No Coffins, No Yurts (The Happy Box Isn’t….)

I’m finding that it’s easier to point to what my project isn’t than what it is. There is a lot of research out there on how to psychologically torture someone, deprive him of his senses and perhaps his humanity. There is surprisingly little research on happiness, despite the plethora of self-help books and crunchy-feel-good-baby-boomer-bullshit. I think that Stefan Sagmeister was alluding to this with his Happy Show exhibit (and film).

The Happy Box is no longer a box but a room. My mentor Michael Goodson and I discussed the idea of a box that one would climb into; the verdict was that this sterile environment would in no way be conducive to happiness.
Here are some sketches I made:

And a photograph of a model:

This model was made up of 4″ x 8″ plexi- panels. The textured lining represents the acoustical treatment.

I guess it’s irrelevant now since I’m not going to use it.

I will continue to do materials tests until I find the thing that will satisfy my requirements: easy to work with, streamlined, light, flexible, modular. How will the placement of the body in the space affect the experience? I’m thinking of setting it up so that you lay on your back to experience it. The feeling of surrender.

Robert Pirsig said, “You point to something as having Quality and the Quality tends to go away. Quality is what you see out of the corner of your eye….” That gave me an idea about lighting. Instead of affecting the lights in the space with gels or colored bulbs, why not give people special glasses to wear in the space? I remember 3D movie experiences at amusement parks when I was a kid. Even then the plot-less movie clips seemed dated and crudely executed, but I loved it. It felt like something special to put on those 3D glasses.

What I’ve been reading:

Sensory Deprivation: Fifteen Years of Research edited by John P Zubek. Mr. Zubek’s story is a sad one.

Space and Place by Yi-Fu Tuan

Personal Space by Rober Sommer

Phenomenal: California Light, Space, Surface by Michael Auping

Bruce Goff: Toward Absolute Architecture by David G. De Long

4 thoughts on “No Coffins, No Yurts (The Happy Box Isn’t….)”

  1. Lexie, I’m trying to remember the book Stefan recommended. I’ll look for it. We have video glasses if you would like to try them. they have sound and little video screens. I’m looking forward to hearing about the project this afternoon.

    1. Hi, the book is The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt. I’ve got the book and am looking forward to reading it. I’d certainly like to check out those glasses for fun.

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