John Doe


John Doe is everyone and no one, a placeholder without specific characteristics and the foundational idea for the experimental design of a versatile object that is not clearly identifiable. It embodies the concept of nobody and everybody at the same time.

The object is made of shaped aluminum sheet, and the orientation of the object reveals certain characteristics that allow for furniture-like usage. However, none of these usage scenarios are preferred. John Doe is also to be understood as a simple sculpture that prompts reflection through its naming and form, raising open-ended questions.

“Who is John Doe?”

John Doe is an experiment situated between art and design, primarily focused on theoretical exploration and deconstruction of the classical understanding of design. The outcome resides in the interplay between art and design, questioning the prevailing definition of function-based design. The goal is to develop a universal form (John Doe) that engages with the user in addressing these very questions.

Clearly unclear

Possible usage scenarios for John Doe include using it as a table in combination with a tabletop, utilizing it as a clothes rack, or as a chair that doesn't have a complete seating surface and thus isn't clearly defined as a chair, yet it is also not a table or any other specific object. John Doe deliberately remains ambiguous since it is not precisely clear who or what John Doe actually is - it is anonymous, yet familiar to everyone.

In shadows, John Doe stands alone, An enigma, a name unknown. Table, rack, or a chair unsure, A canvas for dreams to endure.

No face, no tale, yet mystery abounds, In anonymity, new worlds resound. Embrace the nameless, let imagination soar, A vessel of possibilities to explore.

“I wanted to create something that is not unequivocal, contrary to the plain self-evidence of a “good” product, involving the user and posing to them the question of the product's function, which is typically answered by the designer.”

A curved surface based on two differently sized arcs. The subtle transformation of a two-dimensional "anonymous" surface in space serves as an analogy for the product itself. Despite gaining character through its curvature, the surface remains vague in terms of its purpose. The final product remains anonymous to the user in terms of its function. The user determines the function and thus the character of the product, thereby defining the identity of John Doe.

Form Follows Fantasy

The function and purpose of a product undoubtedly play a significant role in design, but their definition and expression can be reimagined through a holistic process. The project originated primarily on a theoretical basis by discarding design conventions and abstracting them. The form correlates with this theory and tells a story. John Doe is a fantasy object or being that develops its own unique dynamics beyond a predetermined function.

“Some things in design are simply inexplicable; they cannot be universally defined and are entirely subject to the realm of fantasy. We must acknowledge this fact.”

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Imprint © Jonas Krämer 2023