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Amplified Nature

Social Inclusion; Service Design

Amplified Nature is a series of rest stations that amplify natural surroundings, encouraging user interactions and facilitating meetings with nature as a common ground. The project was developed in collaboration with Kolding Municipality to encourage citizen interactions, and ensure inclusion of vulnerable members of the community. User-centric approach and co-creation practices made it possible to include the citizens in the design process.






Role  —  Service Designer, Researcher



Skills used; Qualitative Research; Service Design, Social Inclusion; Design Thinking; Workshop planning and facilitation






The context


The subject was an old 10 km long railway line located in one of Kolding’s forests, which became a walking trail for a variety of users living the area. Two public institutions, a psychiatric hospital and a school for people with disabilities use the forest to facilitate their activities. 







The challenge


The challenge was to design a space that is inclusive, interactive, but also one that can facilitate short meetings and moments of rest. Moreover, the stations had to be designed for people with various disabilities,  and blend with the natural surroundings (forest, fields, rivers, etc.)




The solution


The solution is a series of 5 rest stations, each amplifying the unique surroundings that it was located in. It allows observation, exploration, and interaction. The interaction happens on 3 levels, interaction with nature, interaction with the object that amplifies nature, and the interaction between the users.


Station 1

Amplifying the sound of water


Station 2

Interaction with the sounds of the wind
Station 3 

Kaleidoscope 


Station 4
— 
Reflections of the contrasting surroundings
Station 5

Amplifying the water reflections






The process

The user-centric process was possible thanks to the collaboration with institutions, and the employees who often acted as proxies for the end-users. To see the problem from many different perspectives, we have interviewed both the users, but also specialists, ranging from nature therapists to caregivers.





Empathize 

The key to understanding the target group were meetings in context, during which the team gained an insight into the daily life of the participants, built a better understanding of what excites them, and what are problems they  face.

Methods applied: Object-based research, Visual Probes, Triangulation, Observation, Interview in context, Recordkeeping, Desktop research

Key findings: the users enjoyed spending time in nature, and observe it, they appreciated activities with a clear goal, as well as a sense of responsibility, they needed to tell about and share their experiences with other












Define

The concept focused on nature as a common ground and the seasons, creating playful and participatory interactions, that activated different senses, from hear and sight, to touch. User-centric, and inclusive approach remained the core of the project, in order to design interactions that had the right level of abstraction, suitable for the most vulnerable users. To ensure the feasibility of the concept the team included the stakeholder’s perspective, the environment and the available assets, as well as the physical restrictions of the users.






Ideation
— 

In the ideation phase, the team focused on the elements of nature that could be amplified, the possible interactions that could be encouraged, and on incorporating a feeling of exploration.











Prototyping



Testing

We tested the effects planned for each station by amplifying nature on a small scale. The project was presented and consulted with architects, and social workers. 




Project designed in collaboration with
Maria Villadsen
Pierre Ramaekers
Hsiang Sheng Wu