This happened Rotterdam on unlocking hidden worlds

The successful series of talks called This happened has found a Rotterdam chapter now too. Last Thursday was the first edition in WORM. A lovely location and it was crowded as ever, even more than crowded. One of the four speakers – Pinar Temiz – fell ill unfortunately, so we missed the story behind the intriguing floating balloons in a room. Still 3 speakers left though of course.

The boys from Perceptor kicked off with a talk on their design for the webshop of Mendo, a book shop for table books. They try to approach the design of the shop different from normal shops by making visual stories on every book, something which fits the kind of books very well, and is also only possible with the small amount of inventory and dedication of shop owners that are designers themselves.

The shop has some tricks that are both practical and elements to give it an extra human touch. Showing the size of the book by the comparison with a sticky note and iPad. Also the possibility to get personal suggestions by a bookseller based on your wishes. The design is very strong in its hierarchy and eye for details.

As Bastiaan said: Better have beautiful seams than have seamless experience where you get lost. It turns out that the website is used for orientation more than buying. Something that is maybe even triggered by the way it is designed; you experience how important it is with these books to feel them.

The talk of Kristi Kuusk was interesting for things she did not tell or did. It seems like a kind of strange choice to stimulate the craftsmanship in textile making by adding a quite straightforward augmented concept. Especially because the connection between these kind of fabric production and the possibilities of the AR are rather weak; also every mass production cheap sheets can do the same, even better maybe.

And in the end possibly the most interesting part of the Bedtime Stories would have been to think how to add something to the stories that emerge in the in-between space. As BERG managed to do with Suwappu. Kristi wants to create a deeper connection with the textile and its production, there lies a chance in really adding something from the code/space into the textile, that can be unlocked. So therefor lies for me the most interesting part of this project, hope she can add that one time.

The last speaker of the night was Mattijs Kneppers talking on his ongoing development of ShowSync, a new way to connect audio and light into one balanced experience. More like the other time he presented the technology part of Eboman on This happened Utrecht, this project has a more aim, not only for the artist he developed it with (Feed Me). The trick is that he is creating an ecosystem with the elements of audio and lights linked together. It forces the different roles that makes a performance interesting working together on the same experience. Hopefully it can create a kind of standard so that it also will be possible to implement in situations where the lighting system is part of the venue instead of the artists entourage.

The talk of Mattijs was very nice to experience again. Showing his passion for the experience of audio and light and the way this can be connected to a digital virtual representation. And how this virtual component is in the end maybe even more defining for the experience than the psychical one. Which should be definitely the case for the concept of Bedtime Stories. And writing this down, it strikes me that this could be said of the work on Mendo too, if a shopper of a book that makes it’s orientation has probably a better experience of the book on the table later, than without. Which fits this edition in the end quite good to the theme of the week: Internet of Things.

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I am a design director at Structural. I curate and organize ThingsCon Netherlands and I am chairman of the Cities of Things Foundation. Before I was innovation and strategy director at tech and innovation agency INFO, visiting researcher and lab director at the Delft University of Technology coordinating Cities of Things Delft Design Lab.

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