18 July 2007

Designing for deterioration

Be the first to share

Designing for deterioration
Over at his blog, NYTimes.com designer Khoi Vinh has a post about “designed deterioration“, and how design-heavy tech companies don’t think about the non-perfect scenario, writes Bobbie Johnson in The Guardian’s technology blog.

“I have a US$20 cast iron skillet that I bought several years ago from a restaurant supply shop in downtown Manhattan. I’ve cooked hundreds of meals with it, and over time it has developed a coating from oil and food — the manufacturers call it ‘seasoning.’ It’s a little unbecoming when you think about it… but it’s also a beautiful piece of design.

After cooking in it and cleaning it up, I’ve spent a lot of time just looking it over, marveling at how its very deterioration has been incorporated into the design of the object, at how it’s gotten more attractive — less ignorant — the more I use it.”

Johnson takes this idea a bit forward:

“One thing technology manufacturers don’t do is design for deterioration. Of course, that’s not the same as obsolescence; it’s simply the concept that you can improve an item through wear and tear. With clothes and many other objects, we appreciate the value of aging. Leather, for example, is one material that gains character as it gets older. Denim too: hence the prevalence of pre-faded jeans on the high street these days.

Partly this must be because technology is increasingly seen as disposable – but then so are clothes, or kitchen utensils. But given the high cost of many electronics, there must be an intrinsic value to a design which improves with age (even if it runs contrary to the “Newer! Bigger! Faster!” mantra of the industry) – especially when we’re becoming hyper-aware of excess consumption.

I’d love to see computers and gadgets being built out of materials that can age properly: woods, fabrics and such like. Once you’re doing that, perhaps you could start messing with the form too. Why does my computer tower need to be a box? In fact, why does it need to be a tower at all? Couldn’t it look like a piece of art, sculpture or perform another function? What are the possibilities?”

Be the first to share
24 March 2015
Presentations online of IEA energy efficiency behaviour workshop
The 11th and 12th of March, the International Energy Agency [IEA] in Paris hosted a workshop on energy efficiency and behaviour in the buildings sector. The goal of this workshop was for representatives from IEA …
18 March 2015
The considerations and limitations of feedback as a strategy for behaviour change
The considerations and limitations of feedback as a strategy for behaviour change Garrath T. Wilsona, Tracy Bhamraa & Debra Lilleya, Loughborough Design School, Loughborough, UK Published online: 12 Mar 2015 - Taylor & Francis Design for Sustainable Behaviour …
16 March 2015
Workshop_40/Wild energies: wind, fire and people in movement
For those in Torino: Workshop_40/Wild energies: wind, fire and people in movement Conducted by Marguerite Kahrl e Marjetica Potrč Friday, March 20 3.30 - 5.30, meeting with stakeholders Saturday, March 21 10.00 - 4.00, Participatory design in groups In …
12 March 2015
Nudging and Choice Architecture: Ethical Considerations
Nudging and Choice Architecture: Ethical Considerations by Cass R. Sunstein Yale Journal on Regulation January 17, 2015 50 pages Is nudging unethical? Is choice architecture a problem for a free society? This essay defends seven propositions: It is pointless to …
7 March 2015
Why most customer experience efforts fail
It is no secret among Customer Experience (CX) professionals that most CX efforts fall flat. Forrester found that only 25% of CX professionals say their companies’ CX programs actually improve customer experience, and Avaya recently …
5 March 2015
Is it time to re-examine human-centered design?
Is it time to re-examine our anthropocentrism in design, asks ASU design professor Prasad Boradkar and to extend design's locus of action towards biocentrism. "Clearly, the things we design with such diligent research and utmost care …
2 March 2015
Ethnographic film and book on people living off the grid
Life Off Grid is a two-year journey exploring the lives of Canadians in every province and territory who have made the choice to disconnect. Life Off Grid is a film and book about people who …
1 March 2015
Towards multi-species ethnography
The well known anthropologist and sociologist Anne Galloway just announced the launch of the More-Than-Human Lab at Victoria University (New Zealand), which extends and augments human-centered design practices to our multi-species ecosystems. "What if we refuse …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

16 March 2015
Better Health and Wellbeing: Giving the elderly in Singapore sparkling golden years

Invitation: sharing session, Singapore, 30 March 2015   What are the hopes and fears of the elderly in Singapore? How can designers offer solutions that support the elderly in managing their health and wellness? What can healthcare professionals do to help them keep active? What role can technology play in the elderly’s daily lives? Design consultants […]

1 January 2015
Happy Playful New Year
21 December 2014
Experientia’s Twitter feed live

Experientia has now its own Twitter feed. Four months of Putting People First posts and other links have already been uploaded. If you followed Experientia on Twitter through the feed of its CEO, Mark Vanderbeeken, make sure to now also follow the company (but don’t unfollow Mark, who will keep on tweeting away). And while […]

19 December 2014
Putting People First blog redesigned

Experientia’s Putting People First blog has been redesigned. It is now entirely responsive, allows for easier browsing, searching, and filtering, and features larger images on the posts. The entire history of posts remains accessible as before. We are still tweaking things and welcome any feedback.

27 November 2014
Why the world needs anthropologists – an update

Why the world needs anthropologists – Coming out of the ivory tower Location: Padua, Italy, Centro Culturale Altinate/San Gaetano Date and time: Friday, 5 December 2014, 13:00 – 18:00 Padua, Italy, 5 December 2014 – The second edition of the international symposium of applied anthropologists attempts to erase the boundary between ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ anthropology, […]

30 October 2014
The BancoSmart ATM by Experientia for UniCredit selected for ADI Design Index

Last year Experientia designed the interface of an ATM of UniCredit, a major Italian bank. The interface is now rolled out across the bank’s ATMs in Italy, to great satisfaction of the bank and the customers alike, since interaction speed is much faster and error rates went down dramatically. Last year UniCredit and Experientia also […]

See all articles