Author Archive

Nap Chair

September 22, 2009

The Design V studio is using the airport as the site throughout this semester, so I decided to design an object that would be a positive sensory experience and address a problem. During layovers of significant time, one might want to take a nap out of exhaustion or boredom, but fear oversleeping and missing the flight. The sketch below is a Nap Chair that incorporates a few aspects of the human sensory experience that could benefit anyone wanting to take a nap in the airport.

The overall form curves to envelop you, making you feel safe and secure though airports can be a profoundly public space. The chair is very plush and padded for comfort. These are simple tactile moves that serve to calm and reassure a person. To address a person’s fear of oversleeping, the Nap Chair is equipped with an alarm system you can set to play a prerecorded noise or dock an mp3 player to start playing your own music at the set time.

This gets into the sound sensory component. With a dock for your mp3 player, you can have it playing while you nap if desired. Nap chairs would be implemented throughout airport terminals in soundproofed rooms to block out the noise from the terminal. The alarm system controls can be set to play a prerecorded noise or something from your mp3 player. You can also choose to have the alarm without noise, if, for example, you wish to use your cell phone as your alarm.

Next, a scent component is built into each Nap Chair. When you lean back your chair to begin your nap, the Nap Chair emits a jasmine scent, which Sally Augustin says in her book Place Advantage enhances the quality of sleep when smelled during sleep. This would hopefully leave you feeling more rested when you wake. About five minutes before your alarm is set to go off, it will subtly begin to switch to a peppermint scent, which Augustin says is energizing. Finally, when your alarm goes off, the peppermint scent increases to energize you as you get ready to go back to your terminal.

The nap chair enhances your touch, sound, and smell senses to create a better sensory experience. Each one would have to be in its own small room to prevent scents and/or sounds from mixing. In addition the above senses, the lights in these rooms would dim when you lean the chair back, a signal of beginning your nap.



Apartment Bedroom

September 14, 2009

The bedroom in my apartment was generally as I remembered since it is one of the most familiar spaces to me. During the daytime, natural light can come from the sliding glass doors on the east side of the room, and though it is east facing, there is an overhang that dramatically softens the light. At night, however,  the room came with only a weak light on the ceiling fan. I was unable to take a measurement with a light meter, but the light is too dim at night, below my personal comfort level with light. It is not bright enough to fill the room comfortably. The sound is rather quiet in the space, except for when music is being played or guests are over. The temperature is kept at around 78 degrees when only I am occupying the space, but when there are more guests over, the temperature is adjusted a few degrees cooler to account for more body heat, to keep guests more comfortable.

The furnishings are all essential to the type of space, so they are fully appropriate. The bed obviously supports the primary function of a bedroom, sleeping, while the dresser is for storing clothes. The desk has more purposes, including using the computer, doing homework and studying, and it is even a large enough surface to do drawings outside of studio if you remove the laptop. The layout of the furniture was largely determined by the room shape. The rectangular shape meant that it made more sense to line the larger furnishings along the longer side of the room. I placed the bed in the only corner away from the glass doors so it would farther away from the outside; it would be quieter and more private.  Since the desk is bigger than the dresser, it was placed in the corner opposite the bed. Finally, the dresser was placed on the other side of the room from the bed and desk, and far enough away from the door to walk through easily.

As stated before, my initial thoughts aligned pretty closely with the documented knowledge, as the space is one of the most familiar to me. The furnishings were remembered in their vicinities, but the proportions of furnishings to open floor space were a bit off. My class sketch gave more floor space in relation to space taken up by furnishings. This may be because though the space is not luxuriously expansive, I have gotten used to it and comfortable in it. To me, it is enough space to accommodate my needs for the space, so I’m not constantly aware of the limitations of the physical space.

sketche scaled plan

photo 01 photo 02


September 8, 2009

Steven Reiss stated in his article Multifaceted Nature of Intrinsic Motivation: The Theory of 16 Basic Desires that motives “may reveal a person’s values.” This directly applies to idealism, for people motivated by their ideals will make their spaces a way to show those ideals, values, or things they believe in. Sometimes it’s not obvious to others, for only the owner of the space and the objects inside knows what those objects mean.

The ideal of patriotism is often seen in government buildings. At Dallas City Hall, flags rise high above the mostly horizontal building, catching the eye of passers-by. This visual hierarchy of the flags above all else around shows that priority of country. A city hall would be expected to give the sense of love and support for the country. The ideal of patriotism can also be taken to a smaller scale. For example, in a home, an English flag can by displayed prominently for all viewers to see. This shows the occupants’ support of England. It may be their heritage, support for a sports team there, or any other reason, but only the occupants know exactly what.

Another thing that people may want to communicate to others is their religion. The image below is St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco. Designed in a rather non traditional way, the building design still creates a striking effect on the interior. The reverence that one feels is heightened by the eye being drawn to the speaker at the front of the chapel, and ultimately upwards towards God. This design clearly shows the ideals of the people in the space. Similarly, the next image shows a Buddhist temple with iconic images or statues. These visuals in a low, intimate lighting condition convey the beliefs and worship of these occupants.

The final image of a bedroom shows that its occupant is a huge supporter of peace, seen in the two posters that have the words peace, diversity, strength, and nonviolence. By what the owner of the room put in it, one gets the idea that this person is a dedicated supporter of world peace, and he or she probably brings those posters to demonstrations. This person is clearly unafraid to show others his or her ideals, and probably welcomes the objects’ use as conversation starters. Overall, the design of these spaces took motivation from idealism, using the design as a tool for nonverbal communication of the occupants’ ideals.

St. Mary's Cathedral Buddhist Temple Peace bedroom


September 1, 2009

Over the course of four seasons, the television drama ‘Bones’ centers around the work of a forensic anthropoligist, Temperence Brennan, teamed with an FBI agent, Seeley Booth. The set for the forensic lab, named the Jeffersonian Institute, has become easily recognizable to fans and casual viewers alike. Its physical appearance and how the characters occupy the space speak nonverbally to viewers, adding immensely to the character of the show.

The Medico-Legal lab is highly modern and equipped with sophisticated instruments. The sleek industrial design of the interior of the Jeffersonian conveys a sense of high-tech savvy in the show, appealing to viewers seeking an intellectual side to a tv show. Even viewers not in an art or design field can describe the set as modern, with the metal bars, metal panels, and clean, unornamented surfaces. The computers, flat screen monitors, and assorted lab equipment clearly make this set a high-tech workplace, creating a professional, scientific, and intellectual atmosphere. The producers show both long shots and more zoomed in shots of the lab spaces to inform viewers of the scene change or simply to draw fascinated viewers in.

The set design also informs viewers of the status of the various characters. For example, Dr. Temperence Brennan has her own office that she can call her employees in when she wants or needs to talk to them, but they do not call her into an office to talk to her. Also, only employees with the right clearance on their cards can swipe and enter the lab area. This aspect of the set’s design shows the status of the people who come to the Jeffersonian, setting the hired employees apart from those who may be visiting or only helping on a certain case. The physical act of swiping in adds to the professional atmosphere of the set, giving a sense of exclusiveness to those qualified to even occupy that space.

Though the character development in the show involves comic relief and joking around, the Medico-Legal lab set imparts an undeniable mood of seriousness, as each character plays a role in solving each case. Dr. Brennan is clearly the leader, but her team all have special talents: Jack Hodgins uses a variety of special equipment to analyze particulates from crime scenes or bodily remains; Angela Montenegro, with an artistic background, specializes in facial reconstruction for the bones; Dr. Saroyan works with the flesh instead of the bones. The characters do poke fun at each other, but each contributes to the cases they are given. The set for the lab acts as a character by showing each character at work, often thinking of innovative ways to solve problems. The show’s basis of different people with different talents and personalities working together shines through the many aspects of the high-tech, modern lab set.

'Bones' Medico-Legal Lab