Experiential Scavenger Hunt

BXA Seminar

Spoorthi Cherivirala
6 min readFeb 11, 2022


Spoorthi Cherivirala

A space that makes me want to hold it/touch it/act on it

Lamp store in Squirrel Hill, near Green Pepper

In the evening after dinner with some friends on the way to the bus stop we ran across this store on the side of the street. It had an old facade to it, but it was brightly illuminated so I wanted to go in, and I immediately just thought it was amazing, surrounded by all of the different styles of lamps and lanterns that were displayed around the space. The store also carried different figurines from around the world representing different cultures, and I was tempted to pick up and touch quite a few of them to inspect the intricate designs in detail. I refrained from picking up some of the larger glass lamps that were extremely expensive out of fear of breaking them. The one store employee seemed accustomed to having visitors enter the store to just view and admire the lamps.

An object that you initially think is stupid

Light switch that doesn’t work, no light fixture on ceiling either

This light switch in my apartment bedroom is something I have always found pointless — a “false affordance.” The light switch is not wired to any light fixture on the ceiling and serves no purpose; my room has several lamps instead. Yet out of habit, every night I accidentally try to flip the light switch off, which yields no results. Interestingly, the switch also appears to have been painted over repeatedly and is difficult to move, implying that it must not have been used in a long time.

An object/space that you think is ridiculous/not valid

Unreasonably Narrow Doorway

This one doorway in my apartment is exactly half the width of a standard door. In fact, when I’m wearing my winter coat and backpack I can barely squeeze through the space, although I’m only 5'3" and fairly skinny. I think this is extremely unreasonable when considering the general public, and how many people living in this apartment would unfairly have to struggle to get through the door every day. In addition, it doesn’t consider designing for accessibility at all, such as not being nearly wide enough for a wheelchair to pass through.

An object that feels squishy

Mice at Petco

I visited the mall this weekend to get my phone repaired, and stumbled upon a Petco where I witnessed a couple of very small mice. They were quite tiny and looked extremely squishy, essentially little balls of fur curled up. Inside their little plastic home, there were several of them sleeping, camouflaging as a set of furry rocks. I really hoped I could buy one as a pet for my apartment, and started researching how to take care of them. Unfortunately, I realized I can’t get one since most commercial airlines don’t let you travel with mice in the main cabin, so I wouldn't be able to take them home over holiday breaks.

A space that references another work of art, literature, etc.

Communications Studio Class

Currently in Communications studio, we’re studying a designer of our choice in detail, developing a 19" by 30" poster that encapsulates their design work while incorporating our own style. For this final critique, we each printed out large versions of our posters to hang up, and I thought this space was really special, being able to display, understand, appreciate everyone’s hard work. Each poster references a critical unique designer, such as Milton Glaser, an extremely well-known American graphic designer who created the I Love New York logo and psychedelic Bob Dylan posters as well as Tom Whalen, a 21st-century vector illustrator who designs for Disney, Marvel, Microsoft, and more. I really enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate in this space in real life, which was very different compared to freshman year.

A space that feels smart

Art exhibit (from last month) — but very memorable

I actually took this picture last December at the Wood Street Art Gallery. I thought this one exhibit was extremely captivating, consisting of numerous specifically placed lasers that created dynamic forms that I could stare at all day. This space also feels “smart” to me when considering all of the math, hard work, and logistics that came into developing this concept. I also appreciate this intersection of creativity and art with logic and math displayed in this memorable exhibit.

A space that makes you feel watched

Basement Shortcut (Day vs Night)

A shortcut to my apartment building includes entering through the basement in the back of the building, after going down a few stairs. At night, the back of the alleyway is extremely dark and slightly creepy, and you can’t see if there is anyone waiting down there. I tend to avoid this shortcut at night.

An object that you don’t want to touch

Oversized Boba

My roommates and I keep forgetting to throw away this glass of leftover boba tea from last week. After a couple of days, I noticed the tapioca began to grow in size, probably absorbing the water. A week later, their size has more than doubled and the boba has reached the top of the water line. I’m surprised fruit flies haven’t come for the spoiled tea yet and needless to say I don’t want to touch these giant boba pieces, although they appear to have a spongy and squishy texture.

A space that feels like an object/space in a dream

PA Half Price

Back home, in Sugar Land, TX, a suburb of Houston, I visit Half-price books extremely often with friends and my older brother. I often shop for discounted books, games, puzzles, and card decks. I was surprised and really excited to run across the familiar bright red half-price books sign across the road when walking; I didn’t know there were half-prices in Pittsburgh. The store turned out to be much larger than the one back home, although it had a very conservative broken-down facade, and was a surreal experience.

An object/space that makes you imagine it 30 years ago


My older brother studied at CMU 6 years ago, and often when I mention Tepper including how aesthetic the building is, how people often study there, and Millies, he complains about how it didn’t even exist when he went to school here. This makes me wonder how this spot looked even earlier than that — 30 years ago.

An object/space that makes you laugh (whether intentionally or unintentionally)

Zebra Cafe

I never realized how aesthetic this coffee corner of Zebra Cafe was until the other day. The color scheme perfectly matches, and the mood created by all of the decorations and artwork is very pleasant and contrasts the mood of studying. Also until looking closer, I didn’t realize a lot of the art actually has zebra’s on it which made me smile.