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