“Humans don’t experience the world directly, but always via a mediating artifact which helps to shape a specific relation between humans and world”.– Peter Pau. Our once natural creation has become materialized and into a ‘synthetic’ state. We can never really experience the world directly due to our closeness with technology. This closeness alters our perceptions of the world and allows us to connect with it in a different way.
Designers have the ability to change and challenge how one can interact and view the world.
We can see this through Japanese designer Shuhei Hasado, a plaster craftsman. Hasado was born in Takayama city in 1962. “Takayama” means high mountain and is located down a valley with mountains surrounding the city in central Japan. Growing up in the splendour of nature Syuhei continually reflects his love for the natural in his works. From the age of 18 he studied as a plaster craftsman and later worked with commercial construction with modern materials. When he reached mid 30s he left the world of modern building and returned to his love of the natural and clay plastering. He connected with the aesthetic of clay due to its pure and beautiful character. He believes “To improve the quality of our lives we need to return to at least some of our origins.” For him this meant both returning to clay and back to a natural sense of the world. His works also evoke users to feel as if they are returning to natural.
In his work Haptic Geta he recreates the Japanese shoe ‘Geta’ . This sandal is typically worn barefoot and allows the user to have a sensitized experience of the natural world. The word Haptic tanslates to ‘relating or pleasant to the sense of touch”.
He ‘felt that footwear understands the earth better than anyone’ leading him to his object choice. Various natural materials such as moss and wood are placed on the surface of the sandal. These tactile textures allow the sensory nerves on our feet to create a feel of walking ‘barefoot’ on nature.This allows the users senses to be awakened and experience the world in a way to connect them back to nature. Ones everyday interaction with the world is challenged as we become aware of how far away we are from the primitive and into technological advancement.
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Similarly Nguyen La Chanh also created a designed object which awakens our foots sensory nerves connecting us back to nature. In her design Chanh created a Moss carpet used as a shower matt. The carpet is an innovative material made form a decay-free foam named plastazote. The moss grows in different cells and lives off the humidity from the shower.
Theres nothing quite like feeling refreshed and after a shower and stepping onto some grass as if your completely natural. It reminded me of ‘Adam and Eve’ being completely bare in the garden, much like the user will be after hopping out of the shower. This goes back to the idea returning to our origins to improve the quality of our lives. Its placement in an area used nearly everyday will allow the user to become sensitised to the natural world around them continually.
Think about your own world and how it is shaped through the designed objects around you. Basic elements such as a door can greatly change your world if it was taken away. For example, notions of privacy and space will be eliminated…Or a day without your phone will radically shift the way in which you may experience and navigate through the day. Try to connect with it in a new and different way which allows you to appreciate things for their natural beauty.