Objects at Play

Objects at Play

speculative Design

The topic of interest for my thesis project during my final year of study in design is the relationship we, as humans, have with objects. Through a series of visual explorations, I question and discover how meaning is attached to the way we think about and use objects in our everyday lives. I'm interested in how these interactions define who we are as individuals and as humans collectively.

Objects have become a part of our social and spatial environments. By exploring these interactions, I hope to discover new ways of interaction and push the boundaries of what makes an object usable.

Visual Exploration 1

The motor skills that we learn and develop can become repetitive and associated with certain tasks and objects. I filmed a video that showcases various hand interactions with common objects, but without the objects. By doing so, I wanted to examine how closely related the human factor was associated with the physical object itself.

Is the purpose of an object defined by its maker or its user?

How do we learn to use new objects?

Visual Exploration 2

I decided to focus on the cutlery set as my focus for exploration. These tools have become extensions of our hands and is used for the essential task of eating. Because so many of us use these tools on a daily basis, I wanted to explore how these familiar objects can be challenged. 

These gif explorations plays with how objects can be manipulated to be used as needed. Although designed to perform other tasks, objects are also given meaning by their users. 

Visual Exploration 3

How can these objects be unusable yet still recognizable? Using the elements and principles of design, I applied these properties to the structure of the objects. By reverse engineering these objects, I am allowing the users an opportunity to challenge the interactions that are often overlooked in day-to-day activities.

I first sketched what these reimagined objects might look like.


From here I manipulated plastic eating utensils to create new, unusable objects. By doing so I am challenging the viewers to question affordances that are often overlooked. Making the familiar strange allows for critical design thinking.

How does the form of an object reflect its functionality?


How far can the limits of affordances be pushed?


How can these questions generate a more critical approach to design?


final outcomes


The results of this project allowed me to look at everyday objects through a more critical lens. The goal of this project was not to solve a specific real-world problem directly. Rather, it provoked questions and contemplation about things in our lives that have become "invisible" because they have become so integrated in our everyday activities. By making the familiar strange, we can allow ourselves to wonder why things are the way that they are and whether or not it has to stay that way. 

These questions are the first step in making valuable change possible.


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