Some notes after hearing Anthony Dunne

Last Wednesday night Anthony Dunne gave a presentation at Parsons the New School for Design. Described on the postcard for the event, Anthony Dunne is a professor and head of the Design Interactions Department at the Royal College of Art in London and a partner in the design practice Dunne & Raby. Below are a couple images from the Dunne & Raby website that struck me as memorable and worth mentioning afterwards.

Is this your future?

Is this your Future?: The teddy bear blood bag is a bit disturbing to say the least – but it sure is an image that you won’t forget. The image is part of “a collection of hypothetical products and 3 photographic scenarios explore the ethical, cultural and social impact of different energy futures. The Energy Gallery, The Science Museum, London (For children between 7—14 years).”

Compass Table

Compass Table: Such a great idea, place a bunch of compasses inside a table and watch what happens when you move it around a room. “Its needles twitch and spin when electronic products are placed on the table’s surface”. Comments from the people using the table: “It seems to be a bit obsessed with the radiator. (Arabella) and It’s not just like a vase that you get bored of. (Diane)”

GPS Table

GPS Table

GPS Table: The table had a screen and GPS system inside it, if the table wasn’t positioned correctly it would say it was lost on the screen“This Globally Positioned Table displays its exact position in the world.” and comments from the people living with the table “We don’t tend to attribute human feelings to our furniture. (Lorna) I’m not quite sure why I was shocked. I thought “Bloody hell, the poor thing’s lost”(Dick)”

Anthony’s talk was intended to stir debate on a number of fronts that design does not usually do. Most days design is sold as a commodity as opposed to a thought process to challenge social, cultural or ethical issues – a role usually left for art – though in the context of his presentation seemed appropriate. On a more practical level, I certainly became more aware that if designers added more human touches or visible cues to inanimate objects, how people interact with them would change – probably for the better.

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  • D. Culbert

    Why are so many designers obsessed with integrating furniture and technology? Every technological object I ever owned has broken down(usually quickly). As appliances have gotten more complex they break down increasingly quickly, a waste of resources.

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