HATCH Series No. 3 | RE: Design

+ About the Work

Motivation for these objects stem from an interest in learning through play, and the psychology behind objects are items sometimes used by infants and young children to test reality. According to the mid-century psychologist Donald Winnicott, usage of transitional objects marks a critical developmental milestone: emergence of an “independent ego” along with interest in exercising self-awareness. Interaction with a transitional object shows attempt to connect one’s internal reality with the external world. The transitional object is considered a first “not-me possession” and examples including blankets or soft stuffed animals that appear inseparable from the individual. The relationship between user and object is specific and intimate, building upon the bond between caretaker and child, normally utilized in times of temporary absence from the caretaker. Through this work I explore the framework definition of a transitional object as a tool for constructing pieces that offer behavioral enrichment and provide a transformative, dialectical experience between the user and surrounding environment. Overall, I am looking to create objects that function like exercise equipment, but for mental health purposes through sensory play.


Alicia Valencia is furniture and object designer, with an academic background in developmental psychology and qualitative research. She recently graduated from the Brown|RISD Dual Degree program with a ScB in Psychology and BFA in Furniture Design.