Ethical shoe retailer Terra Plana is seeking designers to help create a series of pop-up shops.
Starting this year, Terra Plana hopes to open pop-up shops across the world, beginning in London.
The company says it is seeking ‘creative ideas and approaches, centred around sustainable, mobile, short-term shop design’, according to a statement.
It adds that it is seeking designers who ‘are able to produce imaginative retail solutions to a limited budget’.
Terra Plana opened its latest permanent store at Westfield last autumn, co-designed by furniture and product design group Hotcakes and Terra Plana’s head shoe designer Asher Clark.
Those interested in applying to design a pop-up store for Terra Plana can send a CV and examples of past projects in PDF format to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A short video on the design of Edinburgh’s Telford College
My colleague Sandra Wilson showed this in a talk today. I think it’s quite cool and suggests a few possibilities for designers to prototype in Second Life:
I hate open plan offices and I’m not sure I’ve ever met anyone who didn’t. Well, maybe a few. But anyway… Now researchers from the Royal College of Art (part of the “Designing for the 21st Century” project co-ordinated by Dundee’s Professor Tom Inns) shows that such schemes bring all sorts of problems:
The Royal College of Art recommends that the traditional open-plan office design be reconsidered to address emerging changes in the workplace.
Welcoming Workplace, a two-year research project led by RCA Helen Hamlyn Professor of Design Jeremy Myerson and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, highlights the shortcomings of the currently widespread open-plan office in accommodating the needs of an ageing population and a variety of working styles.
The research, which is being presented today, finds that while the traditional open-plan office accommodates collaboration and teambuilding, it is unsuitable for contemplation and deep thinking.
Design elements such as lighting, acoustics, ergonomics and wayfinding ought to be addressed to be more sensitive to the needs of an ageing workforce, whose eyesight and hearing may be compromised in traditional workplace formats, the research finds.
The study, which includes guidance for architects and developers of office buildings, recommends that the optimum office environment be more responsive to user needs, facilitating a variety of working styles.
Welcoming Workplace launches today at the fifth Worktech conference at the British Library, London NW1.
For further information, go to www.welcomingworkplace.com.
(Via Design Week.)
A fascinating article in Times Higher Education looks at the effect the space you’re in can have on learning at university, and also argues that psychologists can bring an awful lot to the table when thinking about design:
Edward Edgerton finds it deeply ironic that universities, as cradles of research, know so little about the impact their own buildings have on staff and students.
Dr Edgerton is a researcher in environmental psychology at the University of the West of Scotland with a key interest in the design of educational institutions. There is a dearth of research on the topic, but enough exists to indicate that it can have a huge influence on student performance.
‘There are US studies showing that improving the environment of seminar rooms improves final grades. These are very simple changes – such as making the rooms aesthetically more appealing with settees and carpets – but they result in quite dramatic improvements in terms of academic performance,’ he said.
‘We’re miles behind the US…’
Poor design can be as simple as a lecture room with the entrance at the front, so that a student coming in late distracts the lecturer and other students – or may decide to avoid embarrassment by not coming in at all.
Many rooms have poor acoustics and poor lighting. A lack of natural daylight can hamper students’ ability to study. But academic performance is only one outcome, and Dr Edgerton is more interested in the indirect effect of the built environment, such as the impact it can have on self-esteem.
‘If students feel better about themselves, they’re more motivated to attend.’
A basic principle of environmental psychology is that people should have more control over their environment, but academics and students are often unable to adjust the lighting and temperature of rooms.
‘One of the countries that is far ahead of us is Finland. They have pedagogy competitions where architects must match the building to the school’s learning strategy. We have it the other way round,’ Dr Edgerton said. ‘I sometimes get quite disheartened. An architect will say, ‘look at this fantastic new design,’ and I think: ‘you have no evidence to base that on apart from your own gut feeling.’?’
While a growing number of architecture courses in the US now incorporate psychology, combining the two disciplines is virtually unheard of in the UK. Many architects are baffled by the idea that they might talk to a psychologist when drawing up designs.
‘But who are you designing (the building) for? People. And who knows about how people behave? Psychologists,’ Dr Edgerton said.
Part of the problem, he noted, is that architects’ involvement is generally with those who are paying for the building rather than the people who will be using it.
‘Architects are fine for doing an analysis in terms of energy efficiency, but we can look at how the building impacts on self-esteem, motivation to research and social interaction.’
I stumbled on an interesting-looking site on sustainable building today. Green Building Elements is well worth a look if you’re interested in either sustainability or architecture/interior design.
One article in particular caught my eye, on environmentally friendly student accommodation at Harvard University
In keeping with Harvard’s university-wide commitment to sustainable building practices and campus operations, the university has just completed graduate housing that is set to achieve a high level of LEED certification. The 115,000 sq ft project houses 215 beds in over 30 different suite types, and includes a faculty director’s suite, a fitness room, study lounge spaces, a multipurpose room, and a garage that extends under the building.
The swanky housing is packed with renewable bamboo flooring, considered wall paneling, low VOC finishes, and regionally sourced siding with recycled content. It was also designed and engineered to minimize energy usage.
The housing was designed by architect Kyu Sung Woo, who recently won Korea’s version of the Nobel Prize – the Ho-Am Prize.
You can read an interview with the architect at the Architectural Record web site.
(BTW, I don’t think this is a picture of the new building, but a generic Harvard shot…)
Lisa Jardine writes for the BBC about the history of the British concept of “home”:
‘An Englishman’s home is his castle’ was already a familiar platitude by 1700. To have a place of one’s own for shelter, where dependants are protected and their possessions are safe, feels like a fundamental social good. But have we gone too far in our quest for personal space and privacy?
The family as a unit has varied considerably in the course of history, but the bond between those who live under one roof together has always been an important one. Today, a ‘family’ tends to mean the tiny cluster of individuals related by birth – typically, father and mother and one or two small children, but increasingly, one adult and a partner or dependant – who share a residential unit.
Until the 19th Century, however, the word ‘family’ was a synonym for an entire ‘household’, and was used to cover all those who lived together in a dwelling, whether related by birth to the householder, employed in their service, or simply lodged with them. ‘Home’ was the bricks and mortar in which half a dozen or more adults lived their lives, supporting one another by their labour.
When the renowned humanist scholar Erasmus of Rotterdam settled in Basle in the 1520s, for example, his familia or family included a collection of friends, admirers and disciples, all living together in one comfortable, spacious house.
Under the watchful eye of Erasmus’s formidable housekeeper Margaret, these young men and boys – pupils, lodgers and colleagues – performed all the household duties their distinguished Master required, preparing his meals, doing the housework, running errands and taking care of his horses.
Paintings of Erasmus like the one by Hans Holbein in the National Gallery in London show a solitary scholar in his study, surrounded by his books. But his was no isolated ivory tower. Even at work in his study on the Latin and Greek classics Erasmus had his famuli – his disciples, collaborators and factotums – around him.
The same young men who staffed his kitchen and stable also worked as copyists transcribing from manuscripts, as scribes writing to his dictation, and as proof-readers and editors for his publications.
Throughout the 17th and 18th Centuries, household-families like these were the standard type of group sharing a single roof. The historian Naomi Tadmor has argued that the family portrayed in Samuel Richardson’s best-selling novel Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded (published in 1740) is typical of the times.
Mr B – the squire who over the course of the novel’s two volumes attempts unsuccessfully to seduce his household servant Pamela, eventually agreeing to marry her – is a bachelor, but nevertheless has a fully-fledged household supporting him and his lifestyle. These he refers to consistently as his family.
As a waiting-maid, Pamela belongs to this community of domestic servants, distant relatives, friends and companions, all living in a single dwelling. She never refers to her ‘poor but honest’ elderly parents, who lived elsewhere, as ‘family’. And the plot turns on the fact that she expects to be kept safe and protected within the household where she lives and works.
As family life moved increasing toward cities in the late-18th and 19th Centuries, houses of the type in which Mr B or Erasmus lived surrounded by dependants – big gabled mansions with plenty of nooks and crannies – continued to be built.
But increasingly domestic structures centred on the housing needs of the growing middle classes. Scaled-down town-houses were put up, many of which still survive today, modified for modern use. These still provided lodgings for dependants and servants under a common roof, but centred on the family life of a group of blood-relations, in a way we can recognise.
Further down the social scale, accommodation was also always shared, but here it was fraught with difficulties. Just as happens today in rapidly urbanised economies, most of the working classes found themselves living in ad hoc ways, in overcrowded accommodation, which entirely lacked the privacy that we all now crave, and could hardly be said to offer the stable communal structures that Erasmus and Richardson wrote about.
Social historian Amanda Vickery has recently explored in detail the way in which, in multiple-occupancy working-class homes in the 18th Century, locked boxes, padlocks and keys to rooms and cupboards were talismans for hard-pressed lodgers, providing them with a remnant of private space and decency, away from the prying eyes of the landlady and their fellow-residents.
In our own times, the drive towards privacy has become paramount. We can see the modern ideal emerging in those wonderfully dated advertisements for domestic appliances from the 1950s and 60s, which show a smiling housewife, immaculately turned out in a many-petticoated dress with a cinched-in waist, pushing her vacuum-cleaner over expanses of carpet, or admiring her shiny new refrigerator.
After the crowded, shared accommodation of the war years – shared washing and cooking facilities, wet laundry on the shared landing and a communal toilet – the domestic dream was resolutely a home with a front door of one’s own. The promise of government to the returning armed forces was that social housing would make that dream a reality – would provide ‘Homes Fit for Heroes’.
That dream is summed up in the so-called Parker Morris Standards, adopted for social housing in the 1960s. They became mandatory for council housing in 1969, and remained in force until 1980.
The Parker Morris Standards laid down the dimensions for typical items of household furniture for which the dwelling designer should allow space, and provided anthropometric data needed to calculate the living space required to use and move around that furniture.
Its rules specified that a four person terrace house should have 74.5 square metres of space; kitchens for one or two people should contain 1.7 cubic metres of enclosed storage space; in one, two and three-bedroom dwellings the WC could be in the bathroom, but in four person houses it should have a separate compartment. The Parker Morris Standards for space, privacy and convenience continue to provide the familiar features of what we feel to be a modestly comfortable and convenient family home today.
But since the scramble for home ownership in the 1980s, our demands for personal space and privacy have come to dominate the planning and construction of domestic dwellings, and residential units have got ever smaller.
Now is perhaps the time when we have to begin to ask ourselves whether the units of accommodation which have been constructed – often in glamorous high-rise blocks, with built-in appliances and fabulous views – are really, in the long run, fit for ‘family’ living, however we define that family.
In June of this year, at the launch of the London Festival of Architecture, the Mayor, Boris Johnson deplored the fact that ‘new buildings in London have some of the smallest rooms in Europe’. For new social housing to be provided in London, Johnson announced, ‘we will be re-establishing the space standards first promoted by the visionary planner Sir Parker Morris’.
The chair of the London Assembly’s planning committee Nicky Gavron welcomed Mr Johnson’s pledge, saying: ‘The mayor has been very clear that he thinks our space standards are shameful; that we are building rabbit hutches.’ Others poured scorn on his promise, as an impossible dream – property values, they insisted, made reinstating the old housing standards out of the question.
We may have to wait until house prices have fallen dramatically before we know whether the homes designed for exaggeratedly ‘nuclear’ forms of living, offered by politicians and property speculators in an over-heated property market, were part of an impossible dream of home-ownership for every individual.
Perhaps the drive in Britain towards compact, separate ‘homes’, with ever-tinier floor-plans, crammed together by developers on restricted urban sites, is our housing equivalent of the Dutch tulip craze of the 1630s – our housing South Sea Bubble.
If that bubble bursts, it is intriguing to imagine how these undersized dwellings might be combined and converted into homes for other types of ‘familia’ to suit the changing times, just as has happened so often in the past before.
In or near Cardiff in December?
A talk about the Doctor Who and Torchwood art department is to be given in Cardiff later this year.
This free event, looking at the creative use of locations in Cardiff, will be held at the Millennium Centre on Sunday, December 7 between 6pm and 7pm, and will be followed by a question-and-answer session with production designer Edward Thomas and his team.
Tickets must be booked in advance by calling 08700 40 2000 or visiting the main ticket desk.
(Yes, I know the CGI isn’t done by the art department, but it’s a good image…)
Design Week is reporting that five UK design consultancies are being sought by the Department of Health and the Design Council to collaboratte with scientists and healthcare professionals. They will be asked to develop “innovative design-led hospital furniture and equipment that could improve cleaning and reduce patients’ exposure to healthcare-acquired infections”.
The programme, called “Design Bugs Out” starts with a briefing on 2 September and will focus on research in three hospitals, identifying key problem areas.
Having identified five key areas, each team will be asked to focus on one and given a £25,000 grant.
After the closing date for submissions on 10 October, final teams will be announced ten days later and given seven weeks to develop prototypes. Winning designs will be exhibited next summer.
Photo by rcollona via Flickr
Chinatown in London’s West End is to be made ‘more authentically Chinese’(…)
Lighting designers, as well as landscape designers, architects, artists and craftspeople, are being sought to work on the brief from Prince Charles’ urban design organisation.
Initial plans include creating a timber pagoda in Newport Place, a screen garden, gold lanterns and naming – based on ancient Chinese dragons – for the nine entrances and exits to the district.
Chinese mythology and feng shui will play a major role in the designs, according to Westminster City Council.