Journey of the Senses – Until Now.Posted: November 1, 2016
So the project I’ve been working on since September is over. Finished, never to be thought about again, right? Probably wrong, I feel like again I’ve just thrown out a piece of work for the sake of getting it done and it is so far from the standard of design I’d like to be at right now. So I am going to keep working on it and refining it until it’s a just a little close to perfect.
The beginning of this project was rocky and I don’t think anyone in the class really knew what we were supposed to be doing and we spent far too much time putting post-it notes on walls and drawing up brainstorm after brainstorm.
Once the groups were formed and we started to get a grip on our idea and became more independent, we began to feel a little more ‘on the ball’ and could actually visualise what it was we were actually aiming towards. I was really happy once we were allowed the space to move away from the structured lectures, where I really didn’t feel like a lot was said, or learnt, and I know others feel the same about this and for this reason quite a few of people stopped showing up to the studio in order to work in their groups outside of university (I really don’t feel as though the teaching staff have been effectively assigned this year but that’s a point for another post). After making endless brainstorms and coming up with ideas, cutting them down, then thinking of even crazier ideas, we created some mood-boards, a kind of visualising ideas that I think is so useful.
One of the first things we did for the Real World project was take a trip to the bay to speak to our mentor, and have an insight into how a ‘real life’ agency operates. We met the designers from Bluegg and had a quick look at some of the work they were doing in the studio, had a coffee and spoke about how things work in the industry. This experience was the most valuable of this project, in my opinion, and will hopefully be beneficial for my advancement in the world of design past university. It was an amazing opportunity to get the opinions of paid designers about how the project would be conducted in a professional environment. Tom told us about the importance of working to each of our strengths without separating too much as a group. He also reminded us that as designers or strengths generally revolve around graphic design elements such as typography and print and these are the skills we should be developing rather than interior design or events management.
This is a point which I think should have been addressed in the lectures as well, as I think we were given far too much freedom in terms of approach, and not enough support with our design work. I understand the benefits of having the freedom to not have to work to a budget, and having the client put their trust in us to use our imaginations and come up with something beyond their initial scope of thought but there is such thing as too much freedom and it was very easy for us to forget our area of study and lose focus. I also have a slight issue with the title of this project being ‘Real World’; Emma, our client, seemed to assume that this project was for our benefit and that she wasn’t a client at all. Whenever we had a ‘client meeting’, we would show her our ideas and she would reply with something along the lines of “I’m not sure THEY would allow you to do that” seemingly forgetting that SHE was the one we were pitching to, who would be responsible for taking our idea into reality.
I feel a bit like we were given a sympathy brief, like we weren’t worth actually giving a real brief, instead we were fed the ‘outside businesses take advantage of students, you’re cheap and easy to use and the university thinks you should be treated better than that’ speech. In reality I would have much rather done a bit of free work to contribute to my degree and portfolio, that would be used outside of the university, than do this internal work, still for free, that will most likely never be used. My feelings about the structure of the brief aside, I think the group did a reasonable amount of productive, good work.
Here’s our idea:
JOURNEY OF THE SENSES
A series of spaces which encourage staff of the university to be more mindful and prepared for their work, as well as more motivated and active.
The spaces will have different elements to appeal to each of the senses: sight, smell, sound, touch and taste, and will be situated around the university en-route to classes and eating spaces so that staff don’t have to take time out of their day, as this was a problem we discovered during the research stage of the project, through the medium of questionnaires. The spaces will begin within the art building as this is the space where we think people are the most open to creative ideas and will accept and attend the spaces the most. If the project is successful it can be applied throughout the Llandaff campus; in the management and science buildings especially, as this is where they might be most beneficial. Then, after this ‘pilot’ stage the JOURNEY OF THE SENSES can be transferred to the Cyncoed campus and possibly even to different universities around the country.
The spaces will include a chill-out room, or area, where staff are encouraged to relax, maybe do some doodling and share time and ideas with each-other. This space will primarily appeal to the touch and smell senses, including things such as textured wall installations and scented plants that staff can maintain themselves, which will give them more of a sense of purpose, involvement and achievement, which in turn will boost work ethic.
Another space will be the stairwells. It was discovered that most people aren’t aware of where the stairs are in the art building and find it much easier to just use the lifts. Our aim was to change this way of thinking, by making the stairwells more appealing and providing visible routes to them. One of the ideas we had to re-invigorate these spaces was to use a similar idea to Gatwick Airport’s Yangtze River idea, and add wall coverings and speakers to create the feeling of walking up through a rain-forest.
There will be a guide pack issued to all new staff at the start of their employment, as well as situated around the communal staff areas for existing staff to pick up and take a look. The guides will include a map outlining where the Health and Well-being themed places are, including the new mindful and active spaces created as part of the project. On the back of the map will be further explanations of the activities and services provided in each area and provide contact details for further enquiries.
The pack will also include a hints and tips leaflet, a keyring and a voucher for discounts at the gym, to encourage staff to be more active within the existing benefits at the campus. There will also be an app that will include the map in more detail, where the user can scroll in and out to find the exact rooms they are looking for and use the GPS function to find their route. The app will also include the weekly recipes and contact details for relevant staff and services.
The identity of the JOURNEY OF THE SENSES has been carefully thought out to reflect the different senses and the effect the project aims to have on its audience.
To be honest, the pitch could have gone better.