A large image about the post

Interactive memories

Sharing about those who left

University Project / Comune di Trento, Italy

My role

Strategy, Research, Planning, Visual

Team

Me, Francesca Foffano (Strategy, Cool Sketches), Nathalia Campreguer (Research, Tech, Finances)

Timeline

2 months

Delivered

High-res mockups, structure sketches, concept

Challenge

Find an inclusive solution for a public space

This project was delivered for the Design for Social Inclusion exam at UniTn.

Process

State of the art

Literature review

Net exploration of urban installations

Ideation

Brainwalking

Feasibility

Analysis of tech

Analysis - partner companies

Analysis - public funding

Analysis - materials

Anti-griefing

Design

Futures

Literature review, first pass

We found three core concepts:

  • The difference between space and place
  • How inclusion forms an inescapable dyad with exclusion
  • Spaces are political, physical, cultural and social

Assumptions as constraints to unleash creativity

Knowing that inclusiveness in open spaces is a very broad theme, I involved the team in an experiment. We took our post-its out and silently wrote down what motivated us to work on this project, as well as how we would define its outcome as valuable. We then clustered the post-its and killed plenty of cards.

We turned motivation elements into assumptions that could constrain our ideation.

  • We want a place present in most cultures
  • Currently, people are excluding themselves from the place
  • We want a local place, so we can survey it

Next up we had to pick a place, after 15 minutes of brainstorming we had somewhat developed ideas for parkour, urban hacking, the care of green areas, an idea for community urban vegetable gardens, and many concepts around cemeteries.

We decided we would work on cemeteries, that excited us, it was thought provoking and left a lot of space for being creative.

Brainwalking ideation

At this stage we ran another state of the art and literature review on death and cemeteries, which didn’t bring significant insights.

To rapidly generate a number of developed concepts, I introduced the team to brainwalking, an ideation technique where participants generate ideas on paper and further build upon each other’s ideas by walking up to them and silently adding their own piece.

Ideation notes
Ideation notes
Ideation notes

At the end of the process we had developed what follows:

Letters to the dead, letters to the family

  • from the grave (dead and/or family) + from the notice board (family)

Plant a tree

  • memorial from someone who is buried elsewhere (eg. migrants)
  • message sent from cemetery tree (family or personal) to tree around the city or vice versa

Sharing memories installation

  • about the spatial disconnection of eternal sleep and places you lived
  • remembering the dead in loco around the city (like thoughts tree, the “messages” stay there to be read) + kinetic sculptures + lighting installation

Contextualizing

We realized the best way to evaluate our ideas was relating them to the local context.

We immediately weeded out the tree planting idea as green burial is not allowed in Italy.

Then we ran surveys to nearby cemeteries and looked for opportunities. Thanks to a netanalysis on the cemeteries and the surrounding areas and after talking to 2 sociologists living in the Trentino province we soon found that the very expensive Le Albere neighbourhood, designed by famous Renzo Piano, had lots of trouble filling vacant apartments facing the cemetery.

The Trento cemetery is located in a very expensive area, close to the city center. It is split in half by a pedestrian road that connects Le Albere with the city center, yet that road is seldom used for other purposes but cemeterial visits. Even public demonstrations that end their path in Le Albere’s fancy green areas actively avoid that road.

The existence of other initiatives for its enhancement and valorisation, such as

  • The concert of the dead, on All Saint’s Day (2nd november)
  • Tours around the history and art of the cemetery

further motivated us to focus the project on the Monumental Cemetery of Trento.

Shift from containing the dead to celebrating the dead

Change the perception and appeal that the cemetery has with the citizens.

Concept video courtesy of NOTA BENE Visual

A tunnel where memories are shared

A tunnel to share memories

Tunnel placement on the road that splits the cemetery and connects Le Albere to the city center

The tunnel creates shade, people coming through can interact with the projected memories.

Concept explainer sketches

Concept sketches

A sideways image of people is captured by the kinect, 2 different streams are projected on the ground and the wall creating a cutout effect.

Draw the attention and siphon the memories from strategic places

The form design of the kiosk and the tunnel were inspired by leaves, we conceived a structure of metal and painted plexiglass, intertwined in an otherwordly appearance.

A shocking appeareance

An appeareance to elicit curiosity

Kiosk placement in Piazza Duomo, Trento

Kiosk placement in Piazza Duomo, Trento

Placement in Piazza delle Erbe

Placement in Piazza delle Erbe

Installation in Via Cristoforo Madruzzo

Installation and kiosk in Via Cristoforo Madruzzo

Kiosk UI design

I followed iOS guidelines and added a few accessibility concepts, such as text resizing and a very large call to action.

The user reaches the kiosk, reads the instructions, sends a message about a loved one, is thanked and reminded of all the places where he can share memories and that it’s possible to see them all at the cemetery. As the scenario is pretty basic this was pretty straightforward to design.

Hello and language

Hello and language

Share a memory

Share a memory

Thank you & places

Thank you & places

Fostering Participation

We thought of ways in which we could inspire people to action.

  • Urgency - limited time only, maybe 1-2 weeks
  • Relevant timing (All Saint’s Day)
  • Media solicitation - set aside budget for media relations
  • Many stakeholders | Many contacts - the project will necessarily need cooperation from a few municipality and province offices, as well as companies to create/manage the artifacts
  • Leveraging communities - reaching out to local associations
  • Diversifying outlets - omnichannel communication
  • Collective call to action

Futures

The project received great acclaim, we won the best project award, and our professor herself asked us if we were interested in making that into reality. Sadly everyone of us had their lives planned and exciting opportunities and plans around Europe. But to be fair, we do think this project can have a future and also be expanded to public monuments and yet more cemeteries, not just Trento’s.