Researcher: Lore Veelaert
Supervisors: Ingrid Moons & Els Du Bois 

In product design, materials are considered as the building blocks of physical products and contribute to the product’s functionality and meaning. Over the last decade an increased interest has established in materials experience, which brings to attention the role of materials in affecting our ways of thinking, feeling and doing. Four experiential levels constitute our material experiences, namely sensorial (e.g., it is soft or rough), interpretive (e.g., it is modern or nostalgic), affective (e.g., it is surprising, disgusting), and performative (e.g., invites me to touch). 

This research aims at supporting industrial designers in user-centred materials selection, i.e. materials experiences based on the identity of the end-users (consumer segmentation), early in the design process. It explores relationships between plastic materials (such as virgins, recyclates and bioplastics), their expressive value and the link with self-expression of the end-user; in terms of personality, end values, ecological attitudes, etc. To capture both the experience of plastics - who appear quite similar at first sight - and the involvement of consumers, we propose that a physical material sample or demonstrator is needed, which is standardized to facilitate further research steps and objective data generation by consumers.

Period: 01/10/2017 - 30/09/2021
Partner: Department of Marketing