Dramatic Pause

We have received an email.  I won’t go into the full details of the email, but the basic premise is this: we suck.  To be more precise, our designs – as a level 5 cohort – for the BBC project, are not up to scratch and we need to ditch them; go back to concept stage.  Meet Monday morning sharp and things will be ‘discussed’.  The long, short and curlys of this meeting was: we suck.  We – again, as an overall cohort – have not been coming in, not been engaging and not been working.  I know this is not true of myself, or my fellow hard working peers, but it didn’t feel great as a starter for the day, nor did I find it very motivating at all.  I have been guilty of not coming into the studio as much as I did last year – I blame the freezing cold, unwelcoming space, without a personal desk for this – but I know I have put in more work than ever.  

We were pre-placed into teams of four – two level 4, two level 5 – and tasked with creating 100 concept images, 4-5 models of of chosen favourite designs, reevaluate and re-sketch, build a final model and then present this alongside 3 A3 sheets covering aesthetics, usability and innovative qualities.  All by 5pm.  This will be a long day.  As a step aside, the Sunday prior to this, I decided to spend the entire day reconcepting ideas.  I was happy with my decision to ditch my Vee table and go back to the RnR idea, but could not resolve the issues I had with this design.  I couldn’t get it to work for the user or the environment as I wanted, but more importantly, it didn’t feel right to me.  These are some of the quick models I came up with over this weekend:

In the spirit of this task however, I left these ideas at the door, and started afresh.  I did my best to bring our level 4 student, Reese, up to speed with the project so far, and then started to concept.  This is by far my weakest area, (amongst many).  I have an idea in my head that I cannot get onto paper as my sketching is really weak.  I know they say that practice makes perfect, but let’s face it, some people just can’t do something as well as others.  Much in the same way as some people can dance, and with practice can get exceptionally good, others, no matter how much training and practice, cannot dance; looking more like an a chimp being electrocuted.   

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Conception

With upto 25 sketches each, we discussed our designs as a group and shortlisted one each.  Into the model shop we went.  I see we, I went in search of a clear sandwich bag, for my idea was a bit weird.  Imagine a cube of marshmallow, with a belt around the middle.  Tighten the belt and the marshmallow gets thinner and taller; loosen the belt and it gets shorter and wider.  Ergo, a raising and lowering table.  How to model this?  I decided that I needed a bag of water to act as the mallow.  This did not work.  I ended up with a leak in the bag and wet crotch.  #suspicious.

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Water, in a bag.  Whatever next?

Meanwhile, Richard from our team, had an amazing design that involved a series of tessellating panels which overlapped like roof tiles.  Pull one down at any height and that forms a surface to work on.  

This, by far, was the best idea to take forward.  A bit of fettling with the design and model and we were ready to sort out the presentation.  The design had such visual cues of bird feathers, fish scales etc. that we had a theme.  Some images of the product in use and blank slide on innovation later – I was to basically say the idea sells itself – and we were done.  

presentation

Reflection

This day was interesting.  The morning talk by Prof. Steve Gill was really informative, delivered in a succinct manner.  The ‘you suck’ section was less fun.  Working as team was hard as we all had different experiences to manage.  Some were new to it and confused, some just rehashed ideas they had gone through before, but not shown anyone, and some were a little burnt out designing tables.  Also, the idea we put forward was Richard’s; how can I develop this?  Where do I go from here?  I spoke to Steve and Richard (lecturer), about my marshmallow idea, and they both seemed to like it.  I don’t know, however, if they liked my previous ideas, (or did they suck), or if my Sunday ideas are better.  Confused.  Yes.

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