16 October 2008

ArchiTech’s special section on experience desin

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The September edition of the American architecture magazine ArchiTech contains a special section on experience design.

The section, which sees experience design as “a new way of thinking, designing, engaging that uses media and architecture to produce immersive spaces”, is I think quite problematic. Experience design is all about entertainment and communications. Nothing really about addressing people’s needs or providing relevant contextual solutions. Nor does the section contain much about interaction design, or about the relation between people’s use of technology (e.g. through mobile devices) and the architectural environments that surround them. More innovative, experimental projects that are redefining architecture through their reinterpretation of the relation between people and the built environment are not even mentioned.

Although it’s a take on experience design which I don’t endorse or care much about, it is one which is quite prevalent, and therefore worth mentioning. The section contains three articles:

Building fiction: the architecture of experience design
by Tali Krakowsky, director of experience design at Imaginary Forces, a multidisciplinary entertainment and design agency based in Hollywood and New York
“Architecture has always been the home of storytelling. […] By infusing architecture with digital media, the discipline of experience design hopes to transform static environments into kinetic, cinematic, informative, and interactive spaces that offer an endless anthology of stories. […] Experience design is the process of creating such storytelling in space.”

Experience as material: transforming architecture into communications media
by Don Richards, creative director at Foghorn Creative, a San Francisco-based company that provides creative direction and coordination for immersive communications projects worldwide
“The tools we have today in show production and immersive communications are simply phenomenal. There is no longer even a clear distinction between R&D and implementation. We write code and modify gear on-site to respond to opportunities. The digital display tools that architects are using today (such as LED display, digital playback, and pixel mapping) all evolved from technologies initially developed for theatrical and entertainment design.”

Convergence: blending the digital and physical
by Jesse Seppi and Vivian Rosenthal, founders of Tronic, a New York City-based design, directing, and animation studio
“The intersection of digital and physical design opens up new realities of form and experience. Whereas in the past the digital process was merely a means to represent a structure, today’s digital tools now inform the architecture itself, allowing for innovation and experimentation in the built form.”

(via Stephen Rustow at SRA Consultancy)

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We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

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