Three weeks to a year
School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
P1 OPINNÄYTTEET D 2016 Riiho
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AbstractThe human experience of space is a combination of all senses, memory and imagination. This creates the sense of atmosphere. In that experience intuition works faster than analysis, which means that we feel spaces and places before knowing their function or their story. That experience is valid knowledge called poetic knowledge. When a spatial design project is started, the building site and its surroundings already have an atmosphere full of that poetic knowledge. The designer and the eventual user of the design experience that atmosphere both in their own ways. In a traditional design process the user voices his or her needs to the designer whose intuition is put to use. But what about the user’s intuition? The user’s experience of atmosphere also contains poetic knowledge, which could be analysed and used in the design process. The challenge is that an intuitive experience, or a so-called poetic image is personal and flees reasoning. It is by definition the opposite of analysis. However, humans can experience things together and often in a similar way. The experience of atmosphere is therefore transsubjective, which means that it can be shared to some extent. This indicates a possibility of expressing and sharing the experience and thus producing applicable poetic knowledge from it. The aim of this thesis is to investigate the possibilities of expressing and sharing an intuitive experience of atmosphere from the user to the designer. This is done by gathering poetic knowledge. A user’s intuitive experience is turned into verbal form and analysed. The process works as a tool for the designer, who can use the gathered knowledge in creating the design. This means turning an unconscious process of perception to a conscious process of communication using techniques of empathic design. The production component, which is the creative part of this thesis is a three week-long test project in North Carolina, USA. It is a staged encounter with a user and the test project site, where the designer functions as a domesticated design probe. In other words, I as the designer spend three weeks on location with clients and we work together designing a space. The materialistic and emotional guidance of the participants’ perception of space combined with existing unique interpersonal atmospheres of the place (cultural, social, regional and national) serve as the basis for the design process. Documentation of the three week-long test is done as a combination of design probes and practice-led research. The test project itself and the material gathered during it is analysed to give insight into the benefits and problems of designing spaces in an empathic way. This analysis is combined to the designer’s personal journey through the research process.
Thesis advisorRodriquez Chavez, Marco
atmosphere, intuition, poetic knowledge, empathic design