Life Examined: SusLab at the London Design Festival / by Dan Lockton

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Photo by Karolina Raczynska

London Design FestivalFrom 15–23 September, our work on SusLab will be featured in Life Examined, the 2013 Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design exhibition, taking place at the RCA’s Dyson building in Battersea as part of the London Design Festival.

Dyson exterior_Helene Binet

Photo by Helene Binet

Life Examined is the annual presentation of design projects by the Helen Hamlyn Research Associates, exploring design to improve people’s lives. Socrates famously observed that ‘the unexamined life is not worth living’. Here the theme of ‘life examined’ reflects the emphasis in the work on in-depth user research with different groups of people – from taxi drivers, hospital patients and office workers to care home residents with dementia or autism. These interactions with individuals and communities are captured in a series of specially commissioned photographs that will form the backbone of the exhibition.

The Helen Hamlyn Research Associates programme provides a platform for new design graduates of the RCA to address key social challenges, and is supported by a wide range of business, public sector and third sector partners.

As part of our SusLab display, we will be presenting insights and outcomes from our ethnographic research and inviting visitors to explore their understanding of ‘what energy looks like’, visually. This is part of an ongoing theme within the project, aiming to understand better people’s mental models of energy, to enable us the design of new interfaces for showing energy use, in Phase 2 of SusLab.

Alongside Life Examined, two other exhibitions are taking place: Mind the Gap looks at the challenges facing modern urban transportation hubs and the design strategies used to respond to them —a collaboration between RCA Design Products’ Platform 17 students and the National Cheng Kung University in Tainan, Taiwan; and Lazy Bytes, a collaboration between EPFL+ECAL Lab, the Kudelski Group, the RCA, ENSCI – Les Ateliers, and Parsons The New School for Design, asking ‘Can the TV remote control become a valuable object?’