The Culture of Architecture: 3 buildings, 3 periods, 3 ideologies

The project’s research and analysis was compiled into a book written by Valerie Mace for the Making Interior Space journal on the MA Interior Design at the University of Westminster. Below are extracts from the section on Foreground, Middleground and Background followed by the section on Grand Narratives. 

A pdf copy of the book is available from

FMB01 FMB02 FMB03 GN01 GN02 GN03

Last lecture for this year’s Spatial Communication Programme Lecture series

The Spatial Communication Programme presents Silvia Grimaldi, on experience, surprise and narrativity

Dates: 11 March 2014


Tuesday 11 March 5.00-6.00
Main Lecture Theatre

Silvia is Course Leader on BA (Hons) Spatial Design at London College of Communication, and in the past ran the BA (Hons) Graphic Product Innovation at the same college. She works as a designer, researcher and academic and runs her own company, Nimble Critters, with which she developed the ETree, a range of interactive electroluminescent lighting in small production and exhibited worldwide. Her research focuses on product experience, narratives and emotional design, and she is now working on a PhD entitled Designing Narrative Product Interactions.

This presentation and discussion of Silvia Grimaldi’s work is part of a series of events organised by the Spatial Communication Programme Group as a platform for the discussion of future developments in the field. Key thinkers and practitioners working across boundaries and at the cutting edge of their disciplines have been invited to present their work at LCC.

Silvia speaking at Narrative in Practice 2013: Creative Symposium

Silvia Grimaldi wioll be Speaking at

Narrative in Practice 2013: Creative Symposium
2 November – 9.00 to 5.30
St Luke’s Community Centre, 90 Central Street, London, EC1V 8AJ

Narrative quote:

“Narrative plays a central role in the way we interpret and communicate our experience of the world and our interactions with it. Narratives help us organise events and make sense of time, empathise with others and move us on an emotional level. Because of this, using an object is not only an experience, it is an interaction and it is narrative in nature.”


About the talk:

I met Narrative through Surprise. I was working on a project for my master’s thesis, looking at how surprise could be used within product design on a level that went deeper than novelty, to create interesting or meaningful experiences through the objects. While working on the project and writing about it after I realised that creating surprises within the user’s experience of the object inherently creates a temporal aspect, a before and after. There is a state of expectation before the surprise, and by definition the surprise needs to change this state to a different one.

This led me to be more interested in ideas around interpretation of objects over time, and designing the experience of an object as opposed to the object itself. Narrative seemed like a useful tool in order to help organise these experiences over time as well as give meaning and richness to these object experiences.

My PhD Designing Narrative Product Interactions looks at how narratives can be used to enhance both the design process and the user experience of object. In particular it takes films as a starting point and analyses which elements from the film, such as characters, structure, meaning, emotional reactions, etc., could be used by designers within product experiences.

The final aim of my PhD is to come up with a series of guidelines to help designers think of the product experience in a narrative way and to design tools for designers to use within the design process which can help to create highly tellable objects. Highly tellable objects should lead to user experiences with high narrativity, which will be more prone to being experienced, interpreted, remembered and retold with gusto.

Invitation downloadable here Invitation Narrative in Practice 2013  and more information on the website


Silvia Grimaldi presents paper at DPPI 2013

Silvia spent the last year working on a collaborative paper with Steven Fokkinga of Technical University Delft (The Netherlands) and Ioana Ocnarescu of Bell Labs/Strate College Paris (France), entitled Narraties in Design: a study of the types, applications and functions of narratives in design practice. The paper surveys different uses of narrative within the (broadly product) design process and the user experience of objects, to explore a different way of looking at the user experience of objects as a narrative experience.

This resulted in a conference paper for DPPI 2013, Designing Pleasurable Products and Interfaces. The conference was co-located with Research Through Design, contained within a meta/conference entitled Praxis and Poetics. This was at the Baltic in Newcastle at the begining of September, and there were some great speakers and exhibition materials.

The conference website is here and you can also download the full paper from here