“Lots of inventive thinking in this one.” —juror Drew Ungvarsky
“Physical-meets-digital with interactivity and play at its core.” —juror Gabe Kean
Overview: The lush world of a child’s imagination needs no rules, goals or “game overs” to thrive. This was the thinking behind Pieces, a creation surface that interacts with physical controllers. Children can generate a world, characters and objects on the interactive surface simply by placing, moving and rotating or controllers—move the sun controller up to orchestrate a sunrise, rotate the zoom controller to focus in and out. In other words, Pieces gives children the freedom to do what they’re best at—creating.
•The project’s time limitation almost made it necessary to use collage as the visual language.
•Included in the project’s rules: the surface is the screen and the pieces are the controllers.
•Matan Stauber, the project’s creator, had never designed anything for children before.
Comments by Matan Stauber:
What was the purpose of the project? “To have a kid tell a story with characters, including the dialogue between them. Many of the experiences children have today, such as video games and movies, are too scripted and leave very little, if any, room for engagement with their imagination. I wanted to do the opposite—give the visuals without the story, characters and dialogue.”
Was the topic of the project a new one for you? “Yes. One of the first questions was, ‘What should be the visual language?’ I feel that children often get patronized, with designs full of pastel colors and smiley faces. For me, this was an opportunity to give children a little more credit as an audience and as consumers.”
What was the thinking behind the navigational structure? “It was important to create an interface with no user interaction. I didn’t want any buttons, menus or text. It was a unique experience, as all of the interactions are generated by the reaction between the surface and the pieces. The idea was to encourage children to explore and discover.”