Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ergonomics part 2

  In the second session we talked about ergonomics. We measured different chairs at school and each of us found the chair that best fits our body. Related to our body style we selected different chairs.
  Also there were some things in common; we all agreed that chairs in the Hub are not comfortable because of their material and shapes. The Hub in the school is considered to be a place for gathering, but it does not have the required elements. Using metal, which is always cold and unergonomic design makes us  escape from the place.

                                        Fig 1. Non-ergonomic airplane seat

  In addition we talked about airplane design. I myself always have a problem with the seats in airplanes especially when you have a long flight it becomes really unbearable. My problem is that headrest of air plain's chair are so high, I always feel that these are not designed for me. I could never reach the headrest; I get neck aches and backaches after all flights.
 As people have different heights why they do not make it adjustable? I always wonder what is the measurement tool for designing this public furniture? I am not very small, I think I must be included in the average chart that designers always use for measurements, but it still does not fit my body.
  Also, the only adjustment is bending the backrest that does not seem standard. If a person who sit in the back seat be very tall, it will be annoying for him to sit when the front chair is bended.
  Improving the airplane’s interior can be very satisfying for all people around the world as it is one of the important means of transportation nowadays.

                                     Fig 2. Non-ergonomic airplane seat


Fig 1. Retrieved from

Ergonomics part 1

   Ergonomics is the relation between man and industrial products. Ergonomics design can increase productivity. 
  The term ergonomic mostly refers to products, but the question is what constitutes ergonomic interior design? What are the factors of the ergonomic design?
  As far as I understand building that makes the best  of all kinds of energy and natural resources like light or wind can be considered ergonomic. Ergonomics in all kinds of design tries to increase productivity. Ergonomic is not just about furniture, having  efficient amount of light, sound and heat in a place can be considered ergonomic too. 
   Having an ergonomic interior space in residential places can give people better feelings which lead to life satisfaction. An ergonomic workplace will lead to better productivity. Living in an ergonomic, human friendly places can enrich our lives. 

                                           Fig 1. Non-ergonomic products

    The standards that are used to make ergonomic products are very controversial, because designers mostly use the average measures of people. But the question is what should other people do? Are the height of elevators suitable for a basketball player? Or are typical chairs suitable for tiny people?

                                                  Fig 2.Ergonomic products

   I believe that in order to have really ergonomic design we must mostly focus on designing adjustable products. Don’t you think it is the only way that will satisfy all people in the same place?

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   Crowd have wide range of meanings and related to people’s background it changes. It  relates to the number of people in a certain place. It can be the things that occupy your mind, or it can be just a feeling of crowd without any physical presence. I mean sometime just the mood you have, can give you the feeling of crowd. When you have a problem or you have a physical pain, you may feel crowd in a place that you never have had this feeling before.
                                             Fig 1. 

   The definition of crowd varies from culture to culture and country to country. Even people in the same country could have various meanings of crowded which is  related to the geographical situation that they live in. I cannot think of crowd without thinking of personal space. I believe that they are somehow connected to each other. For example when you live in a country like Japan in which every place is full of people so not only is your definition of crowd is different there but also your definition  of personal space. When people live in a less populated place, the number of people they meet in every place is less and they get used to having more personal space. So their personal space become bigger.

                                            Fig 2.

   People’s personalities can affect the meaning of crowd too. Two sisters who grow up in a same family have unique definitions and tolerances of crowd.  I myself have the experience of having different expectations of crowd. I always had my own place my own studio and I never shared my place with anybody. So when I came to the USA and I got a roommate I had a problem with her about having privacy and our tolerance of the crowd was different. Hence, I had a hard time to adapt myself to the new situation. But it is just a different definition of the same subject, isn’t it?


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Personal space

  Measuring personal space in the class was very interesting for me. Each of us preferred different distance from one another. Some preferred to be close to the other and some far away. During that measurement we realized that unconsciously we change the distance  related to the height and size of a person that we are talking to.
  When we were talking about personal and social or public space in the class I was comparing the definition of personal space in my country with American people’s. About a month ago when I came to the US the first thing that was really weird for me was people’s behavior in public places. People stand  far apart from each other in the line in a shop or bank. Whereas in my country people stand  more closer to each other and they easily start friendly conversation with strangers. I think it may not happen here, because people  here always keep their distances with strangers. 
  So personal distance will be affected by so many factors like personality, culture, gender and some other factors which make it hard to give universal definition for it.
                                           Fig 1. Personal space

   I realized  American people’s expectation of personal space can vary largely from place to place. For example, my friends and I went to a bar last weekend and we were sitting around the table next to a window, the bar gradually became crowded. When I was talking with my friends I realized that the guy near my seat rested his hand on  my chair and it made me so uncomfortable or the waiter got very close to talk to us. In my country people keep somehow the same distance in all public places but here people show different behavior related to the setting.
   The other interesting thing that I came up with in an article was that people’s personal space not only can be different in size but also can be vary in shape. Some  may prefer to be far when they see the face of another but not be very far when people are behind them. They may not be very sensitive to have a far distance from people beside them.
  In spite of all the  differences the idea that we all carry a kind of invisible form around ourselves which is called personal space is really intriguing. 

                                          Fig 2. Shaping personal space


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Place personality

  People have different characteristics. Some are introverted and some are extroverted. Some may be in between. Depending on various characteristics they perceive a certain place differently. For designing a place it can be useful to know about people’s personality who will live or work there. So you can put objects and do furnishings in a way that can make them feel better.

                                                         Fig 1.

  In the class we talked about introverted and extroverted places. But the question is whether it is possible to divide places to these categories? How can we measure it? Could we consider a place introverted just because it is small and cozy? 
  The issue is that how we can know that all introvert persons like this place? I think that it is very controversial.  People’s expectation of a place is not only affected by their personality but also it depends on so many other factors. These factors includes culture, gender, experience and their memories of places. 
                                          Fig 2. Extrovert interior????

  Does the function affect our perception of a place to be introverted or extroverted? For example, can we consider a bar an extroverted place because it is a place in which people socialize there? Or does an empty place have any meaning ? Or is it just  by furnishing a place that we give it a function and also meaning? The question is do we give meaning to the things around us or do they have meaning themselves? 


Fig 1. Retrieved from http://Cartoon

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Emotion Museum

  In the third session of our class we talked about different theories in environmental psychology such as Gestalt Theory or Cognitive Psychology. What I was interested in a lot was the part about human affect. Human affect related to emotion and it happens intuitively. It is our emotional response to the environment.

                                                    Fig 1. Emotion

  There are so many places which are built with the purpose of evoking emotion. Religious places like churches or mosques. They are built to evoke spirituality, or places like amusement parks which are built to evoke excitement.
  But what I am thinking about is designing a place in which people can experience different emotions at the same time. It can be called emotion museum. They can laugh, cry, shout or become angry related to the setting that we create.
  Actually it is hard to find a common means of happiness between people. Human beings are really complicated, and depend on people’s culture, religion and social rules their emotional response can be different. But as we are all human beings and we are living in the world that we call the global village, it will be very interesting to find more similarities between different people. Hence, designing a place in which people experience all emotions would be very exciting.
  People never lived in a way that we live today. By the use of internet we are more aware of what is happening in the world more than any other time in history. Therefore that would be exciting to settle a main language for all people  and maybe find the common means of experiencing different emotions.
  As a sculptor I am always thinking of creating art pieces that can affect people emotionally. For my bachelor degree I worked with the idea of jubilation and I created sculptures that give people a feeling of happiness. I did it by finding the common means of happiness among people which is childhood and games. I worked on Iranian traditional games. My sculptures received a positive response from audience, so I think I was successful in conveying my goal.


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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

People & places

 There were two topics that attracted my interest in the second session. One was about Stimulation theory and the other about Place Attachment.
  "Stimulation theory refers to the quality and quantity of stimulation as expected by the various modalities like visual, thermal and auditory. " (Weisman,2001) This theory reminds me of the installation by Vitto Acconci which named Seedbed.

   Fig 1. Seedbed installation by Vitto  Acconci
" The artist's spoken fantasies about the visitors walking above him were heard through loudspeakers in the gallery. In this legendary sculpture/performance Acconci lay beneath a ramp built in the Sonnabend Gallery. Over the course of three weeks, he masturbated eight hours a day while murmuring things like, "You're pushing your cunt down on my mouth." Not only does the architectural intervention presage much of his subsequent work, but all of Acconci's fixations converge in this, the spiritual sphincter of his art. In Seedbed Acconci is the producer and the receiver of the work's pleasure. He is simultaneously public and private, making marks yet leaving little behind, and demonstrating ultra-awareness of his viewer while being in a semi-trance state. " (Wikipedia)
  I believe that this kind of art can be considered as an environmental observation, artist somehow observing people’s reaction toward something unexpected in a place like a gallery.
  People always expect to see some pictures on the wall or some sculptures in the gallery. But by doing this the artist somehow challenges the hidden program which is a universal belief about a certain place.
  Place attachment or a sense of a place (SOP) is another topic that I was interested in a lot. Actually I myself really experienced it, when we moved to a new house from the house that I was born in and grew up. I still had the image of my old house in my mind. When I closed my eyes I just had the image of all stuff in my old bedroom. Sometimes when I opened my eyes I got shocked how sharp those images were that I did not think they were just in my dream.


.Weisman, G. (2001). The place of people in architectural design. In A. Pressman (Ed.), The architect's portable design handbook: A guide to best practices. New York: McGraw Hill.

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Place Identity

   I have never heard of the Environmental psychology field before the first session of the class. But when I found out what it is, I realized that I was familiar with that before unconsciously. Somehow I was thinking about all its issues  in everyday life.
  To explain it in the layman’s words it’s a field which study the relation between environment and how that affects its inhabitants. It tries to find problems that affect all members of the society.

    Fig 1. Interior-design-Sheikh- Lotfollah-  Mosque-Isfahan-Iran
   I am really interested in the concept of place identity that we talked about in the class. It is a sub-structure of the self identity.
 What gives a place its identity?This is a question that occupied my mind for many years. There are so many places in the world that are considered holy. What gives them such identity? Is it history or it is people’s imagination and fantasizing of a place? Is it possible that just because of that given identity people have a special feeling there? Do people have spiritual feeling in the mosques or churches
because they think they are supposed to be like that?

                                          Fig 2. Wedding saloon

Is it possible that redecorating or re purposing a place change its identity?
For instance I have been always thinking of what will happen if we suddenly  change a mosque to a wedding saloon in which people go and listen to loud music, drink and dance? What will be  people’s reaction toward it?


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