The Aesthetics of Amplified Everyday Artifacts


Explorations of the relations we have and would like to have with technology in everyday life.


Digital technologies have an immense impact on the artifacts we, as a society, produce. Artifacts become more complex, more precise, more interactive, more connected, more in number, more … everything. In other words, we amplify our artifacts.

Our everyday experiences are more and more mediated by ›amplified artifacts‹[1], while these artifacts increasingly yield an unprecedented expressiveness, far beyond function and appearence. They become multi-facetted. Still we choose to evaluate them by their functionality, efficiency and effectiveness. It is time to take a step back from this technocratic point of view, slow down, take a deep breath and have an impartial look on our artifacts. We will find that they are more than tools, we are more than users and that we need less solutions but more engaging situations.

There is a huge design potential for interesting artifacts and meaningful interactions and relations right in front of us. Exploring and understanding it will greatly enrich the repertoire of all things digital.

›Things can be useful beyond their function. Things become useful when they are meaningful.‹

To better understand the complexity and the multi-facetted nature of our artifacts we propose an egocentric experimental design approach in which we emphasise aspects other than beauty and function. We will start to observe ourselves, our everyday life and identify relevant situations. We will conceive and build artifacts with a poetic, narrative, critical, optimistic, nonsense, or playful perspective in mind. We will live with these artifacts to experience and document them in an everyday context. We will debate and rationalise the relevance of these artifacts and the approach in general.

Project Results

During the course of the master project, we explored the relations we have and would like to have with technology in everyday life, particularly at home. From these reflections, we developed object prototypes and video scenarios that highlight specific types of augmentation through technology. Data objects, Sportive Objects and Crowd Sourced Objects were the types of augmentations we explored.

What potential stories would arise if we live with these objects?


We Like: Artifacts that go with us, NOT things to follow.
We Like: Technology to be MORE PRESENT.
Screens are not the only solution.
We Like: Physical movement.
We believe: experimentation leads to creativity.
We Like: Artifacts that make us FEEL RELEVANT. NOT obsolete humans.
Anxiety is something we have deliberately put inside machines.
We don’t like to reduce time, but make it meaningful.
SHARING with an object is sharing with a CHAIN OF PEOPLE.

We illustrated the above with a series of objects. Below is a selection of these objects:

Sportive Objects

Augmentation of objects using human body energy.
While electronic devices help us fullfil everyday tasks faster and more accurate, their design sometimes forgets that meaningful interactions require ›exchange‹ and time. Mapping out the patterns of body behavior at home, several ideas of energy exchange emerged, making the time with electronic devices more meaningful or even more difficult.

Sportive Object No. 7

A chair for making a pause from the computer and exercise.




[vimeo 33175016]

Technical Principle: Arduino controlled magnetic valve, potentiometer and time display

Sportive Object No. 2

A living room table with a sportive playfulness that generates light using kinetic energy.



Technical Principle: Dynamo generator, LEDs, custom-made circuit boards

Object Design: Eliana Corredor

Sportive Object No. 9

A T-shirt patch that enables to trade physical work-out time for internet download time.





Technical Principles: Thermoelectric generator, thermochromatic paint

Object Design: Eliana Corredor

Data Objects

Augmentation of objects that display from the internet or other data sources in a tangible, non GUI-based way. In the process of becoming digital we have disregarded the space we inhabit. The everyday domestic space takes an important role in our data collecting. We want to build objects that are connected to the user on a personal level. One can access data sources through a living space.

Data Object No. 4

A printer that accesses RSS-feeds and other flows of data in realtime and prints them onto a physical piece of paper.



[vimeo 63952206]

Technical Principle: Hacked printer

Object Design: Juan Pablo Solano
Video Direction: Fridolin Bach

Data Object No. 5

A lamp that slides up or down according to the data that it is programmed to visualize, become more or less functional and useful in doing so.




Technical Principle: Arduino controlled servo motors, processing in communication with Internet

Object Design: Juan Pablo Solano