Resolve | order & chaos

Pleasurable Troublemaker by Robin Neuhaus
Supervised bachelor thesis by Matthias Laschke & Marc Hassenzahl | 2016

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"Order and chaos are a well known phenomenon and everyone wants to keep things in order. Easier said than done.

People put things inside a drawer and keep them although the do not really need them anymore. They have special bowls, drawers, boxes and other places to hoard things. Concert Tickets, tinkered things from the kids, old birthday cards and all the other little things that do not have a dedicated place. The place where all these things are kept is called a “nest” by many people. Although the things hoarded there are not really needed anymore, they are kept inside the nest because nobody knows whether to keep them or throw them away. People do this because they can’t decide and need more time to take a decision. This happens because often there is a relation to the objects that are inside a nest that goes beyond the material. Concert tickets are not only printed paper. They are a souvenir of a positive experience. Or take the tinkered things from the kids as an example. Who would immediately throw her son's paper boat away? Instead of throwing it to the trash people highlight things like the boat on a sideboard or the kitchen table.

Robin analysed all these "irrational" and "unproductive" behaviours and designed a corridor cupboard that addresses the process of keeping things and throwing things away. His concept is called „Resolve“. However, this process is not meant to be become efficient or productive. The cupboard materialises different strategies to keep order but also to present and highlight things.

Instead of being a place to store more things, Resolve is a place to take the hard decisions whether to keep something or to let it go and to throw it away. The drawer, which is meant to be the new place for the nest has an angle and things stored there slowly move down when the drawer is being opened and closed, until they fall on the round surface slide out. This makes the user decide again over the fate of this object – maybe after having a bit of time to think it over, it is easier to decide now and it can be brought to its place or thrown away. Or it is put back into the drawer and the decision is delayed once again. But it is important that objects inside this nest don’t just disappear, they can be stored there for a while, but they come back to attention as long as there is still a decision to be made.

In order to help this decision, Resolve offers a few options. There is a place to temporarily display a small object under a glass bell on the right side of the cupboard. The object underneath the glass bell can be exchanged easily. It is a fast way to highlight something special without having to keep it highlighted forever. But some of the trickiest things to decide over are birthday or Christmas cards – there is enough meaning in them to make it hard to part ways with them but not enough to display them for everyone to see or to make them something really special that is important to keep forever. Resolve offers a compromise – the drawer on the right side contains a kit with scissors, a pencil, a template and glue. With the help of this kit, triangular shapes can be cut out of these cards, tickets or other things and glued on a template to create a mosaic which can be seen through the round window on the top. This means keeping a small piece of object itself which can still trigger a memory and it is not gone completely. But it is reduced to a minimum and at the same time something new and aesthetic is created. Another option might sound too simple, but often we keep things because the trash is far away and it seems too big of an effort to walk across the house just to get rid of a small object. Resolve already offers a small container for things that can be thrown away right there in the moment."