Architecture for Pets - Strefa Designu

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A few months ago, IKEA a global giant in the home furnishings industry, launched a furniture line for cats and dogs. The name of the LURVIG collection, designed by a Spanish studio, means furry in Swedish. The line includes pet beds, scratching posts, containers, animal feed dispensers and collars as well as some well-known IKEA designs, like a Klippan sofa, which have been miniaturized to suit the animals. The collection has been designed by Inma Bermudéz, in cooperation with a veterinarian Barbara Schäfer. Thanks to this cooperation, LURVIG allows for special needs of various dog and cat breeds and takes into account their typical behaviors. Dr. Monika Rosińska, sociologist, design researcher, and lecturer at SWPS University's School of Form, claims that good design can be beneficial not only for people, but also for animals.

Anthropocentric Architecture

Architecture and design have always concentrated on people and their needs. Both industries have greatly improved the quality of human life. In his prominent work The Ten Books on Architecture, Vitruvius established the fundamental principles of architecture: firmitas, utilitas and venustas (Latin for durability, utility, and beauty) and linked them to the proportions of the human body. By doing so, he established an anthropocentric framework for architecture and design, focusing on people and their needs.

The "Vitruvian Man", the famous drawing by Leonardo da Vinci that was used to illustrate one of the books of the treatise, shows a figure of a naked man inscribed in a circle and a square. With this drawing Da Vinci demonstrated that the perfectly proportioned human body, is a source of universal, ideal and natural principles of architecture and design.

Architecture for Dogs
Architecture for Dogs

Photo: Brandon Shigeta | Ma Yasong | Architecture for Dogs

Architecture for Dogs
Architecture for Dogs

Photo: Hiroshi Yoda | Architecture for Dogs

The anthropocentric perspective is also present in Le Corbusier’s acclaimed work entitled Le Modulor, where the system of proportions is based on a figure of an athletic man. Taking a male body as a foundation, the architect had developed the golden ratio for the scale of architectural proportion (the amount of space needed for a person in a building), which he subsequently aplied in the design of his famous project Unité d'Habitation in Marseille (1947-52). Hence, a man has always been a natural point of reference in architecture.

IKEA for Pets
IKEA for Pets
IKEA for Pets

Photo: IKEA press materials | LURVIG Collection - IKEA for Pets

Nowadays, numerous architecture and design groups attempt to break the boundaries of the anthropocentric world view.

Dachshund that Revolutionized Design

Nowadays, numerous architecture and design groups attempt to break the boundaries of the world view, seen solely from the human perspective. An online platform “Architecture for Dogs”, developed by architects and designers, offers thirteen solutions that allow people and animals to look at each other from a common human-animal perspective. A Tokyo based Atelier Bow-Wow, renowned for its designs of commercial and public buildings in Asia, Europe and the USA, has also developed a platform for dachshunds, as part of their project “architecture for dogs”. Thanks to the platform, dachshunds have an opportunity to climb up a piece of furniture and find themselves on the same eye-level as people.

atelier bow wow for dogs

Photo: Hiroshi Yoda | Ramp for Dogs | Design: Atelier Bow Wow

Due to their extra-long bodies, it is difficult for dachshunds to jump up on a chair. Moreover, a potential fall from the height of the chair can lead to a spine fracture. Hence, the architects from the Bow Wow atelier designed a structure that allows dogs to get closer to the human eye-level, while humans can use it to lie down and straighten their backs. The structure consist of several modules that can be stack on top of each other to allow dogs to climb up safely.

TOTO Gallery Architecture for Dogs
TOTO Gallery Architecture for Dogs

Photo: Nacasa & Partners Inc. | TOTO Gallery | Architecture for Dogs

The ramp for dogs not only represents excellent design that meets the needs of the specific dog breed, but most of all it is an example of non-anthropocentric architecture. It also makes you ponder the hierarchy of species and poses a question whether a dog is a man’s best friend or vice versa.


About the author

258 monika rosinska

Monika Rosińska – holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. Lecturer at SWPS University’s School of Form. Her professional interests include interdisciplinary approach to design and design practice. Author of Przemyśleć u/życie. Projektanci, przedmioty, życie społeczne [Thinking through function of design in life: Designers, objects, and social context], (bęc zmiana, 2010). Receipient of a grant from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (2015) and a Jan Kulczyk Scholarship for outstanding academic performance (2012). Expert in Centrum Praktyk Edukacyjnych ZAMEK [Centre for Educational Practices ZAMEK]. Co-curator of the exhibition Zeopolis. Dizajn dla roślin i zwierząt [Zeopolis. Design for Plants and Animals] (2017).