Secret Life of Objects

For the last two weeks, Simone Rebaudengo (Frog, Shanghai) & Joshua Noble (Teague, Seattle & CIID alumni) have been teaching a course on the Secret Life of Objects at the Interaction Design Programme here at CIID.

One of the perks of having a world class interaction design programme on the floor below us is the fun energy from the students and the chance to see their explorations on the cutting edge of our industry. Last Friday was no exception. Calle and I were invited to join the final critique of the latest course and had a great afternoon: poem writing bookshelves, selfie plants, pet lamps, and provocative discussions all included.

Up to now, this year’s students have been working on the interaction design foundations. This last course was their first move into the investigative realm. Building on their foundation, the students are now encouraged to delve deeper into the design process and spend more time reflecting on what they are designing and who they are designing for.

A twist on CIID’s usual people-centered approach, the brief for the class was to design an object for the Object Oriented Home (OOHome). It tasked the students with designing from an object’s perspective:

In OOHomes “nothing has special status, but that everything exists equally—plumbers, cotton, bonobos, DVD players, and sandstone, for example”. The house is built for us as much that it is for objects.

Lets imagine to sit in a house where objects are “agents” or “domesticated robots”.

They do stuff for us, they influence us to towards our and their goals. They can do the right thing, they can fail, they can do it subtly or also very directly, they can have utilitarian or only emotional value.

We can be their main users or objects can be their users.

It was impressive to experience the hard work and diversity of the projects. Highlights included The Selfie Plant, who’s primary interest in life is to take great selfies and post them to Facebook, a bookshelf able to write poems on its own based on the books placed on it (think vegetarian cookbook and Fifty Shades of grey mixed in a poem) and a set of pet-lamps, just waiting for you to arrive home all happy to see you.

Here’s one of our favourite poems from the bookshelf:

no answer
When considering buying a river
went up a tender young girl said
And God created the fruit of the
wolf
All computer one place
Be fruitful
I better try to mobile phones

We are thrilled to follow this year’s batch of students and look forward to see what projects come in the next courses. Check out their work and profiles here.

And…don’t forget to follow The Selfie Plant on Facebook.