Friday, 12 August 2011

Degree Shows

This summer I was hoping to visit a few different universities degree shows. I didn’t get to as many as I liked due to work commitments and family visiting from Italy. I missed out on seeing the work at Glasgow and Aberdeen. I did however get to see the final work from our fourth year at Duncan of Jordanstone in Dundee and I was able to look at the degree show work by the students at Edinburgh College of Art.

I think the work by the Interior and Environmental Design students at DOJ gets better every year. Their work was laid out well, the centre table gave extra room to display their work whilst also creating a path to guide you easily round their exhibition. All the work there was great but I particularly liked ‘Hotel 360’ by Nicolaas Roemer. The way he presented his work was clear and easy to understand at a glance through his use of images. This is something I need to improve in my own work, using images to convey my concept clearly to my audience. He had a mix of digital work; drawings and 3D models which I also liked it looked as though he had put a lot of time and effort into his fourth year work and showed the variety of skills he has acquired over the four years. He used the computer programme ‘podium’ to create his renders; I’d like to experiment with this programme in my upcoming projects as I feel it does produce a realistic style of images. If you want to know more about ‘Hotel 360’ or about Nicky’s other work you can visit his website .

The degree shows offer a great deal of inspiration and help me think about my own work in new ways. At the ECA show Isha Datta’s ‘Circo Di Prada’ was very impressive. Isha printed her CAD drawings onto silk scarves, they were beautiful! I loved the use of the silk scarves as it is a very imaginative way to display work. This will encourage me to stop and think ‘is there an alternative way to present my work?’ Using your subject or concept to influence your presentation can turn something such as CAD drawing into something visually exciting, unique and interesting. Not only did this student have her beautiful scarves to show her plans and elevations she had built an impressive scale model and laid out her work as if it were in a shop. Her perspectives were framed a displayed like works of art on the wall. Her presentation in general gelled perfectly with the subject of Prada. To read a bit more about her work follow this link.

One thing I definitely took away from visiting the degree shows it that you have to be just as imaginative in the way you display your work as you are with the design of the work itself. Hopefully because I’ve realised this now by the time it’s my turn to showcase my work in fourth year I’ll have the skills to do so.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The Secret Life of Buildings.

 ‘The Secret Life of Buildings’ is a new TV. series that I’ve started watching on Channel 4.  It discusses how the design of an interior space can directly affect a person’s mood, health and their productivity in the work place. Through experiments undertaken throughout the programme it shows how important interior design is and how bad design can have adverse effects.

I found episode 2 particularly interesting as it was about the environments we work in which links back to my last project ‘SEPA Urban Hub’.  The episode looked at the type of buildings I researched when starting the project and looked into the types of workplaces where people perform best. My discoveries were similar to those found in the programme that employees work well in flexible open spaces. The office should offer many different ways to work, whether it is privately at a desk, in separate rooms allocated for group meetings or in an informal laid back environment. I tried to incorporate these different zones in my design for the ‘SEPA Hub’  by creating movable desks which were suitable for group work or working alone, having bright and airy meeting rooms where group discussions were encouraged and a canteen with relaxed seating to chill out or meet up with colleagues.

The ‘Interpolis Tilburg’ building in The Netherlands is an excellent example of designing to meet the requirements of the buildings user. It has a different area to suit the type of work being carried out and the type of mood the employee is in. The interiors stimulate the employee with its wide variety of textures and colours.

In contrast the Swiss Re. Headquarters in London (the building which is nicknamed the ‘Gherkin’) looks beautiful and interesting from the outside but doesn’t really take into account personal needs within the office space. Employees there said the best part of working in the building is the impressive views.

I definitely recommend watching ‘The Secret Life of Buildings’ if you’re interested in finding out the best ways to design for people or even if you just want to see some beautiful interior spaces and buildings. Check it out on