Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Worn Out or Worn In?

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posted on 2021-11-03, 19:52 authored by Stevens, Ross Ernest

Worn out or worn in started with the creation of a building. For an industrial designer, this was unfamiliar territory. Through working with a specific site came the recognition of the potential of weathering to add a unique quality to the design that goes beyond its initial concept. The inclusion of this potential in the design required a projection into the future and an acceptance of the inevitability of influences that could not be fully controlled. Rain, sun, footprints and cobwebs would all add or subtract to the initially simplistic design concept. It was another realm of design: a 4 dimensional one. Where does the equivalent of weathering exist within the familiar scale of mass produced products? It is in the interaction between the body and the products through use. The potential of this interaction to add another dimension to a design forms the core of this research. The body is a complex site: fluid, directed, precarious, yet nurturing. While it may at first seem unreasonable that the soft body could erode hard, seemingly durable materials, the evidence is all around us. Though it works at a time scale that is almost invisible to our everyday perception, over time the evidence is recorded in our products. Through research by reading, observing, designing, making and unmaking products, the concept of designs embedded within products has emerged. Like a box of chocolates with a series of layers, this research addresses how the wearing away of one layer can reveal the existence of another.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Victoria University of Wellington - Te Herenga Waka

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Industrial Design

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Design

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Design