It is a radio.

Research Project:
Interactive Art as an
Inspiration for Tangible


Advisor :Camilla Groth, Doctor of Arts, School of Arts, Design and Architecture Aalto University


Project Blue Bird


The concept has been designed as an outcome of my design research paper on tangible interfaces, questining future of industrial design and possible new inspirations. Blue Bird project consists of a wooden board, other wood pieces representing landscape elements and a minimalistic bird figure resembling a cursor. This whole setup represents a living space of a bird and let us hear the dynamic natural sounds as it explores the environment.

During the development process, I considered most simple commands employed by ordinary radios and put afford to degrade them into an intuitive tangible interface. From this perspective, behind the storyline actually the bird`s wandering around the place matched metaphorically with searching radio channels command. Once users find a sound they pleased, the bird can be rotated to increase or decrease the volume.  

On the other hand, it fits well to my metaphorical approach, thus, as its beak points out the certain area that means the bird puts more attention and users hear voices louder and clearer. Another typical command of a radio is to save the channel and I materialized this one with a simple charcoal pen. When user wants to have add a particular location to their favorites only thing they need to do put a mark on there. In addition to that they can add notes or even draw pictures which indicates content of the point. With that I aimed to render so-called “save to favorites “command more intuitive, simple and natural as much as it gets.


Art Direction 

From the artistic point of view, sharp contrast between simplistic, static wooden shapes and the dynamic immersive world that is stashed in them constitutes project`s artistic core. In this setup our agent is the only way left us to open up this mystery box and explore its secrets. I foresee an dynamic online update system for employed sounds and imagine a sound landscape changing constantly as nature`s itself does between seasons.

During the development of visual elements, I got inspired by Isamu Noguchi, Japanese American artist and landscape architect, and his landscape models. Among many other inspiration referring to shape and materials, in order to add a bit digital touch I looked at visual language of Nintendo games and especially 8bit map designs used in them.

Purpose of this research paper was to scratch the surface a bit and to explore new motivations for future industrial designers, beyond functionality and usability issues. I questioned shape giver industrial designer`s position in near future regarding emerging industries such as consumer electronics in the face of shrinking volumes of products by the courtesy of microchip technologies, apps and highly saturated fields in terms of usability problems. Considering these realities, Industrial designers clearly needed some new motivations in order to keep innovation running.