May 10, 2015

Walking in comfort at Salone del Mobile Milan  

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How to bring ECCO, the global shoemaker’s story to life. Hirsch & Mann’s Ditte Blohm in collaboration with the Kolding School of Design, was invited to create an experience at the Salone del Mobile Milan that stood for ECCO’s unique ability to tailor for the individual and their belief that – no individual should walk on sore feet.

From the words of the lovely Ditte…….

Walk with me

 

We devised an installation that encouraged participants to explore their own harmonic measurement for themselves but also with a complete stranger. With the intention of setting up the parameters to discover the notion of individuality and our relationship to family, friends and strangers. Reflecting on this idea by physically showing how the viewer’s response and reactions can relate to each other. Mirroring ECCO’s diverse and individual focused customer base.

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Looking a stranger in the eye.

 

The ephemeral quality of the space, coupled with pulsing lights attracted visitors towards the container structure. Cocooning the space with sound absorbing materials to suggest a feeling of ease and intimacy – the visitors were encouraged to immerse themselves in the experience by placing a headset on.  Working with Hirsch & Mann’s creative technologist George Profenza created a number of extensive experiments to hack EEG headsets to help overcome some complex coding challenges that enabled us to create an experience that through sensors attached to both the forehead and earlobe – connected each visitor together but what was going on inside their minds.

This helped to support prosocial interactions that benefited strangers to connect with each other in an alternative was. The piece reacted through a light system we devised that if the participants made contact would ignite a series of 14 lights. Looking directly at another participants eyes would trigger all lights – instigating a more focused and concentrated moment between strangers.

A brief encounter can be profound

 

The response to the exhibit was overwhelming. As designed, it attracted a breadth of visitors who embraced the experience with an uninhabited curiosity. It challenged people who didn’t know each other to light up the installation and silently look into each others eyes. For the audience, both the expectation and visual stimuli, built up the confrontation of looking a stranger in the eye – in a present meditation.
Throughout the exhibition visitors were intrigued and eager to come back with friends and family to share the positive experience and growing ease of interacting with complete strangers. Lighting up different states of mind through: laughing, jumping, listening and focusing on each others faces. Quantifying the visitors response through activating lights that could be measured with a smile.