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Student Showcase Archive

Shalini Sahoo

PhD Work

PhD work

harmonising Human Material Interaction (hHMI) in Interiors of Public Transportation

This research is an effort to analyse, understand and enhance the quality of Human-Material-Interaction in interiors of public transportation, aiming to generate a rational understanding of elements that contribute to the ‘wellbeing’ for humans in these shared public spaces. In this context wellbeing is understood as balancing the physical, the psychological and the emotional state of the commuters. Providing passengers a quality of life they otherwise reserve for leisure. Through self-driving cars, mobility apps, shared taxis etc. society is moving towards a paradigm shift in the way we relate to mobility. The private vehicle ownership is disappearing from the urban landscape; the future of mobility is collaborative utilisation. Shared interiors of public transport will gain increasing importance.

Any well-designed environment can become a strong influence on what people think and do. Interiors of urban transportation systems are intersection points for culture, society, technology and environment. harmonising Human-Material-Interaction (hHMI) in this space, has the potential to balance and de-stress the human component in it. Thus transforming the passive commutation time into a time of relaxation contributing to the general upliftment of the urban life experience. More than addressing the established issues of sustainability, this investigation is human centred. 

Grounded in a vision of ethical design, it is looking at the potential for design to enhance the qualities of public realm. An enclosed space in movement is a complex composition of proportions, materials, surfaces, colour, lighting, sounds and smells. How can these elements be arranged in sensitive ways to create a space which positively influences the state of being? The research will be an in-depth study of their semantics – indicating, symbolic functions and its connection to formal aesthetic aspects. The outcome will be guidelines, defining parameters to induce a ‘quality-of-life’ experience in the urban system of mass transit.



  • PhD


    School of Design


    Intelligent Mobility, 2016–

  • Intentions define the essential nature of everything we create and eventually become a part of. In Shalini’s works and her dealings, to question this basic intention is of prior importance. As a practitioner in design Shalini Sahoo has been conversing for over a decade between two worlds – as a barefoot designer with craftspersons in the Indian subcontinent and as a colour and material designer for the German automobile industry. This colossal span in practice has made her reflect on the potential and impact, design as a profession has on society at various levels. Shalini’s portfolio is enriched with international work experiences. Ranging not only over continents but also over social milieus. 

  • Degrees

  • Textile Design, National Institute of Design, India, 2005
  • Experience

  • Lead Colour & Trim Designer, Johnson Controls GmbH, Burscheid, Germany, Automotive Experience, Product Business Unit: Trim & Fabrics, Berlin, Germany / La Roque d‘Olmes, France, 05. 2009 - 03. 2012; Visiting faculty, Department of fashion design, Textile Technology, University of the Arts, Bremen, Germany 10. 2007 - 03. 2008; Senior Product Designer, Casamoda GmbH, Oldenburg, Germany. 07.2012 - 09.2013; Visiting faculty, Department of textile design, Design Process, Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Karachi, Pakistan. 01. 2007 - 01.2014; Designer, Sea Designworks: Trends, Research & Material Design, Bremen & Munich, Germany. 09. 2013 - 09.2016
  • Awards

  • Crespi International Trophy, Nominated, 2003; Ford Foundation, Scholarship, 2000 - 2003; Arts and Humanities Research Council award AH/L503782/1, London Doctoral Centre for Design; Heinrich Böll Stiftung Scholarship, 2016 -
  • Conferences

  • Design Process behind a Material Culture Research, Materielle und Visuelle Kultur, Carl von Ossietzky Universität, Oldenburg, Germany, 2014; What is Material Culture Research in Design? Department of Integrated Design - University of Moratuwa, Colombo, Sri Lanka, 2014; Systems Design Analysis, in the Forum aktuelle Tendenzen in Design, Materielle und Visuelle Kultur, Carl von Ossietzky Universität, Oldenburg, Germany, 2009; Ethical dyeing and the tribes of northeast India, Paper presentation, UNESCO, 2006; Sahoo, S., Balint, T., 2017. „Essentiality of hHMI (harmonising Human Material Interaction) in Space Habitats,“ 68th International Astronautical Congress, Session 5.1—Architecture for Humans in Space: Design, Engineering, Concepts and Mission Planning, Ad; Sahoo, S., 2017. Thema: Farben-Psychologie Anlass: Wo-chenserie „Farbe“. North West Radio, Bremen, March 24.; Sahoo, S., 2017. harmonising Human Material Interaction (hHMI) within interiors of Public Transportation. UITP Glo-bal Public Transport Summit, Montreal, May 15-17.; Sahoo, S., 2017. “harmonising Human Material Interaction (hHMI)”, Design Talks, SAP Labs, Montreal, September 13.; Sahoo, S., Shahryar, I. 2017. “Reanimating the Indigenous Crafts”, Canadian Craft Biennial, Session: Indigenous Craft Today: Tradition, Innovation, Action. Toronto, September 15-16.; Sahoo, S., Conti, M., 2017. harmonising Human Material Interaction (hHMI) within interiors of Public Transportation. IIID, Traffic & Transport Forum, Session- Information as a (Public) Service, Linz, Austria, November 22-23.; Sahoo, S., 2018. Designing Public Spaces. A pre-work talk on Public Spaces, IXDS Design Labs, Berlin, March 06.; Sahoo, S., Spindler, S., 2018 „Cutting Together-Apart“, RCA Cross College Symposium: Feminisms and Materialisms, Gorvy Lecture Theatre, Battersea, May 25.; Sahoo, S., 2018. Understanding Design and Architectural Patterns within Public Transportation. UITP, Design & Cultu-ral Platform, 17th Meeting, Vienna, March 01-02.; Sahoo, S., 2018. EuroMoonMars 2018, Art and Science Presentations, ESTEC Nördwik, April 19-20.; Sahoo, S., Balint, T., 2018. “Reference Earth: A Biophilic Intervention in Space,” 69th International Astronautical Congress, Session 5.1 — Space and Society, Engineering, Concepts and Mission Planning, Bremen, Germany, Octo-ber 01 - 05.