Are you sitting comfortably?

I was excited, yet apprehensive to start this field project. I have never done product design before and I wasn’t sure if it was something I would enjoy. In our first session we were given a brief introduction to what we would be doing over the next five weeks and then given a partner who we would be working with. Before starting on our chairs, we were introduced to multiple techniques which we would use to design the chairs from different angles, as well as discussing Ergonomics.

The brief 

The brief was to create a ‘bespoke chair/stool or seat’,  responding to a specific project brief based on the results from a staff/client interview. We will be provided with a 16 square foot, 4’x4’x12mm, or 1200x1200x12mm sheet of birch to create the chair, as well as using our own secondary material.

Before designing each chair, each group was allocated a lecturer, whose personality we would use to base the chair design around. Myself and my partner were allocated the ceramics lecturer, Matt Thompson. We were also given a sheet of interview questions to ask the client as well as adding our own questions. The main points we discovered from the interview was, that he enjoys cycling ( preferably mountain biking) and outdoor adventure, his favourite artist is David Hockney, his children (aged 6 and 4) are very important to him and his favourite colour is blue.  For inspiration we each had to create a mood board showing the lecturer’s interests and some potential chair ideas.

mood bord.jpgAs well as learning new skills to incorporate within our designs we were also given example of chairs, created by previous students. It was interesting to see how they used the materials and they inspired me to experiment with what types of materials would work successfully with our chair.

We started to gather some potential ideas for the chair, taking our interviewee’s answers as inspiration.  His interest in cycling and outdoor adventure appeared to be two important aspects of his life. We came up with an idea to use second-hand bike materials, such as  the bike tyres, handle bars or the material from the inner tubes. The first idea I came up with was a chair that would rock as you sit on it, the panels going across the chair would be made from tyre parts, as they are made of a strong material. Another factor that highlighted in the interview results was his unconditional love for his children. We wanted to make sure this was incorporated within the chair design. As his children were aged 4 and 6 we wanted to make sure that there was enough room for them to sit with him on the chair, and for them to be able to use it too.

The second idea was designed by my partner. The chair would be designed so that his bike’s front tyre could slot into the back of the chair. The chair would have a larger piece at the back with a slit for the tyre, a material hammock type seat and then two other pieces so that it opened like a deck chair. However, we didn’t think that this idea was experimental enough and it didn’t incorporate the needs of his children either, so we continued to develop our ideas.

I liked the idea of having a round, cocoon shaped chair, where our client would be able to sit back on it and could be joined by his children, making the chair socially inclusive.  The chair would be designed with five wooden panels and would rest on a round base. This was our preferred option and we decided to develop this idea.

As well as having it resting on the base, we came up with the idea of using similar mechanics to a bike to make the chair move in all directions. We would also use bike inner tubing as our secondary material for extra support. For the surprise element we also discussed possibly having a bike light, to use as a reading light at the top of the chair.

After discussing with the lecturer on the plan for this chair, we realised that we didn’t have enough material to make it possible, so we had to think of other ways to reduce the amount of materials used. We developed our idea so that the chair would be designed from half wood and half canvas material. Using the same shape and concept from the original cocoon idea, we wanted to create half the chair in the same way, however covering the top half of the chair using the canvas material. The material would then hang from a piece of wood that would be designed as the spine of the chair, using fabric ties.

For the inside of the chair, we discussed using foam, covered with recycled fabric from charity shops. We discussed using blue fabric as he said that blue was his favourite colour. This idea was then developed so that we would decorate the inside with cushions, again using recycled fabric for the cushion covers.

 

My peer started to design the model of our chair using a 3D software. Here we were able to see how our chair would sit and decide on any changes that needed to happen so that it would be stable. The first thing we noticed is that we needed the chair to be balanced. We came up with the idea of adding a stop in the wood so that it wouldn’t roll over. However, the chair plan still wasn’t completely stable, so we decided to experiment with using two wooden panels on the back of our chair. As I have never had experience of product design I was very apprehensive about the design of the chair.

 

We realised that our idea might be too ambitious for the time we had to create the chair, so we decided to change the idea completely so that the concept was slightly simpler. Our new idea used less material  which made it simpler to design and we found it easier to incorporate our recycled materials. My peer came up with the idea of potentially using stabilizers on the chair, this way you would be able to move the chair around. Another idea we considered was to use bubble wrap as our secondary material, as padding on the top of our chair. Again I thought it would be interesting to experiment with making the material removable by using fabric ties.

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My constellation was ‘The Meshwork of Objects’ with Jacqui Knight. I was apprehensive but also curious to start. In the first session we briefly discussed what we were going to be learning over the following weeks. We had an induction to ‘The meshwork of objects’,  Transdisciplinarity perspective and our relationship with objects, subjects and ‘Thingness’.

In the second session we discussed, “What is Structural Materialist Film?”. In the session our main focus was ‘exploding the black box of cinema’ where we  looked at examples of structural materialist films that point to film as material and create handmade films to understand the ‘thinglyness’ of film, it’s ontology and also how the apparatus works together with the film material to provide an interpretation of the objects. As well as this we experimented with how the apparatus changes our perceptions of objects and what it means for scientific experiments or objective knowledge.

Before this session I had no understanding or knowledge of materialist/ structural film’s. I learnt that the films are usually short, experimental and Non- illusionist. They don’t usually document a narrative or follow a set of actions and usually show relations between segments, from what the camera is aimed at and the way that ‘image’ is presented. As well as this I learnt that you also get a sense of the camera person, where the camera becomes an extension of the body, as if you’re watching from the camera man’s perspective.

Similar to my ‘New Materialism’ constellation sessions with Dr Martin Woodward, it was interesting to see how objects within film also become extensions of your body. It reminded me of the extract from Pallasmaa’s ‘The Working Hand’ which explains that, a painter paints by the means of the mind rather than the brush as a physical object. Throughout the session, my knowledge and understanding of how the object becomes a part of our body, and shapes our creative practice.

I also learnt how you can identify a materialist film by looking at examples of work such as ‘Berlin Horse, by Malcolm Le Grice, 1970‘ where you see a film of horses becoming more and more distorted throughout the clip. I believe that the films make you feel rather confused, similar to ‘Fluxus’, short films with moving images with distorted and annoying sound effects. It was interesting to see how you can identify structural films by the imperfections, usually the creator’s aren’t interested in removing scratches because it shows the process of the film going through a projector. They’re also not interested in taking out grain, dust and hair that get stuck in the emulsion.

I enjoyed this session as I learnt about a topic I had never come across before. With Graphic Design I usually focus on topics surrounding my subject so it was interesting to learn something about a subject outside my course. I’m not usually drawn to film, as I have never had the chance to experiment with the equipment or materials so It was exciting to be able to try something new. I definitely felt as if I learnt a new set of skills from this session which I am excited to bring into my work as a graphic designer, such as experimenting with using handmade films in some of my future projects.

Another session that inspired me was based in Cardiff Museum, where we were put into groups and told to wander around the museum and find an object/ artwork that stood out to us and inspired us. We were told to discuss how the object had been presented and what inspired us to choose it. I enjoyed this session as I believe it related to graphic communication, understanding how to place objects so that they provide an experience for the viewer, similar to how as a graphic designer you must design your work so that it suits your client.

It was interesting to see how you as an individual can develop an emotional attachment to a particular object, where others might not have, for example, the background and previous experiences, leading the individual to develop their own personal interest. As we discovered the space I became aware that my fellow peers had different opinions on the objects/ artworks which reflected their practice.

The two sessions inspired me to think about how objects are presented within exhibition spaces and the relationship between the creator and the viewer, which I will discuss in my formative essay.  I will be discussing how objects are presented and curated so that they provide an experience for the viewers. As well as this I will be discussing examples of exhibition spaces and objects that have been presented in creative and interesting ways, the physiology behind exhibition spaces/ colour and commercial/ online spaces.

This constellation has not only been useful, but it’s inspired me to consider other subjects outside my course. It has helped me within my practice to think about the way I create and to widen my research topics. The sessions have definitely inspired me to think ‘outside the box’ when starting on projects and how my piece of work affects others. I will definitely be applying this to my work in the future. I will explore the many ways I could include film within my practice and consider how the objects we use become an extension of the body.  I am now considering how others go about presenting their work and how I could use inspiration from others so that my work can be presented in a better way.

Way-finding

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Following my original ideas, I wanted to keep the way-finding minimal so that they are consistent with the other ephemera. To create the signs I decided to use the pen tool around my logo, knowing that the longer part would work as an arrow. There would be three types of signs available around the museum ( right/left/up),  all of them would include the name of the exhibition and date. I’m happy with the logos because they look modern and they differently give you a sense of the shape of brutalist buildings. The signage definitely stands out in the space as they’re bold and striking. However after some consideration I decided that I could experiment with a more delicate signage full of movement, similar to my logo. This would then work better for the purpose of my exhibition which is to show people how designers have created elegant fashion from concrete buildings.

To show movement in my signage, I decided to cut the top part of my logo and use it as the arrow. I then placed the exhibition name and date beside the sign. I am very happy with the outcomes, I believe they’re visually striking as well as being easy to read. The signage also gives a sense of movement, similar to my logo which I think is important because it fits perfectly with the purpose of my exhibition. After placing my signage into the space, I am positive that it is visually stronger than my original idea. The signage looks more elegant on the walls and definitely suggests that it’s a fashion exhibition.

entrance brut

Another part of my way finding was to create a sign that gives a back story to the exhibition and the content, It will be placed outside the entrance. I have decided to use pink as my main colour, because personally I think it’s one of the main colours you wouldn’t put with brutalist architecture. I have kept the sign similar to the posters to show consistency.  Below is the first example, I decided to use multiple logos, all with different opacity to give depth and detail. However, after placing it into the exhibition space I decided that they were too busy and that my layout needed to be more balanced.

I decided to change the layout so that there was more negative space. I moved the block of text the left, leaving plenty of room to place my logo. I wanted use only half of my logo so that it doesn’t look too busy, as well as this I changed the opacity on one of the logos to create depth. I definitely believe that the changes have made the work much more visually balanced.

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Typographic System

PRINTED

For the main part of my typographic systems I have created a set of posters, decorated with he logo, date of the exhibition, where the exhibition is placed and the brutalist hashtag. Whilst creating my posters I wanted to keep my logo as the main image and keep the colours minimal/ brutalist. At first I decided to use only black and white, as I wanted to celebrate the buildings without taking away all of their features for example their ‘raw’ exterior. I wanted to place the images as if they were moving on the page, again keeping with the purpose of the exhibition. Overall, I think that the posters looked  visually brutalist, however I believed that they needed to be even more eye-catching!

I decided to place the posters into various platforms to get a feel of what they would look like around the city of London. The outcomes justified that I needed to experiment with a more contemporary design.

After my tutorial I was told to experiment with colour, as it will help to portray a celebration of the architecture. Instead of changing the colour of my logo, I decided to experiment with  placing coloured text “Dress the industry” on top of the image. I was inspired by Ervell’s idea of creating clothes that dressed the industry, I felt like this line was very fitting to the exhibition as well as giving a brief insight into the content. I also experimented with changing the style of typeface to Baskerville and using a different colour on each poster. Personally I believed that the type and colour worked but the visual layout of the poster wasn’t strong enough.

I then created another set of posters, concentrating on hierarchy. I decided to move the basic information to the top and added the V&A museums logo, so that it’s easier to recognise. Creating the posters in this layout has definitely made it easier to read due to the stronger use of hierarchy. I wanted to keep the hashtag ‘#BRUTALISTfashion’ in a san serif font, to suggest the use of social media. To make the posters stand out even more, I have decided to use bright colours that I believe are eye-catching and changed the opacity on some of the logos to create depth.

blue banner

I decided to experiment with how the posters would look around London. My first idea was to have banners placed all over London instead of posters stuck up on wall’s. I also thought it was important to place the posters in the tube stations around the city, as they are busy at all times.

TUBE

Tote Bag’s 

As part of my typographic system I decided to use tote bags, which are decorated with the logo. I decided to create one white/black bag with the logo placed in the middle of the fabric and then another set with the logo randomly placed over the bag. I have also decided to place the hashtag ‘#BRUTALISTfashion’ on the bottom left corner of each bag, so that people are encouraged to share their opinions.  I believe that handing the bags out after the exhibition will guarantee that people will remember the exhibition and be able to visit the social media sites such as ‘Twitter’.

DIGITAL

For my digital ephemera I decided to create a website so that people are able to find key information such as, what the exhibition’s about, the content, who are the designers and get an overall feel of the work. At first, I wanted to keep the website very minimal so that they were consistent with he posters. Straight away I could see that the website wasn’t contemporary or exciting, which is something I wanted to include in my brand identity.

Similar to the  posters I decided to use colour on the website, instantly this made a big difference. When you visit the website I wanted to make sure that the design was straight forward and that it felt friendly and creative. Different to the first set of designs I decided to change the font so that all the ephemera is consistent, visually I think it’s worked really well!

Throughout my typographic systems I have used the hashtag “#BRUTALISTfashion” so that people are able to have easy access to media surrounding the exhibition. The hashtag can be used on social media sites such as ‘Twitter’ ( examples below) or ‘Instagram’. Information surrounding the exhibition will be uploaded on the site, keeping people updated about the inspirations within. Visitors to the exhibition will also have a big influence after sharing their opinions on the display and works within.

 

On display – Logo

Using inspiration from my research I discovered the word ‘Raw’, which is used to describe the brutalist architecture. I liked the idea of using Raw for my brand because it’s short and simple but also describes the style of fashion that’s inspired by brutalist buildings. For the first two logos I decided to find an image of a brutalist building with an unusual texture ( shown below). I found the shape within the buildings pattern, and created a bold and unusual logo. However the logo didn’t seem to fit the identity behind the purpose of my exhibition, it needed to be more fluid and fashionable!

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After some thinking I decided that a clean-cut logo with straight lines contradicted my brands identity. I wanted o create a logo with movement to show how brutalist architecture isn’t just solid concrete, when it’s put into fashion, it can be seen as beautiful and full of life. Logo no.5 is an example of this movement, I used a solid common typeface and re-designed it so that the letters looked as if they were moving. I was happy with how this turned out because it definitely suited my brand’s identity,  however after some consideration I realised that the name ‘Raw’ focused too much on the cold appearance of the buildings, which definitely contradicted what I am trying to achieve in my exhibition, which is to show the public that the buildings can be more than just blocks of concrete.

I then moved on to experiment with the word ‘Brut’, at first I thought it was too simple, however after asking for my peers’ opinion on the logo it seemed to work. I like how the logo is simple but gives you a sense of what the brand is all about. I started by creating different versions of the word using a plain font, and then started to experiment a bit more with paint to see what effects I could achieve. However nothing really stood out to me, because there wasn’t enough movement in the designs.

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I then started to create the logos on my laptop to see what types of things I could come up with using Adobe Illustrator. I really enjoyed using the laptop to create, because I am usually more drawn to experimenting on paper and creating organic designs.  I started by typing the word ‘Brut’ out and then using the tools to adjust the type. The first image below is my favourite, not only does it show plenty of movement but the shape of the text gives the illusion that it’s a logo in the form of a symbol. Personally I like things to be slightly more abstract, especially in this project, that way I feel like I’m pushing myself creatively. I believe that the logo is unique and will work well on posters, bags etc.

BT

Once I was happy with my logo I decided to experiment with different colours. I chose orange and pink because they’re both bright colours that stand out. I also wanted colour so that I could experiment categorising my exhibition, for example when I’m creating posters, if I’m using an image to do with photography I would use the orange logo. If I had a poster that showed fashion designers clothing I would use the pink.

 

 

On display – project development

My idea development 

I started my project by researching into the history of brutalist Architecture and how it was seen by the public. It’s safe to say that there is a lot of controversy around the building’s appearance, some people are completely against the buildings and reckon that they should never have been built. However on the other hand some people are happy with the architecture, possibly those who are more interested in modern style buildings that are cost efficient or possibly who are interested in sculpture and see the buildings as ‘naive art’.

Personally I never had an opinion on brutalist buildings before this project, they definitely never stood out to me. After watching videos and looking at various pictures of the buildings I can understand why people don’t see them appealing, however I do agree that there is an element of sculpture art within the design of some of the buildings, for example the Hemeroscopium House in Madrid, Spain that was built-in 2008. The building gives the illusion that the concrete is held by nothing but glass walls.

At the beginning of this project I had various ideas of what I wanted to portray in this project. My first idea was to base my designs on what types of art were formed after brutalist architecture was introduced. I was inspired to  do this idea after looking on the Tate’s website, where they listed a handful of artist who used brutalist architecture as inspiration for their work. Following the idea of ‘raw concrete’ the artists created a new form of style called ‘naive art’. Personally I didn’t feel as if I had enough information to construct a brand identity, so I continued to develop on the idea. I was determined to keep with the same style of idea, where something or someone uses brutalist architecture as inspiration for their work. I found that browsing different creative websites helped me collect inspiration for this project.

Following the same style of idea, I wanted to create a new ‘Art Movement’ based on what happens when you introduce brutalist architecture to the creative / fashion industry. In my exhibition I want to inspire the public to look at the buildings in a way they haven’t before, and I want to show them that they are much more than blocks of ‘raw concrete’. My idea is to create a small exhibition showing videos, photography and pieces of fashion all created by designers who have been inspired by brutalist architecture. I also want to promote the ‘art movement’ by creating a page where people can go to give their options on their favourite brutalist fashion pieces or artwork on the exhibitions website. The website will also include a hashtag that people can use to refer to the exhibition and make the movement even more popular on social media, for example ‘#BRUTisback’ or ‘#brutalistfashion’.

Fashion Brand Research

I decided to look into some unique brand identity’s based on fashion, discover what they  have in common and if I could take inspiration from them for my work. The above have created their own unique brands that represent the personality of  what they’re trying to communicate to the public. Both brands have their own logo which represents their image and have kept their them fairly simple, using the brands name or initials. I have learnt that using a simple logo helps the public to remember it, the bold type or shapes stand out and catch our eye. However sometimes I personally feel like having a slightly more detailed logo also catches your eye and makes you want to see more. Looking at these logos has inspired my to think about how I want to create my logo, I will definitely experiment with a  simple logo but also include an element of creativity so that it suits my brand identity.

Both of the brands have shown what their logo would look like on various platforms, similar to what I will be doing in this project. I really like the idea of experimenting with how my logo would look like on a canvas bag, I think that this would be a good way of advertising the exhibition and as well as appealing to the target audience.

The two brands have a clear and sophisticated colour scheme to their visuals, which gives a clear idea of what their brands identity is all about. Both brands are clearly aimed at a more high-end market because their logos and colours are very simple and delicate. Both of them have used very luxurious colours, which is something I would like experiment with in my designs. Using these tones I would be able to show people how the buildings aren’t always cold and harsh, once they are put into fashion they can be quite beautiful. On the other hand I would also like to experiment with louder colours and the possibilities of making a bold statement, so that it catches the public’s eye and shows them that the exhibition is trying to make a powerful statement.

V&A Museum visual Language

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As well as looking at examples of independent brands, I decided to do some brief research on the V&A museum, London, following yesterday’s session on visual language. When you first go onto the museums website you notice their large, logo placed in the middle-right of the screen. They have used different variations of colour for each logo, depending on what page of the site you’re looking at, for example for the fashion section they have used a bright red/pink colour. As well as the logo, the images used in the backgrounds of each page also stand out and are relevant to each page. This definitely encourages you to look further into what the exhibitions have to offer, therefore invites more people to visit the museum.  This is something I want o include within my project, I would like to create a web page showing images of what will be in the exhibition and give a sense of the personality I’m trying to achieve.

Another thing you notice about the website is repetition, all of the symbols or instructions are created using circles with matching colours to the logo on that page. The same repetition is seen through their wayfinding as they use the same circular symbols for directions and facilities. The museum definitely keeps its visual language very simple and modern, so that its easy to read and feels sophisticated.

The museum has posters about recent exhibitions scattered all around the city, usually in places that are most busy, for example the underground stations. They have sets of posters that show their logo, again using the colours to categorise each exhibition. Within my project I am asked to create a piece of printed ephemera, and I think that large posters would work well to advertise the brand, and so that I can include my logo and strong visuals of what will be held within the exhibition.

The exhibition

To create an effective brand identity I wanted to do some research into various fashion designers, this then gives me a better idea about the personality of my brand and what style I should be using for my logo or if I want to use image on my website/ posters. All of the work below have used brutalist architecture as their inspiration and it’s interesting to see how they all interpret the buildings.

The first collection by Patrick Ervell  has created a fashion line that’s very brutalist, and has used minimal and unusual patterns and materials. Ervell wanted to create a line with a “retro- future vibe” where as Omar Asim wanted to keep it more simple and elegant. Personally I prefer Asim’s work because he has created a line that beautiful and unexpected when using brutality as inspiration.

Pierre Cardin, who is famous for his unique frames, created a pair of glasses based on brutalist architecture. He created the glasses as well as clothing in 1980 after brutalist buildings started to become popular. He wanted to create a fashion that would suit the industry and break convention.

Patrick Ervell – Menswear Collection for VOUGE

“Unappealing, but designed for a purpose”

Omer Asim– London Fashion Week SS16

Pierre Cardin’s- New Designer Collection

Chris Francis – Shoe designer, “hard, rigid” shoes inspired by the aesthetic and philosophy of Brutalist architecture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The meshwork of objects

The technologically mediated object: Exploding the black box of cinema

This morning we started to look at examples of structural materialist films that point to film as material and create handmade films to understand the ‘thinglyness’ of film, it’s ontology and also how the apparatus works together with the film material to provide an interpretation of the objects. As well as this we experimented with how the apparatus changes our perceptions of objects and what it means for scientific experiments or objective knowledge.

What is structural / Materialist film?

Structural or materialist films are usually Short, experimental and Non- illusionist. The films don’t usually document a narrative or follow a set of actions and usually show relations between segments, from what the camera is aimed at and the way that ‘image’ is presented. You also get a sense of the camera person, where the camera becomes an extension of the body, as if you’re watching from the camera man’s perspective. The films can be seen as abstract which makes them hard to watch, don’t have a beginning, middle or end. Lastly, the films don’t tell you what to think, they tend to stay away from mainstream narrative ideology.

Film Techniques

Berlin Horse, by Malcolm Le Grice, 1970 

  • The horses within the scene become more and more distorted as you watch the clip.
  • There is one tune used throughout the film and it is repeated, similar to Fluxus work. Two of the same tracks  are played at the same time, but as they are played together they start to play out of sync.
  • The film starts in black and white and colour starts to appear further along.
  • Positive and negative, overlays of image.
  • Ghosting effect with the image
  • The film was treated as a material, Shot the material first and then edited it. the film maker is exploring the possibilities of the material.

The Girl Chewing Gum, by John Smith 1976

  • He’s creating a commentary, pretending that he’s instructing everyone in the film
  • He instructing the world to move, as if the camera isn’t there/ doesn’t exist.
  • There’s an element of humour within the films that ruptures the illusion of reality.

How do we know that it’s film?

Imperfections, scratches ( show its gone through a projector). Not interested in taking out grain, dust and hair that get stuck in the emulsion.

My own structural materialist film 

To create my own film I had to choose one object or material that is flat enough to collage onto film, for example I found some dry leaves from the university grounds. I then had to carefully cut the leaves into smaller pieces and place them onto the film. Once I had stuck everything down and made sure that the holes on the film weren’t covered. I found that the process was slightly difficult whilst trying to keep all of the materials flat and on the film, however it was interesting to see how they all collage together.

  • My prediction is that once my film is on the screen I hope that some of the materials will be transparent and I’m hoping that will reveal different layers of colour and pattern. I have also used small pieces of dark cotton, overlaying some of the leaves. I’m hoping that the cotton will give an unusual detailed pattern.

The outcome wasn’t what I was expecting, the colours came out more sepia toned because of the colour on the projector. I learnt that the placement of the materials within the film is very important, the more centred the objects are the more they’re going to show. As I predicted the dark cotton stood out really well and created a very detailed pattern on the film. I really enjoyed being able to see everyone’s work and how different materials and textures work and change once they’re on film.