As a means of exploring the relationship between form and function, freshmen in the School of Design created 'carriers' out of corrugated cardboard that supported their bodies at least six inches off the ground while maneuvering through an obstacle course, were easy to assemble and disassemble, and were fun to watch in action!
At the start of the three-week assignment, students investigated the affordances and limitations of the material by building sketch models of a variety of concepts. Based on what they learned through trial and error, the students made several iterations of their ideas, striving to create a carrier that effectively addressed the multiple tasks at hand. It was a true balancing act! At the close of the project students walked, crawled, slid, balanced, and danced their way through an obstacle course set up in front of Margaret Morrison Carnegie Hall. They crafted such things as shoes, stilts, stepping stones, and moving staircases to carry themselves successfully from point A to point B.
The project aimed to help students learn the importance and fundamental skills of designing products that are useful, usable, and desirable. So often the forms of objects are determined by factors such as cost and time, with little thought being given to the needs of users or the enjoyment of their use. Nonetheless, these decisions can greatly impact the quality of our lives and designers can play a significant role in facilitating improvements.
Stacie Rohrbach and Steve Stadelmeier are the co-teachers for this freshmen studio, Survey of Design.