Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Design Inspiration.

I’ve been looking for inspiration and examples of existing fish & chip shops, restaurants or sea side cafes. I have previously posted about ‘Kerbisher & Malt’ this is just another blog post to share some of the design ideas I like. It has given me an idea of what I am looking for and what I want in a site so hopefully that will help.   

West Beach Café. Asif Khan. – Indoor/Outdoor.

I like the way the front of the building can open up on a warm sunny day connecting the interior with the sea. The guests will be able to smell the seaside, enjoy the sea air and the views.

East Beach Café. Thomas Heatherwick. – Seaside inspiration.

The exterior of this building just looks like a beach and I love that this is where the inspiration has come from. The shape and colour has a real impact on the landscape. To me it looks like a rock on the beach or the marks on the sad just where the waves hit the shore – it makes me think seaside. The interior looks cooling and bright, it reminds me of the inside of a cave or the inside of a shell.

The Smokehouse. Pringle Richards Sharratt. – Re working a warehouse.

The smokehouse has brought together three different areas; a takeaway, a café, and a guest house. I like that the different areas have been combined to work as one and link together with the same theme. I really enjoy the industrial look of the building and the floor to ceiling windows.  

Interim Presentation.

A few weeks ago I had my interim presentation where I discussed my research, findings and ideas about my project up to that date. We were to present this to our year group and the tutors of our department so they could then critique us and offer advice.

I put a lot of thought into how I would visually display my work. I wanted to try something different as I have now become used to creating presentation sheets on my computer and printing them off. This time I decided to use the wall beside my desk in the studio to create a physical mind map. In the centre I placed an image of the celebratory gold fish & chips with the issues I was going to discuss stemming from this. I cut out newspaper letters on the laser cutter for the sub headings and displayed images, drawings and other work around this. I wanted it to look playful and make the viewer want to look closely and know more about the subject.

Over all it went well. I was really pleased with the feedback and peoples reaction to my project.

Below are a few images of my presentation. 

Research: Let’s Celebrate!

Celebration is an area I think fish & chips is strongly connected to and should definitely be part of my final design. I want it to be FUN! As I think it is after all, all about it; fun, trips to the seaside, nostalgia and treat days. It makes us stand out it’s one of the things that makes our country British we should celebrate this. Winston Churchill referred to them as, “the great companions” and apparently they helped us win World War 1.

Street food is a popular craze at the moment so let’s celebrate fish & chips by having a great British street party. Let’s bring back the fun and celebration aspect of it and show people it’s not dull and boring like they have come to believe.

All the issues I have mentioned in previous blog posts including this one all link back to fish & chips and can be solved. Fish & Chips is at the centre of it all, it’s what can connect the information about these issues to the general public to make them aware and bring about change. The chip shop can be the central hub the HQ. Fish & Chips can save the planet! Yep.

I’d really like to hear people’s opinions about fish & chips and my topic so if you’re reading this and have something to say please leave a comment I’d love to hear from you! 

Research: Health Issues.

65% of adults in Scotland are overweight and heart disease is the countries biggest killer. This makes people more conscious about what they’re eating – as they should be- but fast food shops like the local chippy have been blamed. Fish &Chips has a lot of stigma attached to it, it’s seen as unhealthy even although it is one of the healthier take away options and the battered mars bar has become a bit of a joke.

We need to change the environment that we live in to make healthier choices easier and more accessible to everyone. Surely the fish & chip shop can adapt and help this situation. People are looking for fast food; we can give them this and even offer healthy options like baked fish whilst still keeping the traditional meals for people who want to treat themselves now and again.

What else can be done? I recently came across a great example of fish & chip shops encouraging a healthier lifestyle. Last month in Bristol a bike race was held called; ‘Fixed & Chips’. Cyclists had to visit each chip shop on the map before crossing the finish line they got extra points if they stopped and bought a sausage supper on the way. The overall winner’s prize would be a bike. I thought this was a fun way to incorporate being healthy with the fish & chip business, it shows that you can live a healthier life and have the best of both – do your exercise and treat yourself once in awhile. Competitions like this could be held every couple of months and get the community involved.

I also found some work by Andreas Neophytou, creative director at ‘Spring Creative’ in London. He created an identity design for ‘Jones’Fish & Chips’ which was run by his parents. He designed different logos for the business and focused on the health issues that surround fish and chips for some poster designs. I really love the way he portrays the information in a unique way showing the customer the fat content and calories of fish & chips compared to other fast foods. Of course fish & chips is the lowest which probably comes to a surprise to most people. “Know exactly what you’re eating!” “Fish…Chips…Batter” is the slogan he used which is really relevant especially now as this is something that is becoming a growing concern for most people.  I really like this project especially because it is so similar to my situation and what I am trying to achieve but he has tackled the subject from a Graphic designer’s perspective. I hope to achieve something equally as brilliant by using Interior design.

Research: Fish & Chip Babies.

‘Fish & Chip Babies’ was something I had never heard about before starting this project. ‘Fish & Chip Babies’ is the name give to babies born in Malawi in Africa. They are born into extreme poverty and some are already infected by the HIV virus. As the hospitals don’t have any clothes or blankets to cover them with they wrap them in newspaper to keep them warm therefore giving them the nickname ‘Fish & Chip Babies’.  People her in the U.K. have been knitting brightly coloured jumpers and hats to send over to Africa to help the cause.

I couldn’t find any official website for this cause just a few church blogs with information and knitting patterns. Maybe the fish & chip shop I propose to design could be some kind of ambassador raising awareness for ‘Fish & Chip Babies’ connecting and informing people in the U.K. The chip shop could have a wool share or drop off area and knitting patterns could be used to wrap up a fish supper for customers to take home. Jumpers can be handed in and sent off from the chip shop. People could even have the chance to work with the business to go out to Africa and offer some kind of aid. The chip shop would act as the hub for the help campaign….

Research: Customer Contact.

After having a chat with this fish supplier I decided to talk to some of the customers at the fish & chip shop. Customers are after all at the heart of every business so I felt this was important.

I decided to keep the questions short and sweet and ask them while they were waiting for their order. I wanted to find out what their favourite fish was to see if it matched Hugh’s opinion that Brits only like haddock or cod. I also wanted to know what they thought of fish & chips and the fish & chip shop experience, any word that came to mind. I brought with me a black card cut out of a haddock for them to write their answers on and cooked some battered plaice for them to sample. I thought some free food would be a nice thank you for them completing the questions and it would also let me judge some of their responses to a new type of fish.

I found that the majority of the customers I asked preferred haddock, next in line were cod and salmon, only a couple chose different types of fish such as halibut or mackerel. Getting people to try a piece of plaice proved difficult I’m not sure this was because they thought they wouldn’t like it or if they felt to uncomfortable to take a free sample.

I have also drawn up four personas of my regular Wednesday night customers. They all have their rituals and all get the exact same order every week. 

This make me think that it may prove difficult to get people to change their habits and try a new type of fish. So maybe it’s not these customers I should target maybe it will be the more adventurous younger generation who are a bit bored of their local chippy, these may be the customers that will want a shark supper? 

Monday, 12 November 2012

Project Research: Interview with the Fish Supplier.

A few weeks ago now I went to Arbroath to speak to the fish merchant who supplies the fish to my fish & chip shop. I wanted to ask him a few questions about sustainability within fishing and how he feels about fishing quotas. I had a few questions prepared to get the ball rolling but was hoping to have more of a conversation with him and find out some information that would be of relevance that I hadn’t thought of. Luckily it turned out that way!

I started by asking him about the t.v. programme ‘Hugh’s Fish Fight’ and what his opinions were on sustainability. Although he agreed with fishing quotas and the monitoring system in place as it has put a stop to selling ‘Black Fish’, he had a different opinion on what would help sustain the haddock stocks. In his opinion sustainability can be helped if we stopped catching fish when they are spawning. When fish are spawning they become thin and tasteless, the fish should not be caught at this time as they are weak, they need to become strong again before they are caught. Easter is when the haddock that he buys will be spawning therefore Easter is when our shop should stop selling haddock if it were to follow the rule of not catching fish when spawning to help sustainability. This would not go down well with customers as traditionally Easter is a busy time for the fish & chip shop. I wondered if perhaps the chip shop and his fish business could work together and sell a different type of fish to help the cause however he didn’t agree. 95% of the fish he sells is haddock, he said it is very difficult to get people in this area to buy another type of fish. I asked if he could suggest another type of fish we could try to sell instead but he didn’t think this was a good idea. It seems people are set in their ways and it will be a difficult task to change this but I think eventually it could be done. People today are more open to trying new foods, maybe if they knew about the variety of fish and knew what it tasted like they would not be as scared to buy it. Most kids don’t like fish but they will eat it from a fish & chip shop as it’s dressed up differently, maybe adults would be the same if you offered them some halibut served up in a different way they might bite…

In my opinion I feel the key to helping the sustainability issue is to educate and encourage people into buying a variety of fish not just the one type. This meeting was very helpful as it has backed up a few of the areas I have been researching already.

Research: ‘Hugh’s Fish Fight’

I have been looking into issues that are connected with fish & chips. The next few blog posts will be about some of the research I have been doing into these areas to see how they might affect my project, design and give me inspiration.

It was suggested that I watch ‘Hugh’s Fish Fight’ to give me some inspiration for my project. I hadn’t watched this series before but I had heard about it. Before watching I didn’t realise how crazy the discarding problem that fisherman face is.

In the U.K. haddock and cod is rare due to overfishing, we eat more than our stocks are able to produce therefore it now needs to be safeguarded. Fishing quotas have been given to fishermen so they are not allowed to land over a certain amount of fish. If they catch more than their quota while at sea they have to throw it back dead! It seems strange to me as this isn’t helping sustainability because if the fish are already dead it’s just getting wasted, as Hugh would say it’s “madness!”

Hugh mentioned that the “Chippy is a real problem at the heart of British fish culture.” Basically the fish & chip shop is the main reason people only eat these two types of fish, haddock and cod. The chip shop made it available, appealing and easily accessible to the customer so it became something they were used to and comfortable with. Maybe if they offered other types of fish people would get used to it too and not be scared of trying something new, but is it too late? Well we need to create this market for under utilised species to save haddock and cod. Since the chip shop seems to be at the heart of the problem maybe this is where we should start. Surely if it was made available to them we could make the public love another type of fish as much as they love cod and haddock. I think people are just scared of the unknown.

In Hugh’s programme he got the chippys selling mackerel baps in an attempt to make it the new cod and chips. I think if we keep trying it could happen!