The Fontys ICT InnovationLab: An experience

Fontys School of ICT
How can you make an interactive connection with a building? With that question in mind, students dived into a lab space at the Fontys ICT InnovationLab for three days last week. The challenge; bring technology, design and human interaction together in a dynamic identity for this educational location of the future.

Visual identity 
We often think of identity as something static, but what if it could be more personal, connecting and dynamic? An identity that you can touch and shape? The Fontys ICT InnovationLab is the regional hub of ICT developments and innovation. Students, researchers and the business community shape the future together, and this physical location means something different to each user, explains Sandra Verhoeven, manager of Marketing & Innovation Hubs and client: "Education, research and the professional field come together here in a dynamic environment, where they reinforce and accelerate each other. The identity of the location is different for everyone, which is why we challenge the students in a three-day pressure cooker to give shape to a dynamic identity. Fluent, but also unifying; an identity that fits this unique place of cooperation and co-creation."

Tangible and interactive 
Students worked intensively together in teams and with the creatives from Studio Krom who joined the project as coaches. Ideas ranged from audio installations, interactive projections, and movement tracking to visual connections and interactions. Imagine a sound that reacts to how many people are inside and how they move around each other, or a constellation on the ceiling that connects visitors, walls on which you can leave drawings or an imprint with movement, or that simply record traces of passers-by throughout the day. Student Kyara Scheuer learned a lot and enjoyed the process: "We were absolutely free to think about the possibilities of the building as a big playground for adults. Working with Cas and Joris of Studio Krom on this project where art and technology come together was very inspiring. You get to think up a lot of ideas, spar and learn rapid prototyping; in other words, testing your idea really quickly."

Cas Slaats, interactive designer/owner at Studio Krom, is impressed by the students: "You can clearly see in the students' concepts that they have thought about how technology can be more than a visual experience. Immersion, interaction and, moreover, connection with each other are reflected in every idea. That is exactly what interactive design is all about: a meaningful connection with your environment."

From idea to installation 
The pressure cooker is a first step towards an actual installation in the building, which will be developed together with Studio Krom, says Verhoeven: "The pandemic has caused a lag in our connection and interconnectedness with the environment. It is full of creative tech companies here, and our InnovationLab may be seen and experienced. During Dutch Design Week, we hope this installation will introduce visitors to this unique place where knowledge, creativity and technology meet. And getting to know it is not just about looking at it, you experience the Fontys ICT InnovationLab."

The project involved students of the Open Learning type. This means that they shape their own learning path and take on challenges themselves. In doing so, they work within the Fontys ICT InnovationLab together with teacher-researchers. You can read more about the Fontys ICT InnovationLab here.

Tags: Education