A Board Game
for a room to play for sustainable futures
As designers, we need to have a greater awareness of our position - the worldviews, values, mythologies, and cultures we carry - and its effects in design projects to develop an ethical perspective that can facilitate more democratic and anti-oppressive ways of doing design for sustainability. The challenge was to critically reflect on our position and behavior as designers in and across diverse societies.
We explored diverse ways of becoming together, specifically on the context of social play. This helped us understand how play prepares one for and reflects one’s nature/culture/political situatedness. Co-creating with various stakeholders resulted in a room to play that visually invite people to engage in play activities that help to build collaboration.
Lea Bachmann, Juan Pablo Farre, Ashutosh Biltharia, Manu Revi
Co-creation, Ideation, Prototyping, Exhibition setup, Documentation.
"Coloniality happens through the imposition of worldviews and value system, forcing communities to adapt and erase local cultures for the benefit of the ruling worldview."
Our final design resulted in a collective exhibition where visitors engaged in various forms of collaborative play. This playroom explored the social role of play in encouraging collaborative behaviors to pave the ground for sustainable futures that thrive on diversity.
We designed a board game that was inspired by the movements of Tango and Capoeira. Both styles emphasized non-verbal interaction in order to communicate and reach a synchronized movement together. The goal of the game is to create a balanced movement of the board to score each ball into one of the holes.
"In many communities, play is seen as a rehearsal for skills necessary to survive in the world in which they lived."
Board Game | Design Process
From indigenous and non-western games to practices that were developed as a response to colonization such as Capoeira and Tango, we tried to find the role of play in society as a fundamental arena to learn and develop collaborative behaviors.
As a team, we also brought in play practices from our own countries to engage in an experiential way and reflect on our preconceived worldviews.
Exploring Play and Movement
After experiencing play practices from around the world and reflecting on it, we held a co-creation workshop exploring embodied collaborative play. The goal of the workshop was to explore, try and co-create with participants ideas for the final room.
In order to facilitate an environment of play, we created an egg challenge based on the theme of 'balance'. This was followed by a task of co-creating a play space. This gave us more insights into how the gameplay enforced collaboration between the participants.
The workshop gave more insights into how people get aware of each others movement and intentions and respond accordingly.
Further to the co-creation workshop, the team brainstormed on the ways we could expand the egg challenge. This brought in questions about why we should move an object from one place to another? Should there be a story behind this?
This made us think about messages we could deliver through the gameplay - can the moving ball be the missing piece that user should place in the right spot in order to complete the story?
Reflecting on Co-creation exercise
We expanded the egg challenge concept to a board game that emphasized the diversity of communication. The interaction concept inspired by Tango and Capoeira was an attempt to create a sensorial experience through body movement.
This non-verbal communication enabled it to be played across diverse communities regardless of the language they speak or culture they are from. The game subconsciously directed the participants to understand each others movement and intentions in order to come to a common ground.
Prototyping the play experience
The board game was set up as a part of the interactive exhibition where the visitors could have two-way communication with the items present in the exhibition space.
The Minimus space in Västerbottens Museum which hosted the exhibition was a children play area frequented by families with children. This put the focus of the exhibition to be on children at the same time, engaging for adults.