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M A D I S O N S A B A T TABLE E L LOFI CONTENTS DESIGN RESEARCH PORTFOLIO BACKGROUND Introduction Writing to Design 1. DEFINING THE LANDSCAPE Teaching Philosophy Spaces as Sponsors 2. IDENITFYING CONNECTIONS Thesis Explorations in Locative Media 3. OBSERVING WRITING IN USE Sketchbook Ethnography Teaching Experience 4. TESTING WRITING METHODS Material Palette Haikus 5. DESIGNING WITH OTHERS Codesign Community in Restrooms

My name is Madison Sabatelli


I received my BFA in Interior Design from Miami University in 2015 and gained significant professional experience in interior design practice while working at Elevar Design Group in Cincinnati, Ohio. Working as a designer provided me with experience designing commercial, educational, medical, and institutional projects. Collaborating in multidisciplinary teams of varying sizes, I was exposed to a wide range of design practices, methodologies, and identities. My accredited education and professional practice experience qualified me to complete the NCIDQ examination in 2018. My certification number is 33645. I am currently an MFA Candidate in the Design Department at The Ohio State University, with a focus on design research and development. I expect to complete my courses in Summer, 2020. My graduate studies have served as an extension of the foundation I have built in the field of interior design to reflect my interests in incorporating a range of multimodal skills used for spatial thinking, including sketches, models, and words. Specifically, my MFA thesis employs an ethnographic approach to explore ways in which writing can be used in the design process and aims to provide insight on alternative methods for meaning-making that extends beyond preliminary images. In this way, using my own experiences as a student and my practical knowledge of design, I have demonstrated and expanded my continued interest in pedagogical approaches within the field.

My design practice and pedagogical research has been implemented through 30 hours of teaching-related duties each week while a graduate student. Within OSU’s Department of Design, I work as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for foundational design courses. As a GTA, I assist in preparing course materials, meet with students to discuss their design ideas, and evaluate student work. Additionally, I work as a consultant at the university’s Writing Center. In this position I meet one-on-one with students to assist in improving their writing skills while also leading workshops and informational lectures. In both of these roles, I aim to empower students to communicate their ideas effectively - whether it be through words or visuals. Because these students represent a range of nationalities, cultures, skills, and disciplinary backgrounds, I listen to each individual I work with carefully to truly understand how to best assist in their learning.


As an undergraduate student and a professional interior designer, I found myself existing in the space between architecture and graphic design. Working among the large-scale construction documents and site plans while also simultaneously diving into the world of typography and branding, I came to understand that interior design was a profession of adaptability and multivalency. This multifaceted approach to interior design has shaped me as both a professional and an academic within the design field. As an educator, this mindset manifests itself as an opportunity for encouraging multimodal engagement that extends beyond disciplinary boundaries. I seek to let students drive conversation using their own ideas and interests, with my input in class discussion as a means of facilitating and furthering inquiry. By fostering a community of discourse, students gain additional necessary communication skills and work towards self-efficacy and autonomy. Likewise, while working with students individually, I listen closely to their intentions and concerns in order to reinforce the same communication goals while asking pointed questions to further a student’s line of thinking. Through both group and individual interactions I view my purpose as an educator as that of a facilitator who enables learning and empowers students.

In this way, it is not only students who learn, but myself included. During classroom engagements I consistently look for clues to inform the effectiveness of my own communication. I attempt to reiterate what students disclose to test my own understanding and employ visual, verbal, and kinesthetic measures of illustrating ideas depending on each students’ individual needs. By compelling students to consider important questions about their work, I urge them to be the experts of their interests, responsible for the reception their projects receive. My teaching experience has been diverse and interdisciplinary. It has included assisting in design courses such as foundational studios, interior finish materials, and design history; presentation and workshopping among new design teaching assistants; and working one-on-one with students to help them improve as writers. One aspect that many of these positions have in common is the opportunity to speak with and work directly with students to aid in crystallizing their ideas - it is this that I value the most as an educator. Overall, my approach to education is one which relies on an abandonment of disciplinary divides, a passion for storytelling, and a deep desire for learning and inquiry. I am invigorated by the opportunity to provide this to the students I work with and to empower them to achieve their own professional, academic, and personal goals.


This ethnographic study serves to investigate how design students utilize writing alongside drawing to effectively communicate design concepts. This study will include classroom observations, informal and formal interviews (with recording), and accumulation of students’ process work (notes, sketches, models, and their forms of documentation used to inform a final design). Data will be gathered from sections of underclassmen and upperclassmen interdisciplinary courses offered at the Department of Design at The Ohio State University, which includes majors in Industrial Design, Interior Design, and Visual Communication Design. Examples from a range of students in the beginning of their design education to those nearing its completion serve to create a comprehensive corpus referencing the many ways in which writing is used to conceptualize design concepts. Furthermore, the interdisciplinary nature of these courses aims to position this study to look at how writing is used across disciplinary lines. This research will explore the following questions: What is the nature of writing within the discipline of design? How do design students use writing in their process work to communicate design concepts? Do different types of writing facilitate different design activities? Do underclassmen and upperclassmen design students employ different writing practices? Does the writing of design students evolve or change as they progress from their first to fourth years?


INTERIOR DESIGN MATERIALS The webs of spiders Sticking to my face In the dusty woods

Attribute Diagram

Materials Palette Haiku

Attribute Diagram

Mind Map

Attribute Experience Board

Experience Material Board

Serving as a guest lecturer under the direction of the instructor, Rebekah Matheny, I introduced this project introduced using words to produce a materials-based outcome for a second year Materials Course. Students selected one of four haikus to inform ideas. They developed Mind Maps to begin analyzing the written context, connotations, and sensorial imagery of the haikus. Students then created Attribute Experience Boards with words and visual imagery to form a bridge between the written and visual. Each of these steps informed the final deliverable of the project, an Experience Material Board; the Experience Material Board combined “found� objects (a bouquet of flowers, a scone, etc.) with interior finish materials that integrated sensory elements to create a cohesive visual identity that could be used to develop an actual interior space. Using a sensorial experience project accompanied with a writing-based approach over traditional methods of teaching a materials course results in improved student understanding of material properties. Writing in the form of haikus and word mapping exercises allows students to be more attuned to material qualities and more creative in their expression without a specific space in mind.


This project asked students to observe a physical journey by mapping out their journey. Students gained interpretation and storytelling skills by using sketches, diagrams, page layout, and words to communicate their path. Students demonstrated the use of compositional elements with intention to create mood or support narrative. As a GTA in the Design Fundamentals course at OSU, I assisted in leading course instruction, providing feedback to students, and evaluating work for this project.


This project asked students to utilize patterns developed from a previous project to develop two models which emphasized depth and volume. Students employed knowledge of design elements and principles as well as craft skills to create pieces which captured the essence of these two characteristics. As a GTA in the Design Fundamentals course at OSU, I assisted in leading course instruction, providing feedback to students, and evaluating work for this project.


The goal of this project was to apply learnings from the term’s modules on design elements and principles, form, color, pattern, and scale to design a poster that exemplifies a sensory experience in both 2D and 3D. Using both vector and raster tools, students designed a poster that conveys a visualization of their sensory experience that strongly communicates the experience to an audience. As a GTA in the Design Fundamentals course at OSU, I assisted in leading course instruction, providing feedback to students, and evaluating work for this project.

DESIGN HISTORY As a GTA in the Design History course at OSU, I assisted in providing feedback and evaluating the assignments of over 140 students. As an introductory course to the various design tracks, this course examined the chronology of designed objects, spaces, and graphics through a series of lectures, research projects, and analytical papers. Students drew upon material presented in the course as well as their own particular interests in design to contribute to the course content. Students demonstrated their understanding through the assembly of presentations on designs relating to a particular time period, analysis and comparison of the timelines of two designed objects, and the completion of a fictional paper in which two designers meet and discuss their philosophies. Through these projects, students developed an understanding of important design movements and figures as well as differences between modes of thinking and cultural influences.

The timeline of cooking pots outlines the different innovations made to cooking pots overtime. The general idea of the pot hasn’t changed much over the last few centuries according to the timeline. The graphic seems to come from an old magazine because it looks as though there’s a crease between two columns, and the chart ends at 1969, suggesting it hasn’t been updated to include any modern innovations. The chart shows mostly examples from the 20th century, and the years become increasingly closer upon entering the 1930’s, which is also right after the modern idea of a kitchen emerged in the late 1920’s when Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky revealed her design for what a kitchen should look like now that gas an electricity were commodities that can be made accessible in every home. Stainless steel is invented in 1913, and it first appeared in cookware 1927 for commercial-use pots, but later it becomes a staple for the home as well. Appearance seems to become more important around the 1950’s, which is when the colorful outer coatings on pots became prominent. One lone frying pan is thrown into the graphic to note that it was the first pan coated in a non-stick substance called Teflon, which was actually discovered first by an engineer who used it at an aerospace research facility to remove glass fibre moulds. I think these are all the most important points in the history of cooking pots because each year highlighted contains a new material or combination of materials utilized in the making of cooking pots, showing how they have been improved and refined to make cooking easier.

(Above) Timeline comparison essay.

is also the use of print media in both of your most influential works and taking advantage of that with repetition.” Brodovitch gave me an inquisitive look and seemed to be pondering my words. “What works are you referencing specifically?” At the end of his question, I noticed his eyes dart over to the street and were following something. I turn my body in the chair and squint from out of the shadow into the bright street and see Fanette Mellier briskly striding along the road. She walks over to the table and pulls out her chair while giving her greetings to Brodovitch Christian Baker and myself. Mary Ann Weber “Ms. Mellier,” I address, “thank you so much for responding to my direct message and 28 April 2019 being willing to come and try out this experience with me.” I had found Mellier’s Instagram and Design 2750 Facebook so this made it very easy to get in contact with her and for us to have rapid Avant-Garde communication. She expressed an intrigue in the idea when I initially approached her with the concept of debating with a designer of the past. Luckily, she was near her Paris-based studio at Our dialogue begins outside a corner caf​é with exquisite calligraphy spelling out the time and was able to take off some time from her projects. “Avant-Garde.” These letters are perched atop a shade overhang that acts as a protective “Of course, Mr. Baker.” Her thick, French accent lines each word as they leave her lips. barrier between wrought iron tabletops and chairs from the beaming sun. Inside, past a grand “The chance to talk with Mr. Brodovitch here is quite fantastical, and especially being a master window frame without glass, stretching lengths of typefaces act as leading lines throughout the of the print arts of his time, I’m curious to hear his thoughts of today's methods and my own small eatery. Repeating rings of an ever downsizing scale mimic a coffered ceiling in gridded work.” She gave a humble smile towards Brodovitch aas he nods and lights a fabricated rows along the ceiling and allude to the idea of further depth than what is actually present. cigarette at his commendation. There are sparse blocks of color in print tones that highlight the surface of the walls around “I definitely try to limit my consumption of modern technology as it would overwhelm me customers and seem to be split between the text flowing within the confines of these colors and in my older age, but I would like to propose this, Ms. Mellier.” Brodovitch addresses Mellier in a just barely outlining their edges. Avant-Garde, located in Paris, France, acts as a fantastic direct manner completely isolating them in conversation and cutting me out as a medium. I am meeting point for designers Alexey Brodovitch and Fanette Mellier to have a passionate now a spectator for this debate of past and present design. discussion on their abstract methods for graphic design. Not only that, but Avant-Garde allows “What is to stop me from thinking that today’s methods aren’t so far from the idea of for the mystical opportunity to reference designers from the past which have been revolutionary design that they prove to be ineffective shambles of in their respective fields. nothing? Your work itself seems to be the same imagery I arrive at the café and seated beneath the shade overhang is none other than Alexey over and over with slightly different changes in the hues Brodovitch himself, or rather the robotic personality of the famous designer with the closest and tones. There’s the illusion that from your work, possible option to his true personality. This model reflects Brodovitch’s later years of life with Specimen​, the left and upper borders of imagery were wrinkled skin and his rimmed glasses mounted on the ridge of his nose. He looks up from the merely printed from a different source or you ran out of synthetic cup of coffee in his hands and gives me a curt nod acknowledging my arrival. dye partially through the process. Take my August 1940 “Mr. Baker, I’m assuming?” Of course, this program knows it is me since my arrival time issue cover of Harper’s Bazaar,” Brodovitch pulls out a initiated his life cycle temporarily, but it helps to speak with these robots as though they are still small magazine from a bag that was at his side. It is a alive. That’s the entire idea of the Avant-Garde--to take yourself back and explore the possible replica of his August 1940 edition of Harper’s Bazaar and conversations of famous designers who have since left us. it looks like it came on the shelf just this morning. He “Mr. Alexey Brodovitch.” I reach out to shake his artificial hand and it strangely has the slides it in front of Mellier and spins the magazine to orient warmth of that similar to a humans touch. Perhaps it was the coffee he was holding? “It’s a it for her viewing. pleasure to be having this meeting with you. I am sure Ms. Mellier will be joining us very shortly.” “I used repetition in my subject and sparse color isolation “I am quite excited to be seeing what the new generation of designers have been to highlight her lips uniquely from each bordering copy. pursuing in their minds on the endless quest for expression. Might I ask, what provoked you to ‘Half of the face is in shadow and all attention is focused pick me as your influencer of choice rather than any of the others?” Alexey gestures with a on the eyes and brightly colored lips, which provide the sweep of his hand to the empty tables around us referencing the other designer options for only color on the cover apart from the masthead and other possible visitations. His inquiry seems to mimic the questioning nature of his past, like he might lettering.’ (Aleksander, “A History of Graphic Design ask one of his students. He wants a justification for my decision; he is not taking a side, but rather provoking me to explore the path of choice. “Well, I chose you, personally, since I have a strong passion for photography and your use of photos in layouts stuck out to me as the most visually attractive works. In terms of choosing you and inviting Ms. Mellier here today, I thought there were some visual connections between your works. There isn’t any direct connection per se, but both of your usage of simple backgrounds and having pops of accent color or tones were drawn together in my mind. There

(Above) Fictional essay on two designers meeting in a cafe.


I was selected to serve as a Graduate Teaching Orientation Facilitator for new GTAs teaching studio courses in the Autumn semester of 2019. For this position, my co-facilitator and I spent the developing lesson plans, presentations, activities, and discussion topics following the agenda provided by the University Institute of Teaching and Learning. We administered these lessons over the course of two day-long sessions in August, during which the new GTAs received training on how to prepare for their classes, make their classes more accessible, conduct respectful classroom discussions, and provide helpful feedback to students. I served as a resource to my fellow GTAs by engaging them in critical thinking and considerations as educators while also providing practical tips and assurance of their abilities as capable teachers.


Implementing and Managing Teaching Methods

Now that we’ve considered several teaching strategies and methods, let’s talk “plan B” for when the unexpected occurs. GOALS

•Consider different teaching strategies for a given scenario. Teaching •Even with great planning, sometimes things don’t work Scenario •Consider external contexts and constraints on teaching.


It’s an evening class in dance that 2 meets once a week from 6:30 to 9:30 PM. You are preparing the students for an upcoming performance. You have 15 students, all non-majors.

Teaching Scenario 2: It’s a 7:30 am class in drawing in November. You are teaching in the studio. You have students from several related majors, but only 2 from your department. There are 50 students in the class.


(Above and left) Examples of presentations used at the orientation.


As a Writing Consultant of nearly six years, I collaborate with diverse students to improve help improve their abilities as writers. I received significant training in how to build rapport with students, navigate writing concerns, and provide strategic feedback through my coursework at Miami University, where I worked as a Writing Consultant for four years. I continue building upon my practice at The Ohio State University’s Writing Center by listening to student concerns and concepts, and providing helpful feedback in order to let students be the experts of their ideas, their writing, and their voice. I aim to serve the entire campus population: undergraduates and graduate students, domestic and international students, and representatives from all majors. In addition to daily meetings with students at the Writing Center, I also direct workshops for students and other consultants. For students, these workshops centered around a particular assignment or type of paper that other consultant and I presented helpful tips for before working with students individually or in small groups. Likewise, consultants’ workshops presented consulting techniques, journal articles, and other topics surrounding literacy and writing to improve consultant practices. Finally, I have also presented at several conferences through the Writing Center, including the East Central Writing Center Association Conference and the International Writing Center Association Conference. For these conferences I presented on topics such as the influence of space on writing and conducted workshops on visualizing ideal writing center spaces with groups of writing consultants and administrators.

(Above) Workshop at the 2019 International Writing Center Association Conference.


Profile for Madison Sabatelli

Teaching Portfolio - Student Work  

Teaching Portfolio - Student Work