combining space and media
The ReFashion Lab is a concrete example of how architectural space and interactive media can be combined to create new types of interaction.
Interactive media embedded into architectural and urban settings is creating new forms of mixed reality: enjoying the immediate physical nature of our built environments is blended with the ephemeral nature of animated digital media, interactive ambient sounds or kinetic events that react on the presence of the visitors. The space becomes an active interface to information and ambience. Beyond the static notion of architectural design, spatial program and digital content start to converge into a new entity.
The idea behind the ReFashion Lab is to deliver concrete, yet provocative examples for this new thinking. A prototype, that was physical, spatial and functional, was presented at two shows in late 2001, at Liljewalchs Art Gallery and at the Modern Museum in Stockholm. The fashion store was chosen as a thematic context, an environment that is charged with cultures of personal desire, big business, as well as artistic sensibilities. Marketing, design and social situations all play a big part in these commercial environments. This was providing a backdrop to test new scenarios of interaction between people, space and media as the core research topic.
The project was conceived as a collaborative and trans-disciplinary effort. It is testing by its very definition professional boundaries and modes of cooperation between designers, media producers and engineers. The platform is both a conceptual and technical term, allowing contributors from divers backgrounds to plug into the effort. The group included Nokia Research (Finland), Tomato Interactive (Interactive Media company, UK), Scanner (digital sound artist, UK), Christiane Posch (Industrial and interaction designer, Austria) as well as Fashion and jewellery designers form Germany and Sweden.
The ReFashion Lab major aim is to create a tangible precedence for interactive and responsive environments, that are conceived from the
A great deal of technical projects exist, that are mainly engineering driven and miss out on important cultural effects, sensibilities and experiences. Functionality and usability are important ingredients to interactive design, but cultural scenarios and an engaging design language are probably equally important to the understanding, acceptance and enjoyment of new types of interfaces.
The ReFashion Lab can be understood as a spatial media interface to information and ambience, addressing various senses in a personalised way. The novelty is the ubiquity of the technology in the space, without involving the visitor in complicated, technical ways of interacting with the technology. Instead the modes of interaction are modelled on existing notions of exploring an environment, like a fashion store.
Technology events in the ReFashion Lab can therefore be understood as an augmentation, or extension of existing real-world experiences. Physical space, artefacts and visitors are essentially joined into new conceptual entities through the use of digital media in a location and time specific, interactive context.
The prototype space offered an opportunity to assess those possible new relationships between people, interactive media and physical world.