Abstract : We propose a design for collaborative support system in distant tangible environments, in the framework of activity theory. We model collaboration as driven by individual-centered and group-centered rules. Context sharing is core to this process, but reveals difficult in the case of distant tangible communication. We propose to model collaboration as a trace-based process in which tangible object traces are stored, analyzed, enriched and shared. We draw on a normative multi-agent approach in which explicit norms are meant to operate at various levels, from the physical to the social level. These norms do not act as a prerequisite, or as a way to place a priori constraints on action. Rather, they result in a set of signs situating the activity. Such design offers novel ways for embedding activity theory in the current trend of socio-physical computing.