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Global Innovation Design (MA/MSc)

Zhaodi Feng

Zhaodi Feng is a multidisciplinary designer seeking the moment when playful idea meets in-depth thinking. She aims to design simple and light-hearted entry points to the complexity and contradiction of global issues, communicating through interactions, and engaging people in reflecting the relationship between the tradition and the future.

Profile picture

With a background in Architecture, I came to GID to explore more open-ended, multidisciplinary design from a global perspective. The main theme of my work over the past year has been discussing the role of traditions in the present and the future. Through multiple digital and physical media, I aim to design engaging interactions and experiences that foster reflections on various perspectives of this topic.

In this showcase, I am sharing the following relevant projects:

  • Promptac is an exploratory kit that discovers intuitive ways to communicate with AI through physical sensations, focusing on how we can mediate our relationship with technology.
  • KIKOE is an experiment of deformable traditional Japanese dessert reflecting the deterioration of the urban environment, discussing how new technology can be contextualized in traditional culture.
  • BobbinBand is an interactive music device that turns bobbin lace making into a MIDI control system, exploring how we can keep traditional crafts alive in a contemporary context.

Technology advancements have revolutionized the way we create, shifting from traditional crafts to digital design and now to AI-assisted generative design. However, as we spend more time in the digital realm, we may question if these innovations have disconnected us from the physical world. How might we bring physical sensations back to our creative process and mediate our relationship with technology?

Promptac is an exploratory kit that discovers intuitive ways to communicate with generative AI through physical sensations. Integrating a tactile interface with AI, Promptac helps your creativity flow as you get inspirations from the physical world, feel the touch of materials, and freely craft your ideas with your hands.

In addition to bridging the gap between digital and physical experiences, Promptac also attempts to minimize the reliance on text input when generating images. Most of current generative AI applications rely on natural language-based interfaces, and require explicit textual descriptions and precise modification of prompts. By reducing this reliance on text, Promptac has the potential to benefit individuals with disability in text communication, fostering inclusivity of technology in the potential future scenario of widespread usage of generative AI tools.

KIKOE: how it works

Our urban environment is deteriorating. Climate change, noise, and pollutants make it difficult for us to feel the rich and subtle experiences of changing seasons in nature as we once did. As a result, our sense of season and seasonal culture are fading.

Wagashi is a traditional dessert that reflects Japanese seasonal culture, where people use seasonal crops as ingredients and design them into various shapes based on the words of the seasons (季語) to convey people's perception of nature.

With the help of digital modeling and 3d food printing technology, KIKOE creates deformed wagashi based on temperature, noise, and pollutant data of the city, visualizing the deterioration of urban environments through familiar traditional foods and emphasizing the negative effects of urbanization.

Mechanism Design
How to Play

Crafts like bobbin lace are losing their appeal among the younger generation because they take a lot of time to learn and make, and have lost their functionality in modern life.

The process of learning bobbin lace is particularly time-consuming. Not only are the materials tedious to prepare, the resources needed to learn on your own are difficult to obtain, and it takes a lot of time to find and correct mistakes when weaving. How can we make the process of learning more accessible and bring the craft to a wider audience?

BobbinBand uses the principles of bobbin lace making and incorporates popular music game play to provide a new rhythmic way to learn and promote bobbin lace making.