The world we live in is a place where people are influenced by designed objects, often without noticing their presence or the fact that they have been designed at all. Although these objects are taken for granted their impact on our everyday life is immeasurable. By examining designed objects with regard to their relationship to users, this thesis attempts to rediscover the meaning of design in everyday life by encouraging a fluid user-object relationship, rather than a passive consumer-product relationship. It is important to understand the everyday phenomena by which designed objects become invisible when they fit one's environment well. So many products that would claim to help us organize our stuff are actually incompatible with our behaviors. This thesis project seeks to introduce a new placing system that better responds to people's actual placing habits. In order to design this highly user-adaptable system, I will (a) exploit the space around and between objects, (b) rediscover and transform existing planes of the space, and (c) apply a minimalist philosophy to show the essence of an object and avoid secondary or ornamental elements. This placing system resembles that of tinker toys in its modular frame assembly. This modularity encourages active user participation beyond what is required in existing products. The other important attribute it introduces is the affordance of placing as an organizing strategy. In the end, what will become more visible are the users' habits and personal surroundings, rather than the presence of a designed product. Such is the goal of objects designed for invisibility.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Industrial design--Psychological aspects; Material culture--Philosophy; Household supplies--Design; Environmental psychology
Department, Program, or Center
School of Design (CIAS)
Song, Gahyung, "Design for invisibility: designing a placing system through the study of user-object relationships in everyday life" (2009). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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