Materials mediate our experience of the world, and everything we interact with and that surrounds us is rich in material properties. Material experience involves sensory engagement through sight, sound, touch, taste and smell, but it also involves engagement with meaning (what the material makes us think) and emotion (what the material makes us feel). Engaging with people’s experiences of materials allows designers to understand how these materials can drive the creation of new experiences.
In this project, year 3 Product Design students spent two weeks exploring how design can be driven by material experiences and theories that relate to this, in order to find more sustainable applications for waste materials. To do this they each picked a domestic waste material, including tea leaves, fruit peels and used envelopes, and created a series of experiments with that waste material by applying a range of different processes such as compressing, blending or mixing or compounding it with other materials. They then evaluated the experiential qualities of the outcomes of their experiments based on user feedback and used this to inform proposals for applications for the new materials they had developed out of their experiments.