Studio 19: Material in Motion

Studio brief

"Things make us just as much as we make things" (Miller). This studio will explore a reading of objects focusing on the interplay between materials, the objects they form and their context.

We will investigate what constitutes a stimulating relationship with objects such that an audience will invest time, money and thought in acquiring them. This will involve consideration of the complex relationships between material, object and context, covering both intentional and unintentional aspects. The attributing of value will be considered as a judgement made by an audience, whether an individual or by society more broadly. This exploration will embrace the perception and experience of objects from a broad sensory perspective, how they function against intent and over time, the potential for emotional attachment, our own and other cultural perspectives and economic interests. We will also analyse object transformation from ordinary to extraordinary or obsolete, through transitions of time and context.

The studio will be of relevance to 3D students interested in consumer culture, and more specifically those seeking to grow audience desire for their work, whilst valuing the principle of consuming less. It will also speak to those interested in contemporary material culture, that have an interest in what such objects do and will say about us, and the times that we live in, to future generations. From a ‘me’ to a ‘we’ focus, you will have the opportunity to consider the implications of your research in relation to your design practice decisions.

View: Westfield Commercial plus a short behind-the-scenes film on the making of the commercial for the launch of Westfield London.


The London Design Festival
Various events, various venues 7 – 27 September 2016

Colour and Vision – Through the Eyes of Nature
Natural History Museum, London 15 July - 6 November 2016

Engineering the World: Ove Arup and the Philosophy of Total Design
Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum, London 18 June – 6 November 2016

Silver Speaks
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Silver, Room 66 8 March 2016 – 2 July 2017

Beazley Designs of the Year
Design Museum, London 24 November 2016 – 19 February 2017

Week 1 to 7 – In addition to introducing the formal framework of a dissertation, the first seven weeks will model a development of a dissertation proposal, which can be varied or interpreted or even ignored, assuming you present an alternative model. A combination of material/object handling sessions, object in context visits, readings, short pieces of writing, group work plus discussion and debate, will demonstrate how what you do can produce a dissertation. These weeks will also serve to demonstrate that you are a valuable resource to each other in identifying authentic areas of interest, engaging with the dissertation process and developing confidence in setting up a range of primary research experiences.

Week 8 to hand in – You will set up a support agreement within the group, meeting regularly to continue to share ideas, research, books etc and offer feedback, which it is hoped will be of great mutual benefit over the following weeks of self-study and individual tutorials.

Reading list

  • Chapman, Jonathan, Emotionally Durable Design: Objects, Experiences, and Empathy, (London: Earthscan, 2005)
  • Karana, Elvin, Owain Pedgley, Valentina Rognoli, Materials Experience: Fundamentals of Materials and Design, (Amsterdam: Butterworth–Heinemann, 2014)
  • Salminen, Justin, and Trevor M. Letcher, Janet L. Scott (eds.), Materials for a Sustainable Future (Cambridge: Royal Society of Chemistry, 2012)
  • Sudjic, Deyan, The Language of Things (London: Penguin, 2009)
  • Turkle, Sherry, Evocative Objects: Things We Think With (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2011)
  • Schwartzman, Madeline, See Yourself Sensing: Redefining Human Perception (London: Black Dog Pub, 2011)
  • Dudley, Sandra (ed.) Museum Materialities: Objects, Engagements, Interpretations, (Oxon: Routledge, 2009)
  • Simmel, Georg, 1903
The words, "Shopping in a new light" against a plain black background.


Tutor Heidi Yeo

Dissertation Studios