‘Our technological advancements have connected and alienated us simultaneously from our material world and our perception of it.’
Shalini’s works largely aim to create spaces which positively influence the users’ state of being. This as a part of an in-depth study in material semantics which explores the indicative symbolic functions of materials and their connection to aspects of wellbeing. The decisive question in this work is: how do materiality in transit spaces inform and therefore sub-consciously influence user behaviour? To answer this Shalini’s enquiry probes into the domain of cultural studies, material semantics and into the area of embodied cognitive reactions to selected sensorial impulses / inputs. In her works she analyses, understands and defines the material, textural, olfactory and soundscape encounters that influence Human-Material-Interaction within spaces in flow. The aim is to guide with this understanding, design and architectural decisions in the light of the ideological and ethical commitments the various stakeholders make to the users. She bases her work in the system of urban mobility, built environments, transit spaces – digital and material.
Her methodology has its epistemological stand in phenomenology. The research is strongly based on working with systems – with a pronounced focus from the product to the process. With her work, Shalini is essentially proposing not just better designs, but a better approach to design. The multi-disciplinary nature of the projects has been developed by an active collaboration via presentations, discussions and dialogues with operators, material suppliers, experts from the industry and academic researchers in the area of urban planning and mobility.