The Fun Theory

Can you imagine looking forward to recycling your cans or waiting for a stoplight?

An initiative of Volkswagen, The Fun Theory was a contest that challenged designers to make it fun to do good things.

I especially like the keyboard stairs on page two. All of these designs have potential for really cool variations, too. I would love to use a busy stairwell in which the stairs made a chord together, but the chord changed regularly.

When I first heard about the keyboard stairs, I wondered if it could get boring or annoying after a while. Then I thought “hey, it would be really cool if the tones of the stairs changed regularly–why does it have to be scalar?” It would be pretty neat to have a busy stairwell in which the stairs combined to make a chord. I think of a droning sound caused by the throng of people that exit or enter at the end of a shift, during lunch, or in the break between classes. Now what if this chord changed every day? Then there’s an anticipation of what sound the stairwell will make!

One might also program a particularly tall stairwell to play a different melody each day. Each phrase (or, flight of stairs) could be played forwards or backwards depending on whether the person is ascending or descending, and the tempo and rhythms would be determined by how each person takes the stairs. Some of us skip stairs, some of us scurry, some of us go at a leisurely pace.

It seems like it would be pretty easy to reprogram the stairs regularly. One might even change the timbre of the stairs from day to day, or make each stair a chord in a progression.

Check it out.

About abi nighthill

Abi has a BA in Poetry from Columbia College Chicago.
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