The Body Aware makerthon

Imagine a future with thoughtful furniture, a mindful office: a place that stays in motion to remind you to stay in touch with your inner self. A balloon that absorbs stress, or a mobile sanctuary. At the Body Awareness Makerthon at Space10 in Copenhagen, a group of artists, designers and technology experts from around the world met to provoke change with new insights and independent ideas for creating urban body awareness.

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. “Diversity is fantastic, especially when you are working with such a human and sensitive subject,” says one of the participants, Reykjavík designer Unnur Valdís Kristjánsdóttir.

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. The participants worked together in four groups, fusing concepts like movement and technology, spirituality and communication, art and automation, while co-creating both new products to facilitate increased body awareness, and new ideas to live healthier lives in cities. 

More than half of the world's population now lives in urban areas. In fact, by 2050, seven out of ten people will live in a city. Rapid urbanisation and city lifestyles are having significant effects on human health. As we crowd together in cities, health problems caused by urbanisation are reducing the quality of life and wellbeing of urban residents and communities. And right now, mindfulness tendencies are sweeping the Western World – they’re everywhere – perhaps because we’ve reached the limit of our human capacity to accelerate.

According to Carl Honoré, author of the book In Praise of Slowness, we live in a road-runner society, where being fast is good and being busy is even better. We are swathed in the belief that to do things better, we must accelerate our pace. “Once we used to write, now we speed-write; we used to walk, now we speed-walk; we used to date, now we speed-date, even speed-yoga.

Every day has been turned into a race to the finish line – a finish line that we never reach,” he says. Due to urbanisation and digitisation, we are constantly in a fast-forward mode. In order to meet the challenges posed by people’s lifestyles and exposure to increasingly stressful ways of life, there is an increasing need to explore new design solutions within our everyday routines. 

As artist Nan Sofie Brøgger put it after exploring the topic of urban family living at the three-day Body Awareness Makerthon, “In order to function and perform, it is important to experience a contrast to the fast tempo and ‘noise’ that we deal with in our everyday lives. Therefore, it is important to take time. Taking time for oneself, for family and for peace – it is important to know ourselves, to feel grounded, to train our ability to focus, and last but not least, to learn to relax.”

Diversity is fantastic, especially when you are working with such a human and sensitive subject.

 

The Body Awareness Makerthon

At the Body Awareness Makerthon at Space10 in Copenhagen, a group of artists, designers and technology experts from around the world met to provoke change with new insights and independent ideas for creating urban body awareness.

For independent ideas for creating urban body awareness

 

A built environment in constant flux

This concept explores how to increase the feeling of being present without creating annoyance or disturbance – an environment where it is easier to stay mindful and aware of one’s body and surroundings, an environment that is fluid and changing.  “The key idea was to imagine our built environment behaving like the natural one – in constant flux – and how that could apply to a place of work,” says Tommaso Lanza, half of the duo ‘The Workers’

 

Reconnecting family life

This idea produced three co-created design ideas to help families learn to express and cope with stress generated by our modern lifestyles.  “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. 

 

Challenging static office design

Artists challenged static design by encouraging physical activity in the office in a natural way. ”Nowadays, most office work is purely digital, and our physical presence is virtually unnecessary. With our project we wanted to use the office space in a more active way, creating a different relationship to our desktop and to the people around us,” says product designer Rui Pereira.

 

Disrupting traditional food preservation

The group challenged our perceptions of food storage by coming up with the idea of an individually-powered fridge and oven hybrid.  “We saw it as evolving the kitchen space into a landscape scenario, and changing the known monolithic elements that we use now as fridges for something less stylised and more related to our contemporary way of consuming food. Hopefully, by enhancing the efficiency of storage systems, we can reduce food waste and encourage a better and healthier consumption of food too,” says Jacopo Sarzi.

Presentation of 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