The RELAXING: Textile Experience Design & Material Creation

Design Exploration 2019 | 7 weeks
Skill: material exploration, 3D printing, latex casting, tactile experience
Team: Gido Heijmanns, Emma Luitjens

This project was from Tactile Exprience course. With the tactile experiences of materials with reference to the experience" relaxing", we explored a set of materials with different techniques. Afterward, the artifacts were created for the user test. Finally, findings of the user test were incorporated in the creation of a relaxing phone case.

Material Collection

Experience Formulation


Can a Motion Material* provide a relaxing experience? If positive, what kind of material?
* A material with moveable parts, such as hairs or tentacles, that move with the hand movement.​

Tentacle Material Exploration

  • (a) unpatterned synthetic velvet tentacles: not firm enough
  • (b) fabric with soft fibers and heat embossed with small tentacles
  • (c) highly elastic polyester foam material (earbuds): inviting to squeeze and press
  • (d) synthetic tentacles with microfibers (bathmat): inviting to stroke
  • (e) Ultimaker3 3D printed tentacle wth TPU filament: not soft enough (control artifact)
  • (f) Ultimaker3 3D printed tentacle sample with elastic filament FILAFLEX: hollow structure
  • (g) casting latex tentacle with 3D printed mold: expected soft and elastic, squeezable and playful
  • (h) Connex 350 3D printed hollow tentacle sample with TangoBlackPlus Shore40 material : soft and moveable
  • (i) the final prototype, connex 350 3D printed with filled tentacles: not soft enough, squeezable
  • Final Material

    User Study


    - a motion material can provide a relaxing experience.
    - hairs and tentacles lead to different kinds of relaxedness.
    >> Hairs created a calm and comfortable relaxedness.
    The softest and densest hairs were the most relaxing.
    >> Tentacles created, besides comfortable, a curious and playful relaxedness.
    Movable and soft tentacles were perceived the most relaxing.

    Design Translation

    In the final prototype, two types of motion materials are incorporated into the backside of the phone case - tentacles and hairs, which provide both soothing and playful relaxedness. The phone case is designed to provide a relaxing tactile experience for college students. which provides a relaxing experience while holding the phone, as well as stimulating putting one’s phone upside down when not using them to reduce potential stressors. In turn, the down-facing phone invites the user to touch the phone for relaxing tactile experience.