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Soft Systems

Mingyue Zhu

Mingyue Zhu (Aurora) is a Chinese interdisciplinary designer, she uses industrial and textile design techniques as her methods to learn about the world. Aurora has recently started working as a food designer in Beijing. During her MA at RCA, she explored music therapy, thinking about how a multi-sensory meditation experience could be developed through the use of smart textiles.


2021 Entries have been published at the iF WORLD DESIGN GUIDE under STUDENT CONCEPTS.

2019 International Design Award, Honor Mentioned Prize

2019 European Product Design Award, Home Interior Products, Household Appliance category, Honor Mentioned Prize

Mingyue Zhu

RESPIRATION // Read the Water

How could a multi-sensory meditation experience in a workspace be led by smart/interactive textile design?

In recent years, many people working in large companies are exhausted from high-intensity competition. They seldom have time to get close to nature, a soft meditation room for them in the workplace might be helpful to release stress.

As Loren Eiseley said, “if there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water”. 

"Read the Water” takes fabric as a media to restore stories about water, make music and natural sounds "live" on fabrics. It aims to create a soft space with memory foam, textile sensors and thermochromic materials to provide relaxing experience through visual, tactile and multi-sensory interactions.

In order to link pieces as a whole concept, this project will be further developed in both a physical and VR experience to enable them to be experienced at the same time.

Whole context image
Whole context image — Furnishing design with soft memory foam and smart textiles.
Scenario 1: Flowing streams in a valley
Scenario 1: Flowing streams in a valley — 3D textures were embroidered on a piece of indigo cotton by conductive fabrics and threads.
Scenario 1: Flowing streams in a valley
Scenario 1: Flowing streams in a valley — Blue and green thermochromic ink was printed between 3D strips, when the temperature is higher than 31℃, the fabric will change into a brighter color tune.
Scenario 1: Flowing streams in a valley — Interactions with fabric
Scenario 2: Ripples — Inspiration source
Scenario 2: Ripples
Scenario 2: Ripples — 3D patterns of ripples were embroidered on the light blue organza with the thermosensitive color-changing threads and conductive threads.
Scenario 2: Ripples — Interactions with fabric
Scenario 3: Torrents
Scenario 3: Torrents — Zodiac signs in the "Milky Way" were embroidered with conductive threads and attached with meditation background music; thermochromic ink was printed for cushions.
Scenario 3: Torrents — Interactions with fabric


Cotton, indigo, conductive threads/fabrics, thermochromic threads/inks, Bare Conductive Touch Board


123 x 20 cm