Body Aware Makerthon: Reconnecting Family Life

We have been living in a fast-paced society for quite a while now. Efficiency is the key to growth and development, to new markets, and even to our way of life – we are constantly connected and always within reach. At the Body Awareness Makerthon, a team of three international art and design talents questioned our connectedness and the way it influences our family lives.

“Stress and mental illness have become so prevalent in our modern lives, and they are clearly preventing many of us from living our lives fully. Unfortunately, there are no magical solutions, no pills that fix it,” designer Unnur Valdís Kristjánsdóttir states. She, together with creative communications specialist Andreas Kvist and artist Nan Sofie Brøgger, wanted to look at family rituals like meals, bedtime, etc., as crucial breaks from our fast-forward way of living – moments and routines for both parents and children to slow down.

“Psychologists and promoters of healthy lifestyle address the importance of being present in our daily lives as the most powerful tool in dealing with stress,” Kristjánsdóttir explains. “Creating healthier habits for kids is also about empowering them to deal with stress now and in the future,” Andreas Kvist adds.

The group co-created three design ideas for families to learn to express and cope with the stress generated by our modern lifestyles. The first, ‘Punchy’, releases tension by embracing feelings often considered a threat to efficiency: frustration, anger and so on.

“Those emotions should be dealt with by channelling them into a tension-releasing exercise instead of rejecting them. ‘Punchy’ does more than just take punches, it stuffs feelings into a balloon and tosses them into the air.”

'Punchy' does more than just take punches, it stuffs feelings into a balloon and tosses them into the air.

The second idea is a cave blanket – a private sanctuary for when you need to escape from the pressure of busy-ness. “It is a blanket that folds up into a fantasy cave made to enjoy moments of solitude or to spend quality moments of togetherness,” Kristjánsdóttir emphasises.

The last design idea is very simple: a candle equipped with a timer that stays lit for 30 minutes to encourage families to take time to enjoy food, a conversation or a quiet and relaxing break together. “The idea is to create a habit in which the family commits to time spent together. By lighting the candle, family members are committing to togetherness and being present,” Kristjánsdóttir concludes.

Stress and mental illness have become so prevalent in our modern lives, and they are clearly preventing many of us from living our lives fully. Unfortunately, there are no magical solutions, no pills that fix it

Presentation of the Body Awareness Makerthon

In October 2015, a group of twelve international talents from different fields such as art, interaction design, spirituality and technology met in Copenhagen for a three-day Body Awareness Makerthon.

The purpose of the Makerthon – facilitated by Future Living Lab Space10 and IKEA – was to explore future urban scenarios and to co-create design for enhanced body awareness in order to improve mental, emotional and physical health.

SPACE10
Flæsketorvet 10
1711 Copenhagen V
Denmark