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Designing For The Face-To-Face Interaction In A Digital World

Can design bridge the gap between digital and human interaction? Here we speak with Dyson, a brand that understands the importance of social experience.

We need to talk about the digital world. With all the recent questions surrounding data mining, cryptocurrencies, the internet of things and the ethics of social media, it has prompted many to wonder if it’s time to step offline and back into the real world. This is probably easier said than done. After all, can consumers really be so easily convinced to abandon technology, which has become – arguably, deservedly so – a critical part of contemporary living? Is such a drastic step even necessary? Perhaps the solution lies in the middle ground: instead of shunning technology entirely, it’s possible that the answer is simply to temper this with the old school, tried-and-tested social network: face-to-face interaction.


Design and the ‘digital optimist’ 


Instead of seeing technology and healthy social interactions as mutually exclusive, designers should recognise that the former is a valuable tool for shaping the latter; that innovative design can play a critical role in creating dynamic, engaging social spaces. A quick look at popular commercial and hospitality spaces shows that today’s social spaces are vastly different to those of yesteryear. No longer mere backdrops to interaction, social spaces today must be as dynamic as the activity within: design must not just enable conversation so much as spark and drive it, actively bringing people together and prompting them to interact. In this regard, few things are more effective than a revolutionary new piece of technology to get people together and talking.  


Are there any designers who understand this better than Dyson? Possibly not. For nearly thirty years, the British appliances powerhouse has carved out a front and centre space for design in homes and commercial spaces around the world. Dyson‘s inimitable, prolific design practice is distinguished not only by its innovation but also its unlikely ability to encourage a spirit of communality and awe around even the most seemingly banal items: the vacuum cleaner, the fan, the tower heater.


Dyson is an unflappable innovator. Recognising that design has a direct impact upon community and our interpersonal relationships, Dyson‘s unique approach to product innovation is, first and foremost, engineering-meets-people. “There is a beauty in engineering,” says Jake Dyson. “I find with instruments that there is an element of fascination in the mechanics, and fascination is an element in beauty.”


Seeking to bring increased fascination, joy and pleasure for the end user through interacting with different products in the brand’s portfolio, Dyson continues to lead the discussion that puts people at the front of design thinking. After all, design does play a significant role in the social aspects of our lives – from being the lodestar around which communities congregate, being the vital interface that allows individuals to connect with one another, and ensuring that our communal lives (and the individuals by which the community is sustained) are democratic, empowering and supportive.


It is to this end that Dyson introduced a new product category to its exhaustive inventory in recent years. With the addition of lighting to the Dyson portfolio, the company now looks forward to a truly comprehensive design solution to our social lives. Having conquered the realm of cleaning and hygiene with its range of vacuum cleaners and air purifiers, Dyson has also re-imagined the world of hand dryers with the 2018 launch of the re-designed Dyson Airblade Wash+Dry Tap hand dryer.


The Dyson Airblade Wash+Dry Tap hand dryer is a cost-efficient, environmentally responsible hand dryer solution that improves overall bathroom cleanliness and hygiene as well as the overall layout and design feel of bathroom environments. In addition, Dyson has recently taken the world of beauty by storm with its award-winning Supersonic hair dryers, and continues to innovate with their pioneering lighting solutions that are expertly positioned to ensure that quality design, health and sustainability are at the forefront of lighting specification at all times.


“I’ve been appalled by the entry of disposable LED light bulbs into the lighting industry and I’m upset about the lack of education consumers have of LED lighting. I’ve set about making light fixtures that last a lifetime. With the CSYS Task Light, you can buy them once and never have to change the bulbs. Additionally, energy consumption is incredibly low.” – Jake Dyson.


Against this backdrop, who better than Dyson to sponsor The Social Space category of this year’s INDE Awards? If there’s one thing that Dyson‘s near-constant stream of innovation over the past three decades has proven, it’s that in addition to formidable design talent, the technology company has the ability to get people together and talking.


Dyson machines are never just in the background of conversation. Rather, they’re a central part of it. For anyone like me, who has exchanged awed glances and laughter with a perfect stranger while watching a demonstration of a Dyson hairdryer or chuckled as a child darts their hand furtively through a Dyson fan, you already know – Dyson represents perhaps the most social kind of design, which provides a unifying source of joy, delight, and wonder. And for those of you who don’t know it yet, don’t worry: you’re welcome to join the conversation at any time.


Dyson is the Official Partner of The Social Space category at the 2018 INDE.Awards. Join the best and brightest of Asia Pacific design in June this year.

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