Material driven design
Material driven design
—— 01. THE BRIEF
Material experience involves sensory engagement through sight, sound, touch, taste and smell, but it also involves engagement with meaning (what the material makes us think) and emotion (what the material makes us feel). Engaging with people’s experiences of materials allows designers to understand how these materials can drive the creation of new experiences.
This project explored how design can be driven by material experiences and theories that relate to this. Throughout the project, I created a series of experiments with a chosen waste material and evaluate the experiential qualities of these experiments based on user feedback.
—— 02. THE PROCESS
My chosen waste material is onion skin. As a material it is widely accessible, yet often disposed of or added to a compost heap after being peeled off an onion.
Throughout this project I experimented with the properties of onion skin, producing a series of exploratory samples. As the material is novel, my aim was to discover meaningful applications for these samples through user testing, where meanings and experiences can be elicited. I applied a range of different processes to my material in order to do this, such as compressing, blending, mixing and compounding it with other materials.
The experiential potential of these experiments where then tested by gathering user feedback on the qualities of each of these samples.
—— 03. THE OUTCOME
I analysed both user feedback and the materials in order to create a description for each sample, and proposed possible applications or uses for each material sample; the outcome of which was a materials catalogue.
Selected samples and uses
The delicateness of this sample made it difficult to work with. It could be improved for strength, or embraced as a fragile, aesthetically pleasing material - as suggested through user testing.
Users were intigued by the layers of this sample, wanting to open them and see what's inside. This could be amplified to enhance the opening and revealing of a contained object in a playful way.
Strength and resistance were the strongest attributes of this material. One user suggested this material would be useful for shoe soles. Its durability and "synthetic" appearence could work in favour of replacing similar materials.
The appearence of this material was the greatest strength when user testing. Its flexibility could be used as an advantage, or it could be developed into a solid, harder and ever thicker material for household surfaces, such as counter tops.
The best feature of this sample according to user feedback were the sounds it produced when tapped. It's a strong, light material with a sense of "summer" and "nature". This could be amplifed to produce organic decorations.
This sample was described to make users feel "curious" and "playful". Users found it satisfying to squeeze and were surprised with the scent. This experience could enhance emotional situations.