Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Gevangenis bibliotheek, Antwerpen.

Prison library, Antwerp.

Yesterday we received our new interior brief...design a library within a prison for the inmates. For me I think that this is going to be a challenging project as I have strong views about the prison service. In my opinion, prisons are a place to be disciplined and for offenders to feel some remorse for the crime that has been committed so why should they be given luxuries as some are receiving such as televisions, Playstations, music, etc? Why are some people deliberately committing a crime just so that they can actually be in prison? Why should they still be allowed to enjoy hobbies such as reading and listening and watching to music and films from a variety of sources from the large collection that the prison has, surely this just defeats the whole purpose of punishment? As a designer though it is important for me to put my personal opinions aside and design neutrally, listening to what the client and users require from the space.

With a little more research into the whole topic, I understand a little more of the ideas and specifications surrounding the prison system (even if I still disagree with quite a large amount of things).
For one, the library may not have been as much as a privilege as I had first imagined for prisoners but instead acting as an aid in a bid to provide structuring for prisoners and a way to assist learning and skill development. It also encourages the inmates to make use of the libraries when they are released so as to help them reintegrate themselves into society.

As a designer it is important to understand the needs for each individual prison and the inmates that will be using the library. With a diversity of languages (sometimes 25 different nationalities), cultures, ethic origin and religion it is crucial that all of this is taken into consideration when deciding how the library will be laid out and the number of books that will be required. As this is in a closed environment it is important to consider again a number of things, are the resources suitable for prisoners? Are the materials within the library going to engage offenders into using the service? Can the space encourage inmates to use a similar service on the 'outside'?

The space in which we are to design within already houses a library but it is our job as designers to create a new innovative design that will encourage more prisoners to use the facility...considering aspects such as the opening hours, capacity, safety and size of the space will all have an influence on our final concept. How will a prisoner interact with the space? How will the way in which a guard and librarian interact differ?

Organisation of documents such as tracking stock levels and the books or other resources that each prisoner has must be designed within the space. These should only be accessible to the appropriate personnel so security issues should be considered. Also within the should there be helpful pointers to aid inmates in finding books, Dewey Decimal System...?

Safety probably is one of the main issues that I need to tackle within the space as some people who are coming to visit the library may not primarily be there to just pick a book... According to prison library specifications it is important to incorporate a number of elements such as formal and informal areas, general display areas, a separate staff area, etc.

The whole project ties in nicely with a topic I want to explore as a possible dissertation subject and as our tutors here in Mechelen keep reinforcing the point that space does influence the way in which we behave, it is important for me to use the data I have already gathered for my dissertation to aid me with this but also be prepared to discover new points that I can add to it too. In the case of this project the design we create should be aimed at trying to ease the stay of convicts and help them try and channel energies towards a positive outcome.

Basically what I am trying to say is that lots and lots need to be considered and after doing some research into the subject I now have a greater understanding. Although most of my original views remain the same, I have changed my feelings towards the library space within the prison. What I originally thought was just a place for the inmates to escape the area in which they are being disciplined in, now I understand to be so much more...a place to try and encourage learning and those who wish, an opportunity to prepare themselves for a new life outside the 4 walls of their cells.

With thanks:

Author unknown 2010, Prison libraries specification, Waterside Press, London.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Exhibit: Lil' & LARGE

Our hard work for the past 8 weeks has finally paid off and we have now finished our GIDE project.

Lil' & Large.

7 European Design Schools. 1 competition. 1 common theme: Exhibit.

Creating a group of students - 2 Belgian and 2 Scottish - the answer to this question was very varied! Talking extensively about different elements of exhibition design such as interaction and location, we wanted to make sure that we discussed as much as we could at this stage to feel more confident about tackling the brief.
After our group brainstorming session we all decided we liked the idea of a Pop up exhibition, allowing as many people the chance to see it as possible. Most people when they hear pop up would typically think of a book from childhood where the story came alive when the scene spread across their lap...a similar experience we wanted to create with our exhibition.

Playing on the word 'POP UP' we began sketching ideas with this as the underlying concept and from the obvious to abstract.
With a very 'childlike' reference to pop up we thought it appropriate to 'exhibit' a child's clothing range called Oilily, as we felt the brand fitted well with our pop up concept. The brand boasts an impressive range from dresses to handbags decorated with bold patterns that are instantly recognisable.

Presenting a mood board a few weeks into the project we were able to highlight our inspiration for our
design. Creating an unconventional mood board, we talked about our ideas using the elements of a pop up book. Created with interaction in mind we wanted to heighten the understanding of our theme through interaction. Research images were on a pull out slide and to see all of these you had to slide and also flip the card over. Within our group we created large 'sketch book pages' and scribbled all our ideas relating to our topic trying to create visually what we interpreted the term pop up to be. Naturally everybody had different ideas surrounding pop up so we tried to incorporate these elements to create the strongest concept. Looking at the way in which a Russian Doll is able to transform itself from being one object into many without a drastic change in form was something that we used as inspiration for creating the form of our pop up exhibition.

Obviously with our pop up requiring to be moved to different locations we had to consider issues such as weight, stability, materials, portability and size. Attending a recent furniture exhibition in Kortrijk, Belgium we were able to gather information about the different types of materials that were available to us and what sort of attributes they possess but also discuss the problems we were facing with these issues and the
problems that these designers had overcome. The material that we have decided to use is CARDBOARD. BEE®lite manufacture high quality honeycomb panels that can be used for both temporary and permanent purposes. These panels are lightweight which are vital for an exhibition that will constantly be on the move and can be erected quickly as there are no tools required. The Oilily pattern will be printed on the outside of these with each building being a different colour and the interior space will be colourless to allow the clothes to ‘pop’ from the backdrop.

All the ‘houses’ are separate so as the exhibition can be altered to suit the location it will be situated in. From old buildings to shopping centres to art galleries, small or large the design allows the exhibition to accommodate for all the different locations that we intend to visit and give people the chance to experience the exciting brand that is Oilily.

Final board...coming soon.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Furniture made to measure

New project. New brief.

Another group project at Lessius in which we have to design the new STIPhuis. The STIPhuis is a place for students to go if they have any problems but is mainly used by international students who wish to voice any concerns and also do laundry. The current STIPhuis is too small for the functions it is required to perform and is to be located to a new, larger building 3 doors down the street. It's our job as designers to communicate and work with both the clients and users to best utilise the new space.

Using some of the techniques I learned last year as research methods we were able to gain an insight into the users of the space. Asking the STIP staff members about the STIPhuis they currently worked in, we asked questions such as what do you require from the space? What works within this current space? What would you like to see within the new space? Taking these results into consideration we took this forward when creating our space.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Capturing Slovenia.

Delving into my world of thoughts...


Part 1.
Identifying 8 key words from the core theme of 'crime and design' I was able to think about my topic in more detail and highlight areas in which I might look into further. After meeting up with other classmates, the ideas I jotted down were discussed further and I was able to reinforce points to them that I felt were important to the whole core theme.

Part 2.
Selecting criteria in which I wanted to take forward and possibly explore allowed me to create a list in which I thought points on it would prove useful for further research. Looking more closely at methods which have been successful/unsuccessful into crime prevention, aspects which cause an individual to act in a certain manner within an environment...

Part 3.
Questioning what I had already explored allowed me to look into more detail parts I thought were most relevant to the points that I wanted to continue look at. Asking myself questions I could begin to answer these using parts of the research I had already gathered looking into the theme of crime and design.

Part 4.
Looking at things in a more refined view and breaking down the topic into smaller chunks I could begin to select parts which were most relevant to me. Detailing parts such as further research I could do and people I would need to speak to got me realistically thinking about the whole dissertation process.

Capturing Spain.


Recently on a trip to Slovenia, I attended an exhibition titled Bio. where all the designs inside were supposed to be kind to the environment in some way. For me, this was one of the worst exhibitions that I had been to. The layout of the whole exhibition was very unusual and you had to back track on yourself constantly to try and see everything within the space. The way in which things were also presented were not exciting for me and what could have been an exciting display of 'sustainable' designs was now something that was quite tedious to read about. Instead of being encouraged to interact with the designs, we were stopped from touching. This is something that I think should be changed within an exhibition space. How can we truly appreciate the design if we cannot use all our senses to interact with it. At Bio. a small girl was playing with a plastic form but instead of being encouraged to experience the design she was told off and ran scared to her mother... One thing that I did like at the exhibition though was a piece of furniture design that used the human form to create a modern design. Drawing inspiration from hands clasping while praying, the Bosnian designer used the simple interaction of fingers to create a self supporting seat. While looking at this piece of design it reminded me of the Spanish designer, Santiago Calatrava, who also uses the forms of the human to create beautiful structures that has gained him the title as being one of the 'elite' designers in the world.
The spine.

With thanks:

Thursday, 28 October 2010

A piece of Stella design

Wooden accordion clutch bag, Stella McCartney

While researching for our GIDE project and the materials in which our accordion-like structure would be made from and also how it would be functional, flexible, durable, lightweight, etc I came across this image which I thought really answered a lot of questions regarding our issue.

The way in which the object originally could start as a small shape and then fan out to create a larger structure is something that we are interested in doing for our pop up concept also. Using two pivotal points the object can expand and contract in a forward and backwards motion enlarging or shrinking the surface area accordingly. Due to the different locations we want the exhibition to 'pop up' in, this is an important mechanism that is crucial when expanding and shrinking the size of each house.

Referring to this design is a useful way in looking at how all the parts work but as a woman I know that this handbag is not functional, all the little bits and bobs that lurk in the bottom of our handbag would just fall out.

With thanks:

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Assignment 3

Mind Map with my crazy thoughts.

A meal of haggis and tatties later and we were all set for the next group meeting to discuss further the topic in which we wanted to continue with for our dissertation proposal.
All of us decided to continue with the same topic that we had picked originally but shift our focus to a specific area.
Mindmapping the ideas again allowed us to add more information to the mind maps we had previously created. Using these as a starting block, now after looking at the topics in more detail we were able to discuss points in greater detail.

Talking initially about everybody's idea individually we soon ended up mixing between the topics as many points interlinked with one another and all seemed to relate in someway. We found that many issues we discussed were ones that also appeared in the book we read last year as part of Design Studies called "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell. One part that particularly interested me last year was the chapter called 'The Power of Context' which conveyed how powerful a context can be on an individual and how it can make us respond in a specific way. One of the ideas that Gladwell talks about is 'The Broken Window Theory' which argues that fixing the smaller things within an environment can stop criminal acts from happening - just one of the points that I can explore further...

Discussing some points with the group before hand,
and afterwards with our mindmaps...

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Presentation Techniques: Typography

The power of text.

Following a presentation in class on the different types of typography that designers use, we were shown a video of the new Audi A1 which makes use of various images that we perceive to be an A. Some of the A’s are more obvious than others and some require us to look a little more closely.

After receiving our briefing of the subject, we then had to use one of our initials and look for it within the surrounding environment for our typography assignment. These letters could be as obvious or as abstract as we wanted but had to be naturally occurring within the environment.

Can you spot the L's?

Some of the L's were easier to spot than others and soon without even realising it, I was finding letters within the environment - once you are in the mindset it is very hard to stop seeing the letters within the environment.

With thanks: