Nate Laffan

Ph.D. student in Computational Media at UCSC


Applying Real-World Design Practices to Contemplative Space in XR

How might the design of reflective & contemplative spaces in the physical world translate to a virtual context?

Much has been written about contemplative design in the physical world. From the ideas of sacred geometry or the modes of ritual-architectural presentation to tested systems such as the Contemplative Landscape Model, there are many techniques that can be applied to the design of real-world spaces to promote reflective contemplation.

Virtual reality has long been used as a method for reorienting one's sense of space, often to extraordinary artistic effect. And recently, with headsets becoming increasingly accessible to consumers, there has been uptick in apps for relaxation and meditation. However, the design of these apps tends to focus on sensory deprivation or reproducing wilderness rather than following the principles that would guide the design of a similar space in the physical world.

In this study, we are interviewing design professionals who have experience designing for the physical world and are interested in reflective contemplation. We hope to learn from how they practice their craft, and find ways that their methods might be translated to the virtual space.