Design e Sinestesia

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Publishing Thesis
Politecnico di Bari · Industrial Design course
Supervisor: Nino Perrone


Brief. Constantly senses are stimulated by the environment, by emotions, by the nature of things. But the perception is never univocal and involves our whole being. My thesis is based on the concept of synesthetic experience and it begins with the friendship with a blind woman and the rediscovery of everyday perception, beyond the world of the image. This visual report is born with the aim of rediscovering the sensory and its multiple possibilities of expression. The research start off with the interpretation cycle, the perception theory and the meaning of stimulus or emotion and how humans can react to these pulses indoors and outdoors.

Experiment. The word synesthesia derives from the greek synáisthìsis which means “perceiving together”. Particular form of interaction, in which stimulus and sensations establish their precise relationship between cause and effect. With a sample of 20 students of the Polytechnic of Bari I tested this theory through a Basic Design experiment. Participants are blindfolded and they must perceive five different materials in identical containers. The blindfolded participants are invited to interact with the materials and fix in mind the feeling. The signs produced by the participants, are the graphic translation of perceptions often with common characteristics. I took as a reference the experiment of Professor Dina Ricco made in 2005, with the aim of identifying the qualities perceived in color, according to an organized system of two axes, poles equidistant soft-hard and hot-cold. During my experiment, the participants express their olfactory-gustatory-tactile sensation of the five materials proposed placing patches of color on the same scheme.

Final project.
I have designed the five patterns with the aid of four schemes for the construction of the graphic sign: the color perception, the recognizability and the inclination. With the data obtained I started to draw the geometry of the explanatory pattern of synesthesia, from a square module that multiplied builds the final design. All the elements were designed according to the results, with recognizable forms to the eye and to the touch even if they are scaled, maintain a balance between full and empty and between the proportions of the signs. The transformations of the original pattern as reflection, rotation, scaling and possible combinations are allowed only if it does not upset the structure and the general perception.

With the technique Minolta I finally realized the pattern in relief. The procedure is based on the use of a special paper “microcapsules”. These cells are deposited on a sensitive paper and swell and explod with heat. The relief pattern make available some aspects of the surrounding reality otherwise be impossible. The two hands operating movements in rapid succession create rich and complex mental images.