Milan 2016 – Alice in Wonderland meets the Internet of things: whispering teapots, brooms unveiling Tron-like universes while you sweep and a toaster that digitally shoots out all sorts of things. At Milan Design Week, students at ECAL present When Objects Dream, a collection of interactive experiments that look into the psycology of smart design – Spazio Orso 16, via dell’Orso 16.
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Do objects dream about themselves? What if we could enter their dreams? Wondered at ECAL/ University of Art and Design Lausanne. When Objects Dream offers visitors a rather unsettling experience. In order to uncover its subtleties they will have to learn to adjust to the objects on display so as to perceive each piece’s personality.
“This project as a whole leads us to question the future of familiar objects. How does our relationship to them changes as they become capable of making a statement about their own existence, interact by using onboard sensors and grow increasingly connected to our communication networks?” say curators.
Bachelor Media and Interaction Design students created two families of objects. The first integrates a virtual reality principle which allows you to literally look inside the objects (and their dreams). Headlight rocking lamps by Aloïs Geiser & Andrea Ramirez Aburto welcome faces in a bath of light. Inside, a shining ball is guided along a monumental journey. Broom Broom by Erika Marthins & Hélène Portier is designed to be handled from a particular angle. You can sweep around the room looking into a special field glasses that unveil a parallel universe of staggering proportions.
Ear Cup teapots by Salomé Chatriot are filled with liquid sound. Sensitive to handling, these ghostly murmurs reveal echoes of a troubling past. Mélanie Courtinat designed Bloom, flower-less vases to be viewed from below. Through the gaps, you catch a glimpse of a marvellous vegetal world with unknown species. Look Book by Pietro Alberti & Elise Migraine keeps its pages tightly closed. Though, the binding gives you a glimpse of an unexpected content.
The second family of designs is made up of objects whose basic function is augmented or transformed through activity sensors. This is their way of making us reflect on the future of so-called smart or connected objects. Allain-Longval & Mathilde Colson propose a connected bicycle pump that allows to inflating the balloons in a video. Catapulse by André Andrade & Giulio Barresi is a toaster connected to a screen. Once activated, all sort of object spring out.
On show also Adrien Kaeser & Corentin Vignet’s augmented hairdryer. Point it to a screen, its high virtual temperature will melt any object in the frame in front it. Luca Kasper & Callum Ross propose a metronome that controls the pace of a table tennis match. By setting the rhythm, the user can influence the speed of the game.
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“Internet of Things is a great opportunity for design. So far people and even design professionals fear or question it more then trying to understand it. They mostly look at the risks” says Interactive designer Salomé Chatriot to ArchiPanic.
“I believe that sharing culture and the free/public nature of the Internet of Things will benefit more than damage. I am for a positive and curious attitude. Because if you fear something and don’t know how to look into it you will never find answers”.