Haptic (Group show)
- Liz Shannon
- 5 June 2008
The Lighthouse, Glasgow, Wed 18 Jun–Mon 29 Sep
MIXED MEDIA (DESIGN)
Kenya Hara, from Tokyo’s Nippon Design Museum, has suggested a new model for design: ‘Whilst affirming scientific progress, I would like to propose that we use not technology, but the human senses to evoke the animating force of manufacturing. So here emerges an alternative design practice – the “sense driven”.’
This summer, Glasgow’s Lighthouse will become home to Haptic, an exhibition curated by Hara consisting of objects specially designed to ‘awaken our senses’. After commissioning designers from all fields, Hara asked that they ‘respond to the task of making objects that did not simply focus on colour or form, but to the sense of touch as a primary motivation.’ While the sense of touch is fundamental to the exhibition, Hara asked the designers to go further and create ‘something that on sight awakens all the senses.’ The objects created by this multi-disciplinary group do not disappoint.
Naoto Fukasawa’s ‘Juice Skin’ packaging consists of a material that has the feel and look of the fruit within. The strawberry juice box ‘skin’ (pictured) is a perfect approximation of the fruit, studded with tiny seeds. Shuhei Hasado is also inspired by the natural world. His Geta shoes’ soles are covered with textured objects designed to make the wearer feel as though they are walking barefoot through the forest over moss, twigs or pine needles, while Kosuke Tsumura’s beautiful/creepy Kami Tama lamp may polarise visitor opinion, as it is constructed from lengths of human hair.
Several ubiquitous technological objects also receive ‘haptic’ makeovers. Panasonic presents a new twist on the remote control: made from gel, this familiar object has an unexpectedly soft textural quality, while the remote control ‘droops’ when it’s not in use or if its batteries are low. Similarly, the French artist Matthieu Manche has reworked the multi-socket extension cable, familiar to every household overstocked with electrical appliances, and reformed it from the material used to make silicone breast implants, in a flesh-coloured tones. Perhaps not all of these products will ultimately be mass-produced, but the designers’ imagination and innovation is evident in the creation of these unusual, engaging objects.