The folks at Dwell have tapped cognitive scientist and design consultant Don Norman to offer up his unique opinion on the design of several faucets—demonstrating that there are people out there that think way too hard about this stuff.
“There are only two things you care about besides the appearance,” he explains. “The amount of water coming out and the temperature.” This seemingly simple balance between image and duty is one that Norman understands implicitly. As an engineer his priority is making sure things operate properly, but as a psychologist he argues that there’s more to functionality than, well, functioning. “Emotions are really the most important part of life. Things have to work well, but they also should excite you.”
(Indeed—emotions and faucets go hand in hand. My faucet makes me cry…but how can I stay mad at it?)
To be honest, the reviews of these faucets are disappointing, but the point here is that these simple everyday fixtures are being thought about in a very intellectual way. I mean, Norman talks about the “aesthetic and kinesthetic pleasure” of the water stream for God’s sake. I get it though. With a background in art and design I can appreciate the massive amount of engineering that can sometimes be employed on items we take for granted. In fact, some of the most cutting edge designers are working on sinks and faucets these days. Coffee makers are getting this treatment as well. It’s just pouring water over a bean but there are some crazy elaborate concepts out there. And why not? These are gadgets we use every single day. [Dwell via BBG]