Terra for the new era- Primary research

Rishiraj Ghosh
2nd year Industrial Design
National Institute of Design, Andhra Pradesh

In this second week of the Simple Product Design module, we were asked to use Design Thinking tools like AEIOU in our domains and draft some design briefs on them.
I, doing a material-driven approach, was still confused as the commonly used D.T. tools have not a direct connection to material-driven approaches.

Thus I researched about it and found about Material Experience lab and how they use their design methods to promote material Experience and research about new materials. inspired by them, the first thing I did is to understand the ‘Material experience factors’ in terracotta.

Along with it I also developed the Material Properties chart after further research,

And the next step in my process was to gather down data on current uses of the material in the present day,

A survey was also conducted to study the User-material relationship and observe patterns,

survey form in a mobile interface

and the collected data were-

After the survey, it was noticed that people do have a positive feeling towards the material, but there was still a cloudy gap from the amount they want to spend after the material, this analysis encouraged me to find the reason behind this attitude and the factors which led to the decline of the wide-spread use of earthenwares.

And it was also observed that people connect terracotta to domains like potteries, decoration, gardening but rarely connect it with the field of electronics, and this gave me another impulse to explore this opportunity area!

when they heard about ‘terracotta electronics’( please ignore the lame joke)

gradually, the confusion grew less as I proceeded, gathering and categorizing the collected data as it became wase to analyze.

I continued studying about properties and manufacturing methods of Earthenware, to understand the material more.

manufacturing processes for clay

All these helped me to develop a material experience vision and have a good conceptual understanding of earthenware, and to overcome the confusion. Now I was clear enough what to do for the assigned task.

Meanwhile, my fascination with the thermal abilities of Terracotta grew more and I drafted my first design brief on a cooling solution,

#brief 1- Design terracotta cooling solution for the household, which doesn't emit CFCs and uses a negligible amount of power, and cools the surrounding.

I was also touched by the earthen miniature statues of Odisha,( which I mentioned in the previous blog) and wanted to design something which preserves cultures and focuses on emotional factors a bit more than functional aspects. And was also inspired by the traditional terracotta tiles in Bengal which have stories in them, and came up with the next brief.

#brief 2- Design a mould kit consisting of different elements to make a story on a tile, so kids can make their own stories or their favorite stories by themselves.

While working from home for over a year, it was easy for me to observe around myself while working in-home and came up with the third brief-

#brief 3- Design a laptop cooler platform by using the thermal capabilities of Terracotta

Evaluation results of these briefs and further processes will be discussed in the next blog. Have a good day!

to be continued…

Industrial Design 2nd year National Institute of Design, Andhra pradesh