Designing The Pet+People Interface
Western Australia, 2011
Investigating and interpreting sites for design potential from the complex social, economic, cultural and behavioural patterns in human society is incredibly fascinating and challenging in its own right. Identifying what brings value to lived experience in companion animals while also accounting for the lifestyle of their human family is… provoking.
Through their work the designers at kwokka explore why and how people interface with each other and with their environment, and this includes the artificial and natural elements of our surroundings. It also includes the interface between people and pets, and pets with their environment. Using in-depth, longitudinal, covert and overt field observation, activity mapping and physiology/movement data, a series of provotype and prototype installations have been trialed to explore feline preferences in the interior world of our homes.
A range of custom design facilities and products for pets have been developed to encourage exercise, enrich the tactile experience, facilitate harmony in multi-pet households and allow for varying levels of human-animal interaction. Playful, practical and durable constructions also take into account the sustainability of build materials, processes and resources implicated in long-term maintenance.
For one recent project, kwokka’s designers were challenged with creating indoor furniture for cats that functioned as practical and attractive design additions to a house interior. Rejecting traditional cat furniture that is predominantly modeled on basic synthetic ‘scratchy poles’ and felt covered platforms, we created a series of shelves, walkways and climbing structures from recycled materials that integrated with the home’s existing aesthetic and circulation, and most importantly for the harmony of the household - with the family’s everyday lifestyle.