Good Afternoon, welcome to my presentation that my personal project I have named ‘making the connection and changing perceptions’ as I mentioned previously perception is key in my project and I may not be entirely changing peoples perceptions on their animal based (more challenging them) products, I will be certainly be aiming to change peoples perceptions to environmental, plant-based and what I consider to be ethical based products. I have also subtitled this story & soul with is something I will explain later on in the presentation.
Everytime animal-based products and archetypes the concept of luxury arises. We think of leather bags, silk scarves, sheep skin rugs as expensive, luxurious items that identify affluencey and suggest longevity and high quality. In the quote it says luxury follows tradition, adding more to ‘things have always been this way’ argument but my aims for this project seem much closer to the contemporary rhetoric especially when described in words such as egalitarian have looked into meaning [believing in or based on the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities]. If animal products are connected to luxury, I want to take a luxury archetype but use environmental materials with a subtle ethical reminder of why we should be choosing an alternative option.
What products do we connect to associate with the word: luxury meaning ‘a state of great comfort or elegance, especially when involving great expense’ as defined in the dictionary http://www.dictionary.com/browse/luxury What classic archetypes to we believe symbolise this way of life and what names do we attach to them to determine their wealth. I think of gold Rolex watches, Chanel leather hand bags, pearls, silver, gold, diamond jewellery, chairs that look like thrones. I wanted to narrow down which animal product I want to challenge perceptions of and I decided to chose:
I chose leather because it’s a material that is ‘on the cusp’. What I mean by that is it is readily available to many people of different classes and I believe most people own or have owned a leather product, myself included. On that same note, I chose leather because I have been on both sides of the leather argument. However, the by- product excuse is not viable if I do not believe the original system to be an ethical one. There is also great debate whether leather truly can be called a by-product. It’s not a free product that would otherwise go in the bin. The leather industry is a thriving one that I personally believe more people will accept than the meat one. For example Kate Carter of the guardian argues that ‘Many…draw the line at veal: why then wear calfskin? ‘ Does it become more justified after the first industry has ‘done the dirty work’ so to say? Making sure the animal sacrifice isn’t wasted.
So I have been on the search for a leather alternative that is both environmental and fits my beliefs. Being a vegan material doesn’t necessarily mean it is environmentally conscious, which has some hypocrisy linked to it. Yet, I understand not one single process or material attached to that process will be perfect. Some examples I have found include cork leather, pinatex (created in the Philippines utilizing the waste material of pineapple leathers as animal leather was low quality over there), wood including bamboo as an interesting alternative, tree bark leather…
…paper, a material called coolstone leather that is made from thin sheets of slate stone, muskin using the Mycelium we have seen in the bowls up in special collections, waxed cotton a commonly used material and even barkcloth leather which is made in Uganda for tradition dress. Although I found each of these materials fascinating and there uses even more so I narrowed it down to 3 I am interested in and maybe will show together to signify the different plant-based options that can rival leather.
Cool stone leather, cork a material I have grown even more interested in, especially as the original use for cork in wine bottles is becoming less and less and of course the muskin as I find the concept of the rapid growing mycelium that can form in up to 2 weeks feeding on waste such as hemp curnals and paper pulp fascinating. They have managed to create leather pieces as thick as deer hind.
(spoke to david winter) I mention in the previous presentation I have found interest in anthropomorphism because it causes us to engage more with a product. Cars are notorious for this and I find the Nissan Juke a horrible car purely because it looks so angry. Norman speaks about the emotion response in anthropomorphic products and almosts suggests they gain some sort of personality when they incorporate anthromorphism despite now being inanimate (Jake Cress's infamous “Oops!”chair). Key themes: leather products (coolstone, cork, muskin) and anthoporphism.
Cows are very easy to recognise. Elements such as form, ears, horns, hooves, snouts noses and most of all eyes force us to make a connection between both animal and product.
I initially tried to design a few different watch faces that incorporate the main features of a how. Elements such as eyes, eyelashes, facial features, ears to recognise the animal within the product. However, as the animal based element in the leather wrist watch is the strap, I though about instead designing a series a watch straps that each have their own personalities and look different.
Adding to this concept, I though another way of incorporating that would be with the livestock tag. This product has been making animals anonymous and another number in the ground. So I thought about taking the information structure and turning it on it’s head to do just the opposite. For example not using any numbers, originally I was going to add one to symbolism a luxury limited edition but I thought this could possibly contradict my original agenda. I wanted to give them stereotypical how names from both genders so they would be recognized as cows. I also added a sentence about the animal to not only give them a personality with words such as ‘boisterous’ and ‘kind’ but also a story with emotional, empathetic words such as mother, sister, friend.
My second concept I came up with after my wood turning induction last week. Although I have not perfected the skill, it is something I want to continue to work on and I want to use this unit to do that as has been intended. Wood is a plant-based material that has already gained the ‘luxury’ associated with phrases such as hard and solid wood becoming something people associate with luxury in edition quality and longevity. In this idea I want to use wood and a leather alternative to show the traditional plant-based materials matched up with contemporary, new creations to show their great qualities. I’ve called this ‘not quite a chair’ because it’s a stool. The chair will always be a design archetype but with me learning and incorporating a new skill though making a smaller version of the chair would be a good stepping stone. I also appreciate the connection to a milk stool to further enforce my story.
A stool is no longer a stool as seen in these examples jasper Morrison, Phillipe starke, tom Dixon so on. http://design-milk.com/roundup-10-modern-stools/
I want to practice my lathing and I found the legs on the table could mimic the ergonomics and grooves found in cow legs.
I am wanting to take a positive route. When designers such as Cai hoi show armchairs covered in exposed, gory skin are gaining a shock factor that may ward people off I want my product to signify joy, happiness and freedom for an unfair industry.
So overall I think I’m taking a different stance on this project. Although I am looking at new materials and process I am also challenging our perceptions of animals as materials and the process