knot Lounge
Empathy for culture was a collaboration between Pratt students and Herman Miller. The objective of the project was to create a furniture piece that is more than just inspired by a culture, but shows a deep understanding of it.

The culture that I chose to study is the young urban population of Dublin, Ireland. When choosing a culture, I wanted to make sure that I would be able to study it form the point of view of an outsider as well as talk to people about their lived experience with it. I studied overseas in Dublin, and many of my friends have now moved to the city to attend college or to find work. These are the people who I talked to when conducting my initial research.
The history and culture of Ireland is closely tied to the catholic religion and a rural lifestyle. In recent years, Ireland has benefited from incredible economic growth. A strong desire to modernize has created conflict within the country. Some believe that the farmers are the core of the country, but many young people find the old farming traditions archaic. Dublin, the capitol and largest city, has drawn many young people away from the farms and into a new urban culture which rejects many of the things that are traditionally associated with Ireland.
I learned that even though the majority of young people reject farm life and old religion, they are incredibly proud of the history of their country. There is a strong sense of nationalism centered on the origins of the Irish people. Art, music, and literature are given more respect than the church, and everyone appreciates independence from British rule. Many of the youth struggle with the close association between their Irish identity and the religion and lifestyle that they have rejected.
My goal was to create a piece of furniture that contrasts the old and the new, the urban and the rural. Its form is a reinterpretation of Celtic knot work designs found in illuminated manuscripts. The natural color of the upholstery is the same as an Aran sweater. When taken out of context, there is no religious association with the knot work. Some may choose to see the knotwork as a reference to Christianity. Those who do will likely think about whether they are elevating their living space with a symbol of god, or whether they are relegating the holy trinity. The elements of Irish culture which cause the most anxiety and turmoil for the urban youth are still present, yet they are not used to directly represent themselves.
Knot lounge
321
6450
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Published:

Knot lounge

This project was a collaboration between Herman Miller and Pratt students. Students were asked to design a product that demonstrated a deep under Read More
321
6450
4
Published: