Jacobo Cuesta Wolf
Office for Design

Client: University project at BURG Giebichenstein KH Halle
Supported by ︎︎︎Uli Budde & Philipp Stingl
together with ︎︎︎Jonathan Hase
Material: project still digital
Work: Concept / coding / design /  AR prototyping
Location: Halle (Saale)
Date: 2020 – ongoing


The starting point for this project was the investigation of cases and contents and their correlation. The case defines itself through the relevant factors or components – i.e., the content – in it. And in return, these components acquire meaning through the case. In that sense, a case is a system of components. What is the nature of systems, and how is it possible for designers to interact with – and intervene in – the systems that form our world?We recognize systems both on a large and a small scale. Our culturally shaped surroundings with their social structures define a lot of such systems. For example, the space we live in is a system for all the components that are in it, such as chairs, shelves and other objects. Those objects are in turn made of different parts and are, therefore, also both content and case. To give another example: Photography is also a case, a system to transport the content and the information of the image, no matter whether it is a digital or a physical photo. And this simple internet page is also a case for many components.

Following this theory, we have decided to design special objects, components which could be integrated into existing systems without being defined as systems or cases themselves. We have been striving to learn from existing components by splitting numerous systems and cases into their defining parts. Many objects and products, such as furniture or machines, are made up by numerous parts. In different ways, some of these components can stand for themselves and can also be useful artifacts. The exploration and reverse engineering of those artifacts enables an approach to their systemic relevance.

Outside their usual scope of application, isolated components are meaningless and meaningful at the same time. These new artifacts are devoid of their habitual use and yet they are able to perform in many ways. In a brave way, they demonstrate their inherent possibilities and invite us to interact with them. This is the moment when they become Brave Components.

Brave Components extend an unspoken invitation to use them in novel ways. In the design of modular solutions, components are fabricated for, and integrated into, a system; and they are limited to its context. In contrast, rid of any former context, Brave Components unfold their possibilities through the way a user will appropriate them.

We have explored different ways to create new artifacts, and we have tried different approaches to learn from our findings.

Initially, we started with the purely physical world in mind and discussed sizes, materials and all the different offers components could bring to our daily life. We worked a lot with mock-ups and real-size scale models and experimented in CAD.

Later we investigated the possibilities of Augmented Reality (AR). With AR it was possible to free the Brave Components from the limitation of their physical being. Doing so, we were fascinated by the opportunity to explore those artifacts in different sizes and materials at any location.

Finally, we now ask ourselves whether the classical product designer should be limited to the mere physical context. We have explored systemlessness in order to get a feeling of systematicity. And we have learned that no physical embodiment is necessary in order to interact and engage with isolated components.

Maybe this is also true for entire systems. Maybe this is a contemporary way to intervene in the systems that form our world.