Japanese Tea Ceremony Experience

The Japanese Tea Ceremony Experience at the Detroit Institute of Arts is a narrative-driven experience that takes up to three users through the Japanese Tea Ceremony. Users share a 3D-printed sandstone tea bowl, which acts as a means of playing and pausing a video background.


At the beginning of the project, our team held a workshop with the DIA to discuss the installation at a high-level, and to help determine some constraints and a direction to begin our design process.


We prototyped with white boards and screen mock-ups to determine the UX flow. It was at this point in the project that technical constraints and timeline helped us to determine the best approach.


In addition to contributing to the physical design of a 3D-printed tea cup “controller”, I was also responsible for specifying the appropriate hardware, developing OS-level scripts for launching the program, and configuring the system so it will last for many years.

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I developed the application from design comps and style guides using Electron and an API for tracking a conductive fiducial base attached to the bottom of the tea cup as it moved about the screen. The application features three different storylines based on how many museum-goers “check-in” to the experience at the beginning, allowing for an engaging, immersive experience no matter how many people are available to partake in it.