Yu Zhang. “Seriously Being That Furniture”: Design Moments for Healing

“Seriously Being That Furniture” is a long-term, ongoing, practice-based research project that targets the everyday work environment, which has shifted toward hybrid work and now confronts “new stress” in a post-Covid world. The project aims to research and design little healing moments in an everyday working context, facilitating moments of micro-pauses that are possible and inviting. This project takes “furniture” as the starting point of design, but takes it in a new direction: the design of furniture that can offer a long-lasting sense of connectivity and belonging in its healing experience, achieving a brief mental reprieve. The project approaches the vision of healing moments through research on everyday data, interactive technologies, ubiquitous representation, and appropriate design. The designs and prototypes presented here are supported by careful handling of personal data and shape-changing, expressive interfaces that can amplify the experience of physical or/and mental “healing” in everyday life.

Dr. Yu Zhang has a background in fine arts and design. In her PhD research she investigates the theory and artistic practice of interactive technologies for public, large-scale installations. She has designed and researched interactive systems that respond to Everyday phenomena, environmental concerns, child-system interaction, online collaboration platforms, and uncertainty in data visualization. Yu’s teaching experience covers a broad range from traditional classrooms and workshops to design-led project-based learning activities. Her book Coding Art, co-authored with Mathias Funk, was published by Apress/Springer in 2021.