Hey, I'm Jason! I'm an interdisciplinary designer using digital and physical experiences to tell stories about where we've come from and we're headed in the future.
In collaboration with IKEA and Spacon&X for Helsingborg's city expo, our group envisioned a community designed around self-expression through voices.
Jan - May 2022
teammates: Arati, Zahra, Muhui, Lucien, David, Emma, Feiyu
Among four universities selected to work on this project, we were given the brief to envision a future community that addresses a contemporary issues, and connects people to their communities and nature.
For the first half of the project, we held discussions centered around each our unique cultural perspectives and interpretations of the prompt. We decided on the theme of enabling a fulfilling lifestyle through self-actualization. Self-actualization, resting at the pinnacle of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, is described as "the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming." We make the claim that self-expression is essential for actualization, and that the materialistic society is preventing people from genuinely expressing themselves.
Within the faceless crowds of concrete jungles and the cyberspace, people have resorted to using material goods to express themselves. This culture of superficial expression deprives us of having our real voices heard.
"The first stage of the economy's domination of social life brought about an evident degradation of being into having — human fulfillment was no longer equated with what one was, but with what one possessed. " - Debord, The Society of the Spectacle
Using the human voice as a metaphor for self-expression, we chose the amphitheater as inspiration for our design, creating a semicircular plan with raised levels and steps that also acted as seating.
The shelters face inwards, allowing inhabitants to partake in conversations happening in the center. The walls of the shelters open out outowards, allowing inhabitants to find peace in listening to the voices of nature. The elevation of the shelter raises the viewer's eyeline and creates a layer of privacy.
We imagined a new type of infrastructure built to support voices as a form of expression. Tubes that weave through the structure carry and project users' voices, akin to a new type of plumbing.
courtesy of Spacon&X
After the construction team finished the wooden framework, we drove up to Helsingborg to install the speakers and pipes. Last minute complications left us without a roof and misplaced rails, but with some quick improvisation we were able to repurpose a cover out of a sail.
With 8 designers in our group from completely different backgrounds, this project was definitely not a walk in the park. It took a lot of collaboration, communication, and compromise, but we emerged with a better understanding of ourselves and possessing grander visions for the future.
From left to right: Zahra Ghiasi, Lucien Tirou, Jason Pi, Feiyu Wu, Arati Dhakal, Emma Witt, Muhui Ou. Not pictured: David Wenner