PRCN 4/5 thesis

Year : 2013

Function: meta-design research thesis


Nationality : Italian


Tutor: Prof. Carlo Di Pascasio

City and date of birth : Rome 02/02/1991, Milan 23/04/1991

Area of interest

PRCN 4/5 is a thesis about PERCEPTION that tries to analyze the relation between psychology and design. Talking about perception, means also talking about senses. Through them, we actually get in contact within objects.’Taste’ has been deliberately ignored because it belongs to another field of design:”food design”. The left 4 senses were though examined. In particular, the gestures linked to sight, touch, smell and hear. The point of the research, was to design a shape able to get people to make a specific gesture linked to each sense.


The focus was on the users and on how they approach towards objects.


The research started by examining some of the already existing sense-connected objects like headphones, binoculars, buttons and flowers in order to suggest the connections between the objects and each sense.


Once decided the iconic objects, the shapes were designed and a specific color was associated to each of them. The primary CMYK colors and black were considered the most appropriate, due to their hight contrast level. In order to provide the objects a friendly touch (they would have otherwise appeared too scientific), colored neoprene was used as main material.


Being a family of objects, the elements were designed following the same criteria: they have a BASE, a CENTRAL STRUCTURE and a UPPER PART that is the main INTERACTION AREA.The base was designed not to be held in order to reach a better observation of people moving toward the objects. The structures have different handles, colored same as the upper part, to make people understand that objects are not sculptures and they can be touched. The upper parts have sense-related graphic details on the neoprene. People got many clues to understand what to do with the objects. The hardest to be designed was the ‘smell’ one, because human beings never smell a shape but they always approach something that already has a particular smell. All the objects were deliberately not providing any feedback.

Possible appications

It was an experimental work and the final designs have been tested and exhibited in Piazza della Maddalena (Rome). The pedestrians were asked a simple question: “What is the first gesture you would do with that object?”. The question was not so easy to solve as expected.

While the designs being tested, it was possible to observe differences between italian people and foreigners and between common people and designers and collect some informations:

  • Italian people usually talk about objects instead of making gestures.
  • On the contrary, foreigners are very open to try them.
  • Finally designers can easily reed all the formal clues we gave to the objects.

Here the video of the test and a small ‘photo-diary’ pamphlet.


Author: Giulia Fioravera, Agnese Laguzzi

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