Alice Wang is a London-based designer who explores our habits and preferences in some of her series of work such as Chairs for the Dysfunctional and Commodity Love. Both help users express themselves at a time where over-expression has led to erosion in social skills and self-management. Exploring Alice’s website will lead to the discovery of more fascinating products and projects that reflect a mind that has designs on the way we think and act.
Status Announcer & Skilled Tilter
Your Chairs for the Dysfunctional were shown in Milan this spring, and visitors seemed to find them amusing. What were you trying to achieve by attaching the notion of interactivity to the designs? Don’t people want to ignore some of the ideas your designs are pointing to?
Each person takes away a different story after they see my project. Some will only see the form or the humourous side while others will dig deeper and understand the stories I wish to illustrate through the objects. I agree the interactivity and humour can sometimes distract the audience from my core message, however, ironically, those elements are also what attract them to be interested in the objects.
Silent Farter & Constant Shaker
Although this is a very conceptual project, how could you see yourself applying these concepts to more functional pieces?
Firstly, Chairs for The Dysfunctional is not just a conceptual project, it is also available as limited editions for collectors that are interested. We have also had requests to work on installations, spatial design, new products as well as research projects looking into how such concepts and thinking methodology can be applied in other forms.
Commodity Love pokes fun at those who pay more attention to things than to people. How does highlighting this imbalance change the behaviour? What are your views on the people who simply agree with the statements and carry on?
The idea is to get people to wear their slightly embarrassing/ironic statement on them at all times. It started off as a small graphic design project consisting of around 30 volunteers, looking into people’s modern definition of love from an ironic point of view. Volunteers were asked to “confess” whether they loved an object more than their loved one, and the popular statements were chosen to be made into badges; therefore, if you look at it from a global scale, I’m not surprised many will agree with such statements and be proud to wear them and carry on.
As you explore concepts and designs at this stage of your career, what would you like most to change about the way people think or act?
I want people to see their surroundings from a different perspective; analyze even the smallest things that are happening around them; question why things work the way they do.