Product Design & Manufacturing

Rojo Furoshiki

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experience .re

MITidm manufacturing project, 2021 

designed and manufactured at MIT with Cierra Martin, Javier Agüera & Yash Trivedi

Special thanks to Mieko Murao for her help on branding & graphic design!

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is a limited edition experiential game produced with reclaimed wood from MIT circa 1970. With curated content, it transforms “game night” into a thought-provoking and exceptionally entertaining experience.

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.re is an experience designed to reclaim conversations, created using repurposed wood from MIT’s student center circa 1970s. Each time, you rebuild the game, you have the opportunity to redesign your experience, as each of the 54 maple blocks contains questions and challenges on each side, allowing a multitude of variations every time you play.

We’ve recreated what it means to play “Jenga,” creating an experiential opportunity to remember, recollect, and revisit some of our favorite moments and favorite things about each other. Questions are designed to be exceptionally funny while reacquainting ourselves with one another post-pandemic, rediscovering what makes your closest friends and family special and reconnecting at a closer level.

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.re is designed and manufactured by IDM MIT students: Cierra Martin, Javier Aguera, Maria Risueno and Yash Trivedi using reclaimed wood from MIT circa 1970. When you buy this game, which is only offered in a limited collection of 50, you officially own a piece of MIT. 
 
The wood used in each game comes from a table which was on the third floor of the Stratton Student Center in the 1970s. From what we’ve been able to discern from archives, this table which spanned ten feet long and nearly six feet wide, was used as a gathering place for students and professors alike. Seating around 10-15 students or faculty at any given time, this table provided the setting for connection - whether it be a late-night meal, working together on psets, discovering the J particle, getting into heated debates or even falling in love. This table was located in the student center until 2018 when it was removed and taken to the Hobby Shop to be sold and reused. We came across the table in 2021 and turned it into the limited game collection you see here.
 
When thinking about what to design using this wood, the table in its original form was top of mind. We wanted to maintain the integrity of the table while enhancing the idea of shared moments and connections.
 
We also wanted to maintain the table’s connection to MIT. In the 1970s, MIT was experiencing a new wave of educators with a number of notable women joining the staff, including graphic designers Muriel Cooper and Jacqueline Casey who have been touted as bringing design to MIT, strengthening MIT’s visual identity while also elevating design within the Institute’s intellectual life. 
 
Muriel Cooper stood out at MIT as the only female tenured professor in her department. Men were perceived as tough in that era so she said, “I’ll be tougher,” showing them by putting her often bare feet on the desk and routinely challenging gender norms.
 
She was a humanist among scientists and embodied the idea that there was no right or wrong way to do anything in her design process. She demanded that her students question and challenge everything and explore the intersection of typography, graphic design, and hands-on production. She went on to become the first design director of the MIT Press and co-founded the MIT Media Lab. 
 
As you may have noticed, re shares certain similarities with a well-known game by the name of Jenga, which funnily enough was created around the same time as this table, in the early 1970s Leslie Scott. Scott used children's wooden building blocks purchased from a sawmill in Takoradi, Ghana when creating the initial game. Taking this context into consideration,  the idea of reimagining the standard Jjenga game with reclaimed wood from MIT was born. 

The story

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Special thanks to Mieko Murao for her help on branding & graphic design!

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As designers, we looked to Casey and Cooper’s work for inspiration. They brought Swiss Style typography to MIT Press which is known for its cleanliness, readability, and objectivity and begins with a mathematical grid. These grids are considered to be the “most legible and harmonious means for structuring information” and we really wanted to lean into this in the branding. Casey and Cooper also challenged everything -redesigning and rethinking constantly - which inspired us to rethink the way this game is typically played in our design process and the type of content we included. 
 
You can see the Swiss-style typography and graphic design employed in the design of the red acrylic stand and clear loading tray, mimicking the 18 stacks of blocks included in each box. Our hope is that this game not only serves as a starter for insightful conversation and fun with your friends and loved ones but also as an aesthetically pleasing piece for your home collection, reminding you to reimagine the world you’d like to see and take moments regularly to reconnect. 

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Prototyping

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Manufacturing 50 units