Dyson, a brand renowned for producing easy- to-use, well-considered and quality products, commissioned a 10m x 10m island exhibition stand where they wanted to be a powerful and visible presence that reflected the brand identity. The client required to an eye-catching, exciting and visually attractive space that represented the brand values of the company, helped generate public and media interest and further promoted brand recognition.
Dyson’s modus operandi is to innovate by tackling design problems through a process of discovery and exploration. Its core philosophy encourages us to approach complex problem-solving with serious playfulness – to take things apart and put them back together again, better. Through this creative thinking of finding solutions, hundreds of small, incremental innovations are made to the product until it is highly functioning.
Over time, this process has allowed Dyson to develop a reputation for producing easy-to-use, well-considered and quality products – making the ordinary extraordinary.
The notion of ‘Serious Play’ is associated to an array of playful inquiry that serves as vehicles for complex problem-solving. Being in a playful mode promotes creativity and innovation as it fosters limitless possibilities.
The concept combines the purposeful and intentional play that exceeds the simple idea of having fun, with the serious aspect of focusing on the resolution of a task or challenge. Juxtaposed, they emphasise imagination and remove boundaries – enabling us to tolerate the uncertainty that characterises many of the problems modern society faces.
This project is a manifesto for a multisensory design experience. Sensory design improves human experience and provides everyone with the opportunity to receive information regardless of their sensory abilities.
The design represents a simplified depiction of the two stages of problem-solving, the problem and the solving, achieved by the tactile interaction required from the audience with the stand. The general aesthetic of the stand has a playful character; defined with the modular aspects of the stand, made of touch-sensitive LED cubic modules which incorporate the quintessential colours of iconic Dyson products.
The audience is presented with the following challenge: understand the problem and find the solution. When the cubes are touched, they illuminate through touch-sensitive illuminated panels, whilst also illuminating other cubes on the stand. The solution of the stand is found by illuminating all the cubes, which is only enabled through collaboration between the audience to get all cubes illuminated simultaneously.
“The non-judgmental environment of play, it is claimed, is more likely to foster surprising and innovative ideas.” Gauntlett
Clues to the problem are projected as texts onto the sides of the cubes, attracting the audience and encouraging interaction with the cubes themselves. These visual clues would also foster a deeper engagement with the stand. Thus creating a state of flow where participants lose track of time, further promoting Dyson and its identity.
The interactive cubes are made of touch-sensitive LED panels integrated in resin cubes. These panels are embedded with their own software system that creates interactive experiences through a range of visual sources: colours, videos, oscillators and noise generators. Sensors control how these visual sources are displayed in real time. By generating multiple sources of responsiveness, they enable an inclusive, multisensory design, contributing furthermore to Dyson’s proactive approach to building a better future and finding innovative solutions to complex problems.
“If you were to create something with a clear mind to it being used by people with a degree of infirmity, it would almost certainly make it better to use for all.” James Dyson