Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Dining Space: Studio East Dining
 This is the dining space that I chose. It was built on a construction site using, or borrowing really, all the materials including the light fixtures. It was a 3 week long temporary restaurant and after it was taken apart all of the materials were given back or recycled. This space is really cool because obviously it is completely eco-friendly as a space. 

The lighting in the space is notable because the walls are a translucent polyethylene which takes advantage of natural light in the daytime, and at night these really cool fixtures light the space. The fixtures are made of yellow construction lights with long yellow cords.
Source: http://www.architecture-view.com/2011/01/05/innovative-studio-east-dining-restaurant-in-london/

Social Space: Maxxi Art Museum designed by Zaha Hadid in Italy

This space is extremely sculptural and neutral at the same time. The concrete and glass materials create an understated palette which doesn't take away from what is inside. The amount of glass in the ceiling lets the space get illuminated with predominately natural light. There are also complex louvers and framework that allow manipulation.

Ritual Space: Parish of Helsinki by JKMM Architects

This church is designed to feel like "congregating in the woods" which I think is a beautiful idea. Nature and closeness to the land feels spiritual in itself. The space is made of numerous kinds of wood and it is full of very sharp, crisp lines. The windows that span to the floor further connect the outside with the inside.

reading 2: Babette's Feast

Culture and design are inextricably related. We are a product of our culture and society, and design is a product of us. One essentially does not exist without the other in some way. All cultures are different, and as so the spaces, music, art, clothes, people, food and just overall way of life are different too.  As a culture we have different needs, wants and influences than other places and designers react accordingly. I think traveling and experiencing other places is extremely important and valuable for this reason, to get inspired and be completely out of your element, to share and adopt other customs and ideas.

We watched a movie, Babette’s Feast, about two sisters living in a remote area of Denmark in the 19th Century. They led a very simple lifestyle to say the very least, even their food was the same fish and bread day in and day out. They sat quietly and ate their modest meals, until years go by and their now live-in house keeper/ cook receives a large sum of money. She is French and instead of using her newfound fortune to go back to her old home she cooks an extravagant meal for them. She had previously been a chef at a fancy restaurant and she really made an evening out of it for the sisters and their guests. This is what people mean when they say there is a difference between just eating and dining. Dining is an experience, a time to come together and enjoy, not only the food, but also the company and the atmosphere. Many cultures treat mealtimes this way, not just the French. When I traveled to Italy and Spain I had dining experiences in both, it seemed to be more of a lengthy event with different food courses, wines, coffee and conversation. My family has always treated dinner this way when we’re all together and I don’t think enough of us really appreciate that time together as we should. It should be a time to catch up on the events of the day and appreciate the food, not sit in front of the T.V. or Internet like a vegetable on the plate. Most people have a T.V. in or within view of the kitchen, and a lot of places you go to eat out have T.V.s as well. Social media at this point is really taking away from the dining experience, maybe it can change but for now…

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Design Manifesto

 “A picture is something between a thing and a thought”— Arthur Symons

I think this quote by Arthur Symons epitomizes the design process: It starts with an idea, a thought, a concept or maybe even an image in my head, but translating that to a drawing on paper is difficult in itself. Then, translating that drawing into the actual thing is another layer, and sometimes the end product becomes very different than the initial “idea”. It’s definitely a process. To be able to successfully design though, I think you have to master all three parts of this process to a certain degree.

A strong concept and initial idea can be lost in a poor drawing, and alternately, a weak or flawed concept can win over a client or group of fellow designers with a strong drawing; Drawings can be misleading. These same things happen when I have an amazing idea or image in my head, sometimes I can draw it out perfectly, but then following through with the design off of the paper is a completely different story. Or other times the drawing does not translate but I am able to follow through without it anyway.

Most modern designers draw out designs using computer programming and then somebody else entirely constructs the design, they come up with the idea and then somebody else has to execute it. These “instructional drawings” can be misinterpreted or have unforeseen errors or a lack of clarity. This seems like a scary concept with my very limited design experience, at what point does it become someone else’s design?

After just one semester we have learned to appreciate “craft” that goes into design and we have practiced free hand drawing. I feel like both of these are somewhat of a dying art in designers learning today, and yet they are both so important. Appreciating the hands on work is definitely key, but also just experimentation in both of these lead to completely different and, maybe better, end products. The art of crafting pushes us to find out what materials are capable of though trial and error. Drawing by hand has advantages in many ways too, you can just free yourself, let loose and be fantastical...

For me personally it’s always a long process and it involves a lot of anxiety, a lot of searching for something better. I usually come back to something close to my original idea, but I refine it and polish it up. I have random a-ha! Moments and it will suddenly all make sense. I just have to remember it’s okay to change and transform an idea that I’m so attached to. I have high anxiety and I'm usually under the impression that whatever I come up with won't be good enough, and while this puts a lot of pressure on myself, it also pushes me to always do my best.