Post Occupancy Design – Life after the Designer

Domus Magazine has recently launched a signature edition offshoot called Domus d’Autore. This first issue, entrusted to Editor-Architect Rem Koolhaas, was designed to allow readers to listen “…to the voice of those who know how to look beyond current confines and have the strength to direct and influence our way of perceiving the city and the spaces beyond it.”
As usual the magazine focuses mainly on Architecture, but Imomus has highlighted one of Rems theories that can have an interesting application in Industrial Design.

“post-occupancy design” — the stuff that happens to design after it’s left the designer’s workshop (and architecture after it’s left the studio) is the real test of its quality and character. Occupancy and use shouldn’t see the designer and the architect melting away. They should stick around, take notes, and take photos. The processes of time and decay can be beautiful. The way people use stuff and adapt it can be instructive.

un-p3 project
Very well put. Furthermore my regular readers would recognize “Post-Occupancy Design” as similar to, amongst other things, what I have been exploring in my Un-p3 Project (Yes it is till happening!). I wanted to create, through the use of materials, an object that reflects this process of “time and decay” and how it can be beautiful, something that I think iPod/iPhone owners lament angrily over when they are clean polishing their shiny screens or chrome backs.
But is this another trend coming full circle?
It is funny. Our shiny PSP/Mp3 Player/Mobile Phone/Laptop products of today seem to prioritize looks over product engineering fundamentals of case-part protection from the environment, long term usability and product life deterioration. Even more surprising, is the fact that these are portable products. Perhaps that is why the protection accessories market is big business? But hey, would you want to use the heavily textured, dark grey plastic Palm PDA of ages past?
Well, my curiosity is piped, and I’m off to get the Magazine…

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