Inclusive Spaces x RMIT: Student Spotlight Harumi Jayasekera
Reading time: 2 minutes
Student Spotlight: Harumi Jayasekera
YourStudio is delighted to introduce Harumi Jayasekera, a student from RMIT who actively participated in our Inclusive Spaces Collaborative Project this past July.
Harumi's project garnered attention for her strategic approach and adept translation of research insights into meaningful implications for both her two intersectional groups and IKEA.
Below Harumi tells us about her approach and key learnings from her project, "Creating Moments of Quiet: Tystnad," which examines how IKEA could enhance their in-store retail experience for Gen Z consumers and the Neurodivergent Community...
Creating Moments of Quiet: Tystnad
"RMIT held an Inclusive Spaces module with YourStudio – focusing on inclusivity in retail and intersectionality. We were encouraged to choose two different sub-communities and learn to analyse the needs and wants between and apply it to a brand that YS has previously worked with.
As a class we followed the researching and design process of YourStudio to develop a new inviting and inclusive reality for our chosen groups. I worked with Gen Z and the neurodivergent community to IKEA."
Phase 1: Intersectionality x Retail Reality
"This step was primarily about understanding Gen Z and Neurodivergent individuals. I began to identify and analyse the key issues, barriers, needs and wants.
Learning to leave any assumptions behind, as well as my background working in care, was invaluable to me as part of the design process. Doing this has brought my attention to other interiors and spaces I have made in the past and understanding the importance of true inclusivity."
Phase 2: Hypothesis x Strategy
"I hypothesised that IKEA may be a brand that is not relevant for Gen Z, or prove to be an overwhelming experience for certain segments of the Neurodivergent community. This step challenged the way I approached my design solutions. Developing the strategy to curate and diffuse the IKEA experience was a great way for me to celebrate the communities in focus, yet narrow down to a more specific barrier in retail."
Phase 3: Environment x Inclusive Consumer Experience
"I started to consider the ‘interior’ more closely, allowing the type of environment and the consumer experience to crossover and intersect to bring my strategy to life. I learnt of term ‘dignified accessibility’ which is about an integrated inclusive experience rather than separating people from the true retail experience. This is what inspired me to work within the warehouse experience of IKEA and bring seamless and engaging experiences to the store."
“I learnt of term ‘dignified accessibility’ which is about an integrated inclusive experience rather than separating people from the true retail experience.”
- Harumi Jayasekera
"My project Tystnad translates to "quiet" in Swedish and aims to create moments of quiet in the IKEA experience. My strategy was to curate x diffuse – curate viral products for Gen-Z in a showroom space and diffuse the marketplace experience for hyper-sensitive individuals to enhance their experience. I use a frame with various textiles sold by IKEA to create these spaces for both inclusivity and the products of IKEA."
"I loved seeing how circular and inter-connected we are as people due to our intersectionality. Being encouraged to celebrate the differences as well as the crossovers of needs, wants and trends was eye-opening especially as we design for the future.
It was interesting aligning my design instincts with the best intentions for the two communities in ways that were also applicable for the brand itself. It was great to have a chance to make positive differences in retail and design. This project has laid a foundation in the kind of important values that will impact my future design decisions as I navigate my design career." - Harumi Jayasekera