This activity was created by the feminist architecture practice, EDIT.
Resources: Anything you find in your home, big or small.
Age range: 3 – 103 years
Time: 10 minutes – 10 weeks
Think about your routine at home. What kind of objects do you and your family use? What about furniture? Try thinking about as many household objects as you can, from small things like toothbrushes and door handles, to sofas and showers. These objects may seem ordinary at first, but have been carefully designed to be used in a particular way.
Pick one thing to focus on, it can be any size - ideally something you have in your home. Now imagine you’re using it, maybe you’re sitting on it? Maybe you’re scrubbing the floor with it? Think about why you’re using it, and how? Are you in a specific room? Think about whether it’s fun, or maybe it’s useful?
Now try to make your object more fun to use by changing it’s design. Maybe it is now the size of a bed, or the size of a teaspoon. Does this change the object’s purpose? Maybe now your whole family can use it together - is that better? Use your imagination to think of other tweaks to imagine different versions of your chosen object.
Start drawing some of your ideas to develop them further. Maybe try collaging images together from magazines - this is a quick way to play around with scale and quantities. You could also try making small versions of your ideas using cardboard and paper.
Now that you have an idea you like, try it out in real life - make sure you can put it back to normal again if you’re borrowing something from your house. If you can’t change any of the objects or furniture in your house, maybe you can think of a new way to use it. For example, try to make a game that makes washing the dishes more fun.
You’ve designed a new object! Try it out to test your idea. Once you’re happy with it, give it a name and take a good photo. Show us how to use it - this can be in any format, a drawing, video or a set of instructions.
Email photos of your creations to firstname.lastname@example.org
Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
The GDP is hoover designed for three people. All three users must be pressing the push button on the handle for the hoover to turn on, forcing housework to be done together rather than alone.
Living Room/Laundry Room
Can you imagine a world where we shared the laundry together like we do with eating? The whole family could meet in the laundry room to fold clothes and roll up socks whilst catching up on what happened that day.
What if we shared communal utilities such as water, electricity and gas, and they were all stored in the same place, along with the appliances they connect to? Sharing the cost of these things would certainly be helpful. How would sharing these things change our relationship with our neighbours? Maybe we would clean, cook, garden, even do laundry together. If we are sharing all of these appliances and chores, what else might we decide to start sharing? Would chores still feel like chores?
Could you imagine a new dinner table where everyone eats together on a giant plate or drinks together with a long garland of glasses? It could result in lots of options of food and drinks, shared equally by the entire family. Could washing up become a fun collective activity to do all together after pudding?
A bath in the living room
We are taught to use different rooms within our house for specific actions: we sleep in the bedroom, we eat in the kitchen, we clean ourselves in the bathroom. What would happen if these actions were mixed by misplacing the furniture that supports them? What if taking a bath could be as exciting as being at the beach, if the bathtub was maybe in the living room?
EDIT is a feminist design collective. The architectural industry has been dominated by men for centuries — as practitioners, clients and users. The inequality this has embedded into the built environment, and the way we are able to live within it, is deeply ingrained, and yet often unquestioned. EDIT was formed in response to this enduring problem. Our approach uses design as a tool to support more equal interactions, both during the design process and as an outcome of the finished project.
Our current research project, Honey I’m Home!, focuses on domestic design and how the layout and contents of our homes have the power to influence and maintain established gender and family roles. In 2019, we were invited by the Oslo Architecture Triennale to present the first prototype developed as part of Honey I’m Home! The Gross Domestic Product, or GDP, is a fictional prototype for collectivising domestic labour. As an alternative to the capitalist assumption that housework is most efficient when performed individually, the GDP is a device that can be used only by three people.