Interaction Design

In order to clear up my work in progress with student projects and make space for the latest post-university projects (aka after assessment!) I am cleaning up the categories, but here are the CSM-specific categories just in case of need:
(and don’t forget to scroll down if you want to read through the development of a project from start to finish!)

Projects done around CSM

Year Two at Central Saint Martins (2012-2013):
Unit 5
Visual Language: International Klein Blue
Liberty’s Department Store into Flipbooks, a building translated into a book
Yves Klein by himself, a book translated into a building
Blast/Bless: Postcards from London, Luxembourg and Paris

Unit 6 – The Bigger Picture

Unit 7
Time is of the Essence: Student Organiser
What if Music Could Be Seen: Musical Perception
Pop Up Shop: &London Notebooks

Context / Dissertation
Unit 8-9

Year Three at Central Saint Martins (2013-2014):
Unit 10
Home Town: Luxembourg(ish)
The Value of an Image
A Do Something But Not Anything Manifesto
Public/Personal Space

TSI (Typography Special Interest Group)

Final Year Digital


Events & Exhibitions

Competitions & Collaborations & Live Briefs
Barnard & Westwood
Font Aid IV

An Illustration Workshop
An Internship at the Imprimerie du Marais
Art Auction 2013 Catalogue
D&AD British Council
D&AD Monotype



Today was the first day of the mapping the spaces project. I came into uni around 10 this morning, assuming that before there wouldn’t be many people inside the studios. When I got there, it was still very empty. I stayed around the studios until about 10.30 which is when the usual tutorial sessions start, but was disappointed to see how little students were in the space and most of them were isolated from each other. However to be fair it was ‘early’ in the morning and a Monday, so maybe it will be a bit more used during the week. It was a quiet morning (apparently)
When I came back during the lunch break, it still seemed quite unused, except for a few grouped tables. It was the same later today at the end of the afternoon around 5, except for one or two group working together. All in all I am still quite disappointed in how little people I can find in the studios to map the overlapping of their personal spaces, but I guess that a lot of people are busy working right now, and maybe somewhere more isolated, or maybe I picked the wrong times of the day. I don’t want to make false assumptions just yet.
In terms of the materials I could use I think that I am going to use tape, even though I will only have a limited colour palette (sadly) due to the colour limitations for electric tape and student budget. If I were to use cut-outs from vinyl it would make it less spontaneous and I would have to wait to get the separate shapes back each time. I don’t know yet if I am going to be able to use the videos i took as they have a very shake-y feeling to them and are not good quality since taken on the phone. However if I take the films on a video camera it makes me less anonymous in the space.


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Late afternoon:

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I then also noticed the outside, people on the street and decided to capture them quickly as well to see where it might lead:

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Off to do some rough pre-sketching/mapping.

While trying to finish up most of the other projects, I haven’t been able to work on my second self–initiated project as much as I would have wanted to, especially since my subject and project is still so vague and the outcome really really unclear. So when I went to the interim crit for which I signed up with Luise, I didn’t have enough work or prototyping to present.
The feedback I got during the crit was however still very useful. I showed the tape experiment and my aim to make the limits between personal space in a public space visible and to make people aware of how they are affecting a space and other people’s public spaces and how it is changed by other people before them. The tape was interpreted as a way to remember or memorise what had just happened in the space. It was found very interesting for people to look at as well as inform what is going on in the space. Suggestions were to photograph the studio at a specific time each day and recreate the situations and behaviours that had just happened through tape, layering it for a week and use it as a sort of ephemeral infographics to show what is going on in the studios throughout the week. I was advised to try different materials, tapes, fabric, electrical tape etc. I was also thinking of explore is a more direct way of showing how people move through a space by using material that they would take with them as they enter the studio and leave a residue on the floor, but it would probably not lead very far and explore more the idea of wayfinding and movement that interference into each others’ personal spaces.
The limits of personal space are also effected by cultural influences so people act differently, more openly or closed according to their upbringing and cultural background. While in some cultures a house may act as open space where you can walk in and always be welcome at any point of the day, in other cultures you would always call or plan meetings ahead and respect each others personal spaces instead of using them as part of your public space as Chloë explained.
What Manuela mentioned stuck in my mind and is a very logical interpretation: Overlapping personal spaces are necessary in order to create a public space or to create interaction in public.

I am not quite sure about how I am going to continue with this project as I won’t have time to work on it before handing in the two D&AD briefs that I am currently working on with Hanna Piatrusha and Romi Nicole Schneider respectively. I am interested in displaying and making people aware of what is happening, has happened or is going to happen inside the space that they share together with other people, in a way that makes them also aware of how they affect the space and other people’s personal space and in order to increase the respect of each others boundaries or non–boundaries. I am however not sure if it would work as a temporary physical installation, instant reactive system or as display.

As I have been busy working on a few briefs at the same time I haven’t been able to push my self–initiated brief as much as I would have wanted to, so I am still in the development phase for now.
I have been looking at exhibition design and public spaces as well as typeface design with my current collaborative projects, which is also what I am trying to investigate in this self–directed project, so they fit in and relate to what I want to be working on in this project at right now, but in my opinion these are not specific enough to my subject. I have also worked on a brief half–day collaborative project in the framework of Spatial Media together with Anton last Wednesday in trying to combine King’s Cross and Somer’s Town.
I have been experimenting with the translation of personal space onto a set surface (two sheets of paper) to see how the body limits movement and how it relates to the radius of a person’s personal space (kind of like in some of my taping experiments from last week). For now this has only confirmed that the fictional personal space is circular, following a person’s movement. But how does this relate to (self–)awareness in a public/shared environment? I realise that I also need to do field recordings to be able to isolate the studio ‘noises’ from the visual rooms in the graphic design studios and maybe other parts of university (for now) to see how I can work from there.
I am interested in reflecting the noise happening at the studios at a certain time of day, but in an immediate way. In opposition, the White Wall project that has been installed in the street in uni last week works the other way around: it captures the sound (particularly the piano) next to it to make a display of sound in a day, in a collection that will be of 30 days. It will only be complete after 30 days. I however want to create something reactive and immediate that reacts to the noise or movement inside a space and creates immediate outcome to mirror it (to the outside or to the people inside, I haven’t figured that out yet). I am not sure if I will actually be able to build something that physically reacts, or through a display. I also haven’t decided yet if the outcome should be a kinetic or reactive font with different ‘moods’ or characters for the variation of noise and movement happening in the studio as I don’t know yet what I’ll be able to do especially since the final crit for us is next Monday (interim crit being on this Thursday), but I know that I really have to narrow my aims and directions down.

On Wednesday, we had the chance to have an all–day–workshop with John Bingham–Hall about spatial media in public space. Considering that I have just started a self–directed project on the relation between public and personal space, I had been very curious of what this workshop would be about. Here are a few extracts of notes that I took throughout the day.

What are the ideologies of cities and public space and what is the role of communication in it?
Public Engagement is about bringing people into their area and make them use the (new) opportunities that they are offered.
There are different ideologies of urban communication:
– Anthropological Spaces: the layout of the city as representation of how the inhabitants are using it
– Transitional Public Space: when there is no real free space for people to just hang out, only to go through
– Roman Forum: a public square where people go to debate, discuss, act out the city and educate themselves, somewhere to come in contact with each other.
(Current roman forums might be social media as 3rd spaces)
– Supermodernity: supermarkets, shopping centres, airports etc, something build by an outside party not by society

Arising question: Do we still need to be in close contact with people and places to share information and sociability with the presence of non–stop social media? In any information or interaction there is a different spectrum of communication that is more open and chaoticin human interaction, while digital interaction is always curated.
Mention of sociologist Erving Goffman (Behaviour in Public Spaces) in opposition to Georg Simmel, and does anonymity in the city need to be changed or embraced? Are we helping people by encouraging interaction in a city filled with ignorance of each other’s presence or are we imposing something that keeps people from getting along?

– Communities: Is a geographical categorisation the right way to classify people? Why do we still call places a community?
‘Communities in modern cities do not depend on living in a particular place. It is liberated from geographical boundaries by social networks.’ (Zachary Neal – The Connected City, 2013)
– Community & Communication (latin: communis) = ‘common, public, shared by media’. We are communicating more than ever, so a lot of new communities are created, and social capital is the shared social know–how and advice, getting information from one person to another. Cities enable social progress and personality, as having a lot of different people living in a liberal and varied environment creates new opportunities to cross boundaries through media + web. Identities become trans-spatial.

– Digital Media challenges:
Distance: you have to be there to get something out of it – proximite communication vs trans/distantial communication
Augmented Reality: doesn’t change the city, only your perception of it
Urban Imaginaries (Martijn de Wall): Does technology shape the way we use the city?

There are four types of spatial media projects:
-Embedded Media: Signage, physical and permanent installations or objects, a fixed message, broadcast, sanctioned and distant
-Overlaid Media: Intervenes in space temporarily, signage visible to the most number of people possible, demonstration, temporary, unsanctioned, partisan, undesigned, organic message
-Portable Media: Map, something that you can carry around with you instead of looking at the space around you, to be used in a specific way; private experience,
planned, selective, about space to be used in space, funtional. Danger: ‘the issue is maintaining consciousness of what is around you in the future’, and an overload of what we have to take in.
-Detached Media: Something used to enrich your experience, understanding of space and society but outside the space; about a place, to be used anywhere, one-directional, whole affirming, non-social interaction

Mini-Brief: King’s Cross and Somer’s Town
How is it possible to connect people from Somer’s Town to the new people, students from King’s Cross in order to make them engage, benefit from the new opportunities and get to know their environment, communicate or facilitate communication in or around the public space of King’s Cross and/or Somer’s Town?
Connecting King’s Cross: Who is the community and what opportunities does King’s Cross offer to Somer’s Town and vice versa?

We then walked through Somer’s Town to get an idea of the area.

When we came back we had about two hours to brainstorm and get a quick draft for a project together. In collaboration with Anton Stepine, I worked on a design that would physically connect King’s Cross and Somer’s Town. We focused on the passage from King’s Cross to Somer’s Town which for now goes through a really dark tunnel and there is no real way around it and it doesn’t look very inviting. A construction over the railways from Euston station would enable a connection and bridge between King’s Cross and Somer’s Town as well as create a common recreational space connecting the parks on both sides of the bridge.

Overall I found this workshop very interesting and inspiring, showing different aspects of spatial design in outside public spaces. Being able to try around with a real space was a useful approach and helped to realise and visualise different problems and obstacles that need to be resolved (or not).

Engaging with public spaces
This week we are signing off our second self–initiated project for Unit 10, which I presented to my group of practice group on Monday. For this self–initiated project, I initially wanted to work on the relation between an environment and how it is possible to make visitors aware of what is happening inside of it. Questions associated with that like: ‘How can a created experience raise the user’s awareness of the self and/in the environment through interaction?’ and ‘What creates a connection between the public and the personal space?’ lead to a first proposal in November which was: ‘How could an environment influence a typeface?’ Looking back at this first proposal before the meeting, I wanted to go a step backwards and not limit myself to a specific outcome yet. So I am starting this brief with an interest to look at personal spaces in public spaces as a contradiction and how it is possible to reflect what is happening in a space to raise awareness of it to the people inside the space. I went back to my visual research for the first self–initiated brief, and kept the research of the exhibitions that I visited and still found relevant. Then I also went back to look through my l’Intrus blog which I started a few years back at ECV in Paris and which is about intruders. Here I could find quite a lot of visual references in space, and here’s a selection of it:

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During this project I want to explore the relationship/conflict between public and personal spaces in public spaces, reflecting action happening in an environment and how it could be set ‘out of context’. What creates a reactive environment? How do people interfere in each others’ personal spaces inside a public space and how can that be captured/influenced/made aware? How can the different visitors/actions happening be reflected/affect a public/communal space? How can the influence from different visitors/actions happening in a public space be reflected (visually) in an interactive way and/in order to raise awareness of what is happening?
behaviour – personal space in public space – awareness – information display
How can a space reflect what is happening inside of it?

In the afternoon each of us had to represent our idea through a bottle: my bottle represented the space, and the water inside what happens in the space, and how people’s personal spaces interfere with each other to fill up the space (or not).

We were then given a mini–brief each for the afternoon. With tape, I circled and defined 6 personal spaces in the graphics studio:

The tape allowed me to experiment and visually see how I could represent personal space roughly and how it affects other personal spaces, what traces it can leave and how it can influence other behaviours, encourage/limit engagement and how it transforms a space.
The feedback that I got at the end of the day on my mini-brief was to play with how it is possible to make a space feel more like home and how does it affect visitors in how they lead their day, what atmospheres can be changed and what effect they have on mood and productivity.
My circles had two different effects. People either just go over it or they walk around it. When standing there, they would stand inside one circle and not try to overlap, seeing how much that they could fit into one circle etc.Photo764#1

The way they interacted with the circles sort of reflected the way they looked at what is happening in the space around them. The first image with Kat inside the circle and the circle overlapping over May shows my aim to represent how personal spaces interfere with each other in filled spaces and how they (and people) affect each other. The ‘welcome’ chair shows an invitation to sit down and fill the space, however it is only available for one person at a time as the space fills up and covers the word, isolating the person.

This is how the different settings looked after our crit at the end of the day:

Most vertical limitations were ripped appart while those on the floor are still in uni now. I suppose it is because those don’t interfere in people’s movements and don’t limit the spaces as much as higher applied tape, or any tape that was not on a direct surface.

I have now already been looking at how space can be transformed through a peak into a few exhibition curation/design books (which also come in handy for a branding brief that I am currently working on with Hanna). I still need to define precisely what the area is that I want to dig in more, and make my brief more specific.