Design Indeterminacy is an ongoing exploration of indeterminate outcomes in design. Design Indeterminacy is an opportunity to think about how and why I might design a functional object whose final form & aesthetic are beyond my design control. Design indeterminacy is the antithesis of what I was taught as an architecture student and architect, i.e. I arrive at a final design, I make a set of construction or fabrication drawings and the project is built as drawn. Design indeterminacy grows out of my interest in vernacular architecture and vernacular architecture's tradition of multiple generations, continuously adding onto and altering structures over time.
“We must now see our urban society as a dynamic field of interrelated forces. It is a set of mutually independent variables in a rapidly expanding infinite series. Any order introduced within the pattern of forces contributes to a state of dynamic equilibrium - an equilibrium which will change in character as time passes.” Fumihiko Maki, Investigations in Collective Form, A Special Publication The School of Architecture Washington University, June 1964
Recently, I have watched many of my architectural projects get altered, renovated and/or modified without my input. As an architect, I have completed projects that have altered the work of previous architects with my only having the vaguest of clues as to what the original architect intended. Alteration, renovation and modification can remain “out of the control” of the architect/designer or the architect/designer can make future alteration, renovation and modification part of the initial design. By making alteration, renovation and modification part of the original design and providing future change-makers clues, invitations and/or encouragements for the future, I am hoping that my work will have a longer life whether it lives on in its original form or a future form anticipated by me, the work’s original designer.
“The ideal is not a system, on the other hand, in which the typical physical structure of the city is at the mercy of unpredictable change. The ideal is a kind of master form which can move into ever new states of equilibrium and yet maintain visual consistency and a sense of continuing order in the long run.” Fumihiko Maki, Investigations in Collective Form, A Special Publication The School of Architecture Washington University, June 1964
Furnerector Furniture began as an observation while playing around with a wifi enabled LED lightbulb that I’d purchased as a component in a light fixture project that I was working on. The light fixture would involve my Apple watch, iPhone, the wifi enabled Lifex lightbulb, the lightbulb’s socket, switch, chord and the structure that houses the bulb, socket, switch & chord. The light fixture’s components were a combination of analog & digital. There are light fixture components that have not changed much in the last 100 years since light bulb sockets, chords and switches were invented and there are new components that have arrived on the design scene out of environmental concerns and as part of the digital revolution.
There are components that can be considered hardware, i.e. support components, socket, chord, switch, bulb, iphone, Apple watch and there are components that can be considered software, i.e. the iphone & Apple watch operating systems and the wifi enabled lightbulb’s app.
Furnerector Furniture explores the possibility that just as software can be updated, improved, given additional/different functionality, so too can the physical components that typically act as a fixed support or scaffold.
A simple system of consistently dimensioned and spaced holes is introduced into a variety of materials allowing components of various sizes, proportions and materials to come together to function in a particular way for a finite amount of time. When the function is in need of change and/or adaptation to a new user, environment or time parts can be rearranged, removed and/or replaced.
The “kit of parts” is never complete. New components can be added and subtracted over time as needed.
Although the project began as a light fixture, in more recent iterations the system’s scalability has been tested by exploring the possibility of additional functions. The, recently designed and fabricated, powered side table incorporates a concealable surge suppressor and a surface of storage bins dimensioned to conceal an iphone and it’s various accessories. Should the surge suppressor, iphone and/or iphone accessories ever become irrelevant, the top can be reconfigured or replaced.