Context Module | Project ‘A Room to Die in’

A Room To Die In ( part 1 )

I have based a lot of my work this year around user focused design. Understanding the chosen subject, in my case normally person or people, thoroughly leads to a much more honest, sympathetic and considerate design solution. Experiential design and the effect has upon the user is critical in my mind to the overall success of a project.

In a short project I undertook in our context module I looked at depression and its effects on not only the person suffering from it but also the effect it has on the secondary people surrounding it such a family members, friends and work colleagues. As a designer I find inspiration in the elements that personally affect my life and those of people close to me. I based my research on my granddad who I have lived with my whole life and who has had quite severe depression since my mother was a child.

The project veered towards looking at suicide and the link connected with suicide and depression, highlighting the incomprehensible emotions and isolation that can drive people to this. Suicide in many cases can be an impulsive act when the person is unable to see any other way out of the black hole that they are in, it is an expression of deep sometimes irrational emotion. The idea that many people who attempt to commit suicide and fail are later on relieved to be alive led me to my design for this project

I looked at space and how I could manipulate it to aid in this project. I began to look at space as the actual space and air encompassed in any room, the volume contained between four walls aside from the decoration and furniture within the room. Air is something that is everywhere, surrounding us all the time, essential in order to survive. Without air we will die. I wanted to create a space that suicidal or depressed people could go to to commit suicide, but a space that would force them to sit for a period of time before they would die and contemplate their decision, If suicide wasn’t so quick then perhaps people would not carry through with it, perhaps they would really look at themselves and their lives and walk out of the room.

The room is a sealed room. By working out the volumes of different rooms and inserting them into mathematical formulae, I was able to work out the lengths of time people would be able to survive within different spaces. After a certain time you would essentially poison yourself by changing the percentage of carbon dioxide to oxygen ratio.

The plan was to highlight the length of time a person could survive so that if a person was to use it they would be aware of the severity of what staying there would cause. My hope would be that if a person had to sit in an isolated space knowing that they would not die for up to 7 hours, that they would rationally make their decision, by being faced with death for such a long time they might develop a new perspective on the situation.

This project made me aware of the power of space. The unrecognised power each room, each space secretly possesses. I found it intriguing and have now ended up re-looking at it during the course of my masters project.

Here is my presentation from this project, whilst delivering my research I at in a metal cube which I constructed. As i spoke I pointed out how the cube could only hold 1 hours worth of air and how I would almost be dead at the end of the presentation.