Symbiosis Hero Image


Focus: Speculative Experience Design, Illustration, Packaging, Game Concept Design

Team: Project completed with Abbie Coughlin, Mariam Almuhanna, Julia Pala & Izzy Madavan

My Role: Team lead. Concept, identity, illustration, packaging design. App visuals and concept created in collaboration.

How do you craft an experience that enables users to appreciate the interconnectedness of life on Earth?

symbiosis system overview diagram
Overview of the complete Symbiosis system for Moors Valley

Symbiosis is a multifaceted digital and physical experience which accompanies 'Gaia', Luke Jerram's famous Earth artwork, at Moors Valley Country Park during the Inside Out Dorset Festival. Symbiosis serves to encourage children and young adults to engage with the theme of environmentalism conveyed by Gaia.

The Concept

In Greek Mythology, Gaia is the personification of the Earth.  "Symbiosis", a Greek-derived term relating to "the relationship between all living beings", fosters the same sense of connectedness that the artwork and festival want to evoke. Thus, it became the perfect conceptual springboard and name.

Mystical Characters

final demeter
Demeter, the harvest
final helios
Helios, the sun
final selene
Selene, the moon

Modernising Mythology

Informed by primary insights, I developed mystical characters based on Greek Gods which represent aspects of Earth's ecology. I balanced fun, likeable dispositions with maturity and nuanced details to create a character style that both children and young adults engage with.

Seedling Kit Mementos

seedling kit
kit components
The kit contains everything children and first-time growers need to nurture their seedling

Inspiring Budding Horticulturalists

Ancient Greek households largely grew their own food. This inspired our collectable seedling kits which represent the distinct personality of our characters. Nurturing a seedling strengthens children's connection to nature, and the plant becomes a longstanding reminder of their day out to see Gaia.

Further explore the process behind the seedling kits →

seedling kit
plant label care advice
plant label
realistic packaging render
From my initial sketch, I created the 3D visualisation of the seedling kit using smart objects, shading and textures

Creative Activities

childrens worksheets
facebook page
Activity sheets make the symbiosis concept accessible to children at different ages. Children can enter their mystical character designs into the competition to win seedling kits

Attracting a New Audience

Currently, there is very little for young adults to do at Moors Valley, as the core demographic are families with children under 8 years old.

Co-designing with target users, we developed the Symbiosis App to get those interested in gaming and tech to engage with Gaia and idea of symbiosis.

Further explore our target user research →

The Symbiosis App

final symbiosis app screens
App visuals and concept created in collaboration with Abbie Coughlin

The Symbiosis app has two aspects to explore:

  • Symbiosis Game
  • Gaia Augmented Reality (AR)

Symbiosis Game

final symbiosis app screens
Users build their collection of plants from all over the world
final symbiosis app screens
The six characters introduce users to different island biomes, their specially adapted plants, and native animals. The game offers the opportunities for progression, variety and engaging narratives enjoyed by the target user group

Symbiosis game

Players collect and nurture plants, which attract native wildlife, and maintain their own vibrant island ecosystems. Users unite to build an ecosystem together on the Moors Valley community island, and unlock new island biomes as they level up.

Gaia AR

final gaia ar app screens
final gaia ar app screens
Weird and wonderful plant backstories highlight the significance plants have to different cultures worldwide

Gaia AR

Overlaid on their view of the real world, users can rotate and zoom in on a 3D rendering of Gaia to view its beauty from all angles. Enabling the Plant View filter displays the players' unlocked plants from the Symbiosis game in their native location on Earth.

symbiosis system overview diagram

The Wider Symbiosis System

The app, seedling kits and activities form part of the wider system; which includes wayfinding, an all-weather canopy and an accessible Gaia audio tour.

All of these elements are underpinned by the Symbiosis experience's proposition:

symbiosis system proposition
I summarised the purpose of the Symbiosis experience into a succinct proposition

Want to see more? Explore the process deep dives: