Friday, 29 October 2010

What you see is NOT always what you get...

A point was raised in todays lecture about what we see in this world being not just an image, but (especially as a designer) how we interpret that image shapes our world. This really interested me, as in this world I have always wondered is what I see what everyone else is seeing? The example we used to talk about when we were younger was, is what I see as the colour red what you see as the colour red? How can we know for sure that what I see as red is what you see as green but in your mind is labelled as red?
When we look at designs, are we all seeing the same thing? The answer is no. Which is what I think makes design so interesting, and why feedback is important to hear different people's thoughts on it. As we know everyone is quite opinionated and appreciates different aspects of design, that's what distinguishes us, that is how we are all unique in our own way. The world would be a boring place to live in if we were all the same and liked all the same things. It all depends on how our minds work, what grabs us first, what we pick out most. Do we look at colour first, and form an opinion based on whether or not the colours work well together? Are we more concerned with function and consider perhaps that it hasn't been designed well? Or perhaps people are just ignorant and just because it's modern, minimalist, black and white, they just down right hate it. Or maybe people love that?

Ladderback Chair - Charles Rennie Macintosh.
So for example, since I'm looking at furniture design, a chair. It may be designed well and functions as a chair but aesthetically it doesn't appeal. For some people that would be a huge issue, but for others they are quite happy with that chair being comfortable doesn't matter if the colours clash with the room. Some designs though are purposefully for purely aesthetic value, more of a decorate piece of art rather than a useable chair. an example fo this would be those of Charles Rennie Macintosh. This is a very distinctive design style and some will love, some will hate. So what we are all seeing, this chair, is not always what you expect. We all see the same chair, but not just as an image, it's how we interpret it that forms our views and shapes our world.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Recent Research_

A large part of my research just now is for our new project which is to design furniture or object reflecting contemporary culture in domestic living. A large part of this is about reusing materials, recycling and upcycling. The side that my group and I are most interesting in is upcycling and the idea of taking old materials and scraps that are worthless and combining them to create something beautiful. Giving those unwanted materials a second life, bringing them back to life in a new way. We like the idea of designing something quirky and humorous. Tomorrow we plan to visit a number of recycling plants to see what we can salvage. Here are a few designs that I have found that interested me:
retro tv reused into a funky seat
upcycled furniture
multi functional unit. designer: jin young lee. 
chair made of recycled plastic bottles
love the way the pieces all come together to create one unit
armchair made of paper shreds!
shadow chair

The stools below are made of scraps of wood found and up cycled into these beautiful pieces of furniture. This link:
shows the designer Rodrigo Calixto how it is done.

Below is how we ended our day today, after our seminar on brainstorming we felt it right to do a wee cheeky brainstorming exercise ourselves to get the creative juices flowing, and letting all our initial thoughts explode together down onto the one page.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Assignment 1B-D

The area that interested me most out of the book was the chapter about Rumours, Sneakers and Translation. I was going to narrow it down and do my second mindmap on just maybe one of these aspects but I felt the whole chapter was relevant and very interlinked so I looked at most aspects of it. Here it talked about the company Airwalk and how they tipped with the advertising help of the advertising agency Lambesis. It talks about Innovators, those outcasts in society who don’t care what people think, they are confident and unique. Quite often it’s these types of people that are trendsetters, and companies like Lambesis spot them early on and try to get the advertising ready just as the trend has taken off and going mainstream into High Street stores.  I found all of this interesting so here is my mindmap of this section which includes some of the points raised and the people Gladwell researched to find his information:

Bibliography of the section I looked into in Harvard style referencing:

Page 196
Ryan, B., Gross, N. (1943). The Diffusion of Hybrid Seed Corn in Two Iowa Communities. Rural Sociology. 8, p15-24.

Example used to explain how Lambesis did what they did by comparing it to previous famous diffusion studies by Ryan and Gross.

Page 197
Moore, G. (1991). Crossing  the Chasm. P9-14.

Moore explains the difference between those who originate ideas and trends and those who are in the majority who eventually take up the idea and trends.

Page 201
Allport, G., Postman, L. (1947). The Psychology of Rumor. P135-138.

Gladwell refers to this book as it provides examples of how rumours are contagious and spread, and confirms his previous point.

Page 204
Valente, T., Foreman, R.K., Junge, B. Satellite Exchange in the Baltimore Needle Exchange Program. Press.

Translation has just been talked about and the role connectors have. Here Junge is saying that the super exchangers are the connectors of the drug world in Baltimore. 

Assignment 1A

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell is the book I have just finished reading, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. To outline for you, it is about  how ideas, trends, epidemics, social behiaviour- good or bad  - can be nothing one minute and all of a sudden can increase, till it eventually tips and spreads like wildfire. So for example, the Hush Puppies shoes started off with just a few 'hip' kids wearing them, and through either certain people in society, advertising or word-of-mouth these shoes or 'trends' can take off overnight. The book explores certain characters of people that can help start an epidemic, and what also makes things stick so it's not just a fad that comes and goes. Gladwell takes a look at the social dynamics that cause this change.

My first assignment was to construct a brief mindmap of an overview of the book as a whole chapter by chapter.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

What goes around, comes back around

Isn't design fascinating? It goes through a cycle of trends all the time. Why is it so important to have the latest trend? Why do we feel a constant pressure to have what everyone else has? Whether it's owning the latest ipod..
New Ipod Nano - slick
..or to totally renovate the inside of your home as the fabrics you once had are now just dated. Which by the way you may as well keep as in a few years down the line they may well come back into know that way trends all go round in circles... Like those skinny jeans your gran once wore years ago and you thought you'd never be seen dead in are now the item you have to have?
Cheryl Cole sporting the skinnies

Although wait there is always a catch, when it comes back around it's always slightly modified. And yes, you can tell. So no you can't keep what you once had, so you can throw those fabric cushions out! It's fine for the likes of keeping up appearances and wanting the latest clothing designs for wearing only a couple of times....the answer is....Primark. Simples.

This brings me onto another point about having too much 'stuff'. We  recently watched a short clip in uni called 'the story of stuff' with Annie Leonard, and it was all about the cycle of consumption and how we are running out of resources rapidly. This is not something that will come around again so easily. She informed us with facts such as the USA is 5% of the global population, but uses 30% of resources...this is a huge chunk of our problem. The Story of Stuff is a "system in crisis". Our planet, and what we are doing to it is killing it, and we're in big trouble. No wonder everyone is barking on about sustainability and recycling these days. For us in the design world we are focusing on sustainability being a key part, that is the direction interior design is going, not just how pretty things look, it's making things last and in a way that is harmless to the environment. To design for this world you have to connect with it, and to connect with it we have to take care of it.
Isambard Kingdom Bruner

After a recent lecture with Prof. Mike Press about thinking BIG, he was enlightening us that this is now the new trend. Daring to design BIG, don't be afraid to. Similarly, this involves the circles of design trends too. Design was big, with the likes of Isambard Kingdom Bruner in the 1800s who was a leading British civil engineer famous for his bridges, dockyards and the construction of first major British railway system. BIG designs. In the 20th century, design got small for a while..but it is now beginning to get bigger again, and this is through connection. The connection between things, people, ideas in a way bigger than before, our planet is small and it needs us!

Monday, 18 October 2010

'Juteopolis' Final Design Presentation

sheet 1 _ research
sheet 2 _ development

sheet 3 _ final design
sheet 4 _ final design

sheet 5 _ final design
sheet 6 _ final model
final 3d model _ scale 1:20

Thursday, 14 October 2010


The project I have just finished is an exhibition design on the subject of Juteopolis. My group and I have looked specifically at the population explosion of Dundee, the fragility of the city and how it became stronger due to the community coming together and also the relationship of the women working in the mills, all due to the growing industry of Jute. I have posted some of the 3D computer models and renders done on photoshop and kerkythea.

The design is constructed of abstract shapes constructed made of wooden frames and built up of little cubes to show the sheer mass visually. The first few shapes have less cubes and more gaps to leave a more fragile, less conjested structure, to represent Dundee before the jute industry took off. Gradually as you advance through the exhibition the shapes get bigger and fuller of cubes, constructing a denser, stronger shape with cubes bursting and overflowing over - representing the population explosion in Dundee when the jute industry was at it's peak with plenty jobs to offer, hence why everyone flocked to Dundee. The cubes create a wave and comes to a sudden end - this is when plastic was beginning to be introduced and jute was no longer in such high demand. The reason for the abstract shapes is we wanted to make that represent the women's personalities- bold and strong minded - so we felt harsh angled lines conveyed this best. At the end of the journey through you come across a sphere covered in jute and various linked materials embedded in the ground. This represents the jute industry being the heart of Dundee, almost being it's very 'foundation' so to speak. There is a door on the left hand side allowing visitors to enter the hollow sphere. Inside here we are recreating the atmosphere of what it was actually like to be inside the mills. So we have a video playing black and white photos, and footage of Dundee back in this era, and we have noises of the machines used in the jute mills, and they are welcome to touch and feel the jute itself, allowing themselves to fully embrace the atmosphere and history of the very city they now live in.

I hope to upload photos of the 3D physical model we made as well soon!

front elevation of exhibition space
looking down on the exhibition from the viewing area

Monday, 4 October 2010

Ingo Maurer's New Lighting Design

Since he produced his first lights over four decades ago, German designer Ingo Maurer has transformed the ordinary task of illuminating a space into a respected art form. This latest piece from his studio is "the 'BangBoom! Zettel'z', a characteristically playful chandelier, inspired by the work of Roy Lichtenstein." The experimental design includes 80 printed sheets of Japanese paper illustrated by Thilo Rothacker. These are suspended from a mesh of stainless steel wires and lit up by halogen bulbs to dazzling effect. 

Personally I really like this design, its' expressive nature starting at the central spot, the light source, spreading outward displays a minor explosion (hence the name 'BangBoom!') making it interesting to the eye. As the individual sheets are getting further apart, this allows the sheets to be more defined, creating a more detailed ornate chandelier.

Friday, 1 October 2010

research pics

_McManus Gallery

Recycled bottle lighting design/sculpture - really expressive, exciting and creates amazing shadows

V&A Exhibition at Dundee

Yesterday my classmates and I went to visit the V&A Exhibition in Dundee. Amongst the shortlist of 6 designs proposed to redesign Dundee’s waterfront, this design (The Bluebell – REX) was my favourite. I thought it was the most striking design, I loved the concept of the mirrored glass as the exterior material to reflect the surroundings it situates. It would be the jewel of the River Tay! Check out more about this design for yourself or the others proposed at: