Unit7 Reflective journal February

Material: Pilkington hardened extra-clear glass, European cherry wood. Reference: R. Klanten, S. Ehmann, A. Kupetz & S. Moreno, 2009. Once upon a chair. 1st ed. Berlin: Gestalten, p.23
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What inspires me? What do I find interesting, fascinating, important?

I am interested in how people have achieved to coexist in our modern society. Since I have studied my International Baccalaureate in International School, being in such a diverse environment became one of natural thing in my life. From the experience, I learnt how people try to coexist in a community. Now, moving onto foundation course, I have met many people who stay in a student accommodation where various people live together. Although I live with my parents in London, I have experiences of sharing a room with other people who are from other countries. I am interested how different culture affects human behavior especially in a domestic environment since it is where we act naturally. I am fascinated by interaction between people so hopefully for my project I can investigate the subject.

Which artists or designers I am interested in and admire? Why?

I particularly like the use of transparent material on designs because being able to see the structure of a product very fascinates me. I like designers such as Alexander Pelikan who designed a chair consists of glass and wood, and artists such as Louis Thompson who works on glass. If I have an opportunity in the future to try glass as a material for my product, I would love to explore the material.

What is conceptually and intellectually challenging to me?

I think what will be challenging for this project is that my theme is broad and will be needed to narrow down. I am planning on interviewing people who share a room in London but those people can be vary interns of age, gender, occupation etc. I would like to focus on affects of culture on behavior so I will interview with people who live with people who have different cultural backgrounds.

 

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6/2/2015

I had research at Library today. I decided my theme to be "Coexistence", however, I had various ideas for the project because the theme is quite broad and can be go any directions such as how people coexist with nature, other species, gender, ages and culture. So today, I gathered a big range of information and did secondary research to narrow down in the library. I especially found it interest in coexistence with nature in terms of the use of sustainable materials, and coexistence with people in a small space.

I want to try designing a light for my Unit 7 if possible, which made me choose coexistence with people. I am not sure how my final outcome will end up with, (it may not be a lighting piece anyways) but I think exploring the relationship between people would allow me to have a wider possibility. I will write my proposal and prepare for the UP activity that's coming on the 10th.

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10/2/2015

Today, I had the UP activity and presented my proposal to the BA tutors. I decided to investigate how different cultures can affect human behavior in a domestic environment, which made me to consider about the issue of migration in London. I suppose I can research about issues caused by migration specifically to housing and how that has changed the way people live in London. I also decided to visit V&A museum for my research to explore different cultures and their traditional arts and design, which will help me to deepen my knowledge when I decide which culture particularly I want to focus on. I have not decided what culture I want to explore, or to investigate how having different culture (or multiple culture) could affect the way people live. The tutors in the UP activity gave me a feedback that my topic is board so it needs to be narrow down. I am little bit confused if I should focus on only specific culture or not so I will think of that.

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12/2/2015

Today was the deadline for submission of our first proposal. I had a tutorial with Kathleen and she suggested me to focus on two specific cultures in a room. I did not have many reference for my bibliography since I haven't decided details in my chosen theme so she suggested me to study about migration in London and how it has affected the way people live. Nicola also suggested me to break down my research into four sub-categories: coexistence in a domestic space with different; culture, gender, age and species. She also told me after researching those sub-categories I could pick up the most interesting finding and investigate that section furthermore. I think in this way I can decide what I want to do for my Unit 7 so I think I will follow what she said to me. Moreover, I decided to have interviews with various people who share a domestic space with other people and come up with some issues that unable them to coexist, which I planned to do during the reading week. I originally wanted to explore how different culture could affect the way people live, however, coexistence with people does not necessarily be about culture, so I think exploring the four sub-categories and then narrow down the researching theme is the most suitable way for me.

I also visited V&A museum to research different cultures and their traditional/historical design. I found the history between India and Britain would be quite suitable for my project since those two cultures have "coexisted" throughout years. Moreover, in the museum, I was interested in the use of glass in a product because I found it visually appearing. I think the way it reflects lights is very interesting so I want to consider that aspect for my design.

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17-22/2/2015

During the reading week, I visited my friend who is now studying in the Netherlands. I live with my family in London, and only have a few experience in sharing a domestic space with other people. And this trip, I had an opportunity to experience how sharing a flat with other people would be like so I recored my observations during the stay.

I shared a flat with three people, the two of them are my friends who are Japanese, and the other person was from Russia, whom I had never met before. First issue I realized in sharing flat was noise. The flat itself was relatively small, which made me more aware of noise. Of course it also depends on the thickness of wall, but I felt like personal noise can disturb other people's personal life pretty much.

The second issue I realized what where to take off shoes. In Japanese/Asian culture there is always an entrance hall where people take off their shoes so people normally do not ware shoes inside of a house, while in the Western culture people may not take off their shoes at the entrance. This cultural difference sometimes has caused me troubles and this time too that I needed to wear shoes to the inside of my room.

Third issue I found was how people keep personal things in shared spaces. Whether it's food or bath products the people needed to have some containers or spaces to separate their belongings from the others and sometimes each space can be very messy because no one apart from ourselves use that space.

Unfortunately, the flat I stayed did not have a common room/ dining room and I only shared bathroom and kitchen with the other people so I only have my opinion on those spaces. As I experienced sharing the flat with the others for five days, I realized that I did not have any impacts from other people. (I assume the stay was too short to investigate cultural affects on human behavior.) But when I interviewed with my friend, she also told me there was nothing that changed her behavior while staying with the Russian flatmate so I think living with other culture does not affect the way people behave that much.

To conclude my observation, I think the major issue in sharing a flat is how to keep privacy. I think there are also some benefits with living other people such as getting know about other cultures and building up new relationships. As I stayed at my friend's flat, I could spend more time with her, which made the stay more enjoyable. I think designing a product for a shared space needs to consider how the product uses the limited space. In order to achieve that, I should be looking at designs for small spaces and multi-functionailty. 

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26/2/2015

I was not feeling well for the past two days, so today was the first day of school after I came back from the holiday. I found out that I'm placed in the "living spaces" group and we had a group activity where we came up with two key words for our group. We had many words for living spaces but at the end we decided to present "Comfort" and "Interactive" as our chosen words. I agree that both words are suitable for our group because I think living spaces should be relaxing and homey but at the same time they are places for socializing as well.

Through the activity it made me think that "socializing" can be one of key words for my project; coexistence with other people because before that I was only thinking how to keep privacy in order to coexist so the activity gave me a hint of another approach towards my project. Using these two words, we did the activity "15 ideas in 15 minutes". When I hear "comfort" it reminds me of beds and chairs where I normally relax so most of my quite ideas were about those furniture. I also thought about the word "interactive" as designing a product that could change its shape by interactive with people. As I had feedback from my peers they told me the most appealing idea was a bed side working table so I decided to develop that idea for this activity but when I think back the idea itself was not really relevant to my project since I am looking at shared spaces. Although the ideas I had for the activity was not relevant to my project but it made me to focus on in a short time and make a quite decision so it helped me to exercise my brain. 

We also had "Narrative in Design workshop" with Chris. At the begging I was confused what Narrative is because of the terminology used was quite academic. I knew what narrative is in art but I haven't thought about it in terms of design so this workshop was quite interesting. I think the activity made me think my idea clearer and gave me an approximate direction of what thought of products I want to make for my project.

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"You Reap What You Sow" by Louis Thompson, Materials: Blown glass, lamp worked inclusions & deminerslised water
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"Table=Chest" by Tomoko Azumi, 1995, V&A museum, London
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28/2/2015

I went to V&A museum, furniture shops such as Skandium and Conran shop in South Kensington in London to do research for flexible furniture today. I really liked furniture at Skandium where simple, yet unique design and have used good quality of wood, however, I did not find any flexible/movable products at the shop. In V&A museum, at the furniture section, I found the flexible furniture called "Table=Chest" by Tomoko Azumi particularly interesting because it can change its shape depending on user's needs, which is what I am looking for as my concept. When I observed the furniture I realized the use of hinges is the key point because that allows the movement. I also looked at the table by Abraham and David Roentgen which has hidden drawers. Although it has been difficult  to find some flexible products that has the combination of glass and wood, I still do like those use of materials. I found 'Arabesque' table by Carlo Mollino in V&A museum and one in Conran shop. I have still no idea of what kind of products I want to design for my project, but I will keep the combination of these materials in my mind.

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Table in Conran Shop
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