Doremy Diatta on how objects affect our emotions

Design Indaba Global Design Graduate Doremy Diatta talks about how objects are intrinsically linked to our emotions.

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Multidisciplinary designer Doremy Diatta uses her research to inform how design can play a role in the human-object relationship, with a specific focus on the field of mental health.

“How might the process for design be used to bridge the gap between the material world and the inner world?” she asks.

Diatta partnered with a child mental health organisation in New York City to see if she could find a way to help families implement behavioural and cognitive techniques that they learnt in the clinics in their everyday lives. She observed that objects have a complex influence on our wellbeing and decided to try to design objects that could be used as emotional triggers outside of therapy sessions.

Her designs are tools to help parents and children communicate better, embedded with specific experiences and memories that help the parents and their child feel less overwhelmed by all the new information and expectations.

“The material aspects of the object – such as the colour and weight – trigger things learnt within the clinic.”

Diatta argues that therapy lacks a consideration of the spatial environment, and that designers can adapt their skills to address this gap.