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Making Preciousness: Interaction Design Through Studio Crafts

Tid: Fr 2018-01-26 kl 13.00

Plats: Kollegiesalen, Brinellvägen 8, KTH Campus

Ämnesområde: Human-Computer Interaction

Respondent: Vasiliki Tsaknaki , Media Technology and Interaction Design

Opponent: Professor Ron Wakkary

Handledare: Ylva Fernaeus


This dissertation explores value-creation in interaction design through practical collaborations with studio craftspersons. A focus is on the meaning of “preciousness” from a design perspective – what I refer to as Making Preciousness – which highlights aspects of material properties, design processes, and the attitude to the design space. Theoretically, the work takes inspiration from the Japanese philosophy of Wabi-Sabi, which is based on the fact that things are impermanent, incomplete, and imperfect. This re ects a view of preciousness beyond notions of practical use, luxury or monetary cost. In addition to theoretical studies, I engaged in practice-based research at the intersection of interaction design and studio crafts, in the domains of leather, silversmith and tex- tile crafting. Through an approach that blends these practices with the making of interactive artefacts, preciousness for interaction design was explored.

Through this work, I extract three qualities, all of which are closely linked to attributes and values embedded in the craft practices exam- ined. I refer to these as resourceful composition, material sensuality and the aiming for mattering artefacts. Resourceful composition refers to approaching a design space “resourcefully”, meaning that the design- er actively values and uses the speci c qualities of materials and tools consciously, for what they are suitable for. Material sensuality is about appreciating the sensory experience of interacting with materials, arriv- ing through particular material qualities, such as texture, temperature or smell, but also interactive qualities. Aiming for mattering artefacts involves actively designing for impermanence, incompleteness and imperfection, and through that contributing to notions of preciousness through use, care, ownership and interaction between users and arte- facts over time.

The attitude of making preciousness can be seen as tying together materials and making with user experiences of computational artefacts. For interaction design, this points towards making processes in which computation and material knowledge, craftsmanship and aesthetic in- tentions are placed at the core. These values relate to cultural, but also sensual experiences, which can be seen as under-explored in the design of interactive products. An increased focus on preciousness also high- lights values which, in the long term, can lead to more varied, culturally grounded, and sustainable designs.

The thesis in Diva