greater spaces

Ester Cinelli: At the intersection of product design and interaction design

Ester Cinelli is an Italian interaction designer with a background in Industrial Design. Now she is studying Interaction Design at Malmö University, and she is especially interested in how technology shapes people's behavior and activities in their daily life, with a focus in User Experience Design.

Illustration: Sanna Klefbom

1. What do you find most exciting about technology right now?

I find exciting the thing that is a relatively new field, there's a lot of experimentation and it's continuously evolving and dynamic. It's interesting to see how it's always more embodied in our offline world, from the way we listen to music to how we make art. It's shaping our lives.

2. Why or how did you choose your path?

My path started when I decided to study Industrial Design in Politecnico di Milano. At the time, probably because of a cultural mental asset, I thought it was mostly about furniture design, but actually, I have never designed a chair. Over my learning process, I had the opportunity to work on product design projects that were involving technology, innovation, and experimentation. After my bachelor's, I decided that I wanted to pursue my studies in the Interaction Design Master's program at Malmo University thanks to my bachelor's thesis.

3.What do you feel the most proud of in your career?

My biggest proudness, so far, is related to a hackathon that I won with my group project back to my bachelor's. It was the "5G Challenge", a hackathon promoted by Vodafone and Politecnico di Milano. It has been one of the most exciting moments of my life when the jury announced that my group, with two others, have been selected to develop our concept among several talented colleagues. After the selection, me and my team developed the concept with Vodafone's team members and Polifactory (the makerspace/fablab of Politecnico di Milano) and this experience allowed me to work for the first time in a heterogeneous project group to design something that would work in real life and design for a multinational company. After the development, we did not win the competition but it was a big pleasure just to live that experience. 

4. What has been your favorite project so far and why?

My favorite project so far is my bachelor thesis project. It was a glucometer and insulin injector system for people affected by diabetes, who start for the first time the insulin therapy. It was extremely complex since it was my first individual project and I took care of all the aspects, from the user research to the engineering of the product. At the same time, I had a lot of fun, it was a big challenge for me and it was a turning point in my career path since from this project I decided to pursue my studies in Interaction Design.

5. What strengths do you think are most important in your field?

Flexibility and curiosity. This field is continuously evolving and changing, I think it's really important to be able to adapt to different situations and to don't see only one way to design as the right one. It's also important to be curious since Interaction Design covers a wide range of topics and as a designer, it should be natural to be always up to learn new things!

Follow Ester's work here: LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ester-cinelli-2b8657162

Greater Spaces is written by Majken Overgaard and Vanessa Julia Carpenter where we work to expand the narrative of what technology is and who creates it. We speak with Danish and international female role models within technology and between these interviews we share what is most interesting to us, with a focus on diversity.

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