We are all aware that a sedentary lifestyle has a negative impact on our health. However, we can not really imagine what is the impact on our body of the daily, many hours sitting at the desk. The designer Dorota Gazy shows directly what will happen to us if we do not get up from the chairs and what items we will have to use when serious posture defects become commonplace.
With Dorota Gazy, we speak at the Graduation Show 2017 at Design Academy Eindhoven, which is one of the main points of the program of the Dutch Design Week. This is probably the most crowded design graduation show in the world.
– Crowds visiting the Graduation Show are the example of what we call “the Dutch Design Week tourism”. The event is very well-promoted and attracts not only ordinary people from all over the Netherlands, but also people professionally associated with design from many parts of the world. People come to Eindhoven in October to discover new trends in design – says Dorota Gazy. A few seconds later she goes through a perfect presentation of her diploma project entitled “Sedentary Laboratory”.
TrendNomad.com: You are lucky. You have graduated from one of the best design universities in the world.
Dorota Gazy: I just finished my Bachelor’s degree in Man & Leisure department. The advantage of studying this course at Design Academy Eindhoven is the tremendous freedom to do research and freedom in thinking about the future and especially about the design challenges associated with it.
At the end of the studies, we do not have to create projects ready to be put into production. It is more about focusing on the changes taking place in the world, as well as finding solutions to the problems that are coming.
What kind of a problem do you think will come up in the future?
If we do not change our lifestyle, we will continue to spend most of our time in the sitting position, and we will not move more, our bodies will deform. A serious consultation with a physiotherapist was a part of my research.
The physiotherapist told me about the diseases we will have – or some of which we already have – as a result of sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical activity. I visualized these ailments to speak to people’s imagination. The image is more persuasive than mere data.
Doctors are aware of the scale of the problem, but ordinary people working all day at their desks do not comprehend it. When one hears that, for example, the incidence of osteoporosis is increasing, he or she personally does not relate to this fact. I decided to show people what could happen to them – and what objects would match to their deformed bodies – if they would not change their sedentary lifestyle.
I imagined the human body – I called it Sedentary Body – with all the negative changes resulting from the sedentary lifestyle and all occurring at the same time. Of course, I slightly exaggerated these changes. I designed everyday items adapted to such a deformed body.
My forecast is that we will have to modify the design of clothes or furniture if our bodies deform. Such a view speaks to the imagination of many people. It causes anxiety.
Why does the chair include a convex backrest instead of a concave one?
The convex backrest is a support for the hump. And it is very soft to reduce the pain.
Why there are oxygen masks on the top of the table?
Due to the deformation of the body, the respiratory system does not work properly, causing the brain to be underoxidized. To continue working on a computer, we will need to breathe in some extra doses of oxygen.
But there are even more problems arising from sedentary lifestyle: for example, due to partial muscle loss, people may have difficulties to get up. Hence, I designed openings on the top of the table – there is something to hold on to when you try to get up.
Once you pull up and get up from the table, you have to walk around with a cane. For a cane called “Yes you cane” I added wheels. It does not need to be lifted – pushing is more convenient. I designed it for both older and young users. Unfortunately, even children have more and more problems today to keep balance when putting on shoes or socks.
The clothes that you have designed do not evoke positive emotions either. They look like a warning.
The upper part of the garment is tailored to the hump on the back of the body. I moved sleeves more to the front to make it easier for the person sitting at the desk to reach the keyboard.
Note that clothes you see on mannequins in shops or on models at fashion shows, as well as on pictures in the press, are usually presented on straightened bodies. Meanwhile, most of the time people spend in sitting position. So I designed trousers, which are the most comfortable when you sit.
Do you think that after seeing your project, people will be frightened of the side effects of the sedentary lifestyle and will move more often?
I hope that after seeing my graduation project, people will stand up from the desks more often. Today only healthy people, who already do sports, buy fit products, wear smart bracelets or smartwatches and monitors their health by themselves, understand that they should spend less time in a sitting position.
I would like to reach a wider audience with the warning message, especially those who are not fit today. It means, the most of the people. Prevention is always better than cure.
Pictures 1, 3, 4, 6, 7: press materials. Pictures 2, 5, 8: TrendNomad.com.
You can find more than 130 pictures and videos of different projects shown at Dutch Design Week 2017 on TrendNomad’s profile on Instagram. In many albums you will find photos of descriptions of presented projects – trust me, they are worth reading.
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