The initial proposal of the class was to develop a project in partnership with a person or organization whose worked focused on social issues. We chose to work with Juliana Franklin, a storyteller working with a number of non-profit organizations and public schools in some of Rio de Janeiro’s biggest favelas. She tells stories and then works with the children in activities where they explore the stories’ meanings, asking the kids to express their hopes, dreams and struggles.

Bruno and I spent time interviewing her about her work, as well as observing her in storytelling sessions. We noticed that in many occasions the children had trouble focusing while she was telling the stories and that they often had difficulty getting into the story’s universe. 

After sketching and ideating possible interventions and holding a co-creation session with Juliana, we decided to develop an object that could help her to bring her stories to life and to capture the children’s imagination. After much experimentation, our final design aimed to expand the possibilities of Juliana’s storytelling, by allowing her to illustrate the stories in an abstract and playful way. 

The Storytelling Carpet can be filled with colorful fabrics, which can in turn be used in a variety of ways to awaken the audience’s imagination.

The carpet really helped to bring the stories to life for the children. The simple suggestion of something with a piece of fabric made that world much more tangible and real; it seemed as though the children could smell a flower, or hear the sound of waves crashing...

This is a project that works with the sensibilities and emotions of a public that is, for the most part, disconnected from them, and the carpet made it possible for them to access those emotions more easily.