Monday, 30 November 2009

Social Etiquette?


Why are men to leave the toilet seat down?

Why is it this way round?

Why should women not put the seat up for men?

If you know, fill me in...I am looking into it...

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

MVRDV does Rotterdam Market Hall

Look like your local farmers market selling fresh strawberries?

Imagine beginning your day here choosing your breakfast surrounded by huge flash images of fruit and veg, whilst taking in the sweet scents of the fresh food your about to consume. 

Not bad.

Developed by Provast and designed by MVRDV, this market hall in Rotterdam is about to be begun. This simply comes from a new law placed stating market halls have to be covered which this design has taken to the extreme, with the height and views of central Rotterdam. Not just is it even a market hall but this building 228 apartments aswell as shops, restaurants and a car park with 1,200 spaces! 

This huge project is set to be finnished in 2014 and cost 175 million euros. The fact it has an underground supermarket and places to live permamantly and rent means this will transform the centre of Rotterdam not just for the people living there but encourage others to go. 

LCD screens line the interior whilst balconies decorate the exterior.

Most important is the fact the market is the highlight of the building which is beneficial to people selling fresh food that is produced locally, therefore a sustainable source which will be encouraged to develop. If we had a proper place to buy and sell locally produced products instead of a shabby plastic tent roof taped onto a couple of poles wouldn't we be more likely to go and buy fresh food whilst helping the community?

 Market Stall in Mcleod Gange, India.

Why does Tescos, Asdas, Sainsburys etc have it so easy selling things that markets can sell cheaper, fresher and way tastier?!

Find out more about the Rotterdam Market Hall;

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Jute returning with a vengance

I must have been subconsciously avoiding writing about our project on designing an exhibition based on the Jute Industry, but surprisingly to me I am increasingly inclined to write about how intriging some of the research I found is. Jute, being a ecological fibre played a huge role in the life of the people of Dundee, amongst other places such as India, Bangladesh etc,  even though Jute was not grown in Scotland. Through research much was interesting but what I found the most important was that of jute as a sustainable material.


The most astonishing fact I came across is that jute consumes several amounts of CO2 as Oxygen! Why do we not know this?! Maybe it is just Tesco’s keeping this a secret while they mass produce millions of Jute carrier bags to become ahead of the ‘green’ market. Even on the Santa Claus on the new Tesco advert is carrying a Jute Sack! I wonder if in ten years time when our children see the ‘old school’ adverts (just like us with those familiar Coca-Cola Christmas adverts that we will never forget), will they think this Jute bag was what Santa has carried for years?! Let’s hope this material isn’t as secretive as what it is to us, (unless you have designed an exhibition on it or lived in Dundee in the jute, jam and journalism days!).


This did influence us so much for our exhibition design that we created a sustainable and ecofriendly one that can be placed straight into the environment after the exhibition is over so it can live on forever secretly, better way to leave a mark to remember than a photograph. In brief – based on the Snake by Richard Serra, we created grass panelled walls, creating a atmospheric journey through the space evoking emotions reflecting the social conditions the people involved in the Jute Industy in Dundee had to live with. We experimented by cutting shapes into grass, staining grass and researched finding out it is possible to develop photographs directly onto grass, subjecting different parts to different amounts of light therefore allowing various levels of photosynthesis to occur thus creating a picture perfect photograph.

Artists Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harveys advertisement installation at Wimbeldon 2008.

Cuttings we made in grass.

Friday, 13 November 2009

'Is there more at home than heart?'

There are three identity types – Social, personal and place. Psychologists’ are usually interested in social and personal identity but place identity is extremely important in not just where we call ‘home’, but why we do and what impact it has on our lives. Recently I attended a talk by Mhairi Bowe who is finishing her PhD in Psychology. She questions ‘what is home’?’

 (my old house - still home)

During Mhari’s talk I was intrigued with what she was saying about how place represents past, present and future and they are permanent features of life. We are always in some environment, whether it the other side of the world or snuggled up in bed, but these places makes us feel. And these places completely take over how we feel even if subconsciously and contribute to the way we act in this environment. This shows how place affects our wellbeing. If somewhere feels like home we feel safe, warm and comfortable. People described home as somewhere you can ‘go and lock the world out’, a place you can ‘safely flop’ and a place that caters to ‘mans instant needs’.  For me if I have my UGG boots, a cup of tea and custard creams and my MacBook (including WIFI!) I would reckon I’m pretty sorted. Now rereading this I suppose this is a consumers point of view in a consumer and media driven world, proving how things have ridiculously changed. But home can be anywhere and home can travel around with you. It is simply somewhere you are at ease and have a sense of self. This is vital to wellbeing.


This point got me thinking about others and how people less off, immigrants, refugees, armed forces and such like see ‘home’. Place evokes emotion, memory and thought. You have a relationship with the environment you are in and for me this is something I am intrigued to find out more about for my designing life. (I shall keep you updated!)


If I put the word ‘PlaceBook’ out to you, what would you think? A place? Or one of Facebook’s new revoltingly addictive games?! Well not quite. PlaceBook is a new website developed to being people and place together, to share peoples’ identities and stories which make us remember and enjoy, potentially improve our wellbeing so check it out if you too and intrigued by the relationship between people and place.

Thank you to Mhairi Bowe for a great talk!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Activity 3 - Annotated Bibliographies

Chitturi, R. (2009). "Emotion by Design: A Consumer Perspective". International Journal of Design, 3(2), 7-17.

This journal concentrates on emotion evoked in consumers towards the product and relationship between them. Chitturi conducts two experiments looking into peoples reactions towards certain products and the emotional experience buying and living with this product evokes. Products are put in one of two categories - a 'utilitarian' being a 'neccessity' and hedonic being a 'luxury'. The article argues the point a 'hedonic product' evokes feelings of delight, but also guilt, especially if the product fails to meet expectations. Likewise a 'utilitarium' product' can evoke feelings of satisfaction and proud but also anger and frustration. These contribute to product, consumer and designer relations that make or break success of a design.

Cronin, A. (2008). "Calculating spaces: cities, market relations and the commercial vitalism of the outdoor advertising industry". Environment and Planning A, v. 40, no.11, 2734-2750.

Based on ethnographic work, this paper examines the market research practices of the outdoor advertising industry in the UK and their commercial production of space.

Desmet, P, Erp, J, Karlsson, M. (2008). Design and Emotional Moves, Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing

This book is a series of papers from the International Design and Emotion Conference in Sweden which looks at behavioural patterns of consumers and how this affects the way we buy and use products and the way we live with and in the things we buy.  It demonstrates various testing done on the senses and how this predicts how designs will perform and that visual aesthetics and usability can achieve a rich interaction with design and how the consumer responds to it.

Fogg, B. J. (2009). "The New Rules of Persuasion". RSA Journal, 155 (5538). 24-29.

Persuasive Technology is becoming part of our ordinary experience with social networking in the forms of Facebook etc. This is due to our changing behaviour, culture and the way we live. This journal explains different ways we can be successful in design such as building on small successes and the place and way we work that can potentially make or break a design.

Frascara, J. (2002). Design and the Social Sciences Making Connections, London: Taylor & Francis

Psychology, social sciences, anthropology is essential in creating a great design. This book researches the notions of culture and the relationship between people and the way different kinds of people live, for example religion and different parts of the world. Behavoiur and social factors also contribute to the reason things are designed and the purpose they have. How we react with consumers and clients is vital in Interior Design and this book demonstrates various ways this can be done successfully.

Kress, G, Leeuwen, T. (1996). Reading Images The Grammar of Visual Design, London: Routledge 

In today's world we are more visually literate and this text gives important advice to anymore interested in communication, the media and how this coincides with design. Advertising plays a fundamental part which is explored and how to effectively get your point across. this also develops into looking at  messaging, typography and logos and when and why specific advertising is used, for example it shows war posters and how they can be persuading and biased without the viewer being aware, therefore being a good design despite the fact we might not literally see it with our eyes.

Norman, D. (2004). Emotional Design, New York: Basic Books

Norman questions why we hate or love everyday things in this text. By focusing on our sensory needs which consist of our reflective, behavioural and visceral needs, he proves that attractive things really do work better and how our emotion affects this. For example if we are happy, our muscles are more relaxed and therefore our brains are more open to creative ideas and we are more able to see the bigger picture. Coming from a cognitive scientist's point of view rather than a designer is important as he demonstrates why design should not be confusing and frustrating but why we still yearn for things we technically would not see as a 'good design'.

Sparke, P. (2004). An introduction to design and culture, Oxon: Routledge

Looking bak from post-modern design such as the first hoover etc, to today, Sparke looks how new materials and processes affect the designing of products and the environment. She shows how social periods and movements that have, and will occur, will influence desingers and the way we react to design. Aided by the consumption of everyday goods, services and spaces we as individuals and our identities play an active part in the re-design of the everyday world in which we live in.

Zeisel, J. (1984). Inquiry by Design, Cambridge: Press Syndicate

Research into the relationship between human behaviour and the physical environment. This is a series of short books as a meeting ground to anaylse how environment and behaviour mix together. From a variety of perspectives of architects, psychologists and geologists etc, this text presents interesting facts from all fields of people involved in environmental change. There is alot of research into peoples reaction to environments, for example, not just how we site, but why we sit, what people do when they move into a new home, how do people feel when they sit in an all glass room visible for all to see. Zeisel answers and evaluates these questions in a knowledgeable approach.

a cHEaP tHriLl

And after some seriousness...

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

2.08 laps of Earth and 10,120 bottles of whisky - the common ground that they could possibly share?

Over the past year the BBC have been travelling the world (2.08 times to be precise) in a bright red shipping container. In a little over 12 months the 'Box' has journeyed over 50,000 miles carting various objects including cans of fish, whisky, even 4,000 sets of bathroom scales! The reason for this was maybe not so obvious a year ago when it set off from the London BBC Studios, but now after a year of hardship on the economy and lifestyle, it became a great example of documenting the situation the world is in. 

One news reader refers to the act:

"This box not only brings the world to your living room - it has changed the world."

This Box has become a phenomena many people from all over Britain have been following over the past year, including children studying it at school etc. This is a great idea considering we are taught next to nothing about globalisation, sustainability and such likes at school and we are the people of the future, therefore the ones that NEED to know about these things. I have to admit I had not heard of it at all until a few weeks ago. Maybe if it was advertised more we would all be able to appreciate the important facts it's journey has proven. Or maybe I should watch the news alot more.

I could go through its journey but the intriging adventures of the battered Box are in detail on the BBC website;

The interesting findings for me however is the point of how this affects us. Practically everything we consume has travelled in one of these containers and never stop to think about where these have actually come from, it has maybe been round the world over 2x! And why would we question?

As a whole, we don't really. Skiting down the aisles of Tesco I don't usually stop and review every package to see where the product has travelled from but after seeing the BBC Box on the news the next time I did. And I was shocked. Some vegetables in Tescos had travelled thousands of miles more than others and they were cheaper! How does this make sense?! Well, I suppose it is down to who does what, and who gets what. Is it fair on anyone - the people slaving away growing spikey pineapples or the farmers here picking each individual strawberry and reaping hardly any award!? No.

We are warned all the time we need to make a difference to sustain where we live and our lives, and this is a little change that can make a huge difference. Just like the Tesco Man says;

'Every little helps!'

And now - every little does help. Even the BBC Box now being sent to Africa to become a soup shelter to help people that have been worst affected by the global recession. It's a little, but it helps.