Thursday, February 24, 2011

Theory Reading #3

This reading looks at the concept of personal space, and how a a certain environment can effect the way people not only use a space, but also interact in it.  The reading goes over many different studies looking at the ways people interact with each other depending on the situation or conversation.  The distance and location of where people sit to each other varies on what their relationship is to the other person.  People who are competitors are much more likely to sit across from each other compared to people engaged in a conversation who are more likely to sit closer together.  These concepts are important in designing a dining space as understanding the relationships of how people interact creates a more comfortable environment.  Some of these studies focused more on the interaction of strangers to each other, and this idea isn't as important to the design of our particular dining space as most of our designs are in a residence in which the people with whom they will be dining will most likely not be strangers.  But being aware of these concepts is always important  in order to consider all  potential situations.  Understanding how small groups naturally arrange themselves is incredibly important to designing a space.  Considering this in the size and shape of the table and the flow of the room and space allow the occupants to engage more easily with each other as well as feel more comfortable in general.  Understanding how a space is used is more important to good design than just having something that is aesthetically pleasing.  Great design  is being able to accomplish both.   

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Dining Space Story

          In 2015 the United Nations will mandate an international “getting to know each other” Memorial day which will be adopted by all nations in hopes of creating awareness and eradicating hunger. The biannual celebration with food will coincide with the winter and summer solstice, and through the use of social networking we will be able to communicate with other people from around the globe through the art of dining.  My hope is to create a space to dine that will be warm and inviting for the people in it, as well as, allow our outside guests to have a glimpse into the culture surrounding a traditional American dining experience.  I want to focus my project on designing a space for a typical American couple in an urban style environment, in hopes of connecting with other typical people from other parts of the world.  I want to create an experience that would essentially allow people to envision what their lives would be like if they lived in various other parts of the world. For this particular event, I imagine my dining space to be host to eight people, which is enough to create a social atmosphere, yet intimate without being overwhelming for the people attending or the international guests viewing. 
 As this is an international dining experience, it is important to have cuisines from all over the globe, which would allow a more sensory experience rather than just visual through social networking.  I plan on the event to be in the evening and each course of the dinner being from a different country.  I envision the wine being from France, the appetizer being ceviche from Peru, the salad being a papaya salad from Thailand, the soup would be Pho from Vietnam, the main course being Lamb Tangine with couscous, and the dessert would be Tiramisu from Italy.  This multi-country, multi-continental experience would hopefully create awareness and appreciation for food important to other parts of the world. 
The other aspect of this project that I would like to take into consideration into my design is the focus on eradicating hunger.  Hunger is an issue all over the world and in every country from the first world to the third, although this event is about an experience with food.  So many wealthier countries, particularly the United States can be incredibly wasteful with food as well as with many other materials, so in response, my design is going to be more environmentally friendly using sustainable materials to create a more eco-living experience.  Rather than adding to the waste, I want my furniture, including the table and sideboard that I design, to be made from recycled, reclaimed materials, possibly wood.  I want the elements in the room to be designed around not being wasteful and instead being repurposed to create new life and meaning in the room.
The art of dining is about having an experience with other people around a unifying element—food. The environment around you can play a significant role in the experience you have.  A more intimate atmosphere with warm dim lighting using fixtures, candles, as well as, natural light is important, as the lighting is what can set the mood.  I hope to create a space that not only functions as a place to eat, but also creates an experience for the people that use it. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Design and Culture

In class we viewed Babette's Feast, which is an excellent demonstration of different cultures coming together.  Babette creates a French feast for her Scandinavian hosts, which causes initial skepticism by the two women, but in the end there is an appreciation for their differences.  The interrelationship between culture and design is incredibly important and essentially inevitable.  The cultural differences are what makes design different all over the word, and it's important to appreciate all design for what it is.  Design is an incredibly powerful thing, in that it has the ability to bring people together from different cultures and different walks of life.  Design in many ways is universal, but the variety comes from the differences in the way people use rooms and spaces, and how a dining space in Japan would be completely different than that of a dining room in the US.  Understanding how various cultures live influences design and a particular design for one culture may not work for another, even if you're essentially designing the same type of space such as a dining room.  An appreciation for the different types of design is what brings us together and is what will make design stronger in the future. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Design Manifesto

  Becoming a designer is a challenge, but it is definitely worth it. Design is all about the process, and it is filled with ups and downs, successes and failures, but the journey is what makes us better designers.  In the beginning of this program, I was very unfamiliar with the concept of failing, but it did not take long for me to realize that failure in design is inevitable, and you just have to learn to not only accept it, but more so embrace it.  Understanding why one particular design doesn’t work helps to find the solution that does, and more often your failures open your eyes to totally new concepts that you hadn’t thought of before.  Beginning a new design can definitely come with its share of frustrations, but having a specific process can help, which typically starts by looking for inspiration. As designers, we view the world differently enabling us to find inspiration in everything around us.  Once I find something that inspires me, I turn to brainstorming to try and relate it to what I’m currently designing, which essentially for me means my mind is absolutely consumed with thoughts and ideas that plague me until I come up with something that I consider reasonable. Once I begin to narrow down all of my design concepts, I turn to sketching and doing, but I have learned that I am much more of a doer than a sketcher, so typically I try and create little prototypes to see if my concept is even plausible.  After numerous trial and error experiments with various materials and other things, the actual design begins to take shape and the creativity continues to flow to create the final product.  Designing for me is incredibly exhilarating as what I create impacts the world around me.  To be able to make the world a more enjoyable place to live is liberating and it is why I want to design. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Light Box

For our first project of the semester, we were to take a 12x18x18 white box that we put together and make cuts into it so that when a light is shone through it, the box is divided into four separate spaces.  The spaces could be created by the shadow or the light and were to be enhanced by strategically placed bristol board and/or bamboo skewers.  I took a more simplistic approach to dividing my box by cutting an X in the top from edge to edge which thus divided the entire box into four distinct spaces.  When placing the additional materials, I decided to emphasize the various properties of light--it's ability to create shadows, as well as, be reflective.   The 1x1 bristol board squares are sized to fit within the light ray and create shadows.  They are also placed down pointing toward the center to draw your attention to the middle of the box.  This project was meant to be a transition from designing objects to designing spaces, and I think it did an excellent job achieving that.