• Frederick Rickmann

Touch wood!

The old English expression, "touch wood" is usually used when you want to avoid bad luck or to avoid your plans going wrong. For example, "I hope to visit the UK in spring - touch wood." However recent post-pandemic research shows that there might be a deeper meaning.

The long periods of isolation, that the epidemic gave us, have shown that as human beings we need to be able to reconnect with the physical world.

Although Zoom/Team/Skype meetings were convenient, time saving and logical, the psychological quality of the environment was void.

Touch Wood

Delving deeper into our consciousness, researchers have seen that the mental effects of our cordless, Alexa/Siri, plastic world of artificial interface are part and parcel of our ever-increasing cocktail of anxieties. There is no single culprit in this phenomenon. Each one is innocent, but collectively they are impoverishing our humanity. The issue seems to be that in trying to make things easier, we have in fact distanced ourselves from reality. A remote control, an online app, a digital UX, all seem to give us better control but instead they divorce us from the material world.

Touch Wood

This idea of bringing back better control has been included in our work at STEENSSEN. For the planet, our climate and these important issues, we have to use better materials and systems. But these same materials help bring us back into physical contact with the people we really are. A control button is probably better than a remote digital icon. Better mentally, I mean. Wood, metal and recyclable materials all help and if we bring back more natural ways of using our products, we had to our own mental health.

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