Interactive Tea Ware was the conclusion to a 12 week internship with Tim Regan from Microsoft Research Cambridge.
The aim was to gently rouse conversation while elderly residents of a local care home were being served tea and coffee. Some residents found there was a lack of conversation while dining, possibly because the environment was always the same and therefore unable to stimulate new discussions. The design was informed by the way we act when a conversation goes quiet. At such times we often play with objects in our vicinity and look around our environment for something to talk about.
When you gently play with your cup, with the handle oriented within the radial pattern of the gilding, words subtly appear at random locations on the table cloth. Moving your cup continuously results in more words being shown. The words are taken from people’s reminiscences and poems, which combine to provide a variety of rich descriptions for interpretation by its users. These include events, sensations and past-times. The whole system was designed to become a subtle part of the environment and left ambiguous enough for residents and their visitors to interact and appropriate it how they see fit.
10/12 Praxis and Poetics, The Baltic, Newcastle, UK.