MA-thesis project: How can I create a stronger relationship with the things we have at home?

In August 2020 Bjørn Grummesgaard Hagensen graduated from the MA-Design for People Program. Bjørn writes: “If we give a little bit of ourselves and put it into a product, we might not find ourselves getting rid of it in the future.”

The MA-thesis project is based on a codesign practice with close collaborating with people living in Esbjerg and Fanø. We buy and consume. Through clothes, furniture and other gizmos we define ourselves as who we are and what we like. Unfortunately a lot of us do not  keep these newly acquired items for very long and they end up being thrown out and replaced. This tendency is concerning and is definitely not beneficial for the environment. I wanted to find out what it takes for us to keep a product, in this case a lamp, for a longer time.

My design research showed that most of us has an attachment to objects that has a relation to our home town. I have been collaborating with people in my own home town, Esbjerg and Fanø. In the thesis project my concern was to find ways to apply the values that these places represents and translate that knowledge into the visual design of two lamps. The values has for instance been explored visually through photographs and storytelling, and the formgiving through a series of physical prototypes in collaboration with people from Esbjerg and Fanø. By doing so the ambition and hope is that we might keep the lamps for a longer time, because they now represent a little piece of ourselves.

By implementing emotionel design thinking into a product design process, it turned out to be a viable approach that might help us to keep an object for a longer time. We all have a specific objects at home that we are emotionally attached to and there are many reasons for this. It can be because of the shape, the functionality and/or the story that is behind the object. Especially objects that has a specific connection to the area that we come from turned out to be a key factor for the people involved in order to keep an object for a longer time. By investigating Esbjerg and Fanø, interviewing the locals, facilitating co-creation workshops about their favorite objects, I designed two lamps each visually representing Fanø or Esbjerg. Part of the materials for the lamps are found on the beaches, and the coordinates for their locations is printed as reminders.

I thought that I knew the most about my hometown. Through the conversations I had with the locals along the way, I discovered that there were many perspectives and local history I wasn’t aware of. This helped me bring variety to the design process and helped me design lamps that represents the voices of Esbjerg and Fanø.

See the video presenting the two lamps

The newspaper Jyllands Posten has made an feature about Bjørn Grummesgaard Hagensen and his two resulting lamps from his thesis project in the ‘House-section’ (01/10 2020) which describes a number of sustainable design ideas from the graduation show at Koldinghus in Kolding. Please see more here in Danish: https://jyllands-posten.dk/bolig/ECE12436213/baeredygtige-ideer-gennemsyrer-fremtidens-design/

Bjørn’s MA design for people thesis project in industrial design and lamps are also represented with a teaser on the front page of ‘min Base’; a magazine about the home, the garden and current trends, an images of the Esbjerg lamp on page two, and the full article on page 18 – 19. The full article in Danish can be found here: https://jfmtillaeg.e-pages.pub/titles/jfmtillaeg/11471/publications/2314/pages/18

In the project Bjørn collaborated with CPH Lightning.

Bjørn has at BA in Industrial Design, and a MA i Design for people, both from Design School Kolding.

Contact Bjørn at: bjorngrummesgaard [at] gmail.com

Supervisor: Eva Brandt

About Eva Brandt

Eva Brandt is Professor in Social Design at Design School Kolding since May 2019. Eva is scientific leader of the Lab for Social Design. The main part of her research is about how designers can stage open design processes (design labs based on participatory design/codesign) with many participants who both can inquire into existing practices and explore possible futures in common. She also contributes to theorizing about experimental design research driven by programs and experiments. She has been contributing to several books such as Design Spaces (IT Press, 2005), Rehearsing the Future (The Danish Design School Press, 2010), XLAB (The Danish Design School Press, 2011), Facilitating Change – Using Interactive Methods in Organizations, Communities and Networks (Polyteknisk Forlag, 2011), and Routledge International Handbook of Participatory Design (Routledge, 2013). Practice Based Design Reseach (2017). Ledelse og samskabelse i den offentlige sektor (2018). Eva has been chairing the Nordic Design Research Conference in 2013, and are chairing the Nordes 2021 too.
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