In my hands, in my heart : change and transformation in product design to facilitate emotional attachment : thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Fine Arts endorsed with Design at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand
The aim of this study was to demonstrate the design of objects that provide visceral enjoyment, good user experience and strong emotional attachment. This study considers attachment, emotions and transformation in the process of deciding how to introduce a stronger relationship between user and products, so people will want to keep them for the long term.
Using change and transformation, I worked with everyday objects – tableware - to introduce design elements to stimulate emotions and promote emotional attachment. The objects designed for this thesis are either enhancements to existing products, designed to be transformed in an innovative way, or innovative designs that can transform to change the nature or function of the object. I wanted to explore whether I could incorporate the potential for change or transformation initiated by the user, into a product design in a way that elicited positive emotions, and therefore, attachment to the objects I designed.
The thesis discusses four case studies: “Complete and Fragment”; “Construction through Destruction”; “Standing Liquid” and “Reset”. All designs featured objects that changed or transformed, in ways that ranged from passive, gradual or negligible, permanent and irreversible change to the appearance and function of an object, though to dramatic temporary, reversible, incomplete and complete repeatable transformation to the form and function of the object.
Each of the objects had the potential for the user to be involved, to add or not, their input to the design, to change the form or function, or appearance of the product to suit their own aesthetic and needs, thus encouraging the user to develop a long term relationship with the object.