Sentidos: Connecting Through Our Senses

Natalia Coronado

See it On Campus: Level 2

Visitor Info

In the sculpture gallery at the east side of the building.

Humans need to be together to be happy and healthy. Sentidos: Connecting Through Our Senses is a collection of objects, more specifically a set of two handheld bowls and a two to three person bench, designed to bring people together and into conversation.

Vancouver is a city known for being lonely. Meeting others and forming connections is thought of as a hard thing to do here. Which is why, with this project, I wanted to build objects that help others deepen the connections they make on a daily basis, and make the connections they already have stronger. 

To begin this project I made two surveys about connections and community, one for people in Vancouver and one for people in Bogota. I mapped out some of the most important outcomes to see where they could take me.

I found that most people said that eating and drinking is a way in which they like to form connections since it makes people talk and be vulnerable. This act is also important because it not only brings people together but it is also a way to show different cultures. Which is why I decided to make this the focus of my project.

One of the most important findings was the fact that everyone in Bogota found that it was easy to form meaningful connections in the city, while majority of people in Vancouver thought it was not easy to.

I realized how important our senses are for this experience, and saw that there was no texture felt in our hands when we eat with cutlery and plates. I made these smaller cups to try out different textures and how they felt in our hands. Which after became several different shaped bowls thrown on the wheel. This helped me test out what texture was better as well as what shape would felt more comfortable to hold.

I also had to start thinking about the way in which the chair would look. I knew I wanted the seats and backrest to be weaved so I had to build a frame out of wood. While thinking of chair designs I felt a disconnect between the design and the true meaning of
my project.

Having two different chairs means they can be separated from each other, their design would be correlated to individualism which is the complete opposite of what my project is aiming to do. Which is why I decided to make a bench instead, the act of sitting beside someone, with nothing interfering between the two of you, makes this ritual and experience more meaningful and helps form this special connection between individuals.

The final bench is made using cherry solid wood with a satin finish. The seat and backrest are made with cotton webbing that has been weaved into a pattern. On the other hand, the bowls are made out of porcelain that has been carved and painted with underglaze.

Weaving is a traditional way of making in Colombian culture, and it is used by various indigenous communities in the country to make all sorts of objects. From hats and purses, to bowls and vases, weaving is deeply rooted in tradition. 

Different communities use different patterns to represent things such as the natural landscape and their traditional cosmology, these are shown through geometric patterns like the ones seen on the bench.

I wanted part of my culture to be part of the project hence, the weaving and colors chosen on the bench and bowls, which represent the flora and fauna of Colombia.

Ultimately this set of a bench and bowls are made to encourage deeper connection and conversations. This project was also a way to prove to myself what I could accomplish at the end of my 4 years of education, all the techniques and materials I learned to work with and the love and care  I have for all of them are shown in the final product. 

Natalia Coronado

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Natalia Coronado is a Vancouver based industrial designer born and rasied in Bogota, Colombia. As a recent graduate from Emily Carr University, she has experience working with multiple materials, such as wood, ceramics, textiles, and metals.

Her cultural background and experiences as a first generation immigrant are shown in parts of her design practice. Natalia is passionate about showcasing the natural beauty of materials and showing their capabilities in a different light.

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