Have you seen any Mental comfort products?

I am doing my graduate thesis, which is creating a furniture line for lonely poeple. I am still doing research and I need some thoughts. Do you have any idea? Thanks so much!

nice niche…so, because i use this forum to interact with others, i could be…mmmm, i think i will go hang around the water cooler for a while…

do you want to design FOR their lonelyness (eg a one seater sofa, one person dining table) or do you want to design so they dont FEEL so lonely?

Thank you for your interest, folks. The project is defined as an exploration of the mental satisfactions furniture can provide to users who miss parental and familial love. It focuses more on the mental comfort than physical comfort. Although this project cannot solve the overall problem of loneliness in modern day society, it can help people to feel more comfortable on a day-to-day basis.

Good question! I am designing a tangible furniture instaed of a therapy for lonely poeple.

I dont know if this might sound irrelevant, but you should read about HHRC, if you havent already.

http://designgrid.blogspot.com/2005/01/design-for-older-users.html

Helen Hamlyn Research Centre (HHRC) is a part of the Royal college of Art. Their work is centred on design in relation to four social-change themes: age, work, mobility and care.

It’s an interesting idea. In one of my college classes I focused on the idea of how a piece of furniture could act as a means of inviting guests into a home. My end result was a piece of furniture that was meant to allow a host to “share” their seat with guests. It’s a piece of furniture that looks like a beanbag, but is actually a container for several individual cushions. The idea is that you pull out the cushions and give them to guests, essentually as if you were “sharing your seat”. I’m still in the process of selling it to a company right now. You can check it out on my website if you’d like (www.jl-id.com)

As for furniture for a lonely person, it’s hard to say. To some degree the idea of comforting someone through an inanimate object is kind of “creepy”. I had one idea during the course of my project which would expand upon the concept of the “boyfriend chair” cushion, only my idea was to make a ridgid framed chair designed so that the user would sit on the floor, and the chair would basically be a U-shaped upholstered ring on the bottom, a back rest, and another U-shaped ring on top. The idea is that the user would rest their back into the chair, and they could also lay their head on the upper U shape. Basically, my idea was that the chair would simulate the way a couple sits together, when the girl is sitting in front of the boy, with his arms around her in an embrace. Resting your head on the “arms” of the chair would be like symbolically resting your head on somebodies shoulder or being hugged. It had a mixed reaction when I presented the idea in class. Everyone thought it did manage to convey the concept I had in mind, but they thought it sort of had a creepy feeling to it.

I think touch and scent would really have to be utilized well to simulate a healthy (NON SEXUAL) and loving sort of physical contact.

How about having a picture of your mum/dad/brother/sister etc. on the bookcase?
:smiley:

Sorry, just teasing…

…expanding on jldesign’s boyfriend concept…anyone who has sat in those cheap plastic patio chairs, has likely noticed that when you lean back the arms of the chair flex inward, giving you a hug so to speak…run with that a bit…also, a huggable pillow with the ‘feel’ or feedback of another person (nasa foam ?), maybe with a pulse and/or heatbeat sound to it or a wireless speaker from an audio source (tv, radio, phone)…

I remember seeing this pillow that is shaped like the lower torso of a woman. Apparently you are supposed sooth yourself by laying your head on it out:

Also there is a Male version called the boyfriend’s arm made by a company in Japan that is made for single women.

Either way… kinda creepy.

…kinda creepy when you get into the male/female simulators, true…we are talking mental comfort, not sexual stimulation…hugs are gender neutral (in the USA anyway)…

Thank you all for the links and thoughts.
Here is my initial idea,
http://www.fenghaoyu.com/dan/father.jpg
And here is the story… My father died when I was little. I miss the feeling of sitting on father’s shoulder so much eventhough I am grown. From my point of view. This piece of furniture can offer me sercurity, supportive and warmth.What do you think?
I have some more ideas and will share with you all later. Thanks again for all the input.

…beauty!..

as someone who attended an ‘Art Furniture’ program, I think making “kinda creepy” stuff is perfectly OK. and for an Art School thesis it’ll probably be pretty cool.
But since you posted your question here the question becoms: how are the needs of loneliness best resolved with inanimate products. And I have to say not very well. And personally I don’t see any reason that furniture would be better than the other avenues possible.
My suggestion would be to go high-concept and emphasise the isolation people have from each other. And post on fine arts instead of desing sites.

On a similar path, an old schoomate of mine made a chair in studio that was designed to bring people together for conversation and interaction. Perhaps some of what you’re looking into could attempt to do this as well. You could look at furniture that can bring one lonely person in contact with another lonely person! Just an idea that could bring more depth and variations to your designs.
http://www.coroflot.com/public/portfolio_file.asp?user_id=11866&increment=false&order_no=4&t=

and if you sit in Umbra’s Oh chair and lean back you can fell Karim Rashid rubbing your bum. Oh wait that only hapens to guys at his studio.

i did something similar. i found that traditional seating in living rooms was very isolating and forced peoples interactions into certain set patterns. 2 people lying or cuddling together on a couch is common, but pretty uncomfortble unless you’re both fashion-model thin, and to cuddle sitting up is not that relaxing either. when you look at maslow’s heirarchy of needs, emotional and physical love are pretty important to a person’s well being. anyways, what i did was design a couch/futon thingy that just by its very design forced the people using it to get closer to each other. so a non traditional category and design helped to solve an individual’s need for love. i built a prototype and its in my Bf’s house and it works great.

sometimes some companies seem to forget that there is a whole other level to people’s interaction with each other and the product than just the bottom line. they seem to design things based on what will sell in a store, and then forget about what will happen when its used. its important for new designers to know how to use psychological and emotional interactions with products to drive thier designs, because in my opinion, in 5 years, companies who don’t do that will be having trouble financially from all the companies that are just starting to do this now. there will be a point when just competing based on price won’t be enough. thats just my viewpoint i guess. but exploring things like love and lonliness is definately valid, even if its just when you’re in school cause it might not be possible to do it in the real world.

I am so interested in taking a look at your design? By any chance, could you either post it here or send to danxiong@gmail.com, Thanks so much!

Thanks for all other inputs.
What I am trying to do is to explore more about the psychological aspect of furniture design by doing this project. Interactions, memory collection, familiarity, sense of security are some of the elements I want to integrate to my design. Maybe anyone can give me some more you think are keywords? Thank you!

if your looking for citations for your thesis outside of Art History, there are some (very academic) marketing researchers who publish non-proprietary works about the psychological relationships to things people own. If your college has a lending relationship to a business school’s library - use your keywords in the Lexus-Nexus database.
good luck