Design and the Elastic Mind

Chuck Hoberman, Matthew Davis, Ziggy Drozdowski, and David Wight
Hoberman Associates, Inc.
Emergent Surface. Prototype. 2007

Hoberman Associates, Inc. Emergent Surface. 2007

Chuck Hoberman, Matthew Davis, Ziggy Drozdowski, and David Wight
Hoberman Associates, Inc.
Emergent Surface
Prototype. 2007 Stainless steel and aluminum. Manufacturing contributions by Milgo/Bufkin, QuickSilver Controls, Inc., and The Manufactory, LLC, USA (2007). Commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art on the occasion of the exhibition Design and the Elastic Mind. Image by Hoberman Associates, Inc. Audio courtesy of Acoustiguide

PAOLA ANTONELLI: Chuck Hoberman developed Emergent Surface for this exhibition to show the potential of dynamic architecture that responds to changing human needs and circumstances. Watch the poles and their attached elements as you walk around the piece.


Anthony Dunne, discusses responsive design, the concept behind Hoberman’s work:

ANTHONY DUNNE: I think there's always been an aspect of responsiveness when you're designing something. If you even think of designing a chair, you know, it has to have springiness in it or a mattress has to give way to your body. I think what's new is that a very specialized area of design is emerging that focuses specifically on designing the responses of technological objects to people.

With the prevalence of digital technologies and electronic technologies and computers with that seems to come an expectation and a desire for everything to be interactive, that everything responds to us, and acknowledges our presence allows us to customize it, to change it to feed back to everything we do, and I think that expectation from people is starting to be obviously taken up by designers.

For example, when we sit in a chair, although it responds to us in a very minimal way, you wouldn't say it's interactive, whereas, you know, using a computer, there's some kind of dialogue going on. We tell it to do something. It does it. Then that influences what we do, and so on.

And that expectation is now spreading beyond the computer to our interaction with buildings, cars, clothes, even furniture, and, more and more, people want things to do something back. And, I think, responsive design is part of that general trend.

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