Materials for Design. An Experience of Symbolic/Communicative Characterization

  • Stefania CamploneEmail author
  • Ivo Spitilli
  • Giuseppe Di Bucchianico
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 903)


If the sensory properties of materials can for a large part assume aspects of objectivity, the same can not be said of their symbolic and communicative properties. But the two aspects are intimately related. In fact, if already from the studies conducted in the Bauhaus school by Itten and Albers research has focused on the sensory mechanisms of knowledge of things, actually we can consider that the actions of observing, listening, touching and smelling, and especially the passage from the sensorial dimension to the perceptive one, are also influenced by the personal experience of each person, reporting sometimes unexpected, unpredictable and inexplicable emotional effects, linking even very distant areas in space and time, thus representing a further classification of the materials. Also human diversity, under a physical, sensory, but above all social and cultural point of view, takes on a significant weight on the symbolic and emotional, and therefore aesthetic and expressive, dimensions of the materials. The knowledge of this “personal” dimension of materials (even in part largely attributable to classification) would allow the designer to foresee the probable “effects” on those individuals that will interact with them. It is however difficult to built a taxonomy system of adjectives capable of clearly “describe” the symbolic-communicative characteristics of the materials, effective for new and conscious attributions of “meaning”. The purpose of this study is therefore to verify this possibility, using a sufficiently large sample of users, thus opening the door for a new taxonomic system of materials. This is a first result, towards a “open” classification system, which is useful both to define a symbolic/communicative characterization of materials (and consequently of products), and to relate their sensorial characteristics with their aesthetic and communicative “meanings”.


Materials for design Human diversity Sensory Emotions Taxonomy system 



This paper presents the results of a research experience developed at the Department of Architecture of the University “G. D’Annunzio” of Chieti-Pescara (Italy). In particular, this contribution was written by Stefania Camplone (paragraphs 1, 2, 3) Ivo Spitilli (paragraph 4), Giuseppe Di Bucchianico (Abstract and paragraph 5).


  1. 1.
    Itten, J.: Kunst der Farbe. Otto Mayer, Ravensburg (1961)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefania Camplone
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ivo Spitilli
    • 1
  • Giuseppe Di Bucchianico
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Chieti-PescaraPescaraItaly

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