After ideating and taking apart all those devices last week I realized something: A repurposed object has greater potential to inspire us when we can still recognize what it has been before. Droog design’s bottoms up doorbell is a great example of this principle as its strength lies in its self-explanatory design. It takes an everyday item and puts it in a new context where it loses its hitherto function, but gains a new one. The wineglasses used in the doorbell are concrete familiar items, while the guts of, for instance, a desktop printer are abstract. Accordingly, a product made from such unrecognizable parts does not have the same potential to tell a story by itself and without further explanation. It needs mediation to express its qualities. However, it is those still working components inside an obsolete product that I want to work with to show that they are a useful ressource that most people do not think of when disposing of the whole thing. To consumers, the inner workings of devices are usually unknown and need to be turned inside out and be explained to reveal their hidden potential.
When I finally arrived at this conclusion, I reconsidered and distanced from the initial idea of creating designs that repurpose complete objects. Instead, a product of the kind I have in mind shall enable their users to understand how its components work together to provide the desired function. In my view, understanding not only how to use something, but also how it works means understanding its potential. This enables people to maintain, repair and adapt their products and therefore to really own them. Moreover I want to create adaptable designs, that do not rely on manufacturer-specific parts, but can be put together from material of unspecific origins, like scavenged components.
The fact that such products need mediation is actually not a concern, but in the context of this project perfectly fine as communication has been seen as a crucial part of it from the beginning anyway.