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Karmen Franinović

Karmen Franinović

Head of Subject Area in Interaction Design, Head of MA Interaction Design, Co-director of Transdisciplinary Artistic PhD Program

Karmen Franinović is head of the Interaction Design subject area, where she also directs the MA Interaction Design program and research area. Her research focus is on understanding and creating experiences that engage bodily and spatial knowledge in interaction. She leads research projects on ecological interaction, movement rehabilitation, responsive architecture and sonic interaction. Karmen's practical and theoretical work challenges established interaction paradigms to foster more critical and playful uses of technology in everyday life. She is the founder of Enactive Environments group and Zero-Th Studio.

Karmen is an architect and designer whose work gravitates around the subjects of ecological interaction, responsive environments and sonic interaction design. The focus is on material and spatial interfaces that engage bodily knowledge in interaction, mainly through multisensory experience produced through sonic and haptic feedback. Her work challenges established interaction paradigms to foster critical and playful uses of technology in everyday life. Karmen's theoretical research on enaction, agency, play, hospitality and participation manifests in responsive spaces, digital architecture, video and interactive installations. Karmen's projects have been exhibited internationally, at institutions including Ircam/Centre Pompidou (Paris), SF Camerawork (San Francisco), Fondazione Sandretto (Torino), Miami Bienal, MoMA Ljubljana, Far Eastern Memorial Foundation (Taipei), DEAF (Rotterdam), The Junction (Cambridge), and Oboro (Montreal), among others.

  • Academic Positions
    Karmen Franinovic holds Professorship for Interaction Design at the ZHdK since 2013. She is currently preparing the new MA Major program, new Minor on Experimental Interaction and co-directing the Transdiciplinary Artistic PhD Program, the first transdepartmental PhD program at ZHdK. Karmen has since been teaching BA and MA courses in research methods, embodied interaction, experience design, ecological interaction and others. Previously, Karmen was a visiting faculty at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, L'école des Beaux Arts du Mans, NABA Milano and Linz University of Arts and Design. She led a first European Union research project at the ZHdK within the Institute for Cultural Studies in the Arts.
  • Academic Services
    Karmen is continuously striving to support high-quality artistic and design research. As an expert for research in arts, design and architecture, Karmen has been invited to act as jury member for prestigious European Research Council grants. She also evaluates applications for various national founding agencies. Karmen worked an expert for evaluation and/or accreditation of educational programs in design and arts. At ZHdK, she was a member of Forschungskonferenz and Versammlung der Institutsleitenden where models of artistic research have been shaped. Most recently, Karmen co-chaired the Interaction conference, a largest gathering of interaction designers from academia and business, that took place for the first time in Switzerland.
  • Research Area 1: Entangled Environments
    Karmen is currently exploring ways in which interaction design can contribute methods, knowldge and tools to urgent ecological challenges. Together with Roman Kirschner, she leads an SNSF research project "Interfacing the Ocean" (2023-2028) which supports 3 PhD candidates and a network of partners.
  • Research Area 2: Active Materials and Responsive Environments
    Since 2000, Karmen has been creating responsive environments which focus on engaging social and sensorial interaction in public space. Her urban installations invite passers-by to explore, modulate and affect the evolution of the multidimensional urban fabric, together with the presence and condition of its co-inhabitants. Play is used as a strategy for challenging habitual behaviors and opening up alternative context in which unknown individual and collective gestures may be revealed. These projects act as research probes into sensorial and social tissues of which urban spaces are composed. Karmen is a member of the Internet of Things Council where questions of spatial and embodied interaction are discussed on European level. In 2011 Karmen founded Enactive Environments group to research self-actuated materials, such as shape-changing surfaces (electroactive polymers) and self-illuminating surfaces (electroluminescent paper) with a goal of designing a more dynamic and responsive architecture.
  • Research Area 3: Sonic Interaction and Movement Rehabilitation
    Karmen's current research focuses on sonic interaction that can support movement rehabilitation, especially in stroke patients. Her book "Sonic Interaction Design" (MIT Press, 2013) aims to introduce this emerging field to designers and artists. The project was supported by the European Science Foundation COST Action on "Sonic Interaction Design" which she co-authored and acted as a Swiss national delegate. She was also involved in the COST Action on "Soundscape of European Cities and Landscapes". From 2006 to 2009, together with Yon Visell, she led design research within the European FP6 project CLOSED: Closing the loop of Sound Evaluation and Design, which was a milestone for fostering research on sonic interaction design, and the first EU project to be based at a university of the arts in Switzerland.


  • K. Franinović and S. Serafin, eds., Sonic Interaction Design, MIT Press. 2013.

Book chapters

  • K. Franinović and R. Kirschner, ”Interacting in Entangled Environments” in Texturing Spaces: Towards an Exponential Cartography, Eds. A. Brisson-Darveau and Ch. Brunner, Adocs. 2021.

  • R. Kirschner and K. Franinović, ”Interacting in Entangled Environments” in Not at Your Service: Design Manifestos, Eds. B. Franke and H. Matter, Birkhäuser Verlag. 2020.
  • K. Franinović,”Thinking Active Materials : Actively Thinking Materials”. In Raw Flows, Ed. R. Kirschner, 2017.
  • K. Franinović,”Vibrant Ground: Floor as an Active Stage Player”. In Staging Space: The Architecture of Performance in the 21st Century, Ed. S. von FIscher, 2016.
  • F. Mondada, J. Fink, S. Lemaignan, D. Mansolino, F. Wille and K. Franinović, Ranger, An Example of Integration of Robotics into the Home Ecosystem, in New Trends in Medical and Service Robots, Springer, 2015. pp. 181-190
  • K. Franinović,”Inter-Action/Inter-Acting” in Handbuch Künstlerische Forschung, Ed. J. Badura, A. Haarmann and S. Dubach. Diaphanes, 2015.
  • K. Franinović,”Materialität und Performativität von Sound” in Wenn Design die Materie verlässt... Sound. Das Design der Emotionen, der Imagination und der Lebendigkeit, Ed. Peter Philippe Weiss. Books on Demand. 2015. pp. 86-99
  • K. Franinović, L. Franzke and C. Winkler, “Enactive Environments: Thinking and Creating with Active Materials “. In Contemporary Design Education & Research, Ed. Li Degeng and Luo Yi, Guangxi Normal University Press, 2014.
  • K. Franinović, M. Kretzer, D. Bisig, F. Wille, M. Gmachl and R. Wingfield “Actuated Matter”. In Performative Materials In Architecture And Design. ed. Rashida Ng and Sneha Patel. Intellect Books, Ltd. July 2013.
  • Stefania Serafin, Karmen Franinovic, Thomas Hermann Guillaume Lemaitre, Michal Rinott and Davide Rocchesso “Sonic Interaction Design”. In Sonification Handbook. 2011.
  • K. Franinovic. “Basic Interaction Design for Sonic Artefacts in Everyday Contexts”. In Focused - Current Design Research Projects and Methods. Bern, 2008.
  • K. Franinovic. “Amplified Movements: An Enactive Approach to Sound in Interaction Design”. In New Realities: Being Syncretic. Springer. Vienna, 2008.
  • K. Franinovic. “Enactive Encounters in the City”. In Responsive Architectures. Ed. P. Beesley, S. Hirosue, J. Ruxton, M. Traenkle and C. Turner, Riverside Architectural Press, 2006
  • K. Franinovic, B. Juricic. “Amnio(p)tic surface” in Defining Digital Architecture, book, Far Eastern Memorial Foundation, New York, 2001

Selected Journal Articles

  • K. Franinović and R. Kirschner, “Microbiospherians: Leveraging Microbes in Biosphere 2”, Journal of Performance Research, Vol. 25, No. 3: „On Microperformativity“ Routledge, 2020.
  • K. Franinović and R. Kirschner. Material Activity in Art and Design Practices in Bredekamp H., Schäffner, W. (eds) Special Issue on Material Agencies, Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 83(3), Deutscher Kunstverlag. 2020.

  • G. Lemaitre, O. Houix, P. Susini, Y. Visell and K. Franinović. Feelings elicited by auditory feedback from a computationally augmented artifact: the Flops. IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing. 2012.
  • K. Franinovic. “Architecting Play”, Journal of AI & Society - Special issue on Poetic and Speculative Architectures in Public Space. Vol 26.2. Ed. Sha Xin Wei. 2011.
  • Lemaitre G., Houix O., Visell Y., Franinović K., Misdariis N. and Susini P., “Toward the Design and Evaluation of Continuous Sound in Tangible Interfaces: The Spinotron”, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, special issue on Sonic Interaction Design, 2009.
  • K. Franinovic. “Toward Basic Interaction Design” in Design Research special issues of Elisava Temes de Disseny Journal. Barcelona, 2009.
  • K. Franinovic. ”Behavioural spaces, designing for the social and sensorial ecologies in public spaces”, in Theatre, Dans, Etcetera (96), pp. 22-30. Belgium, April 2005
  • K. Franinovic. “Architectures of Subtraction : Relaxation and Play in the City”, in Interaction Design Almanacco 04, Interaction Design Institue Ivrea 2004.
  • K. Franinovic, B. Juricic. “Amnio(p)tic surface” in Defining Digital Architecture, book, Far Eastern Memorial Foundation, New York, 2001

Selected Conference papers (peer-reviewed)

  • L. Franzke, J. Gartman, D. Bachmann, T. Töpper and K. Franinović, TOFI: Designing Intraoral Computer Interfaces for Gamified Myofunctional Therapy, Proc. of the CHI 2023 : Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2023.
  • K. Franinović and L. Franzke, Shape Changing Surfaces and Structures: Design Tools and Methods for Electroactive Polymers, Proc. of the CHI 2019 : Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2019. Honorary Mention Award.
  • L. Franzke, D. Rossi and K. Franinović, Fluid Morphologies: Hydroactive Polymers for Responsive Architecture, Proceedings of ACADIA The Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture conference, 2016.
  • D. Hug, M. Kemper, K. Panitz and K. Franinović, Sonic Playgrounds - Exploring Principles and Tools for Outdoor Sonic Interaction, Proceedings of the 10th Audio Mostly: ACM Conference on Interaction With Sound. 2016. Best Paper Nomination.
  • K. Franinović, L. Franzke “Luminous Matter: Electroluminescent Paper as an Active Material”, Aesthetics of Interaction: Dynamic, Mulitsensory, Wise. In Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Design and Semantics of Form and Movement, DeSForM 2015.
  • J. Fink, P. Dillenbourg, Ph. Rétornaz, F. Vaussard, A. Berthoud, F. Mondada, F. Wille and K. Franinović "Proactive vs. Reactive Robot - Which one Better Motivates Children to Tidy up Their Toys?", HRI'14: Proceedings of the 2014 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction. 2014.
  • A. Villa Torres, V. Kluckner and K. Franinović, "Auditory Feedback for Gait Training Device", In Proceedings of the ISon: Interactive Sonification Workshop, Fraunhofer IIS, Erlangen, Germany, 2013.
  • K. Franinovic “Habit and Exploration through Enactive Sound Objects”, In Proc. of the International Symposium on Electronic Art ISEA11, Istanbul, 2011.
  • K. Franinovic “Flo)(ps: Between Habitual and Explorative Action-Sound Relationships”, In Proceedings of the 7th international Conference on New interfaces For Musical Expression, NIME’11, Oslo, Norway.
  • G. Lemaitre, O. Houix, K. Franinovic, Y. Visell, P. Susini "The Flops glass: a device to study emotional reactions arising from sonic interactions" 2009.
  • K. Franinovic, Y. Visell “Strategies for Sonic Interaction Design: From Context to Basic Design”. Proc. of the 14th International Conference on Auditory Display, Paris, 2008.
  • D. Rocchesso, Y. Visell, K. Franinovic, F. Behrendt, S. Pauletto, P. Susini, R. Bresin, et al., “Sonic Interaction Design: Sound, Information, and Experience”. Proc. of the 26th Intl. ACM CHI Conference, Florence, 2008.
  • K. Franinovic, A. Wilson. “Hinge Dimension: An Exploration of Enaction in Architecture”. Proc. of the 4th Intl. Conf. on Enactive Interfaces, Grenoble, 2007.
  • Y. Visell, K. Franinovic, J. Cooperstock. “EcoTile: An Architectural Platform for Audio-Haptic Simulation in Walking“. Proc. of the 4th Intl. Conf. on Enactive Interfaces, Grenoble, 2007.
  • K. Franinovic, Y. Visell. "New musical interfaces in context: sonic interaction design in the urban setting". The 7th International ACM Conference on New interfaces For Musical Expression. New York, 191-196. 2007.
  • K. Franinovic, Y. Visell, D. Hug. “Sound Embodied: A Report on Sonic Interaction Design in Everyday Artefacts”. The 13th International Conference on Auditory Display. Montreal, 2007.
  • K. Franinovic. “Architectures of Play: Participation and Interactivity”. Proc. of the International Symposium on Electronic Art ISEA08, Singapore, 2008.
  • K. Franinovic and Y. Visell. “Modulating Urban Atmospheres: Opportunity, Flow, Adaptation”, in Proc. of The 7th Intl. Conference on Ubiquitous Computing, Tokyo, 2005.
  • K. Franinovic and Y. Visell. “Activating Space: from representation to being”, in Proc. Intl. Symposium on Space and Perception, RIXC Center for New Media Culture, Riga, 2005.
  • K. Franinovic and Y. Visell. “Sonic diversion in the city, on interactive sound design and urban intervention”. ACM Designing Interactive Systems: Processes, Practices, Methods, and Techniques, Boston, MA, 2004.

Selected Exhibitions

  • “Infinite Nows” exhibition, Ars Electronica, 2021. Curated by K. Franinović. Coordinated by Erika Marthins. Ars Electronica, Linz, 2021.

  • Microbiospherians. "Holobiont: Life is Other" Exhibition at Magazin 4, Bregenz, Austria, with R. Kirschner.

  • Solo, a responsive installation. “Laokoon 2016” Festival organized by H. Wickert, J. Badura and A. Nordmann. 2016. with A. Villa Torres.
  • Fluid Morphologies, shape-changing water sculptures. Phillips Collection, Washington DC 2015. with L. Franzke and D. Rossi.
  • Enactive Environments. International Design Research Exhibition, OCT-Loft Festival, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, 2013. with L. Franzke and C. Winkler
  • Kontakt. TOUCH exhibition, Fondation Verdan, Lausanne 2012. with T. Grewenig.
  • Sonic Abstractions. Demain, c'est aujourd'hui exhibition. 10th Biennale Internationale du Design de Saint-Etienne. France. 2008.
  • Flo)(ps. Amplified Intimacies, an Interstices group exhibition. Oboro Gallery, Montreal, 2008. with Y. Visell.
  • EcoTiles, haptic floor interface. Eurohaptics conference. Madrid, 2008. with Y. Visell, J.Cooperstock, B. Giordano, S. McAdams and Alwin Law.
  • Hinge_Dimension, responsive labyrinth. Enter Unknown Territories Festival. Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene. Cambridge, UK. April 2007. with A. Wilson.
  • Skyhooks, responsive urban environment, 10th Happy New Ears Festival, Kortrijk, Belgum. 2006. with Y. Visell
  • Charged Space, participatory installation, Dancing the Virtual event. SAT, Montreal, 2006, with F. Abtan.
  • Autogrill Monument, real-time death public display. Monument Recall: Improbable Monuments exhibition, SF Camerawork, San Francisco, 2004, with L. Thie
  • Recycled Soundscapes, public sound installation. Resonances Festival 2004, Ircam / Centre Pompidou, Place Stravinsky, Paris, 2004, with Y. Visell
  • Politicomobil, critical design project. BITE: a taste of interactive explorations exhibition, Fondazione Sandretto re Rebaudengo, Torino, Italy, 2004, with B. Negrillo.
  • Syncoptic, responsive architecture. Artist in residence exhibition, FoAM lab, Brussels. 2003, with L. Kusaite and Y. Visell
  • Kontakt, participatory tactile installation. Dutch Electronic Arts Festival, DEAF 2003 Rotterdam, with boutiquevizique
  • TransgenEthic Structures, architecture project. Surface as Ultraskin exhibition, Museum of Modern Art Ljubljana, 2002, with B. Juricic
  • Amnioptic Surface, urban planning project. Far Eastern International Digital Architectural Design Award, Taipei, 2000. and Miami Bienal: Possible Futures exhibition, 2001, with B. Juricic.
  • Angel’s angle, video. Beyond Media Festival: The Future and the City, Florence, 2000.


  • K. Franinović, D. Meier, S. Bauer, R. Gassert, Y. Kim, K. Leuenberger, A. Luft, J. Held and S. Latscha. Detecting and Evaluating Movements of a User. 2017.
  • J. Cooperstock, Y. Visell, A. Law, K. Franinović. Floor-Based Haptic Communication System. 2015.

Selected Conferences, Workshops and Symposia

  • “Non-aligned Movements”, Summer School by IFK: Internatinoal Research Center for Cultural Studies, September 2024 (upcoming).

  • “Design the Undefined, Undesign the Defined”, Chair of the Interaction23, largest interaction design conference, together with Thomas Link, Kongresshaus, Zürich, March 2023.

  • "Presentation and publication formats for artistic PhD research" conference, organised by Transdisciplinary Artistic PhD Board, ZhdK, Zürich, Nov 2023.

  • “On Interactivity” Conversation series celebrating 20 years Interaction Design at Zurich University of the Arts, Curated by K. Franinović, J. Bitton, R. Kirschner, 2021

  • “Experiences & Specificities of Artistic PhDs” workshop, organised by Transdisciplinary Artistic PhD Board (Marcel Bleurer, Florian Dombois, Karmen Franinovic, Anton Ray and German Torro Perez), Museum für Gestaltung, Zürich, 2021

  • K. Franinović, J. Bitton, R. Kirschner. “On Interaction: Embodiments, Materialities, Ecologies” symposium, Ars Electronica, 2021.

  • K. Franinović and R. Kirschner. “Attunement with More-than-Human Worlds” workshop at “Situated Knowledges” symposium. Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich, 2021.

  • K. Franinović, C.Winkler and M. Kemper. “It’s all just air” symposium and workshop. Zurich, 2017.
  • K. Franinović, R. Kirschner and C. Winkler. “Material Aktiv Denken” research workshop on thinking with active materials. Zurich, 2013.
  • K. Franinović and B. Franke. “The Stuff between us: Designing Beyond Object” international research symposium on designing relations. Zurich, 2013.
  • V. Trifa, K. Franinovic, D. Guinard and K. Kloeckl. “Urban Internet of Things”. The Internet of Things conference, Tokyo, 2010.
  • K.Franinovic and J. Schacher “Music Gesture and Sonic Interaction”, international expert workshop, Zurich, 2010.
  • K. Franinovic, L. Gaye, F. Behrendt. “Exploring Sonic Interaction with Tangible Artifacts in Everyday Contexts”, Proc. of the 14th International Conference on Auditory Display, Paris, 2008.