Aria. Your naturally imperfect glass

by Elisabetta Coccioni

Aria is a family of mouth blown glasses for everyday use made with a mixed technique to control the shape and at the same time allow the material to express itself naturally. Co-design methods were integrated with workshop experiments on shape and glass expressions and the constructive dialogue with the master blower.

Two experimental activities were set to be as close as possible to the users’ genuine and spontaneous experiences in order to investigate the innovative potential hidden in everyday life situations. During the activities I used experience prototypes (Buchenau and Suri, 2000) as a way to allow people to experience directly the objects (prototypes) and open both the opportunity for conversation and reflection on problems and opportunities not so obvious before the experimental activities.

The opportunity to realize the activity matched with my long postponed plan of dining with three good friends of mine. The idea was to involve a group of close friends to investigate the role of the drinking glass as means of communication and social gesture in a friendly environment and, eventually, start a conversation about possible new directions. The activity furthered some of my intuitions for the packaging, meant as a tool for direct interaction and involvement of the user and integral part of the product itself.

Particularly meaningful was the moment of the toast before eating. The table was dressed with a set of cutlery, a plate and two glasses for each of us: one taller and one lower and wider. For the toast each of us spontaneously picked a glass for the wine, some of us the taller one and some the lower one. The spontaneity and informality of this gesture highlighted a sense of serenity and relaxation. The freedom of choosing without impositions, the ability to give the glasses the destination we wanted, appeared to me as a potential feature for the entire glass family.

The glasses were then developed in their final shapes in order to be able to interact between each other and leave open some interpretative space for their use.

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