Enchanting the everyday

Enchanting the everyday

Enchanting the everyday

Étudier la vie quotidienne serait une entreprise parfaitement ridicule, et d’abord condamnée à ne rien saisir de son objet, si l’on ne se proposait pas explicitement d’étudier la vie quotidienne afin de la transformer.

 

Studying the everyday life would be an absurd undertaking, and anyway fated to catch nothing of its object, if studying the everyday life would explicitly be with the intention to transform it.

— Guy Debord

Le temps de l'expérience, enchanter le quotidien par le design

The Habiliation (Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches) "endorses the recognition of the candidate's high scientific level, the originality of his approach in a field of science, his ability to master a research strategy in a sufficiently broad scientific or technological field and his ability to supervise young researchers".
(Arrêté du 23/11/1988)

La cérémonie japonaise du thé est un moment d’expérience esthétique et éthique du quotidien, une harmonie entre objets, êtres, lieux et pratiques. Elle nous rappelle que les objets du quotidien, cœur même de notre culture matérielle, sont d’une beauté profonde et porteur d’une éthique admirable, et passent pourtant le plus souvent inaperçus. À la croisée d’une réflexion sur une approche « japonaise » en design au travers de l’étude du kansei, et d’une réflexion sur le design en IHM portée par les théories de l’embodiment, cette recherche interroge d’abord l’hégémonie culturelle occidentale du design en IHM, et établie ensuite un décentrage culturel de la discipline en prenant la philosophie et la culture japonaise comme théorie. Il en résulte un nouveau regard sur le design, autant en réception qu’en production, porté par une éthique de la relation, une expérience de l’ainsité, et une esthétique de l’irrégularité. Ce regard invite le design à enchanter le quotidien, lui proposant de considérer les détails de la réalité telle qu’elle est vécue, et de créer des moments d’inattendus, sources d’étonnement et de nouveaux possibles. Invitant donc à un décentrage culturel du design, cette recherche propose une approche originale pour un design du quotidien, et contribue à voir en lui une source esthétique et éthique majeure, pour développement de l’être, de sa sensibilité, et de ses valeurs.

The Japanese tea ceremony is a moment of aesthetic and ethical experience of everyday life, a harmony between objects, beings, places and practices. It reminds us that everyday objects, the very heart of our material culture, are of profound beauty and bear an admirable ethic, yet most often go unnoticed. At the crossroads of a reflection on a “Japanese” approach in design through the study of kansei, and a reflection on design in HCI driven by embodiment theories, this research first questions the Western cultural hegemony on design in HCI, and then establishes a cultural decentration in the discipline by taking Japanese philosophy and culture as framing theory. The result is a new perspective on design, both in reception and production, driven by an ethics of relationship, an experience of thusness, and an aesthetic of irregularity. This perspective invites design to enchant everyday life, offering it to consider the details of reality as it is experienced, and to create unexpected moments, sources of astonishment and of new possibilities. Inviting a cultural decentration of design, this research proposes an original approach for everyday design, and contributes to seeing it as a major aesthetic and ethical source, for the development of the being, of its sensitivity and its values.

Main projects

Passage

A bachelor project by ChiYong Lim, Gracia Goh and Kate Vermeyen in Kansei design

Main publications

Designing for the everyday through thusness and irregularity

Lévy, P. (2019). Designing for the everyday through thusness and irregularity. In Proceedings of 8th International Congress of International Association of…

Le temps de l’expérience, enchanter le quotidien par le design

Lévy, P. (2018). Le temps de l'expérience, Enchanter le quotidien par le design. Compiègne University of Technology, France

The beauty of making hot chocolate, an inquiry on designing for everyday rituals

Lévy, P. (2018). The beauty of making hot chocolate – an inquiry on designing for everyday rituals. In Design Research Society 2018, DRS2018. Limerick,…

3D-modeling and 3D-printing explorations on Japanese tea ceremony utensils

Lévy, P., & Yamada, S. (2017). 3D-modeling and 3D-printing explorations on Japanese tea ceremony utensils. In Proceedings of the 11th International Conference…

What matters for ritual visualization, towards a design tool for the description and the composition of rituals

Lévy, P., & Hengeveld B.J. (2016). What matters for ritual visualization – Towards a design tool for the description and the composition of rituals.…

Exploring the challenge of designing rituals

Lévy, P. (2015). Exploring the challenge of designing rituals. In V., Popovic, A., Blackler, & B., Kraal (Eds.), the Proceedings of 6th International Congress…


Transformative practices

Transformative practices

Transformative practices squad

Transformative Practices (TP) considers the transformations of our societies, dealing with major societal issues, local challenges for social resilience, or everyday activities, as well as their interrelations. Envisioning transformative practices, we question through designing the how, who, why and what of design for these major societal issues.

TP aims at sharing knowledge and sparking collaborations. Since the TP squad is not merely focusing on doing projects, but on learning together to become transformative designers, we are specifically looking for students to join our squad and community, who are interested in experimenting with our underlying philosophy and approach.

In the TP squad, the projects we run are formed from a combination of elements within three main categories: theories, approaches and application areas. For more information, you can explore here these different elements.

Theoretical concepts

held by Caroline Hummels and Pierre Lévy
Our society is changing continuously, and when looking more closely, one can detect several underlying paradigms and types of societies over the last 40-50 years, with a current move towards the purpose economy (Hurst, 20xx) and the transformation economy (Brand and Rocchi, 2011). In the latter, the central value proposition is an ethical value exchange (trust, collaboration); consumers are starting to appreciate products that are ethically and sustainably produced and traded. It has attention for global and societal issues. To solve these issues, industry, government, academia and local user communities will need to collaborate to create local solutions that contribute to the larger whole (Brand and Rocchi, 2011; Gardien et al., 2015). The transformation paradigm potentially has two future directions, steady state and eco-entangled, also labelled as Habitania and Gaia (Brand, 2019).

Why is it useful? This paradigm, coined by Brand and Rocchi (2011) is part of a framework that looks back on how society has developed in terms of different paradigms, as well as part of a recent framework that looks forward how society might develop in the future (Brand, 2019). Based on an understanding of these (potential) developments, it provides a vision for the future of society and how design and your design project relates to this.

Brand, R., & Rocchi. (2011). Rethinking value in a changing landscape: A model for strategic reflection and business transformation. Eindhoven, the Netherlands: Philips Design. Retrieved August, 30, 2019, from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/c34a/3e300f1b9d1d4eb45e2af3cf7e2aa3d0344b.pdf
Gardien, P., Djajadiningrat, J., Hummels, C., and Brombacher, A. (2014). Changing your hammer: the implications of paradigmatic innovation for design practice. International Journal of Design, 8(2), 119-139.
Brand, R. (2019). Co-emerging futures: a model for reflecting on streams of future change. Eindhoven, the Netherlands: Philips Design. Retrieved September 2, 2019, from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/333972702_Co-Emerging_Futures_A_model_for_reflecting_on_streams_of_future_change

held by Sander van der Zwan, Maarten Smith
There are many takes on technological systems. Building on phenomenological foundations the squad is interested in the experiences of systems and chains of interconnected technologies. How do we conceptualise technological systems with a mixed form of material and service-oriented mediation, where we consider ‘material’ to be physical and digital? How do we investigate the face-to-face dimension of the technologically mediated services and how do we face the challenge of sparking multiple forms of mediating relations at the same time, e.g. embodied, hermeneutic and immersion relations, for which there isn’t a theoretical account yet?

Why is it useful? Exploring the topic of technological systems will make you wiser when it comes to understanding how your design will always be part of a larger technological whole that co-shapes what the meaning of your design is and will be in context.

Rosenberger, R. (2014). Multistability and the agency of mundane artifacts: From speed bumps to subway benches. Human Studies, 37(3), 369-392.
Rosenberger, R. (2018). Why it takes both postphenomenology and STS to account for technological mediation: the case of LOVE Park. In J. Aagaard, J. Friis, J. Sorenson, O. Tafdrup and C. Hasse (Eds.), Postphenomenological methodologies: New ways in mediating techno-human relationships (pp. 171-198). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

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Approaches

Pierre Lévy, Caroline Hummels
Embodied interaction is a term originally coined by Paul Dourish (2001) which refers to products, objects, conversations, actions etc. that unfold in the world and are meaningful in the social and physical world. We have the ability to use our body to interact with technology in a natural way. We perceive the world in terms of what we can do with it, in terms of our skills, especially our perceptual-motor and social skills. Designing for embodied interaction is based on these principles and results in designs that are ‘inherently meaningful’.
According to Kia Hook, professor at KTH, Sweden “ID has a unique, well-recognised focus on embodied interaction, with strong theoretical groundings while still being practice-led, and with a firm focus on aesthetics.” Also, the philosophy of transformative practices is based on embodied-situated theories and embodied interaction. Having an understanding of these underlying concepts, helps you designing embodied interactions.
Hook, K., Jonsson, M., Stahl, A., Tholander, J., Robertson, T., Marti, P., … Khut, G. (2016). Move to be moved. In CHI EA ’16 Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 3301-3308). New York, NY: ACM Press.
Hummels, C., and Van Dijk, J. (2015). Seven principles to design for embodied sensemaking. In TEI’15 Proceedings of the 9th international conference on tangible, embedded and embodied interaction (pp. 21-28). New York, NY: ACM Press.
Van Dijk, J., and Hummels, C. (2017). Designing for Embodied Being-in-the-World: Two Cases, Seven Principles and One Framework. In: Proceedings of the 11th International conference on tangible, embedded and embodied interaction (pp. 47-56), New York, NY: ACM Press.
Djajadiningrat, J., Overbeeke, C., & Wensveen, S. (2002). But how, Donald, tell us how? on the meaning of interaction design through feedforward and inherent feedback. In: N. MacDonald (Ed.), DIS ’02 Proceedings of the 4th conference on designing interactive systems: processes, practices, methods, and techniques, (pp. 285-291). New York, NY: ACM Press.

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Application areas

Pierre Lévy, Caroline Hummels
Embodied interaction is a term originally coined by Paul Dourish (2001) which refers to products, objects, conversations, actions etc. that unfold in the world and are meaningful in the social and physical world. We have the ability to use our body to interact with technology in a natural way. We perceive the world in terms of what we can do with it, in terms of our skills, especially our perceptual-motor and social skills. Designing for embodied interaction is based on these principles and results in designs that are ‘inherently meaningful’.
According to Kia Hook, professor at KTH, Sweden “ID has a unique, well-recognised focus on embodied interaction, with strong theoretical groundings while still being practice-led, and with a firm focus on aesthetics.” Also, the philosophy of transformative practices is based on embodied-situated theories and embodied interaction. Having an understanding of these underlying concepts, helps you designing embodied interactions.
Hook, K., Jonsson, M., Stahl, A., Tholander, J., Robertson, T., Marti, P., … Khut, G. (2016). Move to be moved. In CHI EA ’16 Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 3301-3308). New York, NY: ACM Press.
Hummels, C., and Van Dijk, J. (2015). Seven principles to design for embodied sensemaking. In TEI’15 Proceedings of the 9th international conference on tangible, embedded and embodied interaction (pp. 21-28). New York, NY: ACM Press.
Van Dijk, J., and Hummels, C. (2017). Designing for Embodied Being-in-the-World: Two Cases, Seven Principles and One Framework. In: Proceedings of the 11th International conference on tangible, embedded and embodied interaction (pp. 47-56), New York, NY: ACM Press.
Djajadiningrat, J., Overbeeke, C., & Wensveen, S. (2002). But how, Donald, tell us how? on the meaning of interaction design through feedforward and inherent feedback. In: N. MacDonald (Ed.), DIS ’02 Proceedings of the 4th conference on designing interactive systems: processes, practices, methods, and techniques, (pp. 285-291). New York, NY: ACM Press.

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Design research and innovation framework for transformative practices

Design research and innovation framework for transformative practices

Hummels, C., Trotto, A., Peeters, J., Lévy, P., Alves Lino, J. & Klooster, S. (2019). Design research and innovation framework for transformative practices. In Strategy for change (pp. 52-76). Glasgow, UK: Glasgow Caledonian University. ISBN: 978-972-789-482-6

In this chapter, the concept of Transformative Practices is introduced, i.e. shared relative steady ways of living and working with others (Wittgenstein, 1993), including specific configurations of actions, norms and knowledge (Freeman et al., 2011) and related tools and environments, focused at addressing our societal challenges, by transforming (elevating) our personal and social ethics and related behaviour through designing new ways of interaction with each other and the world. Through design research and innovation within these practices, we work together towards social-culturally, environmentally and economically sustainable communities.


Designing for the everyday through thusness and irregularity

Designing for the everyday through thusness and irregularity

Lévy, P. (2019). Designing for the everyday through thusness and irregularity. In Proceedings of 8th International Congress of International Association of Societies of Design Research, IASDR 2019. Manchester, UK: Manchester Metropolitan University.

paper

The concept of ‘everyday’ is a central topic in design, and this paper argues for more attention and discussion on the everyday than what is currently done in design research. By elaborating what the everyday is, designers can better formulate a perspective on people’s lives and experiences, and therefore can better contribute to the enchantment of the everyday through designing. To contribute to this effort of clarification and enchantment, we first attempt to clarify the concept of everyday and thereafter suggest notions originating from Japanese philosophy to address the everyday in design. The everyday is described mostly through the process of quotidianisation of the unfamiliar towards the familiar. To support designing for the everyday, we propose to focus on Japanese notions: thusness and irregularity. Thusness invites to consider the experience of the here-and-now as being the active relation with the entirety of the world through interaction. Irregularity invites to keep something unexplained in the design, eliciting possibilities of exploration, openness, change, and the shift of perspective. Finally, three relatively practical design concepts, namely micro-considerations, micro-frictions, and (es)sential details, are proposed to support application of thusness and irregularity through design.


Design 3.0 Forum

Design 3.0 Forum

New design paradigms for the next generation of design research

Programme

Introduction by Dr. Ki-Young Nam, KAIST

Congratulatory Remark by Prof. Kun-pyo Lee

Professor Rachel Cooper, Lancaster University
| Context-setting for the theme: Design for Public Sector and Social Innovation

Professor Martyn Evans, MMU
| design for policy

Dr. Edward Hyunwook Hwangbo, PDR
| design for policy

Dr. Pierre Levy, TU Einthoven
| interaction design for society

Professor John Vines, Northumbria University
| digital civics

Design 3.0 Forum aims to raise and discuss the challenging issues in design research, education and practice in this newly emerging paradigm we now face with new forms of end-user products such as intelligent products and services, DIY/fabrication tools, and IoTs. These new forms of products and services change the ways people interact with them and shape their everyday lives.

presentation

A Design Approach towards Affording the Trend of Privacy

A Design Approach towards Affording the Trend of Privacy

Muller, D.A., & Lévy, P. (2019). A Design Approach towards Affording the Trend of Privacy. In Design Interactive Systems Conference, DIS19. New York, NY, USA: ACM. https://doi.org/10.1145/3322276.3322324

paperacm paper

Society is affected by the consequences of data collection, and there are trends visible in law, the public debate and technology that could make a privacy-conscious future possible. We study how to avoid data collection from the perspective and the role of design, to provide a starting point for new developments in this context. We do so by presenting a portfolio that exemplifies a range of possible design contributions. We show how to design smart products for retail and smart home while avoiding data collection, how to convince clients through design, and how to use design to spread awareness. We present design notions and reflections that stem from this portfolio for the synthesis of new designs, that further explore the potential of design in practice that affords the trend of privacy.


Le temps de l'expérience, enchanter le quotidien par le design

Le temps de l’expérience, enchanter le quotidien par le design

Lévy, P. (2018). Le temps de l'expérience, Enchanter le quotidien par le design. Compiègne University of Technology, France

La cérémonie japonaise du thé est un moment d’expérience esthétique et éthique du quotidien, une harmonie entre objets, êtres, lieux et pratiques. Elle nous rappelle que les objets du quotidien, cœur même de notre culture matérielle, sont d’une beauté profonde et porteur d’une éthique admirable, et passent pourtant le plus souvent inaperçus. À la croisée d’une réflexion sur une approche « japonaise » en design au travers de l’étude du kansei, et d’une réflexion sur le design en IHM portée par les théories de l’embodiment, cette recherche interroge d’abord l’hégémonie culturelle occidentale du design en IHM, et établie ensuite un décentrage culturel de la discipline en prenant la philosophie et la culture japonaise comme théorie. Il en résulte un nouveau regard sur le design, autant en réception qu’en production, porté par une éthique de la relation, une expérience de l’ainsité, et une esthétique de l’irrégularité. Ce regard invite le design à enchanter le quotidien, lui proposant de considérer les détails de la réalité telle qu’elle est vécue, et de créer des moments d’inattendus, sources d’étonnement et de nouveaux possibles. Invitant donc à un décentrage culturel du design, cette recherche propose une approche originale pour un design du quotidien, et contribue à voir en lui une source esthétique et éthique majeure, pour développement de l’être, de sa sensibilité, et de ses valeurs.

Transcription de ma soutenance d’HDR

Je voudrais vous remercier d’être là aujourd’hui.

Je suis très heureux et honoré, de pouvoir soutenir mon HDR à l’Université de Technologie de Compiègne, et ce pour plusieurs raisons.

D’abord parce que l’UTC a mis au centre de son projet pédagogique en ingénierie les Technologies et Sciences de l’Homme, et a dédié une de ses filières au design industriel. Une vision dans laquelle je me retrouve totalement.
Mais aussi parce que c’est à l’UTC que j’ai commencé mes études et obtenue mon diplôme d’ingénieur en 2001.
C’est aussi par l’UTC que j’ai mis un premier pied au Japon, au travers de mon projet de fin d’étude en devenant responsable de l’innovation pour Décathlon au Japon.
C’est également à l’UTC que j’ai été initié à la recherche, sous la supervision d’Anne Guénand.
C’est également à l’UTC que j’ai rencontré pour la première fois en 2002 Prof. Yamanaka, dont j’ai eu l’honneur qu’il devienne mon directeur de thèse lors de ma thèse doctorale à l’Université de Tsukuba en Kansei Science obtenue en 2006.
C’est également à l’UTC que j’ai rencontré pour la première fois en 2003 Prof. Overbeeke, de l’Université de Technologie d’Eindhoven. Lors de mes visites en Europe, je n’ai cessé de rendre visite à l’UTC et à TU/e, me plongeant dans une réflexion sur le design et les théories liées à l’embodiment. Et en 2009, j’ai eu l’honneur de devenir assistant professor à TU/e dans le groupe de recherche Designing Quality in Interaction alors dirigé par Prof. Overbeeke.
Par la suite, une fois installé à TU/e, des collaborations ont continuées avec l’UTC, et notamment sur les sujets de la perception croisée et de la substitution sensorielle avec Prof. Lenay.

C’est donc dans une forme de continuité que je suis heureux de soutenir mon HDR aujourd’hui.

Plan

Ma présentation se structure en quatre parties.

Je vais d’abord expliquer mon approche en recherche au travers du design, approche qui structure mon activité.

Je vais ensuite présenter ce que j’appelle mon expérience japonaise, issue de mon expérience au japon et de mes réflexions sur le Japon, qui ont été déterminants pour un tournant de ma perspective sur le design.

C’est ce tournant que je vais ensuite expliquer, ainsi que ce qu’il a induit dans ma recherche.

Et finalement, je vais expliquer les conséquences de ce tournant pour le design, et notamment à propos des rituels du quotidien.

Recherche au travers du design

La recherche en design invite à une participation des compétences et de l’attitude du designer au sein de l’activité de recherche. La participation du design dans l’activité de recherche est pertinente si elle est accompagnée d’une réflexion associée à l’action, permettant la création de connaissances.

Cette recherche, liant action et réflexion, s’appuie sur la réflexion en action et sur l’action proposée par Schön (1983).
Cette approche est en adéquation avec les théories liées à l’embodiment, brillamment amenés au design par Dourish (2001).

La recherche au travers du design que je mène se structure principalement sur deux éléments :

  • La constructive design research qui invite à l’expérimentation de dispositifs conçus pour la recherche. L’ouvrage Research-through-Design (Koskinen et al., 2012) en est un marqueur majeur.
  • Le développement de l’outil de recherche des portfolios annotés proposé par Bill Gaver (2012), qui structure une analyse d’un corpus d’artefacts soit conçus dans le cadre du projet de recherche soit extérieurs à lui.

Le rôle du prototype est central dans cette approche, mais change de nature par rapport à celui pris classiquement en design : il n’est pas un modèle premier, proche de ce qui sera à produire en série, mais ce que Frens (2006) appelle une hypothèse physique, et Hengeveld (2011) une hypothèse expérientiable, un barbarisme très éloquent et qui correspond tout à fait au rôle du prototype.

Finalement, cette approche demande également un projet pour que le design puisse agir et contribuer à la recherche. Reprenant les termes de Sennett et les adaptant au design, Hummels qualifie cette demande de localisation de la question de recherche, qui peut alors être suivie par une réflexion en action permettant son questionnement, et une réflexion sur l’action pour un dépassement de la question de recherche au-delà du projet lui-même.

Telle est mon approche de recherche en design.

Expérience japonaise

Avant de devenir assistant professor à l’Université de Technologie de Eindhoven, j’ai passé à peu près 9 ans au Japon, essentiellement affilié à l’Université de Tsukuba, au laboratoire de Kansei Information Science, dirigé par Prof. Yamanaka, qui a également été mon directeur de thèse pendant mes études doctorales.

L’étude du Kansei a été pour moi un fil conducteur qui m’a permis d’avancer sur deux sujets fondamentaux dans ma recherche :

  • Un approfondissement de mon intérêt porté à la relation affective au monde vécu, ce qui m’a progressivement amené à m’intéresser aussi aux notions liées à l’embodiment.
  • Une curiosité personnelle et intellectuelle pour la culture japonaise, et pour ce qu’elle dévoile de la beauté du quotidien.

Concrétisation du beau

En particulier, je me suis intéressé à la Voie du Thé, qu’Okakura (1906) décrit dans son ouvrage célèbre Le Livre du Thé comme étant le culte du beau de l’ordinaire au quotidien. Et je me suis également intéressé à la cérémonie japonaise du thé, qui en est une expérience ritualisée mise en forme par Rikyu au XVIe siècle.

Pour illustrer ce que j’y ai vu, je voudrais prendre l’exemple d’un court moment de la cérémonie, illustré par la photo que vous voyez ici. Une fois que le thé léger a été servi, l’invité principal demande à l’hôte s’il peut contempler des objets utilisés pour le thé. L’hôte lui présente alors le chashaku et le chaire, le chashaku étant la petite spatule permettant de prendre le thé du chaire, qui est le conteneur du thé. Le diamètre de chaire est d’environ un tiers la longueur de chashaku. L’hôte pose le chashaku à deux nattes de distance du bord du tatami devant l’invité principal, et aligne le centre du chaire avec le centre du chashaku. Une fois que l’hôte s’est retiré dans la salle d’eau, c’est-à-dire la cuisine, l’invité se rapproche face aux deux objets, de façon à ce que ses genoux soient à deux nattes du chashaku. Assis en seiza, il pourra alors confortablement alors – dans un confort culturellement japonais – manipuler et contempler les deux objets présentés à lui.

Ce qui m’a impressionné ici est que Rikyu a réalisé une proposition esthétique d’harmonisation qui correspond à un système de valeurs (ne visant pas l’efficacité ou l’efficience), dans un souci esthétique, éthique et social, et qui permet la concrétisation du beau.

La cérémonie du thé comme design

Ce qui m’a amené à considérer que Rikyu (1522-1591) a transformé une proposition de valeurs, celles du bouddhisme et de l’étiquette wabi de son temps, en un système situé d’artefacts, d’acteurs sociaux, et de signes permettant une expérience engagée et sociale de ces valeurs.

Cette transformation repose sur le développement de la technologie de son temps répond à une attente sociale de son temps. Ce système est une proposition esthétique.

L’idée que la formalisation de la cérémonie japonaise du thé réponde à un « attente sociale de son temps » invite déjà à repenser le rituel non pas comme une répétition figée d’une séquence d’actions, mais comme une pratique du quotidien ré-interprétable en un temps et en un lieu.

De plus, la réalisation d’une proposition esthétique permet la mise en perspective de cette proposition esthétique par la pensée japonaise, et ouvre sur les notions de contexture et de la temporalité de l’expérience du quotidien, notions que l’on va questionner par la suite.

Mujirushi ryohin

Cette proposition esthétique se retrouve encore dans le design contemporain, comme par exemple chez mujirushi ryohin, plus connu sous le simple nom de muji. Si on analyse ce qui a été écrit sur la marque, ainsi que ce que les principaux acteurs qui ont participé au développement de la marque et du design – notamment Kenya Hara et Naoto Fukasawa – ont expliqué sur la philosophie et la vision de muji, on retrouve le plus souvent trois notions clés qui caractérisent le design de muji et semblent en adéquation avec des valeurs incarnées par la cérémonie japonaise du thé.

  • Le simple invite à considérer ce qui est évident ou essentiel, dépouillé de tout superflu.
  • L’ordinaire se penche sur ce qui apparait classique ou usuel, et utile à la vie de tous les jours. Cela invite également à une considération de l’habitabilité, notion chère à Alain Findeli.
  • Finalement, le vide concerne un espace de possibilités laissé ouvert par le design, à remplir par l’utilisateur (ou interactant) avec l’artefact, afin d’adapter la proposition de valeur à son lieu et à son temps au sein de son quotidien.

La proposition esthétique proposée par Rikyu se retrouve dans un design contemporain, celui de muji, et en l’occurrence ici un cuiseur du riz.

Tournant

À partir de cette observation sur le thé, et en observant un corpus d’artefacts issus du travail de designers contemporains japonais, cette proposition esthétique visant une forme d’harmonie entre valeurs, corps, gestes, etc. a provoqué un tournant dans mon regard sur le design.

En regardant la cérémonie japonaise du thé au travers de la lentille du design, j’y ai vu la cérémonie du thé comme prototypique d’un design basé sur la culture japonaise, ce qui a profondément secoué ma perspective sur le design.

J’ai donc retourné la lentille et regardé le design au travers de la lentille de la cérémonie du thé, et j’y ai vu une absence d’un cadre théorique permettant au design d’expliquer la cérémonie du thé. Et cette absence a alors laissé place à un manque à combler par un décentrage culturel du design.

Ce décentrage invite à redéfinir le rituel non pas comme une répétition à l’identique d’une séquence d’actions, mais comme une proposition esthétique qui permet d’être reconsidérer à chaque fois au quotidien.

Il apparait de plus que le rituel est à la fois social et singulier, et de plus toujours réinterprétable par ceux qui le proposent, les designers, et par ceux qui le vivent.

Le design est donc requestionné à l’aune du rituel, et le rituel est requestionné au travers du design.

Philosophie et culture japonaise

Pour réaliser ce décentrage, je me suis intéressé à la philosophie et la culture japonaise. Bien que je n’ai pas le temps ici de développer cette étude, je liste ici les principaux sujets sur lesquels mon attention s’est portée :

  • L’éthique de la relation de Watsuji, publiée en 1934 ;
  • La philosophie de Nishida (et un peu plus généralement de l’École de Kyoto) portant sur l’expérience, dont le principal ouvrage a été publié en 1911 ;
  • Les écrits de Dōgen sur le temps, datant du XIIIe siècle ;
  • Et le travail sur l’idée bouddhiste de la beauté développé par Yanagi et publié plus récemment en 1972.

Cadre pour le design

De cette étude, il en résulte que la proposition esthétique de la perspective japonaise étudiée ici se base sur deux axes sur lesquels le design peut agir :

  • L’ainsité, qui propose de porter le regard au-delà de l’interaction homme-machine, considérant un maximum d’éléments qui constituent le monde vécu, ainsi que leurs relations et l’harmonie globale. Elle suggère donc une méthode prenant le monde vécu comme point de départ, et non pas la relation homme-machine comme cela est classiquement fait, et visant une intégration harmonieuse de l’artefact conçu.
  • L’irrégularité propose une vision éthique pour le design du quotidien. Elle vise non pas une forme de perfection – très souvent considérée en design industriel–, mais la dépasse en se présentant comme une source de liberté et ouvrant des champs de possibles au sein de l’interaction.

Les deux photos présentées à gauche de l’écran sont, en haut, un motif de broderie conçu par Akira Minagawa en 2005, et en bas, un ensemble de manches de chasen (le fouet permettant de mélanger le thé pendant la cérémonie) imprimés 3D lors du projet de master de Shigeru Yamada que j’ai supervisé en 2016.

L’irrégularité dans le design de Minagawa consiste à faire un grand nombre de points de broderie au même endroit, si bien que la machine ne peut plus faire le point à l’endroit demandé à cause d’une trop grande densité de fil, ce qui fait que l’aiguille se tord pour pouvoir continuer à faire un point. Cela résulte en un ou plusieurs points de broderie réalisés dans un endroit non-planifié, et donc en une irrégularité.

Dans le cas du chasen, nous avons réalisé un manche de chasen basé sur un design paramétrique (la forme est décrite par une formule mathématique). Les six modèles sont réalisés par différentes vitesses d’impression. De droite à gauche, la première impression est faite à la vitesse standard de la machine, comme indiqué par le fabricant de la machine, puis 2, 3, 4 et 6 fois plus vite. Lorsque que nous avons montré ces manches de chasen à un groupe de maîtres du thé, considérés comme experts dans cette expérimentation, c’est le deuxième qui a été significativement le plus apprécié. Ce manche présente à la fois une possibilité d’être utilisé convenablement, et également une irrégularité subtile qui rend l’objet beau. On voit dans cette expérimentation que l’irrégularité est perçue comme belle.

La contexture du quotidien

Ce que l’ainsité et l’irrégularité m’ont permis est d’ouvrir à nouveau la question du quotidien et en particulier des rituels du quotidien. On questionne ici ce que les gens ressentent au quotidien, particulièrement au niveau esthétique. Les rituels sont justement un moment intéressant pour le design puisqu’ils donnent aux pratiques du quotidien un espace d’attention.

Or l’idée d’une proposition esthétique dont nous parlions tout à l’heure, nous renvoie à un regard esthétique de l’expérience dans l’ici-et-maintenant, et donc à ce que j’appelle une contexture.

Dans cet espace d’attention qu’est le rituel, il y a une texture, c’est-à-dire un travail sur la forme par l’organisation de l’espace, par le choix des objets, de la gestuelle et des pratiques… Cette texture est concrétisée par le rituel. Notre approche questionne donc la contexture livrée par la proposition esthétique du rituel et vise un équilibre qui permette une forme d’harmonie.

De plus le rituel comporte des aspects qui relèvent du social et du singulier. Pour le comprendre, il faut donc l’interroger à la fois sur ses aspects sociaux et singuliers. Pour saisir le singulier, cela fait environ deux ans que je demande à mes étudiants, qui ont des compétences suffisantes pour faire correctement des petits films de cette nature, d’en faire un sur un de leur propre rituels du quotidien. Ces films sont ensuite visionnés, discutés et analysés. Ceci est une méthode, parmi d’autres, visant à saisir des éléments constitutifs de l’expérience complexe, intime et implicite du quotidien, qui relèvent du singulier et qui visent une harmonie au sein de cette expérience.

La temporalité du quotidien

J’ai également mené une autre expérience visant à explorer un rituel du quotidien, et prenant pour objet sur mon chocolat chaud du matin. Ce que cette expérience a montré est que la question de la contexture, permettant donc d’aborder la proposition esthétique, questionne également nos valeurs temporelles, le plus souvent en opposition à l’efficience qui souvent en design industriel et en design d’interaction s’impose à toute question de la temporalité.
On se pose donc ici la question des valeurs de temps que l’on donne à ces expériences du quotidien.

Comment peut-on caractériser la temporalité du rituel, différemment de la théorie du flow par exemple, proposé par Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, visant lui aussi l’efficacité ? On vise ici une proposition esthétique qui questionne la temporalité, qui invite à prendre le temps : dans cette proposition, qu’est-ce qui valorise de s’arrêter pour écouter une musique, pour contempler un paysage, etc. C’est une autre question majeure ouverte par ce programme de recherche.

Enchanter le quotidien par le design

Ma recherche est donc une recherche en design, basée sur une contexture, un questionnement de la valeur temporelle, et un cadre théorique structuré sur l’ainsité et l’irrégularité.

Le but est d’utiliser la question de la contexture et de la temporalité, pour inviter la composition d’une expérience du quotidien. Et j’aime emprunter le propos de Bart Hengeveld, qui compare une telle composition à celle de la musique.

Cela se fait en résistance à la culture occidentale du design industriel, qui se focalise quasi-exclusivement sur l’efficience et l’efficacité, et qui semble résister à questionner l’émotion et l’irrégularité. La Design&Emotion Society, établie il y a une douzaine d’année et principalement portée par le Département de design industriel de l’Université de Technologie de Delft aux Pays-Bas, qui a d’abord bien fonctionnée, et qui est actuellement au point mort et en discussion pour comprendre ce qui fait que ça n’a finalement pas si bien fonctionner que cela. J’espère que cette recherche apporte une perspective originale au sein de cette discussion.

L’irrégularité est pour moi au centre de la démarche. L’irrégularité permet une absence de clôture, évite un design qui viserait une conduite réglée par une optimisation des moyens pour un but prédéterminé. Elle contribue à mieux comprendre le design, et à poser une épistémologie du design sur le fait qu’un dispositif totalement prévisible et régulateur – qu’il soit social, culturel ou technique – ne permet pas l’invention ou la transformation.

L’irrégularité nous empêche donc de tomber dans le piège d’une production industrielle visant la perfection et la reproduction à l’infini, et valorise l’idée de surprise, d’accident, d’ouverture sur des possibles, autant au niveau des processus de conception et de fabrication, qu’au niveau du résultat.

Et ce programme de recherche vise à enchanter le quotidien par le design.

Une dernière réflexion

Ceci m’amène à une dernière réflexion sur ce programme de recherche.

L’ouverture opérée par mon regard sur la cérémonie japonaise du thé au travers du design propose quelque chose d’autre au design. Elle questionne à nouveau le sujet et le lieu de la recherche en design : elle pose la question des rituels du quotidien.

La recherche en design doit être réappropriée par un design proche de la pensée de l’Art&Craft et des arts décoratifs, c’est-à-dire d’une pensée qui se penche sur les arts de vivre, et qui nous renvoie des valeurs esthétiques et des propositions d’équilibre pour l’expérience sensible. Cette ambition de proposer des équilibres a plutôt été oubliée dans la recherche actuelle en design – et je me réfère ici aux communautés de recherche dont je fais partie, à la savoir le SIGCHI et la DRS – qui vient plutôt du design industriel et visant une forme de perfection, c’est-à-dire une fin de toute réinterprétation.

Le design doit avoir pour objectif de proposer des arrangements esthétiques visant des propositions d’harmonie entre artefacts, espaces, gestuelles, valeurs, etc., et non pas exclusivement de promouvoir l’efficacité et l’efficience, effort pourtant dominant dans la recherche en design actuelle et particulièrement dans les lieux d’enseignement technologique.

J’y vois donc une forme de résistance au fonctionnalisme, si bien installé dans la culture de la recherche en design, inspirée par le design industriel.

Ce qui est important pour un tel design est l’enchantement du quotidien, c’est-à-dire une attention pour un arrangement esthétique harmonieux rendu visible par la contexture : requestionner des normes qui ne le sont plus par le design, chercher un équilibre esthétique global dans le quotidien permettant l’expérience du beau.

Je vous remercie.

Transcription of my defense for Habilitation

I would like to thank you for being here today.

I am very happy and honoured to be able to defend my HDR at the Compiègne University of Technology, for several reasons.

First of all, because UTC has put Technologies and Human Sciences at the centre of its pedagogical project in engineering, and has dedicated one of its educational programme to industrial design. A vision in which I find myself completely.
Also because it was at UTC that I started my studies and obtained my engineering degree in 2001.
It was also through UTC that I set foot in Japan, through my final year project by becoming head of innovation for Decathlon in Japan.
It was also at UTC that I was introduced to research, under the supervision of Anne Guénand.
It was also at UTC that I first met Prof. Yamanaka in 2002, and I had the honour of having him become my thesis director during my doctoral thesis at the University of Tsukuba in Kansei Science obtained in 2006.
It was also at UTC that I first met Prof. Overbeeke, from the Eindhoven University of Technology, in 2003. During my visits to Europe, I never stopped visiting UTC and TU/e, immersing myself in a reflection on design and theories related to embodiment. And in 2009, I had the honour of becoming an assistant professor at TU/e in the Designing Quality in Interaction research group then headed by Prof. Overbeeke.
Later, once settled in TU/e, collaborations continued with UTC, particularly on the subjects of cross perception and sensory substitution with Prof. Lenay.

It is therefore in a form of continuity that I am happy to support my HDR today.

Plan

My presentation is structured in four parts.

I will first explain my approach to research through design, an approach that structures my activity.

I will then present what I call my Japanese experience, which comes from my experience in Japan and my reflections on Japan, which has been decisive for a turning point in my perspective on design.

It is this turning point that I will then explain, as well as what it has led to in my research.

And finally, I will explain the consequences of this turning point for design, and in particular about everyday life rituals.

Research through design

Design research invites the participation of the designer’s skills and attitude in the research activity. The participation of design in the research activity is relevant if it is accompanied by a reflection associated with the action, allowing the creation of knowledge.

This research, linking action and reflection, is based on reflection in action and on action proposed by Schön (1983).
This approach is also in line with embodiment related theories, brilliantly brought to design by Dourish (2001).

The research through the design I conduct is mainly structured on two elements:

  • Constructive design research, which invites experimentations with devices designed for research. Research-through-Design (Koskinen et al., 2012) is a major marker.
  • The development of the annotated portfolio research tool proposed by Bill Gaver (2012), which structures an analysis of a corpus of artefacts either designed as part of the research project or external to it.

The role of the prototype is central to this approach, but changes in nature compared to what is traditionally considered in design: it is not a first model, close to what will be produced in series, but what Frens (2006) calls a physical hypothesis, and Hengeveld (2011) an experiential hypothesis, a very eloquent barbarism which I think corresponds entirely to the role of the prototype.

Finally, this approach also requires a project so that design can act and contribute to research. In Sennett’s words and adapting them to design, Hummels describes this request to localize the research question, which can then be followed by a reflection in action allowing it to be questioned, and a reflection on action to inquire the research question a fortiori, beyond the project itself.

This is my approach to design research.

Japanese experience

Before becoming an assistant professor at the Eindhoven University of Technology, I spent about 9 years in Japan, mainly affiliated with the University of Tsukuba, at the Kansei Information Science Laboratory, directed by Prof. Yamanaka, who was also my thesis director during my doctoral studies.

The study of Kansei has been for me a guiding principle that allowed me to progress on two fundamental subjects in my research:

  • A deepening of my interest in the affective relationship to the lived world, which gradually led me to also become interested in notions related to embodiment.
  • A personal and intellectual curiosity for the Japanese culture, and for what it reveals about the beauty of the everyday.

Concretisation of the beautiful

In particular, I have been interested in the Way of Tea, which Okakura (1906) describes in his famous book The Book of Tea as the cult of the beautiful of the ordinary in the everyday. And I have been especially interested in the Japanese tea ceremony, which is a ritualized experience of the Way of Tea, established by Rikyu in the 16th century.

To illustrate what I saw there, I would like to take the example of a short moment during the ceremony, illustrated by the photo you see here. Once the light tea has been served, the main guest asks the host if he or she could view objects used for tea. The host then introduces him to the chashaku and the chaire, the chashaku being the small spatula to take tea out of the chaire, which is the tea container. The chaire diameter is about one third the length of chashaku. The host places the chashaku two mats apart from the edge of the tatami in front of the main guest, and aligns the centre of the chaire with the centre of the chashaku. Once the host has withdrawn into the water room, i.e., the kitchen, the guest approaches the two objects so that his knees are two mats from the chashaku. Sitting in seiza, he will then be able to comfortably manipulate and contemplate the two objects presented to him, in a culturally Japanese comfort.

What impressed me here is that Rikyu has made an aesthetic proposition towards harmony that corresponds to a system of values (not aimed at effectiveness or efficiency), with aesthetic, ethical and social concerns, and that enables the realization of beauty.

The tea ceremony as a design

This led me to consider that Rikyu (1522-1591) transformed a proposal of values, those of Buddhism and the Wabi etiquette of his time, into a situated system of artefacts, social actors, and signs enabling an engaged and social experience of these values.

This transformation is based on the development of the technology of his time in response to a social expectation of his time. This system is an aesthetic proposal.

The idea that the formalization of the Japanese tea ceremony responds to a “social expectation of its time” already invites us to rethink the ritual not as a fixed repetition of a sequence of actions, but as a practice of daily life re-interpretable in a time and place.

Moreover, the realization of an aesthetic proposal enables the perspective of this aesthetic proposal by Japanese thought, and opens on the notions of contexture and temporality of the daily experience, notions that we will question later.

Mujirushi ryohin

This aesthetic proposal is still found in contemporary design, as for example in mujirushi ryohin, better known simply as muji. If we analyse what has been written about the brand, as well as what the main actors who have participated in the development of the brand and design – notably Kenya Hara and Naoto Fukasawa – have explained about muji’s philosophy and vision, we find most often three key concepts that characterise muji’s design and seem to be in line with the values embodied by the Japanese tea ceremony:

  • The simple invites to consider what is obvious or essential, stripped of all superfluity.
  • The ordinary focuses on what appears classic or usual, and useful for everyday life. It also invites to consider habitability, a concept dear to Alain Findeli.
  • Finally, the void concerns a space of possibilities left open by the design, to be filled by the user (or interactant) with the artifact, in order to adapt the value proposal to one’s place and time within one’s daily life.

The aesthetic proposal proposed by Rikyu is reflected in a contemporary design, that of muji.

Turning point

From this observation on tea, and by observing a corpus of artefacts from the work of contemporary Japanese designers, this aesthetic proposal aiming at a form of harmony between values, bodies, gestures, etc. has caused a turning point in my view on design.

Looking at the Japanese tea ceremony through the lens of design, I saw the tea ceremony as prototypical of design based on Japanese culture, which has deeply shaken my perspective on design.

So I turned the lens over and looked at design through the lens of the tea ceremony, and saw a lack of a theoretical framework for design to explain the tea ceremony. And this absence gave way to a gap to be filled by a cultural decentration of design.

This decentration invites us to redefine the ritual not as an identical repetition of a sequence of actions, but as an aesthetic proposal that allows us to be reconsidered every time in our daily lives.

It also appears that the ritual is both social and singular, and always reinterpretable by those who propose it, the designers, and those who live it.

Design is therefore questioned in the light of the ritual, and the ritual is questioned through design.

Japanese philosophy and culture

To achieve this decentration, I studied Japanese philosophy and culture. Although I do not have time here to present the details of this study, I list here the main topics on which my attention has been focused:

  • Watsuji’s ethics on relationship, published in 1934;
  • Nishida’s philosophy (and a little more generally of the Kyoto School) on experience, whose main work was published in 1911;
  • The writings of Dōgen on time, dating from the 13th century;
  • And the work on the Buddhist idea of beauty proposed by Yanagi and published more recently in 1972.

Framework for design

From this study, it results that the aesthetic proposal of the Japanese perspective studied here is based on two notions on which design can act:

  • Thusness, or suchness, which proposes to look beyond human-machine interaction, considering a maximum of elements that constitute the lived world, as well as their relationships and the global harmony. Therefore, it suggests a method that takes the lived world as a starting point, and not the human-machine relationship as it is traditionally done, and aims to a harmonious integration of the designed artefact.
  • Irregularity offers an ethical vision for the design of everyday life. It does not aim for a form of perfection – very often considered in industrial design – but goes beyond it by presenting itself as a source of freedom and opening up fields of possibilities through interaction.

The two photos shown on the left of the screen are, at the top, an embroidered pattern designed by Akira Minagawa in 2005, and at the bottom a set of chasen handles (the whisk used to mix tea during the ceremony) 3D-printed during Shigeru Yamada’s master project that I supervised in 2016.

The irregularity shown in Minagawa’s design is made through a large number of embroidery stitches intended to be made at the same place, so that the machine can no longer make the stitch because of too high thread density. This causes the needle to twist to continue making the required stitch. This results in one or more embroidery stitches being made in an unplanned location, and therefore in an irregularity.

The chasen handles were based on a parametric design (the shape is described by a mathematical formula). The six models were produced at different printing speeds. From right to left, the first print was made at the standard machine speed, as indicated by the machine manufacturer, then 2, 3, 4 and 6 times faster. When we showed these chasen handles to a group of tea masters, considered experts in this experiment. The second was significantly more appreciated. This chasen handle has both a possibility to be used properly, and also a subtle irregularity that makes the object beautiful. We see in this experiment that irregularity is perceived as beautiful.

The contexture of everyday life

What thusness and irregularity enabled is to reopen the question of everyday life, and in particular the rituals of everyday life. We question here what people feel in their daily lives, especially in terms of aesthetics. The everyday ritual is precisely an interesting moment for design as it gives everyday practices a space for attention.

However, the idea of an aesthetic proposal that was discussed earlier brings us to an aesthetic view of the experience in the here-and-now, and therefore to what I call a contexture.

In this space (or moment) of attention that is the ritual, there is a texture, i.e., an inquiry on form by the organization of space, by the choice of objects, of gestures and practices… This texture is concretized by the ritual. Therefore, our approach questions the contexture delivered by the aesthetic proposal of the ritual and aims at a balance that allows a form of harmony.

Moreover, the ritual includes aspects that are social and singular. To understand it, it is therefore necessary to question it both on its social and singular aspects. To capture the singular, for about two years I have been asking my students, who have sufficient skills to make small films of this nature, to do one on one of their own daily rituals. These films are then viewed, discussed and analysed. This is one method, among others, to capture elements of the complex, intimate and implicit experience of everyday life, which are singular and aim at harmony within this experience.

The temporality of everyday life

I also conducted another experiment to explore a daily ritual, which was based on my personal morning hot chocolate. This experiment has shown that the question of the contexture, enabling to approach the aesthetic proposal, also questions our temporal values, most often in opposition to efficiency that often imposes itself on any question of temporality, especially in industrial design and interaction design.
This raises the question of the time values that are given to these everyday experiences.

How can the temporality of the ritual be characterized, for example differently from the flow theory, proposed by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, also aiming at efficiency? We are aiming here at an aesthetic proposal that questions temporality, that invites us to take time: in this proposal, what values stopping to listen to music, contemplating a landscape, etc. This is another major issue addressed by this research program.

Enchanting everyday life through design

My research is therefore a design research, based on the contexture, a questioning of the temporal value, and a structured theoretical framework on thusness and irregularity.

The aim is to use the questions of contexture and temporality to invite the composition of a daily experience. And I like to borrow Bart Hengeveld’s words, who compares such a composition to that of music.

This is done in resistance to the Western culture of industrial design, which focuses almost exclusively on efficiency and effectiveness, and which seems to resist questioning emotion and irregularity. The Design&Emotion Society, established about a dozen years ago and mainly led by the Department of Industrial Design at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, which first worked well, and is currently in standby to discuss and to understand why it didn’t work so well in the end. I hope that this research brings an original perspective to this discussion.

Irregularity is at the heart of the approach. The irregularity enables an absence of fence, avoids a design that would aim at a controlled behaviour by an optimization of the means for a predetermined goal. It contributes to a better understanding of design, and to suggest an epistemology of design on the fact that a totally predictable and regulating system – whether social, cultural or technical – prevents invention or transformation.

Therefore, irregularity prevents us from falling into the trap of industrial production aiming at perfection and infinite reproduction, and enhances the idea of surprise, accident, openness to possibilities, both in the design and manufacturing processes and in the results.

And this research program aims to enchant everyday life through design.

One last thought

This brings me to a final reflection on this research program.

The opening made by my inquiry on the Japanese tea ceremony through design proposes something different to design. It questions the subject and the place of design research afresh, as it raises the question of everyday rituals.

Design research must be reappropriated by a design that is close to the thinking of Art&Craft and the decorative arts, i.e., by a thought that focuses on the arts of living, and that reflects aesthetic values and proposals for balance in the sensitive experience. This ambition to propose balances has rather been forgotten in current design research – and I am referring here to the research communities to which I belong, especially SIGCHI and DRS – which comes rather from industrial design and aims at a form of perfection, i. e., to an end of any reinterpretation.

The objective of design must be to propose aesthetic arrangements aimed at proposals for harmony between artefacts, spaces, gestures, values, etc., and not exclusively to promote effectiveness and efficiency, yet a dominant effort in contemporary design research and particularly in technological education places.

Therefore, I see this research as a form of resistance to functionalism, so well established in the culture of design research, inspired by industrial design.

What is important for such a design is the enchantment of everyday life, that is, an attention to a harmonious aesthetic arrangement made visible by the contexture: questioning again norms that are no longer visible by design, seeking an overall aesthetic balance in everyday life that allows the experience of beauty.

Thank you very much.


Probing futures

a master project TU/e + Philips Design + Design Academy Eindhoven, presented at the DDW'18

How would our world look like 20, 30, 40 or 50 years from now? Will we monitor each individual on the planet to live a low-risk life? Will we replace organs, eyes, or other parts of our body with artificial alternatives? Will we upload our brains and live on a server? Or do we seek ways to embrace a life more related to mother earth? In this Design Fiction project, several potential healthcare futures are explored. The project is a collaboration between Philips Design, Eindhoven University of Technology, Design Academy Eindhoven, and Frank Kolkman.

When designing and developing for an audience, as was done in this project, a wide range of different opinions have to be dealt with. A well-known example are robots and Artificial intelligence (AI). Some people only see the positive side and potentials: what if robots could take over all our work so we have full-time vacation? Others only see the downsides and risks: what if robots become smarter than people and start attacking us? Either way, the truth will be somewhere in the middle, but it is very important to capture such opinions and discover what society thinks of current developments. The goal of this project was to do exactly that by developing design probes for four potential healthcare futures – based on a framework by Philips Design – and exhibiting them during the Dutch Design Week (DDW) and within Philips to provoke a debate.

During the first part of the project, four teams each developed a design probe for one of the potential futures, which were exhibited at the Dutch Design Week.

The project was continued within another team and a fifth probe was designed based on the insights gathered at the DDW. This time, the focus was laid on preventive healthcare in the present time, which led to the design of a fictive device that helps parents to monitor their baby’s health and aids them in growing a healthy child.

Designing for Systemic Change

Designing for Systemic Change

Exploring possible directions for systemic change

Many societal challenges require a systemic approach towards change. An approach where multiple stakeholders together create insight in the challenge at hand, and explore possible directions for systemic change. This session explores the concept of Designing for Systemic Change, including: what is it, how do we approach it, and what are the challenges we face?

For example, should we focus on local challenges starting from an individual perspective, e.g. your grandmother with dementia that can’t live independently anymore, or should we focus on global challenges starting from the bigger perspective, e.g. how can society maintain a healthy lifestyle? Should we invest more in artificial intelligence and new technological possibilities to tackle our challenges, or should we invest more in the socio-cultural values needed to tackle our challenges? And should we focus on moonshot projects that yield systemic change in 2040 or 50, or should we start today designing for tomorrow?

During this one hour session you will get acquainted with Designing for Systemic Change through interviews with international experts (via videos), 3 presentations of best practices, and having a lively panel debate.


Japanese philosophy inspired design

Japanese philosophy inspired design

Au fil du temps, j’ai peu à peu réalisé que ce n’est pas que l’expérience existe parce qu’il y a un être, mais que l’être existe parce qu’il y a une expérience.

— Nishida Kitaro

Designing for the everyday through thusness and irregularity

Lévy, P. (2013). Beyond kansei engineering: the emancipation of kansei design. International Journal of Design. 7(2), 83–94.

The concept of ‘everyday’ is a central topic in design, and this paper argues for more attention and discussion on the everyday than what is currently done in design research. By elaborating what the everyday is, designers can better formulate a perspective on people’s lives and experiences, and therefore can better contribute to the enchantment of the everyday through designing. To contribute to this effort of clarification and enchantment, we first attempt to clarify the concept of everyday and thereafter suggest notions originating from Japanese philosophy to address the everyday in design. The everyday is described mostly through the process of quotidianisation of the unfamiliar towards the familiar. To support designing for the everyday, we propose to focus on Japanese notions: thusness and irregularity. Thusness invites to consider the experience of the here-and-now as being the active relation with the entirety of the world through interaction. Irregularity invites to keep something unexplained in the design, eliciting possibilities of exploration, openness, change, and the shift of perspective. Finally, three relatively practical design concepts, namely micro-considerations, micro-frictions, and (es)sential details, are proposed to support application of thusness and irregularity through design.

paper

Main projects

Tea together

A TU/e master elective project

Welcoming with tea

A TU/e master workshop

Main publications

Designing for the everyday through thusness and irregularity

Lévy, P. (2019). Designing for the everyday through thusness and irregularity. In Proceedings of 8th International Congress of International Association of…

Le temps de l’expérience, enchanter le quotidien par le design

Lévy, P. (2018). Le temps de l'expérience, Enchanter le quotidien par le design. Compiègne University of Technology, France

3D-modeling and 3D-printing explorations on Japanese tea ceremony utensils

Lévy, P., & Yamada, S. (2017). 3D-modeling and 3D-printing explorations on Japanese tea ceremony utensils. In Proceedings of the 11th International Conference…


The beauty of making hot chocolate, an inquiry on designing for everyday rituals

The beauty of making hot chocolate, an inquiry on designing for everyday rituals

Lévy, P. (2018). The beauty of making hot chocolate – an inquiry on designing for everyday rituals. In Design Research Society 2018, DRS2018. Limerick, Ireland: Design Research Society. https://doi.org/10.21606/dma.2017.514

paper

The everyday is often mentioned in design, yet hardly inquired. The everyday is about what is banal, infraordinary, not memorable, as well as about the force that makes things habitual, endotic. In the research encompassing this paper, we question the everyday and explore opportunities to enchant it by design. This paper focuses more specifically on the design of everyday rituals, and aims to propose a descriptive framework to ‘read’ and compose such rituals. The elaboration of the framework is done based on a case study: the making of a hot chocolate in the morning. Through an autoethnographical approach, the main dimensions of the framework are determined (place and time, essentiality, and strength) and discussed. Throughout this inquiry, the value of a first-person perspective while designing for the everyday is discussed, as well as its relationship with the third- person perspective. This framework proposed points out the importance of quick iterations and of the consideration of consequences of design decision at all levels of the everyday ritual (structural, temporal, aesthetical, ethical…).


Light behavior design: violation of unification principles and the effect on the user experience

Light behavior design: violation of unification principles and the effect on the user experience

Dassen, W., Wensveen, S., & Lévy, P. (2017). Light Behavior Design: Violation of Unification Principles and the Effect on the User Experience. In Design Interactive Systems Conference, DIS17 (pp. 259–263). New York, NY, USA: ACM. https://doi.org/10.1145/3064857.3079157

paperacm library

Technological advances increase the possibilities for the aesthetics of interaction and the user experience. This is a growing field in the Human-Computer Interaction community (HCI). However, Lenz et al. [3] show that little is known about the relation between experiences and interaction. The current study explores this relation through the design of an interactive lamp. We compare a direct and a delayed coupling between the user’s action and the reaction of the light. The results provide empirical evidence that deliberately violating one of the unification principles (i.e., delayed response) triggers a more positively engaged experience. We discuss the result and further implications for design research.


3D-modeling and 3D-printing explorations on Japanese tea ceremony utensils

3D-modeling and 3D-printing explorations on Japanese tea ceremony utensils

Lévy, P., & Yamada, S. (2017). 3D-modeling and 3D-printing explorations on Japanese tea ceremony utensils. In Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interactions, TEI17 ([on CD]). Yokohama, Japan: ACM Press. https://doi.org/10.1145/3024969.3024990

paperacm library

Technological advances increase the possibilities for the aesthetics of interaction and the user experience. This is a growing field in the Human-Computer Interaction community (HCI). However, Lenz et al. [3] show that little is known about the relation between experiences and interaction. The current study explores this relation through the design of an interactive lamp. We compare a direct and a delayed coupling between the user’s action and the reaction of the light. The results provide empirical evidence that deliberately violating one of the unification principles (i.e., delayed response) triggers a more positively engaged experience. We discuss the result and further implications for design research.


What matters for ritual visualization, towards a design tool for the description and the composition of rituals

What matters for ritual visualization, towards a design tool for the description and the composition of rituals

Lévy, P., & Hengeveld B.J. (2016). What matters for ritual visualization – Towards a design tool for the description and the composition of rituals. Proceedings of Kansei Engineering and Emotion Research International Conference 2016, KEER2016 ([on CD]). Leeds, UK: Japan Society of Kansei Engineering.

paper

Our lives are highly shaped by rituals. The way we wake up, the way we prepare tea or coffee are two of the many rituals many of us have constructed. As they structure our everyday lives, it is crucial to understand how to design them from a kansei design perspective. This Research-through-Design inquiry contributes to a larger research of addressing the way to design rituals. An annotated showcase of three ritual design projects is proposed. From the analysis of these three projects, we suggest 11 points of attention for the construction of a ritual visualization tool. This tool is expected to be used not only to support the analysis and the assessment of rituals, but also to contribute to the composition of rituals, towards the design of experientially rich rituals from an interaction perspective.


Perspectives en design d’interaction

Perspectives en design d’interaction

Lévy, P. (2016). Perspectives en design d’interaction, presented at La Pré-Fabrique de l’innovation – UdL, Saint-Étienne. June 10th, 2016

Dans l’esprit de pluridisciplinarité qui a animé le worshop #illuminov – éclairage connecté lors de la semaine du 25 au 29 avril dernier, j’ai le plaisir de vous convier à la présentation de Pierre Lévy, assistant professor en design à l’Université de Technologie de Eindhoven, qui se tiendra le vendredi 10 juin à la Pré-Fabrique de l’innovation à 14h30.

Au travers de ses travaux de recherche, Pierre Lévy s’intéresse à l’implication des théories de la perception et de la phénoménologie, dans les domaines du design d’interaction (embodied interaction design) et du design Kansei (regard japonais sur la sensibilité et l’affectif) – sujet pour lequel il a été invité de nombreuses fois pour des conférences à l’internationale. Diplômé d’une thèse en science du Kansei de l’Université de Tsukuba au Japon, il est actuellement président-élu du Groupe Européen du Kansei (EKG).
Lors de cette présentation, nous discuterons de l’approche en constructive design research, et la perspective qu’elle propose sur l’attention réciproque entre l’homme et l’artefact, et sur la notion d’”irrésistibilité” en design d’interaction.
Cette approche ouvrira sur l’exploration menée par Pierre Lévy en “design de rituels”, qui se place à l’intersection du design kansei et et du design de systèmes. La présentation se construira autour d’exemples de projets concrets développés par l’Université de Technologie de Eindhoven, susceptibles d’intéresser tout autant les chercheurs que les praticiens du design. L’intervention et les échanges se feront en français.
Fabien Labarthe (IRAM-Télécom Saint-Etienne, Laboratoire Elico, Centre Max Weber).


Exploring the challenge of designing rituals

Exploring the challenge of designing rituals

Lévy, P. (2015). Exploring the challenge of designing rituals. In V., Popovic, A., Blackler, & B., Kraal (Eds.), the Proceedings of 6th International Congress of International Association of Societies of Design Research, IASDR 2015 ([on CD]). Brisbane, Australia: Queensland University of Technology.

paper

Our lives are a collection of rituals. The way we wake up, the way we leave or enter our home are two of the many rituals each of us have constructed, and they structure our everyday lives. However, designing rituals remains challenging because of the nested structures of events within a ritual (temporal complexity) and the required consistency between the ritual and the involved artifacts. In this first Research-through-Design iteration, we introduce a workshop done to explore the way to design rituals from an interaction design perspective. Our inquiry addresses such approach and aims at proposing tools to support the design or the evaluation of daily rituals. The workshop was structured by a introduction session (a Japanese tea ceremony) and two iterations leading towards the design of a high-resolution ritual and required artifacts for welcoming people home for Dutch students. Findings mainly pointed out different starting points for designing rituals, suggested the pervasive effect of engagement in rituals, and proposed a descriptive tool to provide the designer with participants’ perspectives in and affect by the ritual.


The Chatter Door, designing for in-between spaces

The Chatter Door, designing for in-between spaces

Duel, T., & Lévy, P. (2015). The Chatter Door, designing for in-between spaces. In V., Popovic, A., Blackler, & B., Kraal (Eds.), the Proceedings of 6th International Congress of International Association of Societies of Design Research, IASDR 2015 ([on CD]). Brisbane, Australia: Queensland University of Technology.

paper

The project presented in this paper is part of a broader research addressing in-between spaces and the designing of experiences taking place there. The project focuses on door frames, and inquires the way to improve social interactions taking place ‘at the door’. To do so, the approach is structured on an Experiential Design Landscape in order to create an in- between space with audio traces and to evaluate these traces impact on people’s behavior change. Our hypothesis is that sound traces triggers behavior changes. Evaluation is done quantitatively through the measurement of the door movements, and qualitatively based on laddering techniques mapped out in a mean-end chain. The results show no significant impact of the audio traces on people’s behavior change. However, emotional reactions could be observed. Although this first step revokes our hypothesis, it also has provided insight for further inquiry on in-between spaces.


Tea together

Tea together

A TU/e master elective project

Our lives are a collection of rituals. The way we wake up, the way we leave or enter our home, the way we prepare our suitcase before going on a trip are just simple examples of the many rituals each of us have constructed and that structure our everyday lives. These rituals are not rigid procedures, but a seemingly established series of activities from which experiential meaning emerges, and by which personal values are expressed.

The aim of this course is to address these qualities embodied in rituals from an interaction design perspective, and to explore the relation between the designed artefacts and the rituals they are involved in. Through this exploration, we will gain insights in the reciprocal nature of these influences between the artefacts and the ritual (and by extension the experiential meanings and the expressed values). The final discussion will address the merits of addressing rituals in interaction design, and how to design for meaningful rituals.

Students: Gabriele Barzilai, Roy Gevers, Thijs Hesby Roeleven, Xihao Hu, Yijun Yu, Huan Zhang


Impact of perception theories on kansei design

Impact of perception theories on kansei design

Lévy, P. (2014). Impact of perception theories on kansei design. Journal of Japan Society of Kansei Engineering, 13(1), 21–26.

paper

The everyday is often mentioned in design, yet hardly inquired. The everyday is about what is banal, infraordinary, not memorable, as well as about the force that makes things habitual, endotic. In the research encompassing this paper, we question the everyday and explore opportunities to enchant it by design. This paper focuses more specifically on the design of everyday rituals, and aims to propose a descriptive framework to ‘read’ and compose such rituals. The elaboration of the framework is done based on a case study: the making of a hot chocolate in the morning. Through an autoethnographical approach, the main dimensions of the framework are determined (place and time, essentiality, and strength) and discussed. Throughout this inquiry, the value of a first-person perspective while designing for the everyday is discussed, as well as its relationship with the third- person perspective. This framework proposed points out the importance of quick iterations and of the consideration of consequences of design decision at all levels of the everyday ritual (structural, temporal, aesthetical, ethical…).


Exploring constituents for kansei design, towards a framework

Exploring constituents for kansei design, towards a framework

Lévy, P. (2013). Exploring constituents for kansei design, towards a framework. the Proceedings of 5th International Congress of International Association of Societies of Design Research, IASDR 2013 (pp 148–159). Tokyo, Japan: Shibaura University of Technology.

paper

Next to the well-developed and recognized kansei engineering and kansei science, the discipline of kansei design still appears as emerging and explorative. In this paper, after presenting succinctly the theoretical basis of the first two disciplines, I compare them with and focus more in detail on the bases of kansei design, along with an inspiration in Japanese philosophy and culture. In order to structure further the discipline, necessary for the creation of a robust and specific design framework, I describe the constituents of the discipline, i.e., the notions the designers should take into consideration to either describe and explore kansei through designing, or to reflect upon and validate kansei designs (especially interactivity aspects). Finally, these constituents are illustrated by two kansei design projects showing their value and the current explorations done on the topic of interactive materiality in kansei design.


Matter of transformation, designing an alternative tomorrow inspired by phenomenology

Matter of transformation, designing an alternative tomorrow inspired by phenomenology

Hummels, C., & Lévy, P. (2013). Matter of Transformation: Designing an Alternative Tomorrow Inspired by Phenomenology. Interactions, 20(6), 42–49. https://doi.org/10.1145/2533713

paper

In this month’s cover story, Caroline Hummels and Pierre Lévy propose an alternative, value-based vision for design: Can we create alternative ways to engage with the world based on trusting our senses? Where intuition is as valuable as logic? Where commitment and engagement are valuable assets for growth? Where people can take a first-person perspective and be in the moment, instead of forever worrying about efficiency? Growing out of a long history of work in the Designing Quality in Interaction group at TU Eindhoven, Hummels and Lévy’s vision is rooted in phenomenology and the ideas of 20th-century philosophers such as Dewey, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty. Over the course of the article they build their case for this new approach, highlighting projects that illustrate aspects of the vision they outline. As the cover image hints, even typically mundane objects such as vending machines can produce rich, aesthetically rewarding experiences when their design is inspired by phenomenology and its associated values such as embodiment.


Beyond kansei engineering: the emancipation of kansei design

Beyond kansei engineering: the emancipation of kansei design

Lévy, P. (2013). Beyond kansei engineering: the emancipation of kansei design. International Journal of Design. 7(2), 83–94.

paperjournal page

For over three decades, kansei engineering has expanded greatly and has become a significant discipline both in the industrial and the academic worlds. In this paper, I present the current situation of kansei engineering, and plead for the emancipation of other disciplines, as part of kansei research as well. By reconstructing the historical path of kansei research and exploring the variety of disciplines within kansei research, I point out the opportunities for kansei design to emerge. Whereas kansei engineering and kansei science have found their roots in scientifically established approaches (respectively engineering and brain science), kansei design intends to return to earlier Japanese philosophical or cultural works to rediscover the essence of kansei, and to use them as inspirational means for design. This new discipline certainly needs to be elaborated further. Therefore, this paper aims to contribute to the elaboration of a more expansive point-of-view in design research regarding the relationship between human beings and their immediate environment.


kansei studies, kansei design

kansei studies, kansei design

A piece of waka makes your heart abate and kansei, which is a virtue of waka.

— Yoshida (1687)

Beyond kansei engineering: the emancipation of kansei design

Lévy, P. (2013). Beyond kansei engineering: the emancipation of kansei design. International Journal of Design. 7(2), 83–94.

For over three decades, kansei engineering has expanded greatly and has become a significant discipline both in the industrial and the academic worlds. In this paper, I present the current situation of kansei engineering, and plead for the emancipation of other disciplines, as part of kansei research as well. By reconstructing the historical path of kansei research and exploring the variety of disciplines within kansei research, I point out the opportunities for kansei design to emerge. Whereas kansei engineering and kansei science have found their roots in scientifically established approaches (respectively engineering and brain science), kansei design intends to return to earlier Japanese philosophical or cultural works to rediscover the essence of kansei, and to use them as inspirational means for design. This new discipline certainly needs to be elaborated further. Therefore, this paper aims to contribute to the elaboration of a more expansive point-of-view in design research regarding the relationship between human beings and their immediate environment.

paperjournal page

Main projects

Passage

A bachelor project by ChiYong Lim, Gracia Goh and Kate Vermeyen in Kansei design

Main publications

Impact of perception theories on kansei design

Lévy, P. (2014). Impact of perception theories on kansei design. Journal of Japan Society of Kansei Engineering, 13(1), 21–26.

Exploring constituents for kansei design, towards a framework

Lévy, P. (2013). Exploring constituents for kansei design, towards a framework. the Proceedings of 5th International Congress of International Association of…

Beyond kansei engineering: the emancipation of kansei design

Lévy, P. (2013). Beyond kansei engineering: the emancipation of kansei design. International Journal of Design. 7(2), 83–94.

Involving psychophysiological knowledge in Kansei design

Lévy, P., Kim, D., Tsai, T.J., Lee, S.H., & Yamanaka, T. (2012). Involving psychophysiological knowledge in Kansei design. International Journal of Design…

Psychophysiological Applications in Kansei Design

Lévy, P., Yamanaka, T., & Tomico, O. (2011). Psychophysiological Applications in Kansei Design. In & M., Shi (Eds.) Kansei Engineering and Soft Computing:…

Lier Affectivité et Conception: l’Ingénierie Kansei

Lévy, P. (2008). Lier Affectivité et Conception: l’Ingénierie Kansei. Techniques de l’Ingénieur, AG2140.

Interdisciplinary design for the cyberspace by an approach in kansei information, Methodology and Workgroup Communication Tool Design Approach in Kansei

Lévy, P. (2006). Interdisciplinary design for the cyberspace by an approach in kansei information – Methodology and Workgroup Communication Tool Design…


Welcoming with tea

Welcoming with tea

A TU/e master workshop

Our lives are a collection of rituals. The way we wake up, the way we leave or enter our home, the way we prepare our suitcase before going on a trip are just simple examples of the many rituals each of us have constructed and that structure our everyday lives. These rituals are not rigid procedures, but a seemingly established series of activities from which experiential meaning emerges, and by which personal values are expressed.

The aim of this course is to address these qualities embodied in rituals from an interaction design perspective, and to explore the relation between the designed artefacts and the rituals they are involved in. Through this exploration, we will gain insights in the reciprocal nature of these influences between the artefacts and the ritual (and by extension the experiential meanings and the expressed values). The final discussion will address the merits of addressing rituals in interaction design, and how to design for meaningful rituals.

To address this course through a project, we will first turn to a Japanese tea ceremony, which is one of the most elaborated and rich rituals and one of the pillars of the Japanese craftsmanship culture. By extracting key characteristics of this ritual, we will start a design exploration to conclude with a concept at the end of the first week. The entire module focuses on one ritual (to be decided), and each group will focus on one artefact within this overarching ritual. The second week focuses on opportunities of a series of prototyping iterations to reach details. Each of them being concluded by a discussion on the reciprocal influences between the artefacts and the ritual and the implication on the interaction design process. The final day will close the module by a demonstration of the ritual with the newly designed series of artefacts.


Involving psychophysiological knowledge in Kansei design

Involving psychophysiological knowledge in Kansei design

Lévy, P., Kim, D., Tsai, T.J., Lee, S.H., & Yamanaka, T. (2012). Involving psychophysiological knowledge in Kansei design. International Journal of Design Engineering. 5(2), 122-141. doi:10.1504/IJDE.2012.053018

paper

This paper introduces a design method using psychophysiological research output as an inspiration means for the design of products taking user?s Kansei highly into consideration. The development of this method is itself a part of a series of design methods based on the collaboration of the research fields of psychophysiology and design. As case studies, two design projects following this process are introduced. Firstly, the colourful rain umbrella lets its user to experience grapheme-colour synaesthesia. Secondly, the sensorial socialising smartphone informs about the user?s digital social network activity by the means of warmth, a non-invasive tactile technique. Informed by psychophysiological literature, this design is shown to be not only informational of the network activity, but also motivational towards greater social experience. This approach enables psychophysiology not only to inform and support design ideation, but also to enrich the value of the design concept by bringing new arguments.


The multi-disciplinary nature of kansei research: an historical approach

The multi-disciplinary nature of kansei research: an historical approach

Lévy, P. (2012). The multi-disciplinary nature of kansei research: an historical approach. Penghu, Taiwan.

During the last three decades, kansei engineering has expanded greatly and has been highly recognized both in the industrial and the academic worlds. Nowadays, the term ‘kansei engineering’ is so strong in the kansei community that activities related to kansei, but not to engineering, keep on naming themselves kansei engineering research. This prevents the emancipation of other kansei disciplines, the enrichment of the field by the multiplication of point-of-views, and the dialogue between disciplines to understand better what kansei and kansei related disciplines are about.
By presenting the historical path of kansei research and exploring the variety of disciplines within kansei research, I point out the multi-disciplinary nature of kansei research. Thereafter, I focus on three disciplines directly related to the making of physical artifacts: kansei engineering, kansei science, and kansei design. Whereas kansei engineering and kansei science have found their roots in scientifically established approaches (respectively engineering and brain science), kansei design intends to return to earlier Japanese philosophical or cultural works to rediscover the essence of kansei, and to use them as inspirational means for design. A case study of kansei research through design is also presented.


Passage

Passage

A bachelor project by ChiYong Lim, Gracia Goh and Kate Vermeyen in Kansei design

(Extrait de mon HDR)

Passage est un projet réalisé en 2012 par Gracia Goh, Chiyong Lim, et Kate Vermeyen à l’Université de Technologie d’Eindhoven. Ces étudiants en design ont réalisé un projet basé sur la contexture kansei précédemment présentée. Passage s’intéresse au lieu de transition entre deux espaces physiques, c’est-à-dire à leur entre-espace. L’énoncé du projet invite les étudiant à réaliser un design pour l’entre-espace en évitant d’influencer l’expérience de l’un des deux espaces. Cet énoncé semble a priori phénoménologiquement incohérent, puisque l’expérience d’une chose extérieure à soi a nécessairement lieu dans un espace et demande de plus que l’attention de l’utilisateur soit dirigée au moins partiellement vers cette chose. Or non seulement l’entre-espace ne semble pas être un espace (mais plutôt une surface), et l’attention d’une personne passant une porte est le plus souvent dirigée vers l’espace dans lequel elle compte se rendre.

Après de multiples itérations incluant des fabrications de prototypes, des essais en situation, des réflexions basées sur la contexture kansei, etc., un remarquable design a progressivement pris forme. Passage est une installation montée sur le cadre d’une porte. Cette installation est composée d’une ligne de diodes électroluminescentes (LEDs RGB) projetée sur une feuille d’aluminium fine qui réfléchit la lumière en direction de la porte une fois entrouverte. Les diodes changent très lentement la couleur émise. La feuille d’aluminium ondule en fonction de la manière dont la porte est ouverte : une ouverture franche créera bien plus de turbulences qu’une ouverture lente. L’impression lumineuse projetée sur la porte est donc unique à chaque ouverture et à chaque fermeture.

Ce qui est remarquable dans ce design est que la projection lumineuse n’est pas visible par le passant lorsque la porte est complètement fermée ou franchement ouverte, si bien que l’interaction n’a lieu que dans l’action de l’ouverture de la porte. L’expérience commence dès que l’on commence à ouvrir la porte et finit avant que l’on ait fini de l’ouvrir. Non seulement l’installation se trouve (quasiment) localisée dans cet entre-espace, mais l’expérience est également localisée dans cet entre-espace : elle n’interfère quasiment pas avec l’intentionnalité du passant de passer dans l’espace suivant. L’objectif du design est ainsi atteint.

Outre certains descripteurs kansei « classiques », tels que le grain, l’interaction lumière-ombre ou la sensation d’une invitation à apprécier cet entre-espace, des descripteurs kansei spécifiques à ce projet ont été établis : l’instantanéité et l’insaisissable, et plus encore leur couple. Ce qui est remarquable est que cette expérience est prenante du point de vue de son expression, engageante par le geste, et que son intensité vient du fait qu’elle est très courte, inéluctable, et insaisissable : en un instant elle nous engage puis nous libère, sans qu’on puisse vraiment y échapper, ni en faire quoi que ce soit. Là est la beauté de ce design.

(Excerpt from my Habilitation)

Passage is a project carried out in 2012 by Gracia Goh, Chiyong Lim, and Kate Vermeyen at the Eindhoven University of Technology. These design students carried out a project based on the kansei context previously presented. Passage focuses on the place of transition between two physical spaces, i.e. their inter-space. The project statement invites students to create a design for the inter-space without influencing the experience of either space. This statement seems a priori phenomenologically incoherent, since the experience of something external to oneself necessarily takes place in a space and requires that the user’s attention be directed at least partially towards this thing. Yet, not only does the inter-space not seem to be a space (but rather a surface), and the attention of a person passing through a door is most often directed towards the space in which they intend to travel.

After multiple iterations including prototype production, situation tests, reflections based on the Kansei context, etc., a remarkable design has gradually taken shape. Passage is an installation mounted on the frame of a door. This installation consists of a line of light-emitting diodes (RGB LEDs) projected on a thin aluminium foil that reflects light back towards the door once it is ajar. The diodes very slowly change the emitted color. The aluminium foil undulates depending on how the door is opened: a quick opening will create much more turbulence than a slow opening. The light impression projected on the door is therefore unique with each opening and closing.

What is remarkable about this design is that the light projection is not visible to the passer-by when the door is fully closed or open, so that interaction only takes place in the action of the door opening. The experience begins as soon as you start opening the door and ends before you finish opening it. Not only is the installation (almost) located in this inter-space, but the experience is also located in this inter-space: it almost does not interfere with the passer-by’s intentionality to pass into the next space. The design objective is thus achieved.

In addition to certain “classical” kansei descriptors, such as the grain, the light-shade interaction or the feeling of an invitation to appreciate this inter-space, kansei descriptors specific to this project have been established: instantaneity and the elusive, and even more so their couple. What is remarkable is that this experience is engaging from the point of view of its expression, engaging by the gesture, and that its intensity comes from the fact that it is very short, unavoidable, and elusive: in an instant it engages us then liberates us, without us being able to really escape it, or do anything about it. That is the beauty of this design.


Psychophysiological Applications in Kansei Design

Psychophysiological Applications in Kansei Design

Lévy, P., Yamanaka, T., & Tomico, O. (2011). Psychophysiological Applications in Kansei Design. In & M., Shi (Eds.) Kansei Engineering and Soft Computing: Theory and Practice (pp. 266-286). Hershey, PA: IGI Global. http://dx.doi.org/10.4018/978-1-61692-797-4.ch015

paper

In order to describe emerging methods and means for Kansei design, this paper overviews three approaches involving an intense collaboration between the fields of design and psychophysiology:

  • The use of tools built for psychophysiology and of techniques based on constructivist psychology theory, in order to support designers ‘inspirational work focusing on human beings’ behaviors, experience, and mental constructs.
  • The use of knowledge created by psychophysiological research as an inspirational source of knowledge and as a conveyor of it for all along the design process. This approach takes into account the latest scientific progresses in psychophysiology, and concerns greatly about the scientific nature of the considered knowledge.
  • The use of psychophysiology tools to complete design requirements. Each approach presented here is supported by an applicative example. These interdisciplinary approaches lead towards the structuring of Kansei Design as an application field of Kansei Science.


Kansei Studies Description and Mapping through Kansei Study Keywords

Kansei Studies Description and Mapping through Kansei Study Keywords

Lévy, P., & Yamanaka, T. (2009). Kansei Studies Description and Mapping through Kansei Study Keywords. Kansei Engineering International. 8(2), 179–185.

paper

The aim of this paper is to present the project undertaken by the authors to describe Kansei and to structure Kansei design studies. Indeed, the current fuzziness on Kansei research structure complicates the global comprehension of this field and seems to be a hindrance to Kansei design education and internationalisation. To improve both of these aspects, this paper proposes a comprehensive description of Kansei and Kansei Studies, explains its specificity compared to “classic” research fields, and introduces a list of 131 Kansei Study Keywords which will be used in further projects to structure Kansei sources of knowledge and improve Kansei knowledge development, Kansei research, and Kansei education.


Interdisciplinary design for the cyberspace by an approach in kansei information, Methodology and Workgroup Communication Tool Design Approach in Kansei

Interdisciplinary design for the cyberspace by an approach in kansei information, Methodology and Workgroup Communication Tool Design Approach in Kansei

Lévy, P. (2006). Interdisciplinary design for the cyberspace by an approach in kansei information – Methodology and Workgroup Communication Tool Design Approach in Kansei. University of Tsukuba, Japan

DissertationAbstract (en/jp/fr)

The evolution of humanity, and notably of societies which are composing it, is marked all along its history, by evolutions, verily revolutions, of communication technologies (invention of spoken language, written language, of printing techniques, and so on. . . ). The digital technology and the advent of the Internet are significant steps of this evolution. Nowadays, the impressive development and the intrusion of information technology at every level of the society, at the institutional levels as well as the private ones, bring the need for a new social and societal paradigm based on the knowledge and intelligence economy. This new paradigm includes the concept of Cyberspace to denote the virtual space for human and social exchanges based on human knowledge and experience. Each human being is a center of this paradigm. The individual, owner and retailer of intelligence, is emphasized by her/his own experience. Considering Chisei and Kansei, both cognitive elements of each individual, and descriptive and tacit knowledge, owned by each individual, there is a necessity to consider subjective (or personal) dimension in social communication while designing tools for the Cyberspace.
The actual evolution, brought by the new information technologies, makes possible for each individual to share and announce one’s own knowledge with the rest of the group (by extension, with the whole humanity), whatever its size or nature. This is certainly a revolution. This is at the beginning of a new context allowing the design of relevant tools enable to help humanity to understand its common action. This understanding reaches to Collective Intelligence, a new opportunity for human community to progress. Thus there is a real need for new design objectives: creation of tools for Collective Intelligence.
Kansei, translated in English as a mental sense of subjectivity, is influencing human relationships. It has an influence on both the ideation and the understanding of interpersonal communication. Thus, Kansei becomes a key point in social context behavior of each individual, influencing not only the social context it-self (its structure and its operation), but also the information flow. Therefore, Kansei Information can contribute to integrate human subjectivity aspects in the design of tools for the Collective Intelligence.
Considering these points, the aim of this study is to understand how Kansei Information can contribute to the creation to the creation of a design methodology for Collective Intelligence, and thus to the improvement of communication structures of interdisciplinary workgroups.