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Interactive Objects – Milan Design Week 2014
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Interactive Objects – Milan Design Week 2014

For which situations in life do we need interactive products? Furniture that makes contact with the user, stimulates communication and addresses the senses, being, at the same time, easy and intuitive in its use? As part of their Master’s Program “Spatial Communication” at the University of Applied Sciences, Mainz, School of Design, this question was dealt with from a conceptional and research oriented point of view. In close cooperation with skilled craftsmen and partners from industry, nine student teams developed and realized their ideas of “Interactive objects”.

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24HRS LIGHT by Franzisca Schmidt and Lisa Mueller – How many lamps do we really need? Just one lamp all day – is there such a thing? 24HR LIGHT is a mobile lamp that has no cable and no button. Just take it along with you and you’ll have a light wherever you need it. The electricity is supplied by its hook. With several different low voltage potentials the lamp can accompany you throughout the day with different lighting moods. At your desk it can be a bright working light, while at your bedside it turns into a cosy reading lamp. 24 hours – one lamp.



BEATSPOT by Claudia Dolbniak and Silvia Saure – The interactive bench. A seating object inspired by two observations from the public space. Firstly, the “Park bench phenomenon”. When looking for a free park bench, we often hesitate to sit down on a bench where somebody else is already sitting. In contrast with this, music in the public space has the opposite effect – it connects, stimulates and animates people. Interaction with our bench happens by sitting on it, which initiates a beat. The bench offers five different beats, comparable to a band with five players, which together result in a tune. A musical instrument which is played simply and intuitively by the user. BEATSPOT creates a place where we make music together, get into contact with each other and can interact in a playful way.



Spieglein, Spieglein… by Francesca Mueller and Lisa Bader – A bathroom mirror taking up an everyday occurrence, brushing our teeeth – and visualizes it in a playful way. Up to three people can brush at the same time. When taking the toothbrush from its beaker, colourful light circles in the mirror begin to show the brushing time. The light needs exactly three minutes to move once round the circumference of the mirror, after which the brusher is rewarded for his patience with a short display of colours.

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light up the wood by Sophia Bischoping and Laura Pausinger –  is an interactive floor element. It encourages playful togetherness and stimulates communication. Pressure from the users’ steps triggers LEDs which by interaction can be changed to create different lighting moods. The more people get together, the brighter the light. When stepping onto the object, the apparently rigid wooden platform yields and adapts to the individual step of the user. The pulse switches for triggering this are freely distributed over the entire surface, necessitating an initial search for the “right step” …


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Rising Light  – A design with the intention of creating a relationship between the user and his environment and connecting them: Rising Light is a lighting object whose folded structure can react sensitively and variably. Its light accompanies the person on his passage through the room, while at the same time creating an atmospheric background light. The structure is situated above the person, giving an impression of opening and widening the room, where persons and space seem to be breathing. This impression is intensified through the materials – e.g. textiles and translucent satinized surfaces – creating a light and fragile structure.


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Small Talk by Julien Schaab and Anna Hagel – A new form of communication. Whether a shared apartment, a family or a partnership – no matter which form of shared living, we are always happy to hear a friendly personal voice. The Post-it note is a thing of the past! With SMALL TALK it is possible to leave our fellow inhabitants a spoken message on their clothes peg, whether we want to give him a warm welcome, tell him there’s food in the fridge or sing him a birthday greeting. By hanging up the coat the play-back mechanism is triggered. Just talk_SMALL TALK!


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TU LUZ by Stephanie Brenken and Viola Kressmann – means „Your Light“, describing the atmospheric possibilities and individuality of this wall element. More and more frequently we are confronted with extensive light installations, creating different moods, attracting and fascinating us. Most of them, however, are not suitable for our own four walls at home. In an attempt to bring this fascination into the private context, we created this lighted wall panel, which can be extended as desired. Each element consists of a large number of individually operating switches, facilitating light in a large variety of positions. Each individual square can be tilted to project the light upwards or down. TU LUZ creates different lighting moods, offering countless possibilities, both for positioning and brightness. Your light for every mood!


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SHIFT – The relaxed interaction with SHIFT makes waiting in public spaces exciting, communicative and less anonymous. The seating arrangement combines the principle of the see-saw with the subject of air pressure. If one person sits down, the air is pressed into the other cubes, which rise. Thus, all seats interact. Waiting persons have a chance of entering into a casual kind of contact with the room and the environment. SHIFT can be discovered and tried out together. Our aim was to create a piece of furniture functioning on analogue and easily understandable principles, instead of depending upon complicated programming language.


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