AERANAUTS Q&A 05
Joe Doucet, Designer, Entrepreneur, Inventor.
Join us for the fifth instalment in our Aeranauts series, an exploration of inspirational people, from all walks of life, in their own words.
'I think it's not so much what I do, but how I do it, that defines me. In other words, I search for an elegant solution to complex problems'
Personally, I don't care at all about aesthetics. When you have a perfectly elegant solution to a problem, it's always going to be aesthetically pleasing.
Exactly. That was a process that from inception to installation took just a matter of months. And the reason is that everything was completely digital. The first time I physically interacted with it was when it was actually being installed in Times Square. So, I presented the concept, did some 3D prints in the studio, some renderings and a couple of movies. Rather than ask ‘what should a bench look?’ like I asked myself, okay, ‘what does public seating do? What are some of the challenges that public face, other than a place to put their ass?’ I wanted to do something more than just make a beautiful place to sit. Well, at the time, there were vehicles being weaponized and used against crowds. I thought, could this bench actually protect the people using it? The problem with all the things that are currently out there, all giant, concrete blocks and stainless steel, they only serve to remind people how vulnerable they are and that's disheartening. So, I tried to create an object which silently protects, and, rather than creating something big and bulky, I made something that worked more like Kevlar; the fabric – in this case concrete - wraps around you and absorbs and dissipates energy.
How something looks is almost the final proof at the end of the process, that you have solved a problem. It’s beautiful if it's right, you know, not right if it’s beautiful.
You really can't start a job now without thinking about sustainability in terms of materials and in terms of energy. It's trendy now, of course, but it's been at the core of what we do ever since we started.
Those first 30 minutes, when I am in that that sort of state where I’m not really fully awake – I’m never fully awake until I’ve had my third cup of coffee - I'll just mull over the projects I'm working on at that point, and often that's when the insight strikes.
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