I just started a project about using discarded things as raw material for designing new products out of them. I plan to use familar everyday items that have seemingly ‘served their purpose‘ and want to show their hidden potential in an entertaining way. The products I am going to design should move people emotionally, surprise, provoke, amuse or inspire them.
So why did I choose to do this? Well, before I started, I interviewed several students from Lund University and asked them about their YouTube-watching habits. Specifically I wanted to know what motivates them to watch videos in which things are made. It turned out that they like such content when it is entertaining and relatable on the object level, the practical level and/or the personal level – or in other words through the items that are made, the practice of making and the people involved in making and/or narrating.
Seeing for example how an item of daily use like a toothbrush is made, where it comes from and what mass-production methods are involved to make it can be quite interresting because it reveals the history of an object. On the other hand, many interviewees also told me that they like videos in which people make quite impressive things only with their hands and the help of simple tools, which lets it look easy and playful. Moreover, being able to relate with the narrators on a personal level through their personality and humour clearly makes the videos more enjoyable and entertaining to watch.
My idea is now to continue the story of things after we are finished using them. I want to give them a new purpose and show opportunities to look at them from another angle. When products become obsolete, we see their value decreased and reversing this development in a striking way should be inspiring and if mediated properly, the design and making process can also be entertaining to witness.
To keep the creation of the physical objects relatable, I plan to use simple manufacturing methods and to present the progression in a playful way. Though I already know that video will be an important tool to document my work, I was looking into further options to communicate the design process in a suitable way and came to the conclusion that some more detailled information and reflections could be conveyed better with text and pictures, so I started this blog. It also provides a more immediate way for me to post regular updates about new developments in between video uploads and I hope this combined media strategy will make it both interresting and entertaining for others to follow the project over time and to draw some inspiration from it!