Cladding ma­te­ri­als

The trans­mu­ta­tion of the char­ac­ter­is­tics and prop­er­ties of one ma­te­rial to an­other is one of the most fer­tile as­pects of con­tem­po­rane­ity: from el­e­ments in porce­lain stoneware that sim­u­late wood to resins that look like con­crete. But what do ma­te­ri­als comm

Domus - - CONTENTS - Edited by Gi­u­lia Guzzini

Do ma­te­ri­als have their own ex­pres­sive-sen­sory di­men­sion?

The ex­pres­sive-sen­sory di­men­sion of ma­te­ri­als is a sub­jec­tive eval­u­a­tion of the qual­i­ties that de­fine the ma­te­rial and its sur­face and can make all the dif­fer­ence to a de­sign project. By ma­te­rial qual­i­ties we mean those char­ac­ter­is­tics that in­flu­ence the way in which we are able to per­ceive a ma­te­rial, col­lect­ing, in other words, sen­sory in­for­ma­tion such as its tex­ture and tac­tile qual­i­ties like the fact that it is warm or cold, heavy or light; its vis­ual qual­i­ties like trans­parency, translu­cence and the shini­ness of its sur­face. The ma­te­rial qual­i­ties that make up the ex­pres­sive-sen­sory di­men­sion can be in­her­ent to a given ma­te­rial but they can, and at times, have to be, de­signed. Dur­ing my doc­tor­ate I de­vel­oped a tool called At­lante aimed pre­cisely at fa­cil­i­tat­ing the eval­u­a­tion of the ex­pres­sive-sen­sory di­men­sion on the part of stu­dents and de­sign pro­fes­sion­als.

Where does the term “Ma­te­ri­als Ex­pe­ri­ence” come from? What does it mean?

Ma­te­rial is a medium. In fact it com­mu­ni­cates ideas, be­liefs and ap­proaches; it forces us to think, feel and act in cer­tain ways; fa­cil­i­tates and im­proves func­tion­al­ity and use. The con­cept of Ma­te­rial Ex­pe­ri­ence coined by Elvin Karana (TU Delft) and suc­cess­fully de­vel­oped with my con­tri­bu­tion by Owain Ped­g­ley (METU Uni­ver­sity) and by Elisa Gi­ac­cardi (TU Delft), un­der­lines this role of pro­tag­o­nist in de­sign that is recog­nised to­day by ma­te­ri­als, both from a tech­ni­cal point of view and an ex­pe­ri­en­tial one. The con­cept of Ma­te­ri­als Ex­pe­ri­ence arises from the broader idea of 'prod­uct' ex­pe­ri­ence that high­lights how the re­la­tion­ship be­tween user and prod­uct and that is me­di­ated by four lev­els of ex­pe­ri­ence: sen­sory / aes­thetic, emo­tional, mean­ing, and per­for­mance. Like all frame­works, this one has the ad­van­tages and the lim­i­ta­tions of sim­pli­fy­ing com­plex dy­nam­ics. Some­thing that is cer­tainly im­por­tant is the per­spec­tive that al­lows us to think of our re­la­tion­ship with ob­jects as an ex­pe­ri­ence in progress. Ma­te­ri­als are one of the most im­por­tant el­e­ments in in­flu­enc­ing our over­all ex­pe­ri­ence of an ob­ject. Ma­te­ri­als, in fact, have the po­ten­tial to pro­mote mean­ing­ful ex­pe­ri­ences through the def­i­ni­tion of what we per­ceive, feel, think and also what we do. We have de­fined Ma­te­ri­als Ex­pe­ri­ence as the ex­pe­ri­ences that peo­ple have with and through a prod­uct’s ma­te­ri­als. Ma­te­ri­als Ex­pe­ri­ence can also be bro­ken down into dif­fer­ent as­pects, each aimed at the de­scrip­tion of a spe­cific sphere of our in­ter­ac­tion with ma­te­ri­als.

What is the aes­thetic ex­pe­ri­ence of a ma­te­rial?

The aes­thetic ex­pe­ri­ence, orig­i­nat­ing from per­cep­tion, is that which in­volves sen­sory data: heat, sound, weight and so on. The ex­pe­ri­ence of mean­ing, or rather what the ma­te­rial rep­re­sents to us and in what world of sig­nif­i­cance it takes us. Emo­tional ex­pe­ri­ence linked to how a cer­tain ma­te­rial makes us feel and what it pro­vokes within us and to con­clude, the ex­pe­ri­ence of the per­for­mance, or rather how a ma­te­rial influences our be­hav­iour and our ac­tions to­wards it and to­wards the ob­ject in which it is in­cor­po­rated.

Valentina Rog­noli is a Re­searcher at the De­part­ment of De­sign and lec­turer at the School of De­sign, Mi­lan Polytech­nic, where she co-founded and co-di­rects the Ma­te­ri­als Ex­pe­ri­ence Lab, a re­search group that op­er­ates at the cross­over be­tween prod­uct de­sign, sci­ence of ma­te­ri­als, so­cial sciences and en­gi­neer­ing with a trans­dis­ci­plinary ap­proach

Page 109 and above: ma­te­ri­als tin­ker­ing with mice­lio, Mas­ter the­sis in Prod­uct De­sign by S. Parisi, 2015 Left: Pin­earex, Mas­ter the­sis in Prod­uct De­sign for In­no­va­tion by S. D Pan­ico, 2017 Right: Never too Lat(t) by Di­cle As­lan, Din­ul­lah Ibrahim, Shao Yizhuo and Unal Be­tul, 2016/2017

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