Xavière van Rooyen
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“ Hi! I am Xavière and I am working towards a world with inclusive and impactful experiences through social design and UX-design.”

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Crafting Inclusive and Impactful Experiences through Social Design and UX


We created a 3D full-scale experimental prototype for demonstrating how adaptable spaces and lighting can evoke human experiences

Keywords:  Barba design, testing emotions
Project:    Lighting design 2023

Winy Maas, a renowned Dutch architect, came up with the concept of 'Barba'. Barba is a future vision of how our built environment will be able to use space more efficiently (Maas et al., 2015). The idea is based around shapeshifting material, referred to as barba material. 

This (Barba) material can adapt itself to the users' wishes. For example, when people are sleeping, they do not need a kitchen, bathroom, etcera. At that moment, the Barba material will adapt itself accordingly and will allows for the space to be used for other co-habitants.
Research had already been conducted into how users can steer the light physically, but the human experience in this was underexposed. We completed Maas’ vision having successfully by combined the findings from existing research with our new research endeavours.

In Barba world, space and light have a symbiotic relationship. This means that the interaction between the two enhances the both of them. The framework above shows the design goal for this project: We want to guide users in a mood journey from a moment for yourself to an energetic party - with a symbiotic relationship between light and adaptable space.

The image below shows sketches, prototypes and renders of the intended mood journey.

From user tests it was concluded that evoking a mood journey is possible when designing with light. However, the relationship between adaptable space, lighting and mood is a very sensitive and complex one. When we tested the energetic phase in the final user test we found that where some people who considered that the moving lights and changing colours were fun and energetic, others felt agitated and rushed. 

During our design process we played around with different settings of the lamps, colours and height. We also experimented with movement, and how to evoke the right rhythm to evoke certain experiences. The light variables that turned out to be most important for evoking a certain mood shift are: Intensity, form, color, direction and movement.

For more information on Winy Maas’ vision: Maas, W., Hackauf, U., Ravon, A., & Healy, P. E. (2015). Barba: Life in the Fully Adaptable Environment. Nai010 Publishers.