University of Tasmania
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Platforms for imagination : interaction with minimal furniture forms

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posted on 2023-05-27, 18:15 authored by Read, AS
This research project is an investigation of furniture within the public domain, both interior and exterior. Looking closely at the physical interaction with form in public space, it is a body of work that examines and questions traditional notions of function within furniture and reinterprets them through the use of forms that are hybrid objects, mixing the functional and the self-expressive asking; Can reduced furniture forms still provide a variety of functions and how can they stimulate the imagination of the user? Underpinning this research is the development of a strong minimal aesthetic, where forms have been pared back to simple basic components. This minimal visual language is used to create a functional ambiguity in the work and at the same time allow for, and develop, the possibility of creative personal interaction and functional choice on the part of the user. The research questions the nature of function in furniture and argues that reduced form does not necessarily restrict function, but rather enhances and engages it. Investigating the nature of the minimal form to provide multiple functional opportunities, the research also questions our traditional expectations of furniture. It examines the notion of the ambiguous form and identifies and explores the ability of people to find function in non-furniture objects. Blending the sculptural with the functional the project experiments with ideas of what furniture is and what it is supposed to look like. Intersecting the functional explorations of the project are examinations into the role of the imagination of the user. The project looks at the blending of the imagination and interaction through studies of children's toys, play grounds, play equipment, theatrical set design and stage props. Linking with theories concerning these subjects, the research investigates how a minimal form can be something different to each person and how, through imagination, these forms assume a variety of different functions. The project is located in a contextual field of artists and designers whose work is either concerned with minimal form or with questioning traditional notions of function. Minimalist designers such as Donald Judd and Enzo Mari are examined in relation to the aesthetics of the research whilst designers like Verner Panton, Karim Rashid and Andrea Zittel are identified through a connection with the functional concerns of the project. The theatre and playground designs of Isamu Noguchi have also been an important influence on this project. The resulting furniture pieces produced through this research are conceptual experiments not only with the functional and aesthetic aspects of furniture but also experiments in a social sense. It is furniture that seeks and encourages interaction personally and publicly. By distorting, expanding and playing with accepted ideas of furniture this research produces pieces that defy direct recognition as furniture and create a playful ambiguity in both their form and utility.


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Copyright 2007 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (PhD)--University of Tasmania, 2007. Includes bibliographical references

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