Individual: Julia, Harry
Julia: My aim in this project was to work really closely with my group in order to produce a final outcome that stands out from its competition.
Harry: My main aim with this project was to work in a well managed and organised group, where the work is equally divided between the members and we inspire and help each other. The opportunity to choose our own group was perfect to team up with people I know for having same values as I do, so we could create something that exceeds the standards of a university project and is fit for my portfolio for when I start my career as a young professional.
For the first stage of our project, we had to complete a site survey and our individual object researches. We had a series of meetings where collected the sort of questions we were looking out to answer and we divided the roles of each group member and set up a time frame in which every task has to be completed. We set up a blog, where we could store our work in an organised, chronological manner, but also as a mean of communication. As for the object research, we agreed to carry it out individually, but inform each other on the progression, so we can get inspiration from each other.
Julia: My part of the site survey included the aesthetics, usage and circulation plan of the museum’s space and reception area before the. Also, I had to get information about the future progression of the museum. I used pictures and exhibition reviews as well as my own experiences to get information about the museum, as for the future plans, I had to contact the museum in email and over the phone. I successfully conducted an interview with Keith Bonnick on behalf of the Cuming Museum who gave me a full update on the restoration works.
For my object research about a pair of baroque slippers I used fashion history books from London College of Fashion’s library as well as internet resources, which I actually found more useful then the books. I looked into the owner’s, Queen Anne’s life, to get a more rounded picture of the object’s history. A visual analysis in the form of drawings were also part of this stage.
Harry: As for the research part of the project, I was allocated the task of finding out more about the museum building, including its original function, age and style and to get access to the original plans of the building.
In order to get the original plans I called up the Planning Office, where they asked me to make a request through email. Since I got no reply, I called them again and visited them in person as well, where I was given a direct email address where I can make a request, which I did. Even though all my efforts they kept on ignoring my emails and calls.
As for information on the building, internet resources were very restricted, but Julia suggested to me to visit the local and less known John Harward Library, where I found plenty of information on the building including articles, photographs, drawings and original plans. A visual survey in the forms of drawings were also part of my research.
My chosen object was a Chinese Fan, which interested me historically and aesthetically. Because of the origin of this object I did most of my historical research in Mandarin language, then translated the information to English to share it with my group. As for the visual research I purchased two handheld fans which I photographed, hand-drew, destroyed, photographed and drew again as a way to start of my design idea generation.
As for the second stage we had a very limited time until the Green Week exhibition, but we agreed that we spend one week with generating design ideas and experimenting, and one week with building the final model. The deadlines we could not keep, because even though we produced an extremely large amount of sketches we did not want to make compromise with the final idea until we all felt confident about it. The group ended up producing the final model in three days, in which we successfully completed three models to high standards for the exhibition.
For generating the ideas we used different processes. We started off with the objects and combined them together, transforming them into something new. Research about public arts, especially the Serpentine Pavilions helped us a lot in developing new ideas, also we figured we’re interested in ‘shadow architecture’, where the gaps of lights are treated with such a precision, that the changing shadow effect throughout a day is a piece of art in itself.
Using the blog as a communication tool we kept on reflecting on and experimenting with each other’s idea, also we got together for meetings where we worked together and discussed ideas. This is why I believe, that our design process drawings and sketch models are not our own, but the collective work of the group, where every new idea builds on the works already done by the members.
We organised a couple of trips, where we visited different material libraries to find suitable materials supporting our design and a toy shop to get familiar with existing designs on mobile objects, such as toy trains, cars and cogwheel based toys.
As for the final submission, we agreed to complete a mobile model with carefully designed mechanics, a site model, Vectorworks visuals, hand drawn technical illustrations, a material board and the final submission document. The production of the final models was set in one week while all the rest of the works for the second one, individuals and smaller groups were allocated to each task. Again, we had to reflect on the progress and modify the plan accordingly, the final model took slightly longer than expected, but because we had an active time management process, we could accommodate this extended timeframe in our timetable.
Julia: My part in this stage was to work together with Harry and Caleb on the final model. We had to produce different prototypes to learn how we can design mobile walls for the model in the most flexible way. Our design proposal was for the walls to move on their on with the help of nano motors we purchased. The parts had to be cut extremely carefully (a mixture of laser cutting, machinery and hand cuts) and assembled with precision in order to create a flawless movement. To keep the ethos of the fire damage of the museum alive, we burnt all the pieces of the model. I created the façade of the Museum in Illustrator which was then engraved to give the museum a context. Other smaller tasks, such as creation of ramp, stairs and a base box hiding all the machinery has to be carried out. Zacharoula and Daria joined in in the works, after they completed the card site model.
My tasks also included the design of the final submission document, for which I had to have an extended knowledge and deep understanding of all the work we did during this 3 months. Designing the graphic layout and details, such as taking professional photographs of the 14 models we decided the include in the final document were also needed. I used a coherent style throughout the document which helps easy understanding. Zacharoula helped me in some stages of these works.
Harry: My task for the second stage of the project was to work closely with Caleb and Julia in order to produce the final model. From the very early stage of experimenting with prototypes I concentrated on the mechanics and mathematics of the models, I choose the type of motors and batteries we used, often producing multiple card or simple wood models to test ideas before they could be digitalised, runned through the laser cutting machine and assembled. Our experiments included push and pull models to different scales, a motor based circulating disk, a wall circulating around a central motor and finally a wall mounted nano motor moving seamlessly on wheels.
For the final submission document I was allocated to prepare the hand drawn explanatory illustrations which shows how the mechanics and the whole structure works and how our model proposal would be built on the 1:1 scale.
To reflect on my initial aim I succeeded in creating a design that is to professional standards as a member of a well organised group. At any point of the project I was confident in what I was doing at how it feeds into the group’s proposal and I could saw clearly, that everyone is contributing equally to enrich the final outcome.