All posts by Law Bo Kent Kevin

Peter Benz

The experiment of marrying two theories

Peter Benz

Benz tries to marry Eisenstein’s attraction theory with Luhmann’s system theory for ground-breaking insights into the nature of experience.

Though Peter Benz quit theatre and film studies in university, he found one thing in a theatre course that still inspires him today in his professional and academic life.

According to Benz from the Academy of Visual Arts, Hong Kong Baptist University, it’s Sergej Eisenstein’s polemic manifesto Montage of Attractions of 1923.

“Though it’s only two A4-pages long—the important bits are roughly in two paragraphs—I have since revisited, applied and used this at numerous occasions, in various contexts, and with changing intentions,” he said. “It’s never disappointed me, remaining the most intellectually stimulating scholarly text I’ve come across.”

Benz turned to the manifesto again when he started to look into the emerging discipline of experience design some years ago. “Reading it again I noted that Eisenstein’s definition of ‘attraction’ seems to resonate closely with the theory of social systems of German sociologist Niklas Luhmann,” he said.

“If my intuition proves correct—that Eisenstein’s attraction theory and Luhmann’s system theory could be ‘married’— this could indeed provide ground-breaking insights into the very nature of experience, how it works, and how it may be applied by experiential designers,” he added.

Benz will present his paper Montage of Events: Towards a Structure in Designed Experiences during the XD Conference.

Designing Experience: ‘The Ballerina on the Elephant’ is a 3-day international conference on experience design (27-29 Nov 2014). Make your booking here.


Designing experiences with wearables


Gomez: A better understanding of the impacts of future trends helps researchers, designers, and tech experts develop devices that ultimately raises patients’ wellbeing

How would wearables and technology evolution transform the patient experience and ultimately the human condition? That’s the question Dr. Rafael Gomez, School of Design, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia, asks.

While portable devices are commonplace for many people worldwide, the same will be true for wearables soon.

In particular, wearables will have a critical role to play in the health industry, as they will not only allow ongoing, continuous, and unobtrusive monitoring of patient conditions but will also provide more realistic indications of health status and information otherwise inaccessible through other means .

Technology-led changes in health experience

As technology evolves, we will see a shift from devices that function externally to our bodies to being on our bodies as wearable devices, and ultimately merge with out bodies as implantable technologies. “At that point the patient experience will be transformed and we will enter an era in which devices will have the power to change the patient experience and ultimately the human condition,” said Dr. Gomez.

“While technology and other drivers continue to push the boundaries further, an important question arises: how will technology trends impact the nature of the patient and health experience?” he pointed out.

“By better understanding the impacts of future trends, researchers, designers and technology experts can contribute in a more meaningful way to the development of devices that ultimately raise the quality of life and wellbeing for patients now and in the future,” he said.

In XD Conference, Gomez will present his paper Designing Experiences with Wearables: A case study exploring the blurring boundaries of art, design, technology, culture and distance

Designing Experience: ‘The Ballerina on the Elephant’ is a 3-day international conference on experience design (27-29 Nov 2014). Make your booking here.

Prof. Koskinen Ilpo

Aesthetics in Experience Design

Prof. Koskinen Ilpo

Koskinen: there’s a lively debate about the role of aesthetics in design research.

What would a former sociologist bring to the table of experience design?

With a PhD in Sociology, Dr. Ilpo Koskinen from PolyU’s School of Design in Hong Kong dived into design research because he believes that it brings more fun. Besides industrial design, his newfound research interest is service and community design. He specializes in design methodology.

Observations on Aesthetics in Experience Design

In his presentation at the XD Conference, Koskinen will look at how design researchers deal with aesthetics in their work by comparing it with recent discussions in collaborative/participatory art.

His paper Observations on Aesthetics in Experience Design reviews several recent cases of community-oriented design research, providing an initial mapping of how design researchers work with aesthetics.

He argues that although aesthetics generates minimal discussion in contemporary experience design, there’s in fact a lively debate about its role in design research if we look at theoretical and methodological commitments that animate recent work.

Short bio of Ilpo Koskinen

Ilpo Koskinen moved to Hong Kong to join PolyU’s School of Design in August 2014 after many years of teaching and research at the Department of Design of Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland. He published Design Research through Practice (Burlington, MA: Morgan Kaufmann, 2011), in addition to more than 100 papers, conference papers, and books.

Designing Experience: ‘The Ballerina on the Elephant’ is a 3-day international conference on experience design (27-29 Nov 2014). Make your booking here.


XD & Associates to wow you with on-the-spot ice-cream


The ice-cream has a smooth texture as liquid nitrogen cools down milk atoms almost instantly.



Angress Li (left) and Max Kong will have special flavours created for the XD Conference

A typical conference serves you coffee and tea during breaks, but our XD & Associates Max Kong and Angress Li promise to wow you with their on-the-spot ice-cream at the upcoming XD Conference.

Both Kong and Li—AVA alumni from the Experience Design (Masters of Visual Arts) programme—worked as a team before in creating on-the-spot ice-cream during Fotanian 2014, the annual open studio event in the Fotan area.

“Studios had already addressed the senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, and touching with different works, but what about taste?,” said Kong and Li. “We want to tickle visitors’ senses with fun experiences. Our goal was to create big smiles.”

Spending two weeks exploring options, the two of them decided to make ice-cream in specially created flavours for the event using liquid nitrogen as the cryogenic—a technique used by star chefs such as Heston Blumenthal.

As liquid nitrogen cools down milk atoms almost instantly, it allows them to make ice-cream of different flavours for immediate consumption. This production method requires no freezing, thus creating a super smooth ice-cream texture.

Surprise flavours to mirror the spirit of XD Conference

Back then, the ice-cream team designed a set of four experimental flavours—Agent Orange (mango + Rum), Purple Haze (sangria), Industrial Centre (whiskey + chocolate), and Mystic Ice (Blue Curaçao + Vodka)—to mirror the Fotanian spirit. According to Kong and Li, alcohol-free versions were also available for children.

Asked if they will do the same for XD Conference, they said: “The special flavours for the event are secrets at the moment, but we’ll definitely give nice surprises to participants.”

As their on-the-spot ice-cream becomes popular, Kong and Li said that they will further explore business opportunities together. “We want to create our own brand and ice creameries,” they revealed. “Our initial idea is to have four ice-cream lines: the ‘adult’ series, the exotic series, the fresh organic series, and the healthy herbal series.

Designing Experience: ‘The Ballerina on the Elephant’ is a 3-day international conference on experience design (27-29 Nov 2014). Make your booking here.