Filial piety : a new view for domestic product design : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Master of Design at the College of Creative arts, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand
In New Zealand, residential problems related to old age are of concern due to the increasing population of
older people and the challenges that aging brings. These challenges include generational social expectations
and intergenerational living, accompanied by cultural traditions of family, living and the home environment.
It is becoming common for younger generations to live away from their elderly family members in the western
world, which can cause psychological, financial and safety issues for the older generation. In New Zealand's
aging population, which includes Maori, Samoan and Asian people, these aging issues are approached in culturally
This design-led research report explores 'filial piety', an ancient Chinese philosophy, in the context of an
industrial design practice that embraces established principles and design processes related to product design,
ergonomics, emotional design and universal design.
The design emerged out of an observation that the New Zealand domestic environments do not typically allow for
or attend to modes of intergenerational living, a societal attribute common in China where the philosphy of
'filial piety' leads families and their homes to be more generous and responsive to the physical and spiritual
needs of all, in particular, the needs of the elderly.
Developed using various modes of an iterative design practice including site analysis, sketching, drawing,
digital and physical prototyping, observational analysis and physical body testing in addition to literature
review, this research proposes a conceptual design for the design of a bathroom product, namely a bath tub
and shower unit.