"Z" Blocks - reconfigurable furniture at the ID: Ideology of Design, authors: Srđan Jovanović Weiss, Thabo Lenneiye, NAO
Design: Srđan Jovanović Weiss, Thabo Lenneiye
Normal Architecture Office (NAO), Filadelfija / Philadelphia, US, 2009
Original design: Normal Group for Architecture, 2003
Normal Architecture Office (NAO)’s “Z” Blocks are light and reconfigurable blocks that can be used in multiple ways thanks to their smart geometry designed to resemble the Latin letter Z. The main concept behind this adaptive use of the design is the ease of arranging “Z” blocks into individual, social and hybrid spaces, different in size, being formal or informal, public or intimate. The blocks can stand on their own and be used as chairs, and can be combined together in horizontal benches and sofas. Furthermore, the “Z” blocks can be arranged vertically into building partitions, niches, walls and columns. Finally they can be treated as scattered furniture across rooms and galleries. The geometry of a single block derives from reading alleged US medical recommendations for using prosthetic devices offering better sensual comfort during sexual encounter between middle-class couples. The specificity of geometric angles offered by the US sexologists and their direct applications in sexual products informed the elegant angles of the geometry of the “Z” block. If capitalism is able to produce knowledge specific of its intended use in bedrooms of the American middle-class, the aim behind proposing and producing “Z” blocks is to disperse and Balkanize this scientific knowledge into an abstract everyday social use anywhere free from the dictate of its use.
After every event the visitors using “Z” blocks are free to take them home and use them as they like. The earlier, “dumber”, version of this design produced by Normal Architecture Office’s predecessor: Normal Group of Architecture appeared in the stage set production for an all female contemporary dance company performing in St.Marks Church in the East Village in New York in 2003.