Colliding worlds: Can good design make us happy?

As technology rapidly changes the way we interact with products and environments, UNSW's Oya Demirbilek will use her Utzon lecture to discuss the impact of good design on our health and happiness.


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In a physical world that’s rapidly merging with virtual and digital worlds, good design is critical to ensuring our happiness, well-being and health.

In her Utzon Lecture, Colliding Worlds: Health, Well-being, Design and Built Environments, on Wednesday, 27 July, UNSW Built Environment's Associate Professor Oya Demirbilek will discuss how advances in technology are offering designers unprecedented opportunities to develop products, apps and software with the potential to increase happiness.

“Technology is rapidly changing the way we interact with products and environments. Everything is interconnected; our phones, music, household appliances and cars,” Demirbilek says. “While this has the potential to create chaos and stress in our lives, good design can play a critical role in harmonising those connections.”

Demirbilek says the most scarce commodity in the future will be human attention, and the main challenge for designers will be to develop products that decrease demands on our attention and time.

“Digital designers, virtual reality, app designers and 3D designers can’t work in isolation anymore and need to join forces. Designers are becoming conductors of a huge orchestra of devices and they need to make sure each one of them is playing the right note.”

In her Utzon Lecture Demirbilek will discuss examples of future technologies that can enhance well-being, happiness and health.

What: Utzon Lecture, Colliding Worlds: Health, Well-being, Design and Built Environments

When: Wednesday, 27 July 2016 - 6.30pm

Where: UNSW Ainsworth Theatre, Kensington campus

Bio: Associate Professor Oya Demirbilek is currently the Associate Dean Education at UNSW Built Environment and Associate Professor in the Industrial Design Program. Before joining UNSW, Oya was an Assistant Professor at the Middle East Technical University, Turkey. She also held an instructor position with the Department of Product Design, at the Art Center College of Design, La Tour-de-Peilz, Switzerland. Oya completed her doctoral studies at Bilkent University, Ankara and at Marmara University Istanbul. Her main research and teaching focus is on emotional design, design for ageing, and design research.

About the Utzon Lecture Series: The Utzon Lecture Series was officially launched in 2010 by Jan Utzon, the son of the renowned Danish architect Jørn Utzon. Held on a monthly basis at UNSW, the series focuses on the presentation of ideas from leading contributors of international significance in the design, delivery and management of the built environment.