2011 : Aaron Kurosu
Bonds and rituals should be cherished. Every day I would walk with Torsten and Mattias to the Kantine (cafeteria) down the street for lunch. I was only in Hamburg for a few months, but I was building relationships that I would cherish my whole life. When I came back to Ohio to work on a piece of furniture, I wondered how a chair might reflect the relationships we build? Imagine if the Kantine I frequented with Torsten and Mattias reflected my familiarity with the place. Imagine if the other regulars started to recognize other regulars; is it possible to foster a community with smarter furniture?
I named this furniture piece, a stool, after the Kantine in Hamburg. The longer you sit on it, the light within it glows warmer to symbolize your growing relationship.
Katine is high-tech, yet surfaced with old-world touches. The wooden pieces are milled using a 5-axis CNC mill. The pieces were sanded and stained using a solution made from vinegar and iron nails. After soaking the nails for a few days, the vinegar solution will turn the hard maple wood gray. The precision of the pieces allows for the stool to be put together without additional nails or adhesives. The fabric covering was made from crochet wool. Some people do not know that crochet must be made by hand. Therefore, while the object was manufactured using state-of-the-art techniques, the finishes engender the warmth of something handmade.
Under the cushion is a button that lights up the led and activates the microcontroller. While the current solution is a simple timed mechanism, the potential for expansion on this idea is enormous. For example, imagine swapping the technology on the inside for near field communicators (NFC) so that the stool could remember who you are when you return. An even wilder idea would be if the button activated a pulse of light under your friend's seat — no matter where they are in the world. Suddenly, a friend would know that they are enjoying a serendipitous meal with a friend.