Friday, 5 December 2014

OUGD603 - Extended Practice: Tony Broomhead Visit (Holbeck Urban Village Workshop)

After Tony Broomhead had introduced himself and told us a little bit about what it is that him and his team does. He then told us what we would be doing today. Below is the initial email which Amber sent to us to see who would be interested in the workshop. I instantly saw it as a great opportunity to get involved with something which isn't graphic design alone. This is because I am currently wondering what it is exactly that I will end up doing when I graduate. 

I have always had an interest in 3D design but prefer dealing with physical 3D objects as opposed to building them on the computer, as this is something which doesn't particularly interest me, and would take years to practice. 

When Tony said in his introduction that he loves to create paper prototypes when starting a brief, this immediately made me feel extremely excited. He then told us what we would be doing today. He showed us the example of his wooden tree which is in the entrance of the Marshall Mill building at Holbeck Urban Village. He explained that he would like us to design a tree which is small scale and can be used within the same building. 

It was completely up to us whether we worked as one large group, individually, or in pairs. We decided to work in two groups, boys versus girls. I was happy with this decision as it allowed me to collaborate with J'nae and Vicky who I haven't previously worked with.

We started off by drawing any ideas we all had individually. My drawings are by no means accurate but I was trying to show the concept of using two triangles and slotting them together to create the form of a tree. I also considered how there could be shelves on the tree which could be used to place objects on. 

The idea on the bottom left illustrates a prism with a drawer at the bottom. I thought that this drawer could be used to store business cards for the people working at Holbeck Urban Village. Once we had come up with ideas, we were then asked by Tony to feedback anything we had thought of.

I explained my ideas to Tony and he really liked the idea of having a space to store business cards. The more thought that was put into it, the more I realised that creating a stable drawer would probably be quite hard to do in the time given, as well as using foam board alone to create the whole tree. This then got me thinking about other possible solutions. I thought it would be quite useful to have holes in the tree which could be used to hang the business cards off instead. This would be one way to network!

I wanted to get started on creating prototypes as soon as possible. I asked whether it would be possible for us to use any other materials other than foam board. Tony quite liked the idea of only allowing us to use one material to see what we could come up with, however he did say that we were allowed to experiment with other materials if we really wanted to, or perhaps needed to to create the desired outcome. 

I developed one of the ideas I had drawn out, which was to create packaging for the tree and use it for the tree itself. This therefore means that it would be sustainable and multi-functional. This is something I am trying to incorporate in as much of my work at the moment, to see how applicable the idea really is. 

Here I am experimenting with some wire to try and create some hinges for the packaging to be functional. It worked quite well, but I am not sure how sturdy it will be when applied to foam board. 

I also tried to be as sustainable as possible and used A3 sheets of card and cut them out to create four triangles out of each, as shown in the photograph below. 

Once I had experimented with the hinge idea I realised that it wasn't going to work and would be too complex to use for the final design. As we had already established that the idea of creating a drawer would probably be too complicated, we then discussed various ways of keeping the tree upright and stable enough to stand alone. We then decided to bring back the idea of using shelves surrounding the tree to hang the business cards from. 

Vicky and J'nae experimented with using hollow squares as well as full squares to create a shelf. We decided to use squares for the shelves as it would be too hard to create accurate circles by hand when cutting out the foam board. 

Once we had decided on our final design, I then took it upon myself to start cutting out the final thing using foam board. We decided initially to use the black foam board for the main structure, and then the shelves using white. 

This is what the two pieces look like when they are apart. We had to initially cut the line half way up on each piece and then Vicky was responsible for cutting out the width of the line to make sure that they would comfortable fit into each other. 

While all of the crafting was taking place, Ellen considered how she could add a digital aspect to our work. She has thought about how we could apply a QR code to the tree to make it interactive and encourage people to not only hang a business card, but to also explore the Holbeck Urban Village website. 

When I had a conversation with Tony about the progression of our work, he suggested that I could maybe try experimenting with an additional tree which could be placed on top of the main structure. He said it may not work but would be work experimenting with. Below is the smaller tree I created. 

Once the main structure had been made, we had to make sure that all of the business cards would be able to hang loosely without being caught by one of the shelves. I measured the total height of the tree and divided it by four so that we could calculate where the shelves should be placed and how much we room we should leave for each one to be able to fit comfortably over the tree. 

We were having a lot of fun with the construction of the tree. It was great to be engaging with a more hands on project and not be sat on a computer all day designing. 

As we were building our tree, Tony had been illustrating it at the same time. He gave us this illustration to work with. He suggested that we should perhaps consider having a box made for the base of the tree to keep it stable. He asked whether it would be possible for us to have this produced in time for Wednesday next week and whether we could approach woodwork with our idea. The reason for us creating this box would be to not only keep the structure stable, but also to have a drawer to put a hole punch and string in to encourage people to interact with the tree by punching a hole in their card and hanging it on the tree.

We loved this idea and Ellen and I went down to woodwork straight away to see whether it is achievable in the time that we have to produce it. 

Woodwork meeting

Roger was really helpful when he told him our idea. He asked if and why we needed the box and whether we could eliminate it completely as it would be much easier for him to run it off on the CAD machine without having the box for a base. He said to us that it would be stable enough standing on its own and that maybe we should just simply consider cutting holes out of each layer (shelf) and feeding the string through ourselves, then attaching small wooden pegs to the end so that people can simply attach them this way.

We loved this idea so decided to keep it as simple and minimal as possible. He said that he would be able to have this finished for us on Tuesday morning. This was cutting it a bit fine but we would have the whole morning to prepare the final structure and take it down to Holbeck in the afternoon. 

Roger also suggested that we could use beads and have them on top of each piece of string to keep it in place on the tree. They would then almost look like baubles. Ellen and I are going to go and have a look in the market at the weekend to see whether we can purchase some beads and pegs as cheaply as possible. 

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