Unique Circumstances

Why would someone with a broken arm or a twisted wrist, not only use a functional item that heals, but something that also has the aesthetics? Such impersonal and unpleasant, even repellent artefacts that have more to do with the hospital than with the person, carry the healing but also the meaning.

Driven by my appreciation for well crafted leather goods and the absolute ugliness of common orthopedic products, I asked myself: can the aspects of craftsmanship transform the symbolism of temporary orthopedic items, making the shift from anonymous aesthetics to personal and sympathetic, in a way that people also connect to them? Through this research I explore the idea of replacing those apparatus with exquisitely hand crafted, almost fashion-like therapeutic pieces. This exploration, poetic yet realistic, is somewhat a statement, a critique to the current state of the art touching, with no great touch, these “unique circumstances”. The study, half research half manifesto, blends both my motivation for working with leather and my vision on design for well-being. It confirms that even the more functional things can be made differently and they can have their value increased by touching upon some specific points. It also proves that materials, just on their own, can create a certain feel for a product and that there is room for an aesthetic statement that goes beyond the response for a need, beyond the “one size fits all”. Alongside that, the project unfolds a new way for society to engage with the beauty of crafts, while offering the craftsmen new product lines for a new context, a context in which the inherent uniqueness, authenticity and individuality of their creations have a higher meaning for users craving for differentiation and self expression even under those “unique circumstances”.

Developed in collaboration with TEHEUX & Jacomine Immink.