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About C4F3 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steve Dietz   
Feb 24, 2006 at 12:29 AM

The C4F3 at ZeroOne San Jose / ISEA2006 is a working cafe of augmented everyday objects. Located inside the San Jose Museum of Art, it is more than just an art gallery, a restaurant, or a chill space. In the C4F3, technology and art reconfigure a familiar space into a unique environment only available during the festival. Visitors buying a cup of coffee get a new way to look at the news in Heidi Kumao's CNNPlusPlus, which rearranges a live CNN feed in real time, or Mauricio Arango's Vaninishing Point, which displays a continuous map of current events. Lunchtime diners find a tiny LCD embedded in their cafe table, displaying J.D. Beltran's Secrets, while evening loungers can spend hours contemplating Living Wall, a wall of glowing live bacteria that react to sound, presented by Prion, an Australian collective of artists and biotechnology professionals.

From Osman Khan's enCOD table of animated fish that swim around the objects on your table to Judith Donath and Karrie Karahalios' Chit Chat Club, which brings virtual visitors from the Internet to your table, this cafe experience is different from any before.

C4F3 is not a utopian Cafe of the Future or a Worlds' Fair showcase. Unlike those, it's an experiment that examines the intersection of new technologies and everyday life. It's a way to help people - makers, critics and observers alike - understand our relationship to a new class of objects. We are on the cusp of a world where information processing and biotechnology has changed many, if not all, objects around us. How does this change our everyday spaces and everyday experiences? The C4F3 may be one of the only places to explore this question firsthand.

"C4F3, the Interactive Café" is designed by Syneo


Syneo is a Milan-based design and communication studio founded in 2002 by Susanne Backer and Matthias Richter. Its founders believe that innovative products, environments and experiences flow from an understanding of people and behavior patterns.

They have embodied this vision in a design process called Yellow Track, which unifies multiple design disciplines to explore ideas through a complete design cycle from first sketch to final expression. Using Yellow Track Syneo envisions the identity, appearance, functionality and communication of an idea and maintains maximum creative consistency from concept through product- graphic- and interaction design, culminating in a launch event and retail presentation.

Syneo's focus has always been on adaptive products and environments. In 2002 they began with Fashion Furniture, an installation featuring transforming lamps and chairs. In 2003, working with Julian Lion Boxenbaum, they introduced Sample, a mobile multimedia installation that adapted to its environment. And in 2004 Syneo created an interaction design laboratory to develop new techniques for creating innovative and exciting products, interface design languages and interactive spaces.

For in.home Syneo's interaction design lab, in cooperation with Whirlpool Europe’s Global Consumer Design group, developed the environments, product typologies and interfaces that allow the home to adapt to people's mood.

Syneo has developed design strategies, products and environments for companies like Motorola, Lego, Thonet Vienna, LG Electronics, Mattel, Luxottica and Rotring. In April 2006 they will present an interactive exhibition for Persol at the Triennale di Milano, and in August 2006 their environment designs for the ISEA/ZeroOne electronic arts festival will debut in San Jose, California.

Principal Bios

Susanne Backer, artistic director
Susanne Backer studied art and design at the Muthesius Hochschule in Kiel, Germany, after completing an apprenticeship as a cabinetmaker in Hamburg. Before founding Syneo she worked in Milano with Michele De Lucchi, Pierluigi Cerri and Marco Susani for clients such as Artemide, Fritz Hansen, Prada and Poltrona Frau. Since 2001 she's been Art Director for the interiors of Einaudi's bookstore chain. In collaboration with Pierluigi Cerri she designed products, furniture and shop interiors for Thonet's Vienna flagship store.

Matthias Richter, design director
Matthias Richter graduated from Art Center Europe in Industrial Design after studying in Kiel, Germany and Switzerland. Before starting Syneo, he worked for consultancies such as frogdesign, Wiege and Bang & Olufsen designer Jacob Jensen in Japan, Germany and Denmark, with clients that included Mandarina Duck, Ducati, Gaggenau and Wilkhahn. He lead Motorola's Advanced Concept Group in Milano, Italy. Since 2002 he has been a visiting professor at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea.

Last Updated ( Aug 04, 2006 at 05:54 AM )