Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Summer Placement

For the month of June, I took part in a summer placement through in Glasgow with icecream architecture. It was based in The Lighthouse, Glasgow and we completed a 'research by doing' project, which looked at redeveloping Custom Quay Gardens on the River Clyde.
During the duration of the project we met and worked with a number of people including council representatives, architects and designers and received presentations on the VeloCity project which helped us work towards improving a run down area of Glasgow in preparation for the Commonwealth games.
We also worked with MAKLAB, Glasgow's digital and fabrication studio, learning new knowledge of the software and equipment they use.

In response to the issues we discovered it became apparent that hardly any community members went down to the site to stay - merely passing through. Mainly this was due to them feeling uncomfortable as the place was known as a loitering area for drug users. Through branding and changing the identity of the area we thought this would reinforce the site as a place in the minds of visitors and hopefully give them a sense of purpose to be there. Our identity colour for custom quay was red that was inspired by the red steel on the pedestrian and rail bridge in the close proximity to our site. The Custom quay logo is an abstraction of the site itself which further specifies the branding of the site. We used red balloons to announce the pre torch party and to display a celebratory aspect of our project.

Each week we had small interventions as a way of making the issues visual on site. The first week we highlighted the usable seats among the broken ones by painting them our identity colour red. By doing this we were publicly displaying information to the community what seats were safe to use. Not only that but it was a way for us to announce the presence of this project on site and it was visible from both sides of the river.

As a result of us painting the seats people started to stop and ask us what we were doing which more often than not ended up in an engaging conversation suggesting what they would like on site or what it used to be. Using the history of the site and how it was used previously as inspiration for the way forward, we envisaged a flavour of this being brought back through a programme of creative activities as performances onsite engaging with the community.

Another intervention was the planting of fresh new flowers in the cracks of broken paving and in the neglected flower beds.
 This was conducted as a poetic gesture inspired by the gathering of people at the green spaces. From speaking to community members on site who were looking for more flowers and colour - we felt a good way to quickly address the issue and responses was to plant some in the neglected flower beds where evidence shows there may used to have been some, and some in the areas where maintenance is rarely looked at and potentially causing danger to users. We also wanted to use this intervention as a means of accessing the vandalism in the area - would they be respected and appreciated or would they end up torn out?
We gathered that there was a potential need for more vibrancy and vegetation on site but it would need maintained fairly frequently as does the paving for the safety of users and for the overall atmosphere.
We found there to be a lack of visual connection between the different levels of the site and other important spaces and routes, thus resulting in people not occupying the site. Because you can't see the differing levels due to thick high walls it becomes uninviting, but we think that with sufficient and relevant signposting advertising the space or various performances it would reposition this site on the map.

Along the site there is traces of river facing bars cafes and nightclubs which are now boarded up. We marked out the commercial and social spectres of the past and potential future. The bricks alone are a very subtle trace of what once was. Our intervention was to add visually clear graphics with red tape to mark out the sites intriguing history visible for all the visitors which was to also inspire the community for a vision for the future.
We also hosted a pretorch party - to capture the crowds that gather in the city centre to see the Olympic torch to come down and occupy the site. We had invited live musicians, pop up shops and bands to entertain the passing crowds in the ampitheatre area to stop and linger for a while. It was amazing to see how many people were drawn in because of other people or because of the music - they felt like there was a purpose to be there so felt free to stop and sit.
From all of this our research led us to 12 directives that we presented alongside icecream architecture to an audience and a panel of Glasgow City Council representatives and I was one of the students selected to present part of it.

Overall I really enjoyed my experience, I met a lot of great people that might be useful in the future and more
than anything it was an exciting prospect to be part of a live project!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

| NESTA: Refined |

|Mission Statement|
My aim is to conduct a market research analysis on sound and how it is used in business, specifically in the retail industry and how it can further increase sales.

|Evidence Modelling|
Enhances. A wider audience, improves sales/business, improves productivity, creates a better working environment
Replaces. It makes shops with bad noise pollution less desirable, and also shops that are too quiet.
Revive. It provides an improved shopping experience. It encourages people to go back to traditional high street shopping for the atmosphere, to enjoy the experience rather than just shopping online for convenience.
Backlash. It could result in paying for these changes within the business but not benefitting in much of a sales increase so ending up in the business making a loss.

Who? Shop/business owners
Their needs? Inexpensive installation costs, a quick turnaround time so the shop doesn't lose money. They also would like a positive outcome benefitting in increased sales.
My offer? A new environment to work in. A better store that will encourage more sales. Improves working environment = motivated staff = happy staff = happy customers = more sales.

|Blueprint Modelling|
This is the operational stages that the business carries out. There are three stages,
engagement, development and delivery. Engagement is the time that it takes to plan who your prospective customers are and how to persuade them to buy from you. Development is the time that it takes to design and create your offer. The delivery stage is the time it takes to get your product or service to your customer.

These activities take place either in front of the customer – ‘Onstage' or out of sight of the customer –

Engagement backstage- The market research I would start with is how people respond to sound, what are the behavioural effects? I would look to find out what is already out there. How is it businesses use sound as it stands? What are their motives? Is it successful? What do they think could be better?
Onstage- One way to develop the market would be to find out who would want the changes, what shops? Specifically clothes shops, shoe shops, food places? Networking is another great way to develop interest in an idea.

Development backstage- Developing the idea that I'm offering. Is it a toolkit of suggestions based on my design knowledge on what would work better? Will I know what sounds to offer? Is it certain materials that the shop should use that help? For this project it is more likely that I do a research analysis study of how using sound can shape the behaviour of people to obtain desired results (i.e increasing sales) and using my knowledge to then educate those in the business industry that would benefit.
Onstage- I would show my customers perhaps an early prototype model of a flagship store that successfully uses sound. Perhaps short videos of customers being interviewed in different shops saying they ''enjoy shopping in this store because..'' and ''hate this shopping environment because....'' then the shopowner (my customer) sees firsthand what exactly the shop customers likes/wants/needs.

Delivery backstage- This is decisions I would make based on what needs to be carried out. Is it a physical change? If so who would carry out the changes, who's fitting the store? What effects this had on the store - how long would it need to be closed for? When is the best season to install?
Maybe it's just small scale changes that requires a series of meetings discussing and demonstrating the subtle changes and affects the shop needs to make.
Onstage- Presenting the final design idea to a client creating an example in a store of what the changes are and how they benefit.

|Relationship Modelling|

Every business needs a set of relationships to make all the steps happen. These have been split up into four-
Generator – originating, directing and developing.
Realiser – manufacturing and producing finished product, services and experiences
Distributor – delivery, sales and marketing
Customer – buying, utilising and experiencing your business
This will help to think about which activities you need to keep inside your business, and which will be done with others.

When considering this I realised that a lot of this was quite business focussed and so I tried to pick out the relevant aspects of building relationships amongst my research task and what would be appropriate for me.
I will need to talk to the shop owners and ask if they have ever thought about the sound environment affecting their business. If they do consider it how do they approach it?
I need to think about how they would benefit from the relationship. I can hopefully offer them advice about what might be a better solution or things to think about. If it became a recognised or talked about event/situation that was covered by the press or anything, more people would know about it so would naturally attract more customers.
I would need to talk to the shop customers to see what they thought. After all they are the customers of my potential customer. If it becomes clear what sounds put them off etc and what shops they like going in, I could investigate what some shops do better than others. What might be interesting about the shop customers is that they may not know it's the sound environment that attracts or repels them going into the store, or it may be a part of a fuller package (good store layout) aswell. Maybe this is more of an observation task, but speaking and having a relationship with them could inform this task and so is still valuable information.

Blueprint Modelling

Evidence Modelling


Wednesday, 4 April 2012

| Crowdfunding |

This is a new term I heard about recently in a design and the market lecture. It has something to do with obtaining 'free money'... *ears perk up* So what is crowdfunding? It describes the collective cooperation, attention and trust by people who network and pool their money together, usually via the Internet, in order to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations. Crowdfunding occurs for any variety of purposes, from disaster relief to citizen journalism to artists seeking support from fans, to political campaigns.

Pros - Allows good ideas which don't fit the pattern required by conventional financiers to break through and attract cash through the wisdom of the crowd.

Cons - There is a risk that your idea could be copied.

Kickstarter is the world's largest funding platform for creative projects. Unfortunately it is a US resident based website so from UK we can't pledge, however there are equivalents where we can, one being Bloom VC.  Here is an example of what the Kickstarter website looks like and below is the link to follow this exact project that I found interesting:


This may be of interest in the future if you would like help for start up funds/free money to get you places, if you get right people (the crowd) behind you they may be able to help you get there. 

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

| sound in business |

Having spoken to my lecturer this week he seemed pretty interested in my topic and quite happy that I carried on down more a research line into business rather creating a business plan. Who knows, having researching into this further I may end up having a business idea?

As I briefly mentioned previously I was interested into this man Julian Treasure who lives to listen. I found he wrote a book called 'Sound Business' which covers issues like "the way sound affects human beings - and the way business can harness the power of sound for better results" - perfect! So I have ordered the book from amazon this week.

It says this about his book online: 
"Sound is a great undiscovered country for business. Most organisations are blissfully unaware of their sound, and yet sound affects people deeply. Sound can change people’s behaviour in almost any commercial environment, including offices, shops, showrooms, advertising, the internet, hotels, bars and restaurants. Research shows that appropriate sound can increase retail sales by over 30 per cent and triple productivity for some workers.

In 'Sound Business', our chairman and three-time TED speaker Julian Treasure explains exactly how to predict these effects and take control of sound to improve almost every aspect of business. Combining the latest psychoacoustic theory, original thinking and practical tips for every application of sound, this is the first book to map this unexplored land of sound in business. First published in 2007, the new second edition of this seminal book includes case studies and many updated references. There is also a Japanese edition out now, published in Japan by Yamaha Music."

I think what also intrigues me more is how untouched the subject seems to be yet I think it perhaps is something so vital that we may be missing from within the business industry... I look forward to reading his book and finding out if we are!

| listening to sound |

Below are 3 informative TED talks that are linked with sound, and have been inspiring to me in my current interior design project where I'm placing sound in a place just as valuable as the visual. When considering my design and the market assignment and having not been 100% sure on a business plan I have been thinking of ways I can include sound into my project. I have an interest in the retail industry from an interior designer's point of view, I'm really interested into the pyschology behind everything. I was wondering if I could research into sound within the retail industry and how it affects business. When researching and looking into sound I came across this guy below, Julian Treasure who lives 'sound'. Have a listen to what he has to say and hopefully you'll be as inspired into 'listening' better as I was.

 Under each video I have just noted and quoted certain parts that stood out to me..

4 ways sound affects us - Julian Treasure

accidental/unpleasant noise
unconscious listening.
1.physiological (heartbeat)
2.psychological (music being the most powerful mediums that affects our emotions)
3.cognitive (we have a small bandwidth that processes auditory output)
4.behavioural (how sounds affects how we act/decisions we make etc)
we move away from unpleasant sound towards the pleasant.
designing soundscapes.

5 ways to listen better - Julian Treasure

we are losing our listening
conscious listening creates understanding
tips on how to improve our listening quality:
1.three minutes of silence each day, take time to recaliborate.
2.’the mixer’ – when listening to sound, how many channels of sound can you hear? This will improve the quality of the different sounds you are hearing all together.
3.’savouring’ – enjoying the mundane you sounds you hear, this is what Julian called the ‘hidden quiet’
Receive Appreciate Summarise Ask
listen consciously.

Making sound visible through cymatics - Evan Grant

public installations
likes to find hidden data within nature
cymatics = magic tool/acts as a looking glass into a hidden world.
sound has form. sound has an effect on matter.

Sunday, 18 March 2012


On Friday we received a lecture from Iain Valentine, creative director at Whitespace. He gave us a little insight into his company and what it is they do. The company's moto was 'Work hard + be nice to people' He said he has that on the wall in his office, but more importantly than that - it works! He gave us some advise into the kind of thing he would look for in a designer, some of which I already do but other aspects has helped me think a little deeper into what it is I'm doing just now at uni.

+ Do more that what you're told to do
+ Try new things
+ Teach others about what you know
+ Make work play + play work
+ Take breaks
+ Make your own inspiration
+ Love what you do, or move on.

Iain also talked about the social media marketing that Whitespace do, which was really relevant having just learnt about it earlier. An example of some they have done is for Peter Vardy. Using daily tweets, twice weekly blogging and a hairy mini increased awareness of the leading second hand mini seller in Scotland.

After visiting their website I found another few things that were helpful! 

"Could we meet here?
Isn’t it easier and almost always nicer if you host a meeting or have friends round to yours? Unless of course your place is a mess or they come with dirty shoes. It’s the same for your audience – if you go to them online, where they are, they’ll appreciate it. But just like in the physical world you need to follow the right etiquette for each site and community, to ensure you are a good guest and don’t outstay your welcome."

"15 minutes of fame.
Warhol was so right and so wrong. You can easily get more than 15 minutes of ‘fame’ online. Some folk share so many photos, videos, blog posts and tweets they probably end up ‘broadcasting’ more a week than Chris Evans. And so can you. Content sharing sites like YouTube, Metacafe, Vimeo, Flickr, Photobucket, WordPress, blinkx, blip.tv, etc. . . . can deliver content much closer to your audience."

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

| NESTA: Customers, Blueprint Modelling + Relationship Modelling |

Last weeks workshop has helped me develop one idea for a business, as it was focussed on the customers - who exactly are the potential customers of the business.
The first activity from the NESTA toolkit today was to identify a customer group, determine what their needs are and what we are offering them.

Since last week and speaking to my lecturer I have thought about a potential niche that would fit in with my core values for a business model. The one idea I thought about last week was to create a new shoe shopping experience that will be more focussed on the client having an unforgettable experience. The shoes will be on display in a new innovative way and also the process of trying on your shoes will be different instead of having to wait for ages until a member of staff retrieves them for you.

For the workshop I carried on with my idea to see how these activities can help develop a business idea. However the idea may be subject to change over the next few weeks.

So I have thought about retail store managers as my customers. It is them that I am going to have to take my ideas to to introduce into their stores. I am going to look into independent shoe store retailers rather than certain chains as to begin with they are much harder to break into.
The needs of the store managers are:
- to attract new/different customers into the store,
- to reflect brand image,
- increased sales

The business would offer them
- a new experience/environment to work in
- an improved store layout to enhance business/productivity
- better working conditions
- a different way to brand themselves?
- an enjoyable stressfree working environment.

|Blueprint Modelling| 
This helps to visualise how the business will function and describe how it will be done. From doing this today I realise that for my idea it would probably benefit me to conduct two of these, one for the store managers, and one for the customer.

Store managers+Customers_
At the engagement stage I would carry out market research to find out what exactly is out there already - different examples of shoe stores across the world. I would speak to the store managers of the store I was looking to change to find out the limitations. What aspects of the store need to remain the same? I would
carry out focus groups with the customers to find out if this is something they would like and benefit from.
I would also develop a market at this stage by perhaps creating a video showing what it is that I could provide for people. For an idea like this and to get people interested they have to be able to visualise the changes to see how it would look/function so I feel like to arise interest in this a video is the best approach.

At the development stage once the essentials are identified and the desires of the customers are known then I would begin to develop the idea further. I would need to find out the effects this new installation would have on the store. When is your quietest time? What is the best time to install it? How long can you afford to be closed for?
To show the customers early prototypes I feel rendered sketches, digital created images and perhaps a walk through animation of the store visuals would work best. Also creating a test/prototype shop to test the public interaction.

At the delivery stage I would find out who the contractors are who are fitting the shop, and where is it going to be first installed? One individual flagship store? Then for the shop opening and delivering to the customer I would promote/advertise the opening through flyers throughout the city where the store is. Attract people in to the 'opening event' with discounts etc.

|Realationship Modelling|
We had a quick introduction today to relationship modelling. Every business needs a set of relationships to make all the steps happen.
The people that I have identified so far that I would perhaps need to build relationships with is the retail store managers (are they interested?) the customers (their input into what they want from the design)
I would also have to meet the contractors (those fitting the shop) and shop employees (has it provided better working environment?)
The customers (has it improved their service/shopping experience?)

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

| Rework: Lessons Learnt |

Today whilst I was thinking thought my business idea and how I could expand on it, I looked to the book 'Rework' by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson for some helpful advice. I haven't read the whole book yet but I don't think it'll take me long, it's an easy read and it's also a real quirky book with valuable advice!

I have highlighted quite a few points/lessons/advice that were of interest + valuable to me, and relevant to my thinking and thought I would share...

The first was: make decisions right before you do something, not far in advance. There is no need stress and obsess about things for months and months, take things one step at a time, and think of this week first.

The second: Be proud of your small business! The success and impressiveness of your company is not based on how big the company is. This really struck me, it's not like a I didn't know it, I had heard similar statements in the past but I think it had more of an impact on me now as I start to think about my own business idea. There is no need to have 500,000 employees to define your business growth, if that doesn't suit your business and it's not you are about that is totally fine. Maybe 5 employees suits you just fine.

Third: Making your dent in the universe. Are you doing something that is making a difference? Do you feel part of something? That does not mean you need solve the issue of poverty, world peace etc, but what you do want is for your customers to say 'This makes my life better.' You want to feel that if you stopped what you do, that people would notice.

Fourth: This point struck me aswell and was something I needed to be assured of - design something you know. As more often than not that alludes to you doing something you care about. And if you do what you do well, you will able to make that difference mentioned previously.

Fifth: Always question why you're doing what you're doing. Great businesses have a point of view, not just a product or service. You have to believe in something. You need to have a backbone. You need to know what you're willing to fight for. And then you need to show the world.

And finally: Don't wait for the change - make the change.

This has helped me think a little better about shaping my idea.

Friday, 2 March 2012

| NESTA: Values, Evidence Modelling, SWOT + Fake Evidence |

The NESTA toolkit is a fantastic facility to help young creative minds with a business idea to start up their own business.

We were to read a couple of sections from it which has been useful. As of yet I don't have a clear business idea, but we have been encouraged to think about our personal core values and what would make us feel alive and passionate in a business context. My top 5 were: working with others, honesty, cooperation, creativity and job satisfaction. From this I have derived a mission statement that I would be happy being the basis for what my business was about, whether that was just as a freelance interior designer or if another business idea evolves over time I firmly believe these values would still be as relevant to me working in the business world.

 The business exists to give every client an insight into design, let them participate in the design process and share in the knowledge to produce an outcome that satisfies the client best.

|Evidence Modelling|
Today we had a NESTA workshop where we explored the activities in the toolkit. Evidence modeling was the first one which is a way of illustrating the future impact the business will have on the world. It was set out like a SWOT analysis with four quarters with the titles ENHANCE, REPLACE, REVIVE + BACKLASH. We placed our ideas in the centre, I just wrote 'freelance interior designer' to see what I came up with. I found it to be really helpful as it made me think of myself and the skills I had, what I could offer, what I would make less desirable on the market, what I would bring back that was once redundant and what could be the negative effect if I was pushed to the extreme?

ENHANCE: I saw my skills to be creating environments where the client is most satisfied, creating meaningful designs, working with other people in their own home - for the convenience of the client. I would look at the situation before me and give a fresh approach to what we normally take for granted. I would let the client be on board as much as possible so they had part ownership in their vision. They would lay out the ideas and I would be their tool to achieve that. If they didn't have any idea I would build a relationship with them, find out as much as I could about them and their personality, I would provide the tools necessary to establishing a vision best suited to them.

REPLACE: It replaces the client using their own instincts + initiative for designing if I was involved, gives them less stress if it was in my hands. It saves the client contacting larger organisations, as they may cost more and may not be able to provide a close relationship with the designer allowing them to participate, whereas as I would.

REVIVE: It allows people to interact with the designer and how they work. I would create environments where people felt comfortable/stimulated. I would design to suit the needs of the people to improve people's lives, or perhaps to help another company improve business by creating a fresh design.

BACKLASH: The negatives cold be that people are asking me to do too large scale projects for one individual designer. If I was pushed to the extremes I may feel a lot of pressure and stressed. Also the money side of the business I may need help to organise.

|Fake Evidence|
From that exercise we then went on to writing up some fake evidence which is seeing how the business would work and what success would mean to me. Is this through articles in the press, magazines? will it be advertised on tv?
I wrote a short advert for myself, what it is I could offer, and an article in a newspaper that would explain who I am and how I work as a designer. From doing this exercise I got a better understanding of what I could provide.

Then we completed a SWOT analysis, identifying my strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
I identified my strengths as being a good listener, working well in a team, having a positive attitude, approachable, organised etc.. 
My weaknesses I felt were the fact that there is maybe skills I don't have that may limit some opportunities. Also I would like to be more confident in my own ideas from the start of the design process and carry them through.
Opportunities that could arise is the possibility of branching out into other fields of interior design. The chance to meet new people and learn new skills via the people I work with to enhance my own skills in practice.
Some threats I feel is that there may be competition - business' that can maybe do the job better then myself. There is also the risk of not being enough demand on the market for the business. 

From these exercises today I feel like I could refine my mission statement (until further business ideas come to me) so that it is suited to me as a freelance interior designer:

Providing an interior consultant service offering advice on how to improve the design of the environments you live and work in to enhance your quality of life.

Monday, 27 February 2012

| CulturalKiosk_Design |

The past 5 weeks I have been working on a collaborative project at uni with VCU a university in Qatar with Lynsey Barr to design a kiosk to reflect the culture of Qatar. We have been having weekly Skype conversations with the students over there to try to understand as much of the culture as possible. Our aim was to create a kiosk that focussed on the future of Qatar as they look ahead to 2022 to host the world cup, as they peel back the perception people have of the country and instead embrace what has to come as the country will hold the most amount of people in history at the is one event allowing people of all cultures to cross paths and learn from each other. The following presentation takes you through our thought process leading to the final design.


This project asked us to create a cultural kiosk to represent the county of Qatar at world fair events. This image of Qatar's skyline is pretty much a westernized perception of Qatar. Therefore, our aim throughout our entire design process was to raise curiosity about the country and to discover what lies beneath the visually attractive front.


Having been intrigued by the architecture within the skyline we delved into this further by looking at two specific buildings. One that is presently standing within Doha's skyline and one that is a project for the future. Both the tornado tower and the design for the national museum of Qatar were influential in our design process.


After further research we realised that Doha's skyline isn't just about the architecture. When watching videos on Qatari lifestyle, having skype conferences with VCU students and meeting up with people who have worked in the local vicinity of Doha - we agreed with the following quote: ''it's future flourishes from within.''


With this in mind we both went straight to the drawing board to convert our initial thoughts into sketches. These sketches mainly derived from the idea of 'peeling back' the perception of Doha to show that Qatar has a clear vision to enrich its people. The sketches also reflect how we want to emphasise that the best is still to come and it's continually shaping itself for the future.


From this we expressed our thoughts and sketches into a 3D form. This involved playing around and creating a series of scenes that represented the unraveling of Doha's exterior in order to focus on the REAL under lying strength of the country.


As part of our emotive making process we also produced a series of videos to illustrate the close connection between the delicate and beautiful formation of a ribbon and the formation of the city. This particular video represents how rapid the city of Doha appeared and shows how we are ''unravelling'' the city to focus on what lies beneath.


This collection of images helped us further our development. The top right image is an inspiring example of innovative architecture found in education city within VCU Qatar that mixes the old traditional architecture with the new. The other images helped us develop a unique form that would act as the basis for our final design.


A progression in our development meant that we could create a journey that would symbolise our concept. In this process we also realised that inventive structures are not only features on Qatar's horizon - as the world cup also beckons in 2022. In thinking this we realised the degree of opportunity this could bring to the people of Qatar now and in the future.


These elevations illustrate our final design that have derived from the previous slide. They show the front elevation, the back elevation and the plan elevation of our kiosk. The structure was inspired by Doha's domineering architecture collaborated with the traditional design of archways from areas such as Souq Wakif.


This axonometric explains the different aspects to our design and how it has been put together so it can be transported. The 'mesh structure' represents the people crossing paths in Qatar and how they can meet to form a unified solid structure. It's designed in a way so it fits together easily so that it can be dismantled and reassembled at any world fair event.


The materials we have chosen have deliberately been kept to a minimum in order to grab the attention of the audience. The combination of corian with steel work together to produce an organic abstract structure. What WE like about corian is that it has beauty, strength and versatility built into it's very nature.


This is our final model. It tells the story of unravelling the corian skin to reveal the steel rod mesh structure that exposes Qatar's culture to the world. We feel the perception of Qatar is going to change- instead of looking at the outside, it will be understood that it is that of the people that make the country what it is.


This is a simple animation showing the 360 degree view of our kiosk. We want our kiosk to be a place where people come together to retrieve information about Qatar and how it could benefit them by going to the world cup in 2022 with people from other cultures at an event where they will share one common interest.


This rendered perspective highlights how the public would interact with our kiosk. We want to get people curious about Qatar, just like we were from the very start! The people will be informed at the kiosk about future events mainly the world cup in 2022 and the benefits that will reap from this, including the opportunity to cross paths as the people come together to create a mesh of cultures at this one event.


At the end of the day we want to bring Qatar to the surface to expose itself for the first time. In doing this we hope to entice people in from all over the world to see how they can contribute to Qatar and what Qatar has to offer them.

| icecream architecture |

On Friday there, we presented our research and analysis presentation on the company, icecream architecture based in Glasgow. Sarah and Desmond started the office in 2010 after finding out that the economic climate had highlighted a lack of interaction between the architect and the client. After having an interview with Desmond we were really interested in hearing how they started up and he was really helpful and honest about themselves but also towards us. icecream received a grant award from Starter for 6 as they successfully pitched their business idea, this was the help they needed to get their business idea off the ground. Starter for 6 is a highly successful enterprise training programme, offering out funds to creative entrepreneurs across Scotland. Desmond was encouraging us to apply for the kinds of organisations like Starter for 6 that offer out funds as it will give us that drive and determination to take our ideas that one step further.

icecream architecture's ethos is to deliver architecture everywhere ensuring that no matter what or where the venue is, there is room + space for a workshop. They focus on community groups and building relationships with people, hosting workshop events from the back of their iconic 1971 Ford icecream van. It was evident they were very people focussed, they identify that people like to have an involvement in the improvements to their own community, it gives them a sense of ownership. This is a really important issue that I feel icecream architecture deal with really well. It has been echoed in our lectures and from other designers in industry that jobs are evolving round people now, more 'people-centred' more so than they ever have before. From the impression we got of Desmond face to face, and from what we've heard about Sarah, they both seem to be sociable people and show a real care about people and their needs and the development of communication and design skills even from a young age, which people can relate to and will appreciate what they are trying to do. Architecture before now has been a very closed door profession, with people outside the sphere not understanding or relating to it, and it certainly hasn't been exposed to children before, but icecream architecture are eradicating the constraints of professional formality in a bid to get the client on board, and focussing on community groups, which includes adults + children.

The success of the business has to be due to them identifying their own niche, finding where it is exactly they are positioned in the market. Their unique selling point being their on street presence in their iconic van. You don't normally see architecture + icecream in the same sentence, they spark interest and evoke reactions wherever they go. They often get asked "do you sell icecream?" and their response is "no, we sell architecture design, community development and consultation, interactive workshops and service design" Desmond also said he thought they were unique in the fact that they were working with people and providing consultations on a social level. They aim to make architecture more accessible, and they want to push for what they feel is important. Their marketing strategy is based on encouraging a desire for architecture where they may have been a hesitation before.
They haven't encountered many unusual issues yet as they are still quite a relatively new company. He did talk about though them recently moving into new premises as they were finding the back of the van for an office space to be quite limiting in terms of space all the time and also it getting rather cold in wintertime. 

Sarah and Desmond are also involved in an organisation called 'Somewhereto_'. It is a nationwide project that has been set up to help young people find a place to do something they love. Their aim is to improve the lives of thousands of young people and create thousands of success stories, today and in the future. Our fourth years in interior design here worked along side icecream architecture and Somewhereto_ to create a party just last week to celebrate the end of GIDE in the Tayside Recycling Centre here in Dundee, called ‘The Making of…’ showcasing their work so far. Somewhereto_ helped to fund some of the sound/DJ and much to everyone's enjoyment, the party turned out very successful!

When asked about any influences or inspirations for what it is they do, Desmond told us of two companies, Architecure 5 cents and Fantastic Norway.

|Architecture 5 cents| is an architect who had been made redundant twice in the one year. This man John
Morefield, set up a booth at a Seattle farmer’s market offering design advice for a nickel. He explains how it draws people in, gives them an appreciation of the potential of good design, and creates a connection with possible clients. He took a different approach to networking and it completely paid off as he’s now making more money than he ever did. He has heard about icecream architecture and what they do and said this about them “I truly believe it is going to be people like icecream architecture who are going to lead our profession to great new places, my heros”

|Fantastic Norway| is an architectural studio engaged with building design, development strategies, mobilization processes, teaching and television production. 
They believe every town is different; every place is in some way fantastic. Fantastic Norway aims to embrace this fact and through dialogue transform it into architecture. 
The primary ambition was to create an open, inclusive and socially aware architectural practice and to re-establish the role of the architect as an active participant in – and a builder of society. The heart and soul of the office is a bright red caravan. The caravan functions as a mobile platform for architectural discussions, debates and workshops. We gather ideas, suggestions and stories from the communities we work with and utilize this collected knowledge in the design process.

Final advice from Desmond that has really impacted me, that any creative mind or designer can take on board, ''you all have skills that can be used and applied somewhere, we just have to find out where''
To summarise everything from this module so far and from the research into this company it's probably fair to say that to be successful in the marketplace we have to be flexible, and never give up!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

| Creative Advice from Redpath |

This is just a short post on a response to a lecture a couple weeks ago as I was reading back over my notes when the creative director from Redpath came in to speak to us and he gave us 10 points of advise that I really liked and thought I would post about on here for you to apply to yourself in any way you wish.
Redpath are a strategic and creative agency of designers and writers that deliver joined up thinking across every project they work on. "Our currency is ideas. Our tools are words and pictures. For every client, to every project, we bring passion, vision and enthusiasm"

1 Get faster

2 Be curious

3 Don't apologise

4 Be flexible

5 Be a sponge

6 if you don't know, don't pretend

7 Check the brief again + again

8 Always have ideas

9 Be organised

10 Don't give up

| my GIDE experience |

All last week my university Duncan of Jordanstone, Dundee were the host of the GIDE (Group for International Design Education) workshops and had almost 200 students from around the world from Germany, Slovenia, Belgium, Texas, Italy, England + Switzerland. It was a 3 day workshop, where we were split into multicultured teams and given a brief with the theme of 'design in action.'

My team were given the brief to create a structure/creative space for artists, designers, and craft makers to practice within the grounds of Hospitalfield House in Arbroath. This structure was to to reflect a 'work-oot-erie' based on the Scottish colloquial term 'sitooterie' which litereally means to 'sit out a dance' or find a quiet corner.

The first day we went on the site visit and took plenty photos and simply soaked up as much of the environment as we could. We learned certain facts, such as it was the first art college in Scotland, and that nature and the local environments were very much a key influence on the design of the interior. I liked finding out things like the House had a humble dark entrance to lead to inwards towards the staircase with skylights which let the light flood in.

The next day we started to brainstorm to collate all our thoughts to see if any key themes started to arise, and sure enough they did. We focussed quite a lot on nature and the mesh of cultures, as many aspects to the interior was from or influenced by other countries. We ended up picking on various aspects and another that stuck out was aspects like the folding walls to adapt the room for the best use of space depending on your needs. Also we liked the grounds so much and seeing as this was where the space was to be situated we thought along the lines of literally 'framing' the surrounding views, kind of like the way an artist would use a view finder to frame a certain section of landscape to work from. After much model making, bonding and chatting on the last day this was our final outcome... a 'fold-oot-erie' 
A simple design yet intriguing in form as it opens up to be the creative space intended. The idea was that it was simple and transportable around the garden so the user could situate where they wanted depending on their discipline. And the structure quite literally frames the views, so whether you are an artist painting the surroundings or a designer seeking inspiration from the nature around, this space was adaptable and suitable for you.

Our process wall

Final outcome

Overall I really enjoyed the GIDE workshop, more so on the last day as the group became more familiar and comfortable with each other. I feel in the time given we tackled the brief well in quite a quirky way, and it was interesting to see all the other outcomes. It was really enjoyable experience being in such a create environment, and I definitely benefitted from it. I also make some lovely friends and celebrated nicely at the end of the week at a fantastic party in the recycling centre hosted by the 4th years in collaboration with somewhereto_.

Well done to all those organising, it more than succeeded!

Friday, 10 February 2012

| assignment one_research a business |

For 'design and the market' this semester, the first assignment is to find a business that we are interested in and is appropriate to our discipline - to research into and to subsequently interview to find out a little more from the entrepreneurs themselves, and how they started up their company. Ultimately we would like to find out about the skills and struggles that are involved when starting up a business, but also learning about finding your own 'niche' and how to brand yourself so you differ from any competitor with a similar skill set - so you have YOUR place in the market.

My group and I emailed 'icecream architecture' a company based in Glasgow that we plan to interview at the beginning of next week. 'Ice cream' undertakes a range of design and management projects encompassing architecture, service design and marketing.

In my last post I wrote about how jobs are changing all the time and new jobs are arising that didn't exist a few years back, included in that is a new type of design called service design. An area where creative and design skills can be created in a new way improving the everyday services the public use. This company appears to be looking at architecture in a new light. Architecture has perhaps up until now seemed quite a closed discipline and unless you were an architect you didn't a say or understood how they worked. However this company have taken this and used the skills of creative designers, service designers and marketing to interact more with their clients - creating their workshops from the back of their ice cream van to "encourage an interaction with the profession on a sociable basis"

Their website was beaming with different things they did - events, workshops, clients they've worked for, children etc. All of which is exciting because children perhaps have never had the chance to get excited about architecture or design in general before. 
All of this is conducted from their ice cream van. This is a great example of them branding themselves, standing out from the crowd. 

They often get asked "Do you sell ice cream?" "No, we sell architecture!"

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

| shaping our future |

After today's lecture on 'making design work' our lecturer said a few things that stuck in my head all day ever since "we are preparing ourselves for jobs that don't exist yet." 
The world is changing all the time, and I was fully aware of this, but I don't think I appreciated that it meant they are now preparing us students for jobs that will develop in a few years. It's scary to think that the top 10 in demand jobs of 2010 didn't exist in 2004! A good example of this is service design, a few years ago that wasn't even a thing! I remember a year or so ago getting my first lecture on service design and not having a clue what it was but now it's a popular term around the university. Glasgow based company Snook is a good example of a company specialising in service design. Work is changing now, soon we won't "go" to work, we will "connect" with it. Jobs are becoming smarter and more people focussed, and that is exactly what Snook is doing. They take a people-focussed approach to drive forward innovation to create new service propositions and change the way organisations run.

I looked up the topic online about us students preparing for jobs that don't exist yet and found an interesting article. It asks the questions how are we, as young professionals, supposed to prepare ourselves for the future when we have no idea what it is we're preparing for? The advice that is given is to branch ourselves outside of our major. Student organisations are invaluable for networking not just within your own major, but for meeting people 'on the outside' who may provide valuable insight and out of the box ideas. The future is daunting enough before considering the factor of career fluctuation. So the jist of the message and what I have learnt today is that we need to be involved now. Take yourself out of your comfort zone, brand yourself, create something different - because at the end of the day this innovation may lead to your success in the future!

"If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow"
                                                                                                    John Dewey

Sunday, 29 January 2012

| GIDE_Pause Project |

I wrote a blog previously introducing GIDE and what the project was all about and the route I was going to go down. My personal interests became evident, music and architecture. I found a very common link between the two - along the lines of rhythm, texture, tone and how they were interpreted in both forms differently.

I was very interested in sound and how sound was affected in differing environments, i.e in church building with ornate designs, hard materials and high ceilings. These environments created good acoustics and plenty reverberation. Then compared this with a dead room inside a recording studio with absorbent materials to completely deaden the sound. I took a sound recorder and compared the sound of a clap sequence in these rooms and different places in between as part of my research. This was useful to know the types of materials I would need to create the effect I would need in the space I was designing.

When researching I came across online Creative Dundee's cultural strategy - I first heard about this organisation when I went along to a Pecha Kucha night last year. I didn't know what else they did until I found this and realised a few different creative organisations around Dundee that were part of it i.e Dundee Rep theatre, Dundee Contemporary Arts, but I noticed there was a gap for a music related organisation. I decided this would be a good partnership for this project.

I found a location in the centre of town, currently used for Optical Express. This building seemed a perfect size, shape and site for my idea. I wanted to create a place that brought the people of Dundee closer together through the forms of architecture and music. The building has a ground floor, basement and mezzanine level. I felt the ground floor was appropriate for what I wanted to create, an environment where people felt welcome to walk into, a social area to sit in the town, where buskers felt free to play etc. 

I found a quote during my research that said "Architecture is frozen music" and I just felt this was a good basis for my design. Subsequently I created a space which was to emulate music being played and it was as if all that movement was frozen in time and the people could wander round and absorb the atmosphere of real music being played and 'frozen music' captured in architecture. 

Due to there being 3 levels, I decided to split the music aspects up between, social, personal + experiential.

The basement is a completely different vibe in that it has no natural light and made of completely different materials – much softer, more absorbent so instantly the people can sense a difference in the quality of sound in the atmosphere – a much more intimate feel. Included in this space are a few different pods known as anechoic chambers which blocks out all exterior noise so that people can feel free to shut themselves away to reflect and think and experience music in their own way. Through technology in this space the users can also plug in headphones and network globally.

Ground Floor_social
The ground floor upon entry is for people to feel free to wonder in from the street to gather socially and to meet new people. The materials are all very hard, reflective materials to let the light ‘dance’ around the space. There is also many angular surfaces to enhance the acoustics and reverberation, whether it’s a busker or a conversation between two people. There are certain features I have left from the original character of the building such as a set of stairs that I glazed over to see down to basement. The idea here is that stairs can being linked with movement yet I have ‘frozen’ that action by allowing people to see the stairs but not use them for their intended purpose.

This is the mezzanine level over looking the ground floor, a place where people can walk through the lit pathway on the floor to find their own zone and ‘pause’ in between the structures. I wanted to create something where people felt a mixture of emotions (as different music types can make you feel similar) but also something that was simple, repetitive yet powerful so enhance the experience. They may also be able to leave their mark in this area to leave anonymous comments for the next passersby.

I summarised the project with this paragraph:

Creative Dundee is an organisation that strives to make Dundee a place that is known for its creativity. However, they are yet to explore the art of music as a form of developing a rich cultural atmosphere amongst the people of the city. Music is a universal language that can connect people both locally and globally and is imperative in defining a way of life. Pause is a physical space that aims to inspire the local community through the idea of ‘frozen music’ as the design captures and reflects the many different aspects of music. The space is designed to stimulate people in becoming interested in architecture and music, and be encouraged to ‘pause’ and appreciate them both, as they discover the link between the two within the space. This environment will allow Dundonians to experience other cultures as the space emulates differing styles of music through the audible sounds and the visible sights within the space thus enhancing their world perspective and outlook on life.

Here is the image of my final sheet_

| MotionPhone Ipad App |

Whilst browsing Fast Company today, I came across this interesting innovative idea. Scott Snibbe, who has previously done artwork for Bjork's album, has created an Ipad app that is essentially a piece of networked digital art that allows you to create simple animations on a virtual canvas that you can share with others who also play. The idea is to create simple loops of animation just by tapping, drawing or swiping your fingers on the screen. MotionPhone's canvas in infinite so you can just pinch the screen to zoom out and reveal more space for you to continue creating your wonders!

This app allows lets you graphically 'converse' with up to four other devices hence the bit of the name 'phone'. You will have the ability to collaborate on animations together or even have them 'visually fighting' with each other in real time. Snibbe himself in a press release said this "a new form of visual communication"

I personally think this is a really innovative, fun idea! I think I may just be stealing the boyfriends Ipad for a wee shot of this one! I like that not only can you create simple animations with simply your hands but that you can share them with others or amongst friends and use them through the wonders of technology so that it does become a fun way of communicating/gaming!

| Design + The Market |

Last week was an introduction to our new module design + the market. The module aims to develop our entrepreneurial skills, enhance our employability, give us an independent business vision + ultimately will help me design my future.

Assignment one.
We are working in teams and have to identify one business to research, and then organise an interview to find out certain issues that we want answers to, to help us in the future when we might want to start off on our own. We are to define certain issues such as 'how did the business get started?' 'how did it develop?' Perhaps also looking into the skills and attributes that are required by entrepreneurs. Once we have defined what business we are looking into, we can assess what questions will be suitable and refine them more closely in a way that we will receive the answers we need.

Already from only being in two lectures I am more curious about design in the business world, and WHY the business' do what they do. Is it pure love for what they do that drives them on?

A few business' we're looking into researching more closely...

There was a few larger business' such as:

Gareth Hoskins Architects


Graven Images

After thinking about this some more, I personally feel that a smaller scaled business would be better for this task. The business may seem more personal with fewer staff and they could be more likely to have started more recently? They may also be more honest and willing to share their struggles. I personally quite liked the sound of the following two business' - they have benefits of being quite close (Glasgow) and one of them has a previous graduate from DJCAD so they may be willing to help us?

Chelsea McLaine

Hollijon + Phillips

Time to consult the group tomorrow...