Prototyping materials experience: Towards a shared understanding of underdeveloped smart material composites

Bahareh Barati*, Elvin Karana, Paul Hekkert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
372 Downloads (Pure)


Over the past years, product designers have been involved in collaborative developments of smart material composites early on in the development process, to showcase creative applications of them. In these projects, the way the material is presented to the development team and the extent to which its properties are defined affect how designers understand the potentials and boundaries of the material and envision product applications. In the context of a European project, Light.Touch.Matters, we studied the attempt of designers to understand and prototype underdeveloped composites of thin-film organic light emitting diodes and piezoelectric polymer. Arguing for a collaborative exploration of the unique experiences that such underdeveloped composites unfold, we elaborate on a challenge designers face in understanding and prototyping the experiential qualities, specifically, the dynamic and performative qualities. The paper presents our design approach and complementary tools to overcome this challenge. It further discusses the applicability and limitations of the proposed design supports in the context of collaborative materials development and outlines future research directions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-38
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Design
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Collaborative Materials Development
  • Design Tools
  • Experience Prototyping
  • Experiential Qualities
  • Smart Materials


Dive into the research topics of 'Prototyping materials experience: Towards a shared understanding of underdeveloped smart material composites'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this