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Interactive traveling museum exhibit


Fondazione Achille Castiglioni created in honor of Achille Castiglioni (1918-2002)  an architect and designer of furniture, lighting, and accessories; whose methodology was to approach design with an eye to innovate and redefine products and product experiences. He focused on making pieces beautiful second to being functional. We were approached by the foundation because they needed a design solution for a traveling exhibit. The museum's location is in  Achille Castiglioni’s original studio in Milan, Italy. The space is tiny as it was never meant to be a museum, it can only give scheduled tours to a maximum number of 20 people per tour. Due to the limited space capacity, the studio was seeking alternatives for museum exhibits. They need the exhibit to be easy to pack up and move. For the exhibit to travel according to the foundation's standards, it would need to fit in a fly box (typically used to carry band gear) or smaller. 

My team and I were given the Sella, a chair designed by Achille Castiglioni and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni in 1957. My role was research, user and stakeholder interviews, user experience, creative coding, wireframing, and prototyping.  The team consisted of Monica Calmet and me interaction designers, Kevin Tian a product designer, Eze Eribo and Sai Titan business designers, and Jyothsna Joshi an interior designer. 


After being briefed by the client my team and split to do individual research on the Sella, Fondazione Achille Castiglioni, and Achille Castiglioni himself. During the time we also got to visit the museum and experience the tour first hand. We met to discuss our research and began running exercises starting with journey mapping of the current museum visit. We continued brainstorming and conceptualizing before settling on some ideas. 


Our user focus for this exhibit was three target audience groups. First, the general public which is people of all ages who are curious. Next, millennials specifically creative minds that are students and younger audiences. Lastly, we developed design lovers persona who are loyal fans and design advocates. We developed personas for each of our target groups.




We wanted to capture the era in which the Sella was created, the 1950s. We decided to transform the visitor using a 1950s style phone booth and explain the Sella design through a series of interactive videos and a hacked vintage rotary phone. 

We wanted to have the interactive experience be personal and intimate. But for the people who are waiting to enter the booth for the one on one experience, we created a few other interactions to keep them entertained. For the people approaching the booth, we featured a face in hole type attraction to encourage social sharing, while on each side, there are windows that you can open, upon opening they will reveal a fun and interesting fact about Achille Castiglioni, his products, or his studio. 

The Prototype

Me and Monica Calmet with the help of our mentors from Dot Dot Dot and the materials and space provided by their fab lab Open Dot coded the experience using Arduino, Xbox Kinect, a vintage rotary telephone, and a computer monitor. 

We hacked the vintage rotary phone using Arduino and Processing, along with a series of short clips we filmed to create the experience we planned for the Sella experience. 

Additional Images