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PosturAroma Wins Design Award at the Design and Emotion Conference

PosturAroma, the MediaLAB project executed by Shin, Laura and Akarsh, won the best design Award at the Design & Emotion conference in Bogota, Colombia.

Read the story of Shin and Laura and their trip to Bogota

From the 6th of October till the 12th of October Shinichiro Ito and me, Laura Mul, went to Bogotá, Colombia to present our project called PosturAroma at the 9th Design and Emotion Conference at the Universidad de los Andes. This project was facilitated by MediaLAB Amsterdam. It is a project on women’s safety in Amsterdam. The PosturAroma is a necklace that should make women feel more confident by improving their body posture. Read more on this on

On the 6th of October 2014 I arrived in Bogotá. Waiting for my bag at the airport, after a delayed flight, I spotted Shin. He is one of the PosturAroma project members. I looked at him and he said he dressed up like a homeless person to avoid getting into dangerous situations. I laughed and thought that it would have made sense if he wouldn’t have had a huge suitcase and looked Japanese.

The next day we went on to the Montserrat Mountain and walked around the city. We checked in at the Design and Emotion conference. We received a badge saying ‘lecturer’ and felt like famous people. After this we had a typical Colombian meal called Bandeja Paisa.

Figure: Conference’s program

On Wednesday the 8th the conference started. First of all there was an opening ceremony where several people spoke, among them the head of the design department of the Universidad de los Andes, the ambassador of Holland, the dean of the Universidad de los Andes and Marco van Hout (or Don de Madera).  After this, the first keynote speaker, Cynthia Smith, took the floor. Apparently this woman has a Smithsonian institute which holds a huge collection of design items. The focus of these designs lays on Socially Responsible Design.  One of the projects she showed during her talk were houses designed by Elemental Design. These houses are very simple and can easily be moved around. They can be bought by the lower class, but can also be upgraded if a upperclass family decides to live in it. This is what the open spaces are for. This is how all the designs discussed during the presentation, adapt to the surrounding people.

Figure 2: Elemental Design

After this talk, the first presentations started. For me, one of the most interesting lectures was the one by Steven Fokkinga on a running app. This app encouraged people to run by making them feel scared. Another very interesting talk was by Suzanne Overmars who designed an interactive interface to experience what a fabric looks and feels like exactly. The idea is that when a consumer wants to buy something online that is made of fabric, he or she can come closer to how it feels in real life. Below you can see what the application looks like.

Figure 3: Interface used for Suzanne Overmars’ research

On this same day our presentation took place. This was very exciting, because people were very enthusiastic. After the presentation, people came after me, because they missed the presentation and wanted to see the necklace. There were even two people who were interested in improving the prototype further.

Figure 4 : people asking questions after the presentation

After a few interesting days, the closing ceremony took place on Friday. There were prizes to be handed out, amongst them one for best design case. I was already really happy with all the attention we received and I didn’t think we would get a prize. In the end, we won the best design case award, which was great.

The next morning we went home.  We were more then satisfied. Satisfied with the experience of attending and presenting at a conference, with the prize we won, with the overload of mojitos we got the previous night, with the many places we have seen in only four days and with the fact that we didn’t get robbed. After all, it might have been Shin’s outfit that saved us.