Experiences, feelings, and memories in life are some of the densest nutrients to develop creative concepts. This is what makes good design or art resonate with an audience. It is not easy to transform the experience of life into design. As an industrial designer, your concept will morph over time. From idea to production, multiple R&D phases, and many practical limitations such as manufacturing restrictions or market demands, add up to potentially diluting the original design’s origin. To fully understand these concepts, you must understand their roots in genuine life experiences.

SET UNIT portrays life experiences and memories through design. From the Institute of Applied Arts, National Chiao Tung University, designers Chen Hong-Lin and Liu Ta-Chung use their own experiences to create an interactive space showcasing their design work.

Food Design and Social Issues

Utilizing food as a motif, Chen Hong-Lin developed three “food designs” through his own experience ​​and reflections on current social issues.

Food Clothing

To increase the “pocket space” of clothing, keep-fresh bags have been integrated so the wearer can easily carry large amounts of their favorite food. The convenience provided by this design is undeniable and very space-conscious. The exaggerated food contents of this piece are “full” of meaning.

Having a variety of food to choose from garners the illusion of control over our daily lives. In reality, the importance we place on food exerts more control over us than the decisions we make about it. To reflect our daily consumption of grab and go food, the clothing has been tailored using disposable food packaging. The model, fat and bloated, shows the direct impact of fast food culture on humanity.

Food brick

After digesting the Food Clothing exhibit, one can’t help but begin to think about how to eat healthier. Food Bricks aids in the understanding of a well-balanced diet by transforming scientific data and into sensible bite-sized visual forms.

Sixteen different geometric shapes represent three types of nutrients: carbohydrate (starch), fiber, and protein. Designed with characteristics resembling the food source, the bricks are used to build a food tower. The three-dimensional “fool-proof” designs guide consumers to arrange bricks by the optimal order of consumption. The top protein bricks make people feel full and help to regulate food intake. Next is fiber, and lastly carbohydrates. Designing a balanced diet is no longer just data, but an intuitive guide to eating properly.

Food mold

After having his first child, Chen had observed the stages of food consumption for children. Three designs mark a child’s development stage for consuming food: liquid food, soft food, and finally finger food.

Each design weighs 80 grams which is the ideal nutritional portion for a baby’s meal. Four different shapes stimulate children’s sense of sight, touch, and taste. The color and texture of food aid in developing the senses. The size of the food can easily fit in a child’s palm and is shaped to develop motor skills. All of this aids in the child’s cognitive growth and lays a foundation for good food choices in the future.

Creating Perspective through a Sensory Refresh

Liu Ta-Chung recreates sensory installations from his personal life experiences using various materials, color, and other elements. Four installations simulate nature scenes through visual, auditory, tactile, and olfactory senses.

The Sound of Falling Rain

One of the strongest sensory experiences with nature is an encounter with rain. How can one express such a complex experience through art? One might intuitively draw from visual representations of rain. Liu Dachong utilizes a different sensory channel, expressing the experience through sound. The sound of rain is so natural and familiar, you can recognize it without seeing it. The patter of rain on a roof, ground, or even an unknown surface can be immediately recognized.

The Rainfall Series installation features an umbrella-liked device with a sound-producing mechanism. When the device is moved up and down, the plastic particles fall and knock the internal structure to mimic the different sounds of rain. The tactile feedback from the beads falling emphasizes the impression of rainfall.

Between Light and Cloud

Immediately following a rainstorm, rays of light shimmer through the sky. How can one recreate such a visually intricate scene?

A lighting arrangement captures puffs of fog as the roll through pillars of light. The scented fog evokes the feeling of being emerged in a forest.

Scene Moments of Light

The sky is easily taken for granted. Humanity has been looking to the sky since the dawn of our existence. Go outside to gaze, even for a moment, and you can very quickly be overcome by its beauty. If you take time to study the sky, you will see it is constantly changing: clouds continuously roll and colors advance in full spectrum.

A folding screen can be manipulated by the audience to change the color gradation and scale and positions relative to the time of day. Humanity has an emotional connection with time and atmospheric conditions which can be felt as the screen seemingly shifts through time.

Scenery Under Your Feet

Anyone who has been hiking or camping knows how quickly you find yourself immersed in the fresh breath of a forest. The cool temperature and the sound of walking across a carpet of leaves make a strong connection with nature. How does the forest’s unique environment translate to an indoor space?

By researching various foliage, paper designs are tailored to match the appearance of fallen leaves. The audience is encouraged to handle the leaves, simulating the sound of the forest, bringing the experience indoors through hearing and touch.

The two designers’ perceptions are realized through interactivity and a play on the senses such as sight, hearing, touch, smell. Both exhibitions complement each other to deliver a comprehensive concept. Whether indoor, outdoor, urban, or natural environment: as long as you are willing to open your senses you can discover inspiration.