Matteo Bandi is a product and interaction designer from Italy, based in London. He came to the UK to study MA Design Products at the RCA. Matteo describes his time at the RCA as “a wonderful adventure into discovering what role technology could play in the relationship between ourselves and the objects around us.”
With a background in industrial design, Matteo spent his time at the College on a quest to discover the inner soul of objects. This involved considering how objects might sound by asking people to imagine conversations with their favourite objects. One outcome was a set of speculative objects that help reduce smart phone usage. From a desk lamp to an alarm clock, these objects only function when a phone is left with them. In turn, interactions with the phone stops the function of the object. Intended as helpful companions these objects prompt the user to remain in the moment by discouraging the distraction of their phones.
This process of questioning what an object or a product is, sits at the core of MA Design Products at the RCA. This inquiry drives the programme’s exploration of new terrain, helping to evolve new design disciplines and practices. Through critical questioning designers on the programme foster cutting edge creative practices for designing better futures.
Matteo is now a designer with Special Projects, a design and invention agency founded by fellow RCA graduates Adrian Westaway (MA/MSc Innovation Design Engineering, 2007) and Clara Gaggero Westaway (MA/MSc Innovation Design Engineering, 2007). Through his work there, and his own creative practice, Plot Generica, Matteo is continuing his investigations into our relationship with technology.
With Special Projects, he has been exploring the idea of calm technology. While acknowledging the power and utility of advances in technology, he has identified a need to redefine the narrative around the tools being created to centre human experience. For instance, he has been asking how we can take a step back from the functions and expectations of smart phones, to make them just a phone. Through this paired back approach he hopes to create a calmer way to think about technology.
Envelope by Special Projects, photograph by Colin Ross for Special Projects Studio Ltd.