How may designers create furniture that allows meaningful place-making in modern office

DOLAH, Shahrizal (2014). How may designers create furniture that allows meaningful place-making in modern office. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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This research has investigated a participatory design method for furniture designers to allow users to express their aspirations through place making or creation of meaningful office workspaces. During my empirical work, I discovered that there were problems in getting the office workers to explain their ideas through verbal explanations. They did not have the right techniques and tools to express their ideas. From there I started to use mock-ups as tools to communicate and engage with the respondents in my investigation. In my research, I had identified a promising participatory design approach, role-play with mock-ups. My method sought to build the techniques which previously used by Mitchell (1995) and Lemons et al. (2010). Firstly, I identified the importance of understanding the needs and aspirations of users with regards to office furniture. Then, using participatory design role-play with mock-ups, it had enabled all respondents and participants to reveal their current problems, needs and aspirations. They started to create useful design ideas and opportunities for designers in developing new workplace designs. From here on out, it became evident that this technique was useful, workable and quickly accessible for Malaysian designers in actual design practice or other similar developing countries. In relation to this, I developed a social interaction technique to inspire and enhance active participation. The mock-ups helped the respondents to overcome their ignorance in design. It had also helped the participants and respondents to overcome their low awareness of 'design language' and started to share their concerns. These were not always practical design ideas but they provided distinct information which would be very helpful in developing and identifying design concepts. Through exploring how mockups could be used as productive tools to explore users’ needs and aspirations, the outcome derived from this research, was aimed to develop and provide guidance in design research techniques. It was also intended to inspire designers in developing furniture that would create a meaningful office environment, reflecting users’ needs and aspirations by allowing personalisation and place-making to occur. Knowledge contribution in this research could be divided into three parts: 1)contribution for design practice (section 6.2.1); 2) contribution for design research (section 6.2.2) and contribution for design education (section 6.2.3). The study revealed, by using role-play with mock-ups directly with the users, allowed the designers to quickly become aware of arising issues without the need to do a potentially time-consuming, normative and tedious observational study. My approach had the characteristic of intervention which allowed participants to go beyond normal practices, environments and scenarios. This could be seen in my findings during role-play with non-experts (section 5.1) and design workshops 01 and 02 (section 5.2). This research approach is primarily leads to new understanding about practice and described as “practice-led” approach to research. This project had investigated, demonstrated and opened the possibility that these approaches could be turned into a practical participatory process toward design in furniture industry practise in Malaysia and created a potential to be further developed by other researchers as well as disseminated through education for future Malaysian designers.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Design practice, Participatory design, user need, aspiration, mock-ups, role-plays with mock-ups, personalisation, place-making and practice-led.
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: Helen Garner
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2014 10:31
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2015 10:34

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