Design & Happiness

There are small pleasures of life. As Amélie is standing in front of the fruit and vegetable seller she grabs slowly and deeply into the sack of grain. She feels the grains running through her fingers and perceives how her hand, down to the wrist, is covered. The moment, when a person makes the first cup of coffee in the morning and the delicious scent of coffee rises to the nose. With closed eyes taking a smell of the open coffee tin. To be delighted about one´s own cacti collection. To see how the delicate blossoms come into bloom between the thorns. Or simply to listen in the evening with closed eyes to Puccini´s Madame Butterfly “un bel di vedremo” and to sympathise with her.
Feeling, seeing, listening, smelling thus actively undergo an experience. Is that, in our fast-moving society, still possible? Many products are intended to facilitate our life and to ease our workload. Nowadays, coffee machines have to function “at a push of a button” and the coffee is ready within seconds. That is efficient and comfortable. My grandmother possesses only few purchased socks. The others are hand-knitted. But is it not so much easier to buy a pack of ten? The knitting denotes a time of peace and relaxation for her. Does product-efficiency take away the opportunities to experience everyday activities? Does this make us unhappier? Is it possible to connect products and its benefits together with people´s happiness or well-being? Can product design contribute in helping to increase people´s happiness while using a certain product?

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  • Prof. Dr. Andrew Oswald Professor of Economics, University of Warwick
  • Prof. Dr. Ronnie Schöb Professor for International Public Economics, Free University Berlin
  • Prof. Dr. Ruut Veenhoven Emeritus Professor Social Conditions of Human Happiness, Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • Prof. Dr. Carmelo Vazquez President of the International Positive Psychology association
  • Prof. Dr. Marc Hassenzahl Folkwang University Essen
  • Dr. Martijn Burger Academic Director Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organisation
  • Dr. Adam Okulicz Kozaryn Researcher Rutgers University
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