Squeezy Peasy

Investigating delightful tactile interactions in objects
Project was awarded Wallpaper* Handmade Next Generation Singapore Designer 2018. Full research of project can be viewed here︎︎︎.

Squeezing is such a familiar gesture rooted in everyday life. In addition, there seems to be an inextricable relationship between squeezing and a sense of joy.

Driven by a fascination around this gesture, I was interested in imagining objects that could live in this world — objects which could seemingly come to life through the act of squeezing. 



Why squeezing?

The proliferation of smart objects and devices in our homes today has reduced our interactions and experiences with objects simply to a surface. Nowadays, our hands curve around metal and plastic while our fingertips tap against flat glass screens.

I decided to focus on the gesture of squeezing as a potential soft tactile experience to be designed around. The act of squeezing is a familiar and instinctive gesture psychologically rooted within us, yet seemed to be relatively undertapped as a product interaction.

Intrigued by the sense of innate joy that naturally comes from squeezing, I wondered if I could recreate that experience through everyday objects.




Squeezing in current products

Mapping out existing products that are linked to the gesture and experience of squeezing, I found that they could largely be divided into two categories.

I wondered if I could explore the intersection between the two, striving for objects which could have a sense of “pleasurable functionality”. The design outcome should ultimately invite interaction and user experience without undermining its original functionality.




Selected ideas

Through the rounds of ideation, several ideas which I felt were interesting, surprising and worth further development were shortlisted.

Two ideas were eventually selected to showcase the final design direction due to the technical feasibility and interest shown by users.




Form development

Being inspired by everyday objects, the design of the objects should vaguely resemble them. However, the inference should not be too literal.

Overall, they should feel friendly and approachable to the users. Details such as gentle transitions, round proportions were picked up and considered for the eventual design.

Prototyping of internal components and electronics were also done to develop the interactions of the objects.




How it works

The table lamp increases in brightness the more it is squeezed, and dims when a plug at the back is released.

With a similar gesture, the portable speaker increases its volume, and gradually quietens when it is set upright.




Exhibition and showcase

Following an open call by Wallpaper* for all young Singaporean designers to submit their ideas along the theme of “Wellness + Wonder”, the lamp was eventually selected as part of 44 projects to be shown at the 2018 Handmade exhibition held in Milan and Singapore.


Year
2018

Awarded
Wallpaper* Handmade Next Generation Singapore Designer

Press
Wallpaper* August 2018︎︎︎
Wallpaper.com︎︎︎
DesignSingapore Council︎︎︎
The Business Times︎︎︎
Indesignlive.sg︎︎︎
NUS News︎︎︎

Exhibitions
Wallpaper* Handmade: Wellness & Wonder
Wallpaper* Handmade Retreat, Singapore Design Week

Cover Photo
Alberto Strada


End Photo
Jovian Lim

Mark

© 2021 Edmund Zhang. All rights reserved.