Spotlight: Bridging Science + Graphic Design with Housatonic

Interview with Housatonic, a creative studio based in Italy, about visual scribing and facilitation to reveal, understand and communicate science.
February 11, 2022

Interview with Irene Coletto and Giulia Ferrari, illustrators and graphic facilitators at Housatonic, who joined PUZZLE X 2021 to visually document the thought leadership shared during the 3-day event. We spoke with Housatonic about their experience at PUZZLE X and the complementary nature between science and design.

Tell me about the work that you do at Housatonic.

We make intangible tangible! Our motto is “we make it easy” and we simplify complexity in 3 different ways: we facilitate, to share and collaborate; we visualize, to reveal and understand; we design, to communicate and engage.


What attracted Housatonic to join forces with PUZZLE X?

We like to activate partnerships with new realities that focus on sustainability and environment, which have a positive impact on the reality that surrounds us. PUZZLE X has immediately attracted us with its goal of connecting the different brilliant minds of the planet to talk about research and innovation. Our role was to make the goals of this community visible and clear through graphic facilitation.


What do you see are the biggest intersections between science and design?

If we consider design as product design, it is quite obvious that designers could benefit a lot from new materials and scientific research outcomes. It exponentially increments the possibility to create objects that help people in their everyday lives. If we consider design as graphic design, or visual facilitation, we see them as powerful allies to make complexity more accessible. Science tends to remain confined to its ivory tower, but it is important to make it understandable and exciting also for non-experts. It helps to raise interest -and it can mean also attract more funds.


Is there a particular moment that stands out from your experience at PUZZLE X?

To see people interact with the marketplace wall that we have set for them in order to create connection and engagement. We liked the idea to giving the floor directly to the participants to make suggestions and share ideas.

Are there any Frontier Materials and applications that excite you the most?

We are thrilled by the different applications that graphene offers in so many different situations. We saw that one of the possible applications was the flexible display, it would be an amazing revolution for the portability of our iPads!

How do you think design and illustration can be leveraged to support materials science knowledge transfer into impactful technology?

It is not easy to communicate all the different applications that a material might have, so design and illustration can show different possible scenarios in an effective and immediate way. It is also possible to use metaphors to illustrate concepts that might be too abstract to express otherwise.

It’s the Year 3000. How is Housatonic using Frontier Materials? Be as creative as you like!

At Housatonic we care a lot about sustainability and energy saving, so frontier materials would surely help us to have a zero-emissions workspace. We would use holograms instead of videocalls, as a way to conduct workshops all in the same space, even without being in the same city. And we will all wear graphene outfits, of course!


Innovation

Future

Science Communication

Design & Art

What SDG is this related to?

MATTERverse Activity

Author

Bonnie Tsim

Bonnie Tsim is the Director of Communications at AMPT and PUZZLE X. She obtained her PhD in Theoretical Physics at the National Graphene Institute, University of Manchester where she studied the electronic properties of few-layer twistronic graphene. Bonnie was selected as 1 of 100 researchers globally for a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Summer Fellowship in 2019 where she advanced scientific collaboration between the UK and Japan at Osaka University. In addition, she was selected as 1 of 350 woman leaders globally out of 6000+ applicants for McKinsey's Next Generation Women Leaders 2020 and was selected as a McKinsey NGWL Award 2020 Finalist. In 2020, Bonnie was invited to be the first student to be invited as a keynote speaker for the EU Graphene Flagship Women in Graphene initiative in 5 years, and was 1 of 15 academic researchers from the UK nominated by the Royal Society for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting.


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February 11, 2022

Interview with Irene Coletto and Giulia Ferrari, illustrators and graphic facilitators at Housatonic, who joined PUZZLE X 2021 to visually document the thought leadership shared during the 3-day event. We spoke with Housatonic about their experience at PUZZLE X and the complementary nature between science and design.

Tell me about the work that you do at Housatonic.

We make intangible tangible! Our motto is “we make it easy” and we simplify complexity in 3 different ways: we facilitate, to share and collaborate; we visualize, to reveal and understand; we design, to communicate and engage.


What attracted Housatonic to join forces with PUZZLE X?

We like to activate partnerships with new realities that focus on sustainability and environment, which have a positive impact on the reality that surrounds us. PUZZLE X has immediately attracted us with its goal of connecting the different brilliant minds of the planet to talk about research and innovation. Our role was to make the goals of this community visible and clear through graphic facilitation.


What do you see are the biggest intersections between science and design?

If we consider design as product design, it is quite obvious that designers could benefit a lot from new materials and scientific research outcomes. It exponentially increments the possibility to create objects that help people in their everyday lives. If we consider design as graphic design, or visual facilitation, we see them as powerful allies to make complexity more accessible. Science tends to remain confined to its ivory tower, but it is important to make it understandable and exciting also for non-experts. It helps to raise interest -and it can mean also attract more funds.


Is there a particular moment that stands out from your experience at PUZZLE X?

To see people interact with the marketplace wall that we have set for them in order to create connection and engagement. We liked the idea to giving the floor directly to the participants to make suggestions and share ideas.

Are there any Frontier Materials and applications that excite you the most?

We are thrilled by the different applications that graphene offers in so many different situations. We saw that one of the possible applications was the flexible display, it would be an amazing revolution for the portability of our iPads!

How do you think design and illustration can be leveraged to support materials science knowledge transfer into impactful technology?

It is not easy to communicate all the different applications that a material might have, so design and illustration can show different possible scenarios in an effective and immediate way. It is also possible to use metaphors to illustrate concepts that might be too abstract to express otherwise.

It’s the Year 3000. How is Housatonic using Frontier Materials? Be as creative as you like!

At Housatonic we care a lot about sustainability and energy saving, so frontier materials would surely help us to have a zero-emissions workspace. We would use holograms instead of videocalls, as a way to conduct workshops all in the same space, even without being in the same city. And we will all wear graphene outfits, of course!


Innovation

Future

Science Communication

Design & Art

What SDG is this related to?

MATTERverse Activity

Author

Bonnie Tsim

Bonnie Tsim is the Director of Communications at AMPT and PUZZLE X. She obtained her PhD in Theoretical Physics at the National Graphene Institute, University of Manchester where she studied the electronic properties of few-layer twistronic graphene. Bonnie was selected as 1 of 100 researchers globally for a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Summer Fellowship in 2019 where she advanced scientific collaboration between the UK and Japan at Osaka University. In addition, she was selected as 1 of 350 woman leaders globally out of 6000+ applicants for McKinsey's Next Generation Women Leaders 2020 and was selected as a McKinsey NGWL Award 2020 Finalist. In 2020, Bonnie was invited to be the first student to be invited as a keynote speaker for the EU Graphene Flagship Women in Graphene initiative in 5 years, and was 1 of 15 academic researchers from the UK nominated by the Royal Society for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting.


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