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Scaffolding as an Alternative Design and Creative Process


This is a Research through Design (RtD) project exploring alternative creative processes to add characteristics, functions, aesthetics, and sustainability into design. Drawing from the natural process of decomposition and the theoretical concept of natureculture, we conducted a series of ceramic experiments to identify four actionable design tactics-- fragmenting, aging, liberating, and tracing-- to design with and through nature. 


  • Research through Design

  • Design inventory

  • Interaction criticism

  • Making and crafting


  • Upcycle leftover materials, maximize recycled content, reduce environmental impacts of products, and support sustainability initiatives (e.g., read about Google's vision on circular economy and Microsoft's social responsibility goals).

  • Open the possibilities to create one-off products in a batch/mass-production fashion; providing a cost-effective way to create unique items.

  • Highlight and celebrate traces of use/wear to help increase ownership, extend product lifespan, and reduce waste. 



Jeffrey Bardzell (research manager), Shaowen Bardzell (research manager), Chase Gamblin (ceramicist), Wei Tseng (undergraduate researcher).



Szu-Yu (Cyn) Liu, Jeffrey Bardzell, and Shaowen Bardzell. 2019. Decomposition as Design: Co-Creating (with) Natureculture. In Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction: TEI '19. (acceptance rate: 23.8%) ** AWARDED HONORABLE MENTION!

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