Sleep On It
Thomas completed a Bachelor’s degree in Spatial Design then the Master’s degree in Transcultural Design in China. He had the opportunity to learn all about the workings of the Chinese market during internships at Octopus Innovation and A.I.A. Architectes in Shanghai.
Thomas’ intercultural experience helped him to question his habits, practices and his understanding of a new environment to develop a user-centred design methodology in which empathy is key. He continues to live and work in Shanghai, China for A.I.A. Architectes where he has been hired as a spatial designer.
Sleep On It is an educational mural located at one of Shanghai’s subway station exits – it illustrates the negative effects linked to stress and the human body’s need for sleep. With the accompanying mobile application, the student is both spectator and actor in their own well-being. The user is connected to a personalized avatar which evolves thanks to the quality and duration of their sleep. The student is therefore led into a virtuous circle: taking care of their avatar and their own physical condition.
“High urban density leads to a race for excellence from a very early age; it is hard for us in the West to imagine. It is, however, a reality for millions of young people who are under constant pressure from society and family. Thomas’ study has demonstrated its relevance thanks to the visual representation of the figures, by highlighting the zones with the highest stress levels in Shanghai. Stressed Shanghai students have such heavy workloads and long days that they are counter-productive or even harmful. Sleep On It aims to demonstrate the consequences of this lifestyle in an area used by students daily.
Finding a site to exhibit his project whilst respecting the major constraints of public areas in Shanghai was a challenge. In the end it was the subway entries/exits which would accommodate this experiment: an important part of the students’ home-school journey and for this reason a symbol of the burden of daily life. The project’s ambitions were to change the décor, grab students’ attention, make them question this tiring lifestyle and, in doing so, help them take charge of their own lives.”
Mathieu Bernard, Course Leader - Transcultural Design China Studio