Tony Dunne and Fiona Raby design artifacts to question the role of technology in society. The Pillow project consists of an inflated pillow embedded with an LCD screen that reacts to electromagnetic waves passing through it–cellphones, television and telephone signals, pages, etc. Patterns change according to location and placement, making sensual what the human senses cannot perceive. While not a specific piece of furniture per se, the pillow is very much an intimate and domestic object in the home, and when crossed with the invisible complexities of technology, is an animated, fascinating object. Dunne and Raby value projects like these because the resulting interactions that humans have with them begin to say much about the role of design in our lives.
In the same way the “Pillow” makes electromagnetic waves visible, Sound Modulated #1 was featured here in Pittsburgh at the Wood Street Galleries. Participants carried around light sensing boxes connected to headphones. Walking around a series of spaces with different light qualities, the sensors turned light waves into various types of noise. While this is less furniture and more space/environment designing, it provokes and fulfills different types of interactivity from previously static components, making lamps sources of dynamic noise and creating different experiences constantly through one’s movement.