Antifragility - How do we design furniture that improves with use? UPgrading instead of DOWNgrading!
What is antifragility? Fragile describes objects that easily break. They wear out quickly or they should be used with utmost care. Fragile, according to the statistics researcher and futurologist Nassim Taleb, also describes systems that man develops, such as health systems, education systems or the economy. All these are systems that can easily break down or be damaged.
However, in an environment that is becoming increasingly unpredictable and that is subject to lightening changes, one has to ask oneself: can we still actually afford fragile systems? Or must we, as Taleb phrases it, install antifragile systems? That is to say systems that improve instead of deteriorating when things change. Systems that learn and grow. Seasoned thinkers will immediately hone in on the term 'resilience': or, in simple terms, the ability to get up when one has fallen down. However, antifragility goes well beyond this. The term ensconces fundamentally different thinking. Systems should not only 'get up again' but they must adapt and change themselves when crises or disruptions occur. They should become more complex and reinvent themselves as a new system.
This raises the question: does this concept of antifragility also apply to everyday objects? We believe it does! Never before have people experienced such profound disruptions in their lives. Divorce rates of 50% are only a minor example for this. Furniture can no longer add value by simply being produced as robust and sustainable. Even the term 'quality' is no longer self-explanatory and depends greatly on the interpretation of individuals. The concept of antifragility is therefore increasingly required by furniture, because unpredictability has become such an important part of the daily life of man.
Furniture is antifragile when it GAINS FROM USE, not DETERIORATES BY USE. This means furniture that improves with use and, first and foremost, with all the great changes the life of man undergoes. Furniture that might even help us to manage disruptions better and that can, at least, deal with unavoidable change. Antifragile furniture are objects of the future spirit of the times, and they pose a challenge for designers and manufacturers. But furniture is also a visible harbinger of times in which resilience does not only mean solidity but also an orientation to change.
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