20 - 29 October 2017
Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Are intimacy and openness compatible?

Intimacy in everyday life: what does that look and feel like? Where can we find it and where is it lacking? Questions like these form the starting point for the Embassy of Intimacy, which MU and The No Sex Shop are developing for the World Design Event.

The Embassy of Intimacy gives intimacy a shape and wants to make designers aware of the role that emotional welfare could play in their products and services. The Embassy of Intimacy unites three spheres of influence: the Intimacy of Bodies, the Intimacy of Things and the Intimacy of Spaces.

Intimacy of bodies

Here we question the tension between the body and society. Social conventions, codes and rules, both written and unwritten, help us to channel our individual and collective intimacy, and to develop it. We look at the role of movement, touch and attention in the experience of intimacy, and at the limited way we express it publically.

Design questions: Can we design a public icebreaker that brings people closer together? How can an intimate ritual in a work environment enhance meaning and humanity?

Intimacy of things

The things around us have the power to shape us, to confront us, to comfort us, to lift us. They derive meaning from the relation that we build with them and the emotions they evoke. How can an object disarm, confront and create intimacy? Moreover, can there be imtimacy between things?

Design question: What does a souvenir for consolation and/or a sense of wellbeing look like?

Intimacy of spaces

Spaces can not only make us feel insignificant but also protect us. They can overwhelm us or enclose us. In what way are spaces such as a square, bedroom, confessional or pleasure garden intimate? And what can we learn from them? How do scale, materials and function contribute to genius loci and what role is played by notions such as privacy and openness? And how does that work in the digital realm of virtual reality?

Design question: What does a public space look like when a sense of belonging and intimacy generates contacts and encounters?

If you want to share your ideas about this subject or take part in the Embassy of Intimacy programme, contact us!