Mirror Self addresses the problem of schizophrenia using design methods.
#design experiment/design strategy /product design/industrial design /social oriented/conceptual design
Mirror Self explores the possibilities of applying design practices in psychology and psychotherapy context. The initial question in the project was whether design can offer a mirror and serve as a platform of self-knowledge. The project applies a method of embodied metaphor and explores ways that the process of transformation can become a subject of discussion and inner change. The process results in a physical product; an articulation of the problems of stigmatising which people with schizophrenia face. The project has been done in collaboration with the 3.rd Faculty of Medicine in Prague. It was nominated for a MullenLowe NOVA Awards 2019 in London.
The role of design in society should not be just designing aesthetic driven products towards increasing profit. The Mirror Self Project is asking the question of what these alternative roles might be. How can design be used as a tool of change? In this case in an area of mental health.
Story of the project
The project started with broad research on design practices used in the area of mental health as well as in the field of psychotherapy methodologies. During consultations with experts, there was an ambition to use the design process as a leading element. This resulted in two main outcomes.
First was the development of ‘design-therapy’ method where the participants use special ‘semi-designed’ objects to project their inner issues on them. By doing that the problems gain a physical form so that it becomes possible to touch them, work with them and talk about them in a different way.
Another outcome of the project extends this rather strategic side by more of traditional product design level. Participants often mention the problem of stigmatizing and complicated ways of inclusion into society (when receiving a qualified treatment people with schizophrenia can become a fully functional part of society). This issue is illustrated through the design language of seating furniture. It consists of three chairs that at first appear broken but after a short interaction, the function can be revealed. They become not just working chairs but also support for a table. The use of metaphor as a way of expression follows similar principals the design therapy is based on.