Empathic Design

This week in Sustainability, we had our second batch of LOLA shows present. This one was very interesting as it was all about interiors rather than apparel. I really enjoyed the presentation on Sage glass. Sage glass is a company that creates sustainably windows, targeted at lowering energy cost of buildings while also, offering pleasant surroundings for it’s workers. For example, someone who works in an area with no windows can become depressed and bored however when using one of Sage Glasses’ products, workers can feel like they are outdoors when in an area with no windows! They are also excellent energy savers! According to their website, it takes less energy to power 2,000 square feet of sage glass than it does to operate one 60-watt lightbulb. I think that is so crazy to think that by just replacing your windows you could save an enormous amount of money. Another presentation that captured my attention was that of the Bark House. This is such a great invention as so often at the end of a lifecycle, products turn to waste and our environment suffers from it. Why the Bark House is incredible is that it is completely biodegradable once it’s time comes to an end. It supports the Cradle to Cradle lifestyle which is the constant reuse of materials. They focus on sustainability as a way life which is awesome!  Lastly, I thought the idea of the jellyfish lodge was very cool. These spectacular floating domes are not just fun to look at but rather they purify the water and air while simultaneously growing food. Although just a prototype, the plans are for nearby residents to maintain these lodges while reaping the benefits of the healthy water and food. This apparatus would provide healthy living conditions to an entire town!

On Thursday we learned about the Max-Neef Matrix which is a table consisting of Fundamental human needs followed by ways their needs are satisfied (having, being, doing). What I found so interesting about the table was how specific it was. For example, protection has specific ways to find this need such as care, social security, and being taking care of. It’s interesting to think that there is so much more that goes into our happiness than just the Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. Having needs means the need for creation through having skills, techniques and work. Doing things helps us fit in and relate to other people. We find affection through doing by sharing stories with other people. Being is designed to allow emotional connection to evolve. For example, being is included in affection by being respected or having a sense of humor.  There are so many ways that Max-Neef incorporates its principles into projects in order to accurately portray empathic design. For example, the company Embrace Global created a baby warmer that resembles the heat of a mother’s touch. This was created for children born in third world countries since so many houses do not have energy, the slightest drop of temperature can feel like ice to a newborn. I love that this item was create because it requires no energy, making it completely sustainable, saving our environment and an incredible amount of lives!

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