Post Doc – Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

[email protected]


Dr. Elvin Karana

Patrizia has recently joined the Material Experience Lab as a PostDoc design researcher to investigate the concept  of ‘Material Branding’.  Her research interests and experiences lies both in the material and interaction design domain.

She held a BSc in Industrial Design (cum laude) and a MSc in Design & Engineering from Politecnico di Milano (Italy). Her exploration of the material world began during her master graduation project where she focused on the investigation of sensorial properties of materials and she dived into the discipline of Sensory Metrology. The project, a collaboration between Politecnico di Milano and the Sensomines group of the Ecole des Mines de Saint-Étienne, was founded by the OSEM program of the French Ministry for Industry. The result of the project, named ‘Sensorialist’ has been awarded with the Targa Giovani in the ADI Design Index 2013 (, selected for the XXIII Compasso d’Oro Award competition and presented in several conferences.

In 2014 following her interest on materials but attracted by the possibility to merge it with interactive technologies, she joined the research project ‘Material Practices of Connectedness’ under the supervision of Pr. dr. Elisa Giaccardi and Dr. Elvin Karana at the Delft University of Technology. The project resulted in ‘Geist’ a family of connected objects for people living outside their native country to help them to develop and maintain a sense of belonging and identity.  (

The curiosity towards artifacts capable to exploit the materiality of technology as a means of interaction between people dealing with disruptive situations brought her to start her PhD journey on the topic of “Tactful Objects for Sensitive Settings”.  Her work has been carried out in a multidisciplinary project named ‘Meedoen=Groeien!’ (Participating is Growing), a collaboration among the Connected Everyday Lab (, TU Delft), the Prinses Maxima Centre for Paediatric Oncology (Utrecht)  and HandicapNL. Through a Research-Through-Design approach, she focused on understanding how a New Normal can be built in response to life-disruptive events using tactful and responsive interactive artifacts; and how those artifacts can be designed in order fulfil this goal. She specifically explored the potential of interactive artifacts in supporting the psychosocial wellbeing of families dealing with the demanding and stressful condition of childhood cancer. The work, helped in framing Tactfulness as a foundamental expressive quality for the materiality of technology used in sensitive settings and defining guidelines for the design of innovative interactive artifacts attuned to sensitive settings.

Current Project


Understanding how material experiences are constructed concerning a society’s norms, beliefs and culture is particularly important in introducing new materials to societies. Material can elicit different experiences when applied in different products and these experiences are highly affected by the way a product and its material are narrated when its first launch. This way of narrating and introducing a material is what we labelled as ‘Material Branding’, and it is the concept that we are going to explore in this project. Specifically, throughout this exploration, our aim is to provide an understanding of the collective effects of different material/product/narrative aspects within a digital domain (e.g. company websites, design blogs, etc.) for newly Bio-Fabricated materials, namely materials made by living organisms, such as fungi and bacteria.

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