Wonder Corner (full)

Masters thesis project at ITP, Tisch School of the Arts, NYU
Role: concept development, research, experience design (UX, user testing, prototyping), software architecture and development, fabrication

Wonder Corner is a participatory installation that invites adults into a private and safe space to ask and answer questions they are embarrassed to ask in public. It encourages them to be as curious as children and wonder about the world.

Media: analog phone, phone software Asterisk, custom-built phone booth, custom lighting, projection

User journey

Interaction starts when participant approaches the booth to read the introductory text projected on the outside; Then they pull back the curtain, get inside and sit in front of the phone.

As they pick up the phone, they hear a welcome message and are prompted with other people's questions, as well as instructions what to do next.

Participant has three choices:
  • dial #1 to ask own question
  • dial #2 to listen to someone else's question
  • dial #3 to answer someone else's question


Phone is programmed using Asterisk, an open source software for communication applications, to turn an analog phone into a digital one and for coding custom interactions.




During series of user tests I was looking at how people interact with the phone. I noticed that if there was even a little chance that someone might hear what people said, people started whispering: on the contrary, I wanted to design a space that would be familiar, cozy and private to ask and answer questions.
I also wanted to create a space that would allow adults to also shape their bodies as those of children, so I built a custom booth with the steps attached that let people climb inside. Inside there is a cushion and pillows, making people feel more comfortable while sitting in front of the phone and asking their questions.


The website was part of the initial version of the project. It acted as repository to hold all the participant contributions. For me it was a proof that asking questions is a way to contribute to a bigger conversation of wonder and awe about the world.




To make the website work, I was anonymously recording everything people shared and had a Python script running that used Google Speech API to transcribe the audio input and then display that input on the website.

This is my final talk about the project during Thesis Week at ITP.
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