Thoughts on readings and proceedings in the Fall 2020 Senior Environments Studio taught by Daphne Peters.


Thoughts on the readings and proceedings in this class taught by Professor John Soluri.


Here are some questions that correspond to Coffee: A Global History, pp. 7–43:

(1) Compare the botanical, economic, and cultural dimensions of Arabica and Robusta coffees. What is the relationship of these two species of coffee plants to the division between “commodity” coffees and “specialty” coffees?

Compared to Robusta, Arabica is more traditional, better tasting, but more expensive, agriculturally fragile, and less caffeinated. Robusta is sold mixed together as a homogeneous “commodity” product across the world. …

Engaging freshmen at CMU to become food citizens through their on-campus experience, caring for the Earth through the foods that they eat.

The Design Team

Ema, Yue, Xuehui, and Nick

Ema Karavdic completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Sydney and is currently a candidate for the Master of Design at CMU. She has professional experience as a senior UX designer at Deloitte.

Nick Marotta is a junior at CMU pursuing a Bachelor of Design degree. His studies have focused on product design and environments design.

Xuehui Zhang completed her undergraduate degree at Rutgers University and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Design degree at…

So we succeeded at using what we’ve learned to persuade, but who were we really persuading?

Let’s take a closer look.

Nick Marotta

The prompt for this project was to enable an autographic physicalization of a normally unseen phenomenon. For the physicalization to be autographic, the phenomenon must create evidence of itself.

I decided to focus on block play in the context of early education. When kids play with blocks, it can appear to be senseless chaos to adults, but there is a complex web of learning experience going on. Kids are taking what they’ve observed of the real world and modeling it in real time, trying to understand relationships, roles and responsibilities, even gaining intuition of physics and their bodies…

Nicholas Marotta


This post chronicles the progress of my experience in Stacie Rohrbach’s Learner Experience Design class. What follows will be a mix of reflections, process work, and documentation.

There are many reasons to be excited, diving into learner experience design. Right off the bat, one of the reasons the class should be of particular interest to me is the opportunity for extensive meta-analysis. That’s always fun. The fact that Stacie is knowingly designing for a self-referential learning experience makes me excited to be present, engaged, and reflective throughout class. I have been hoping to develop learning experiences for…

The exhibit I designed was based around the idea of introducing visitors to Basquiat. Basquiat’s rise to fame and acquisition of critical acclaim was undoubtedly aided by, or even because of, his personality. While selling postcards on the street without a home to his name, Basquiat met Andy Warhol, the already-famous artist, who decided to take Basquiat under his wing and make him famous. Warhol got Basquiat on TV and gave him immense publicity. Basquiat became a superstar overnight —achieving his dream—not because the world saw his paintings, but because they saw him. My goal with this exhibit is to…

Self-reflection Hybrid Environments 10/01/18

150–250 word self-reflection posted to Medium: What other types of environments are becoming hybrid? Give at least one specific example and note whether or not you think the hybridization of the environment improves the user experience.

Many environments now are becoming hybrid as the inclusion of technology becomes more accessible. Transportation, retail, restaurants, houses, and even long-distance relationships have become hybrid. These environments have been enhanced or hurt by decisions to add digital interfaces and interactions to their systems. With public transportation, phones are now a virtual necessity to make your way around a city. You plug your destination into…


It is my understanding that an architect creates the building and the environments designer creates the spaces within. An architect is concerned with how the building should function whereas environments designers are focused on the inhabitants and user’s needs. Environments within a building are designed with an experience in mind, using the building created by an architect as a framework. Both should be able work together to create an environment cohesive with its building.

Often, architects take on building projects with a similar mindset to a sculptor. They might be very interested in playing with line, so the entire…

Artist Information and Initial Moodboard:


Idea 2: An exhibit that introduces you to Basquiat in the same way he was introduced to the New York art world in the 70s. From the outside of the gallery, you would see his graffiti poetry over the walls, signed “SAMO.” That would intrigue you to enter, and then you would meet Basquiat by watching a video clip of his interview alongside Warhol, just as the world got to know Basquiat in his rise to fame through Warhol. From there, you would see a small selection of Basquiat paintings. The exhibit should feel…

Nick Marotta

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