Inside the head of a designer

London Visit
March 31, 2009, 9:46 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

So this week I was in London to visit a few places and people.  Visit Flickr London photos here.

I’m mostly going to use this blog to talk about the Affluenza Exhibition talk I attended last Tuesday. Not being used to London yet and trying to get from one side of the city to another we were late so unfortunately missed the first talk which was by Architect Alex Shirley-Smith who was talking about treehousing as one pertinent solution to a happier, healthier and more sustainable lifestyle option for our global community.

Next was Graphic Designer Alex Ostrowski, having seen his work online was quite excited to see the happy chap in person. He seems pretty happy. His work is interesting, basing his final year at Bristol on the topic of happiness, Alex searched for this in Denmark and created the ‘Happiest Book on The World’ which detailed his trip. My favourite of his is trying to get a tower block to use their windows to create a smile. It didn’t work but in his quest to do so he met locals and discovered community spirit. I didn’t get a chance to look at his RSA submission which he won with his project I am here but it was interesting to see a graphic designer crossing over into elements of service design;

‘I approached The Frenchay Brain Injury Rehabilitation Centre in Bristol to see how I might use design to help in some way. It emerged that all patients suffer from post-traumatic amnesia and experience confusion in their sense of time, place and person. The term for this lost understanding is disorientation, something the unit is responsible for regaining with patients. Through speaking with staff, we established that the process of re-orientation contained some inefficiency and needed addressing. I worked closely with staff to establish an appropriate colour system to bring holistic navigation to the unit, which we could apply to patients’ timetables, orientation boards, and the building itself’

Next was Luke Nicholson, founding Director of More Associates. Luke discussed his work and the launch of his new project ‘Kept – things don’t have to be rubbish.’ Kept is a movement celebrating the stuff that can be kept in the world.

‘The world has got a bit rubbish recently. Our relationship with stuff has become temporary, throw away, on a losing tip. Now is our moment to start making and using things better. The first step is easy: tell the world about the stuff you treasure, why you care, and why you Kept it!’

I didn’t speak out at the end but I got a chance to talk to Luke in the pub across the road after the event. I was intrigued about how kept will spread and we began to discuss guerrilla groups being run in different cities. Perhaps we could spray onto dumped objects the logo (a project that echoes a project undertaken in my first year by some class mates to highlight reusable waste on the street) or perhaps running a team of repairers on bicycles who could take your clothes/objects to repair shops, or they could have the skills themselves. It’s an interesting idea and I look forward to see how it will develop on a wide scale.


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