PEOPLEText: Jerome Lacote

Yacine Ait Kaci and Naziha Mestaoui are a couple of new media designers named Electronic Shadow. I often heard about the Yacine’s intitutionnal’s work but today I am discovering his interesting and innovative experient that he does with Naziha, so I interview them.

Can you introduce yourself and Electronic Shadow?

I’m a new media designer for six years, After a graphic design degree, I begun my carreer by working in cultural multimedia, such as Yves Saint-Laurent, as art director, or recently the DVD-Rom of the Museum of Louvre (produced and sold in Japan by Shogakukan), as conceptor, designer, and director.

Two years ago, I met Naziha Mestaoui, a Belgian architect who worked on the matter of new media in architecture and we decided to found Electronic Shadow. This is a totally independent agency where we combine our expertise to create a new field – hybrid design. Our work is based on various areas of creation, from architecture to new technologies, as well as design, graphic design and video. These fields come together to articulate the relationship between the physical world and new electronic territories. Our main theme is to design a hybrid area between the physical world and the digital one, which explains our name.

What’s means Hybrid design?

Hybrid design is the word we use to define our activity. The new media have modified the traditional activities, a lot of them have now with computers very similar tools, that permitts a new real pluri-disciplinary approach. Hybrid design is also the idea of designing subjects between their physical existence and their digital extension to create a new hybrid

Can you introduce your differents projects?

We split our activity between a research / artistic work that we integrate in real contexts, to create innovative productions and propose them to the partners or clients.

We developed in 2000 for France Telecom R&D a Communicating Scarf, with Crstof a fashion designer, which was exhibited last year in New York at the MOMA in the “Workspheres” exhibition. Communicating Scarf is a communication clothing conceived as an extension of our senses through communication devices: Watch, Listen, Speak, Touch. Each function corresponding to a simple gesture. This functional prototype expands our senses and think the clothing as a second skin for communication.

After that, we went in Palermo in Sicily to totally design and build the new french cultural centre. That was for us a huge opportunity to concretise our themes by creating a hybrid architecture between real and virtual.

We exposed our ideas by creating an interactive installation, “V-Med 2.0“, that we mounted simultanly in Palermo and in Helsinki, building between the two physical spaces a digital sea of memory, extended on the internet in what we call the 25th time zone, the time zone of internet.

For the web, we recently designed Palimpseste 3D Navigator 1.0, an interactive tool that builds a 3D navigable space from the information of any content, including a website, showing the links depending to themes or categories. The system is also totally generative. This is an exemple of what is called “information architecture”.

All our projects with or before Electronic Shadow can be seen on our website.

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