Blog 8: Empathic design: Human needs

Happy week 10! This semester is flying by and I am trying to absorb every second of the time I have left here in Stillwater since I will be graduating in December! I can’t believe we have already started talking about our final project for sustainability. I definitely feel like everything we have done in this class has prepared us for this project; from our design probes activity to the LOLA shows! I found the LOLA shows from last week to be very interesting and informing. I honestly think it is such a great opportunity to be able to learn something from our very own classmates that we may have not known. I also like having a mix of majors in the class because it allows for us to learn more about different fields instead of just your own, which is vitally important. For example, I enjoyed learning about the Herman Miller chair from one of the interior design students. As a merchandiser, I do not think much about furniture and therefore, I probably would not put too much thought into being sustainable when it comes to buying a simple office chair. After learning about Herman Miller and their sustainable designs, I definitely think I will remember this brand when going to purchase my own office chair whenever I have my very own office! Another thing that stood out to me during the LOLA shows that I believe two interior design students touched on was the Bark House company. The look of the Bark House wall treatments stood out to me so much that I went to their website to learn more. Their motto is, “Bark house wall treatments connect people and nature in the built environment through regenerative design.” I love this concept so much, especially as a merchandiser who is interested in a career in visual merchandising. Shoppers can experience stress when shopping and a way to relieve that stress is to bring parts of nature into the design of the store and using Bark House wall treatments would be a perfect way to do just that! Lastly, I thought the learning community that talked about certain ways to apply the patterns of biophilic design in health care facilities definitely caught my attention, especially the concept of healing gardens. After hearing what these healing gardens can do, I think all hospitals/health facilities should be required to have them for the sake of their patients. Many patients cannot actually walk outside of the hospital and be within nature, but being around nature is peaceful and therapeutic and it is important for hospital patients to be able to get that type of exposure and healing gardens would be the way to do that.

After the LOLA shows on Tuesday, we continued our discussion on empathic design. More specifically, we talked about human needs. We began this discussion by reading the “Needs” article. This article discussed how clothing can meet a number of human needs but it also has the potential to be harmful if manipulated. This article also introduced us to the Max –Neef taxonomy, which is the “being, having, and doing” concept. For the in class activity, as learning community, we had to come up with an activity to do that would satisfy a human need by using one of the having, doing, or being concepts. My learning community used the “doing” concept, which satisfies a human need through promoting positive behavioral change. We came up with an idea that is similar to pocket points, but in our concept, we said that when people in the community recycle or do something that positively impacts the environment, they can get a certain amount of points. By teaming up with businesses around the community, people can use their points to purchase certain activities such as one painting class at Pinot’s Pallet or a dance class from a local dance studio. This would not only satisfy human needs, but also create a more sustainable environment!

In the human needs lecture portion of Thursday’s class, one of my favorite topics we discussed was the IKEA flat pack house. The IKEA flat pack house meets the human need of protection in a very basic form. After staying in a tiny house in Oregon last spring break, I know I would definitely love to own this IKEA house! Living in something like this makes you simplify your life for the better and you realize the things you actually do need vs things that you can live without. I also found the “touch me dress” that uses slits to indicate parts of the body such as the shoulder, waste, and back that are ok to touch. To me, this idea seemed a little bizarre and would attract too much attention, but I also think it is a good concept that should be further researched.

With only a few weeks left in this class, I am looking forward to learning as much as possible. I have definitely seen the benefits this class has had in my daily life and every week it seems to be more and more clear to me that sustainability is the answer to saving our environment.

Oh, & happy bedlam week! GO POKES!

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