A Waste of Time

The BBC project.  This is thing – I call it thing as it has taken on a life of its own rather than just being a brief – has been causing me no end of sleepless nights over the last week or more.  With the intermission of Field, I have not looked at Subject for a while, but at last update, I had completely abandoned my design for the BBC table, (the Rock and Roll table), and teased an image of where I was heading for my new idea.


After losing faith in my paired back idea of the RnR table, citing that people may not bother to interact with it, I decided to go down a more functional route; literally, back to the drawing board.  Gulp.

I spent time re-reviewing – is this even a word(?) – my previous designs and going over the feedback from the group session, held during our show and tell.  This table was the other one highlighted as a possible design to follow:

The design at the top is my new muse

The thing I liked about this design was the striking shape of the top and the aerofoil feel of the design, but felt that it was over complicated in its mechanism.  Time to break this down and see what cookies we can make from the crumbs left behind.  Here are the resulting sketches:


Which brings us onto the teased shape at the top of this post, coming about from a development of these sketches.  To my eyes, it is a pleasing form but with a sensible, usable format; a high working area, a lower section for drinks and a vee in the middle to slide papers, laptops etc out the way when the surface is needed.  The legs, well they are a result of the table top structure – long leading leg needed to counterbalance the top overhang, the back legs splayed to keep it stable.  Time to CAD this mother!

This has taken a long time to do!!  I am now, thankfully, back to the proficiency level of CAD as I was at the end of last year, but am now blind from staring at the screen for so long!  I am currently guessing where the keys on the keyboard are, so I hope this makes sense.

The height of the table is adjusted with a standard gas strut, operated by a lever – shown in red – underneath the uppermost top table leaf.  The proceeding leg has a ratchet style lower part that clicks in various positions which allows the table to tilt forwards, (hence adjusting the angle of the table top), operated by simply standing on the red release button.  In CAD, I am very happy with look of the design, especially in acrylic, but am not sure of the leg ratchet / tilting mechanism, feeling that it might be a bit weak or unreliable if the table is sat on.  Also, is it a bit…plain?

Nurse, scalpel please

Time to make a scale model of this beast.  Grabbing a load of supplies – various pen tubes, bits of metal, glue, card – I set to work turning the CAD into a miniature reality.  A few plasters later and…:


As model, I think it describes what the design is meant to look like, it all seems in proportion and looks pleasing to the eye…yet, I still have some issues that I can’t quite put my fingers on that I am not sure about.  Hmmm…

Last part of our deliverables for this coming week was to show a storyboard of how to make the model; this is it:


It’s not great, I did run out of time during this project – see my blog, Time to take a breath for more information – so rather than going down the preferred route of neatly sketching or photographing the build, step by step, I hastily sketched over some poor quality photos and added some text.  

Today we presented our CAD, model and storyboard in groups of five, discussing the details of the design, material choices etc.  Before I go into this, I need to back up a little bit first.  The morning of this presentation, I was rushing to get the storyboard completed, (along with some other works), and something clicked with the design for the table that I couldn’t put my finger on previously.  That certain something that was missing, that thing  I needed to change about the design to make it really work.  I don’t like this design!  It’s too boring, too functional, to satisfy-the-brief, too normal.  Where I am with my thoughts on design at the moment, is to be different, to be someone who makes something that satisfies my own desires, not just a brief.  With this year at uni, we have the opportunity to be bold.  I need to be bolder, not boring.  So where do I go from here?  Ask advice!  I spoke to Sarah Smith (Constellation Guru), Griff (PHd Genius) and Theo (Legend) about my two designs.  Yes, that’s right, I have gone full circle and dusted off the old Rock and Roll Table design.  The general consensus was, the Vee table was fine, the RnR has legs…although as a design, it doesn’t, obviously.  It needs a lot of work in terms of shaping to make it less uniform, but it has a better grounding as a design.  I agree.  I have always agreed, I just lost faith in what I wanted to get from this brief and who I wanted to be.  

Back to the group debriefing.  What table did I present, you ask?  RnR.  Rock and Roll, baby.  I didn’t have loads to show – some CAD work, orthographic projections, and a lot of positive attitude.  I received a lot of constructive feedback for the design that I can work on: choose materials wisely, look into adjusting the shape to accommodate the user more, think about possibly wrapping the table around the user.

Like a boomerang…

Crumbs, what have I done!  I spent the last ten days or more dedicated to rethinking a new design, came up with one, CAD designed it in detail, made a model and completed a storyboard of it, and then, at the eleventh hour, binned it all.  Have I wasted my time?  Am I a mad man?  Can I ever make up my mind?  No.  Yes.  No.  Although I did waste a lot of time with the Vee design, it wasn’t wasted as it has brought me back to where I am at the moment.  Yes, I am mad, but that’s a story for another day.  No, I can never make up my mind; I am massively indecisive and never pleased.  This needs some work.  BE MORE DECISIVE!


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