Tuesday, 15 December 2009

check this out.


Saturday, 5 December 2009

makers of life.

during our current project on furniture design i have been thinking about how much i have enjoyed making my own piece of furniture. creating it just as i want it and not compromising it in just "doing the job" this made me think about how so many people just buy a cheap piece of furniture that will last for a few years and then buy another. why not get something made that will last for years? something thats personally theirs and will be with them for life. something that has a story behind it, that can be passed down thought generations, letting the story continue. we live in a world where furniture has become just another thing we buy, use and throw away. this hasnt always been the case in the past, so at what point did this change? and will it change back? I saw an eposide of grand designs last night that showed a couple who had designed and made their house from scratch themselves. it was a timber house in which every detail was designed to suit their lifestyle. I think this is something we need to take into consideration more when designing for ourselves and for others. will it be something they can take with them forever, something that can continue to live on through generations bringing its story with it?

"Normally things get compromised by the demands of budget, schedule and lack of attention. Bill, however, is solid. Bill's a man of wood. He has pursued quality here without compromise and without flinching. The benefit of this is that if you are prepared to place your faith in good architecture and see it through to the very last detail, then it will reward you more than you can ever imagine." kevin mccould - grand designs. explains his view of the timber and glass house by bill bradley and his wife sarah.

Thursday, 3 December 2009


Comparing two sources, a journal and a book, an outline of how interior spaces and the environment can have an impact on our personality and emotions.

The Environment in which we live and interact with has a major impact on our personality and therefore our every day lives. In Interior and Environmental Design it is important to take this into consideration – realising that what we design can have an impact on how a person interacts with a space. I have chosen a journal looking specifically at personality to give a scientific base to this theory. This will then be built on by discussing how the environment has an impact on personality and our emotions.

Personality, Values and Motivation by Laura Parks and Russell P. Guay reviews “the constructs of personality and values, clarifying how they are related and how they are distinct.” They look into how “personality and values have different influences on different motivational processes.” The paper presents a model in which “personality and values influence motivation via the motivational processes of goal content and goal striving.” (pg 675)Park and Guay are interested in seeing how all these areas of a person interlink with each other in different ways and therefore impact on how we react to situations in our day to day lives. In interior design, these factors must be taken into consideration as not only could a design or space impact a personality, it could also have an effect on their values and motivation in life. The goal of this paper is to gain a clearer ”understanding of how values and personality are similar, how they are distinct, and how they might collectively influence motivated behaviour.” (pg 675)

This article looks into the science and psychology behind our personalities building on research by Goldberg, 1993, Olver & Mooradian, 2003 and Bouchard, 2004, which states that our characteristics can be altered depending on the surrounding environment.“Personality is defined as enduring dispositions that cause characteristic patterns of interaction with one’s environment” (Goldberg, 1993; Olver & Mooradian, 2003)

When investigating personality a Five Factor Model (FFM) is used in many psychological experiments. This breaks down our personalities into individual aspects that are affected by different circumstances. For example, our openness to experience (curious, imaginative, open-minded). Factors like these must be considered when designing a space or object that will be experienced by an individual. Motivation and values are closely linked to each other, as these are something of a personal choice, more so than your personality. In other words, personality is something that can change without the individual being very aware of it, whereas you chose your values and make these decisions yourself. Your values in turn, impact your motivation. For example if you are interested in religion (your value), a motivation will be there to learn more about it and so practice this religion. This is clearly explained by Parks and Guay as they look into the three separate aspects individually and then bring them all together, seeing interactions between the three. They conclude that they“expect personality and values to each make unique contributions to motivational processes.” (pg 680) As all of these ideas are linked closely to how they effect our working lives, the impact of motivation in goal striving and goal content is explained in the article. This takes us away from the original idea to a deeper level of thinking and investigation.

When working with people, designers need “A greater understanding of how both personality and values relate to motivation is important because it can lead to more comprehensive theories of human behaviour.” Parks and Guay have clearly and successfully broken down the three areas of interest for investigation. They start by looking at other research to aid their reasoning and then add their own ideas and research to give a greater understanding into how the areas link together and also how this is needed to be understood when dealing with people in any environment.

Art, Community and Environment: Educational Perspectives edited by Glen Coutts and Timo Jokela is a personal review of the experience of designers and artists who work very closely with an environment, and in a community. There are three main chapters to this book – Environment, Communities and Education. Each of these sections is divided into subsections in which artists have explained their experience and work in the creative environment. The main chapter of interest is The Environment. Here Timo Jokela explains his work in Lapland, an obviously unique environment to be working in. He describes how the environment had an effect on his work, and how his work in turn had an effect on the environment. Both worked very closely together and also involved the community that interact with it. He looked into impact that it had on the viewer and their reaction to it. This proved to be something of interest and helped gain a deeper understand of how designers do have an impact on people.
“…individuals become attached to their place and merge with it; they associate their place with their image of themselves; they locate themselves there wholly, so that no one can touch the place without touching them.” (Tournier,I, pg 60.)

Jokela explains how important the surroundings and experience of the environment are to our identity and person. We often need a change of environment from that of which we are used to. I feel that this is especially important for designers as different environments can lead to lots of new ideas and experiences which may influence our work. This chapter is backed up with secondary sources for example from Yi-Fu Tuan who explains the study of Topophilia which is the feeling of belonging to a place. The close link between the environment and community is also explained from a personal point of view backed up by Suzi Gabilk and Irit Rogoff.

I can see similarities in the work of Jokela and Andy Goldsworthy. They are both artists who use the landscape and environment as and important part of the way in which they express themselves. Their work becomes part of the landscape and therefore the viewers experience it all as one. This is just one form of how the environment can therefore impact a person. Jokela describes his interaction with the community;“I often encourage the people in the area where I am making a work of art to commit themselves to the creative process. I strive for communication in my art, and this takes the form of traditional work amid the landscape rather than an external aesthetic appraisal of it. In this way, my art stimulates, transmits and brings an awareness of the culture’s own way of looking at the landscape and experiencing it.” (pg 36)

My interest in bringing both this journal and book together is by thinking of how an environment can impact a personality and therefore your values and motivation. I wanted to learn more about how our personalities are impacted in order to gain a better understanding of how space and the interaction with it can effect our emotions. Learning that not only will an experience affect our personality, but also our values and motivations brought ideas to together. For example when you visit an old cathedral or church it is very common to start thinking about religion and what it means to you. Or if you visit a war museum, you will leave with thoughts of those that risked their lives, or what may have happened if the war hadn’t happened. These spaces will have an effect on your emotions and personality and can change or alter your thinking. From the research it is shown that the designs can change our motivation and values, or our outlook on life which explains my thinking.

When designing for something that is very much about the human interaction with it, it is important that we fully understand how they may or may not react to it. It is important to take into consideration the emotions that are involved when a person will view a space or place that we have designed. Another point of interest is how people react to different spaces. The difference between how someone acts in a cosy pub in comparison to a fancy cocktail bar. The same person may alter their personality to fit into the surroundings and so our values and motivations may change due to the space that you are reacting with.

Jokela adds to this interest with his work that is very much about the environment and landscape and how they can be linked. An environment can also be a space in which we interact and therefore links these ideas to interior and environmental design. As designers it is often our job to create something that will improve a lifestyle or purely impact a person. The way this can be done can alter greatly between different cultures and communities. It is also important to consider that we ourselves experience different environments and they also have an impact on us, this can in turn affect our designs.

Coutts, Glen. & Jokela, Timo, 2008, ‘Art, community and environment : educational perspectives / edited by Glen Coutts and Timo Jokela.’

Parks, Laura & Guay, Russell P, 2009, ‘Personality, values, and motivation’, Personality and Individual Differences, vol. 47, no. 7, pp. 675-684, Nov 2009

Tournier, I. (1971). Ihmisen paikka. Porvoo: WSOY, p. 60.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009


"The building itself should stir emotion in even the most casual visitor."

"The building was always intended to be confusing and somewhat threatening."

What is experience? and how does this have an impact on our personalities and emotions?

Interior spaces have a massive effect on ourselves as viewers and experiencers. I am currently thinking about the idea of how a space can impact our emotions and therefore our personality. This can be a momentary change or one that will impact us for life. A building that i have looked into in the Jewish Musuem by Daniel Libeskind. This has been created in a simple form, but one with a huge impact through the making of this building. It has been designed to cause the viewer to experience something of the history of Berlin. The use of light is incredably powerful and will leave the viewer with many memories. This is something that i am interested in, and intend to investigate further in my research. How a space or environment can impact our personalities and emotions for a moment or for life.

Libeskind has been called the “master of empty space”

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Bibliography of articles and journals related to The Power of Context. Looking into how the environment and our surroundings have an impact on our personalities and how we react to this.

Bottrell. D, 2009, ‘Dealing with disadvantage: Resilience and the social capital of young people's networks’
This article analyzes how peer and extended networks provide young people with support and resources for dealing with disadvantage. Specific contexts of school and community, the interrelations of social and cultural capital suggest the significance of recognition as a mechanism for differentiation of young people and for effecting marginalization and privilege

Coutts, Glen. & Jokela, Timo, 2008, ‘Art, community and environment : educational perspectives / edited by Glen Coutts and Timo Jokela.’
How art and design can have an effect on the environment and therefore on people and their personalities.

Depue, RA, 2009, ‘Genetic, environmental, and epigenetic factors in the development of personality disturbance’, Development and Psychopathology 21 (4): 1031-1063 Sp. Iss. SI Nov 2009
Investigation of how personality disturbance is presented and defined. This also looks into how our environment can impact a personality and change it for the better or worse, depending on the circumstances.

J. Krivo, L & D.Peterson, R 1996, ‘Disadvantaged neighbourhoods and urban crime’, Social Forces, vol. 75, no. 2, pp. 619-648.
Talks about areas of poor poverty and the high levels of crime .Useful for highlighting that some areas are worse hit than others for crime.

Krizan, Zlatan & Suls, Jerry, 2009, ‘Implicit self-esteem in the context of trait models of personality.’ , Personality and Individual Differences, vol. 46, no. 5-6, pp. 659-663, Apr 2009
Discussion centers on the problems and promises of implicit measures as indicators of individual differences in self-esteem and their relation to personality

Leventhal, T & Brooks-Gunn, J 2003, ‘Children and youth neighbourhood context’, American Psychological Society, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 27-31.
Discusses the neighbourhoods in which we are raised and their effects on personality. This in turn could affect how we respond to design.

Melissa J. Marschall, 2004, ‘Race and the City: Neighborhood Context and the Development of Generalized Trust’ , Political Behavior, Vol. 26, No. 2 pp. 125-153
This looks into how context, social interaction, and interracial experiences combine to shape a person and their attitutes. It also reviews how neighbourhoods and interaction impact our development.

Parks, Laura & Guay, Russell P, 2009, ‘Personality, values, and motivation’, Personality and Individual Differences, vol. 47, no. 7, pp. 675-684, Nov 2009
This is a review the constructs of personality and values, clarifying how they are related and how they are distinct. There is an understanding to motivation with how personality and values have different influences on different motivational processes.

Schittich, Christian, 2002, 'In detail : interior spaces: space, light, materials'

design websites of interest








keeping up with the world




Wednesday, 11 November 2009

whats in your top drawer?

For our new designinmaking project we have to design and make a piece of furniture. This is a group project with others in our year. Our group has decided to base our idea on how we use our furniture to express our personalities. Take a bookshelf for example - what do we display on this? just books? or a variety of "special" objects that mean something to us? My bookcase for example has photos, jewelry, a bottle of champagne from my 18th Birthday, my CD player and then some books. Another question is are the books we use the bookshelf for ones that we read? or ones that we want people to think we read? Do we use this to try and give off an impression? itellectual books or classy cheesy novels?! whats on yours?
This then lead us to think about what we hide using our furniture? Everyone has a drawer that little bits and bobs go into - its usually a very messy drawer with very random objects - but we also know excatly where to find it when we are looking for it - whatever "it" might be? batteries, wires, camera cables, fuses, menus, pens...?? i could go on forever!
so what id like to know is what is in your top drawer?
how do you use your furniture to express yourself and your personality?

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

juteopolis : final

Our first project of second year was a group project based on Juteopolis. We had to design an exhibition. We based our idea on the past, present and future of Dundee due to the jute undustary. We looked at maps of the past, taking into consideration that we are the present - living in a moment in time, and the future is unknown.
These are our final presentation boards:

Thursday, 29 October 2009

context v ied

After our brainstorming session on how The Power of Context and IED relate a poster/new mind map developed. When i was reading the Tipping Point I found The Power of Context chapter one in which i kept finding myself relating to IED - interiors and the environment.
Our context.
Our surroundings.
During the brainstorming session and afterwards my brain kept going, thinking through this deeper.
Our personalities.
Our thoughts.
Our feelings.
These are all impacted.
Our experiences.
Our emotions.
Our culture.

When we enter a building or musuem or even a room, we can often leave a completely different person. We have also just finished a project on Exhibition Design - another area of interiors that people often dont consider to be part of Interiors, but one that can have a massive effect on a person.
As there are so many different aspects that can be broken down even further iIdecided to create a simple mindmap showing these ideas. This is something I will continue to develop as more and more thoughts trigger.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

boom boom boom

ideas - an eruption of crazy thoughts. brainstorming - slightly forced thinking of ideas.

This week we had a brainstorming session with others in our year who had completed their mindmap on the same topic from The Tipping Point. Our topic was The Power of Context. We related this is interior and environmental design. We literally let our ideas flow and there was indeed an eruption of crazy thoughts!
It took a little while to get the ball rolling as such, but once we had overcome the fear of saying totally random thoughts in front of eachother it was actually pretty fun and very inspiring. It was a great way to get thoughts and ideas from eachother, those that we would not usually have related but as the discussion developed they made perfect sense. It proved really useful in opening up our mind to thinking outside the box and into the realms of the unknown.

Monday, 19 October 2009


Ive just been having a little browse on Johanna Basford's website and blog after hearing about her work in a lecture. She is one of the new and few and upcoming artists and designers who are using their iniative to get themselves "out there". Her work is amazingly beautifully, but what catches my attention most is her ideas and ways of making herself big and known. She is using twitter and blogging in a creative and imaginative way. We are being encouraged to do this as new and growing designers, but looking at others and how they have done this, such as Johanna, has filled me with admiration. Seeing how she got herself comissioned by CR through blogging and her latest printing design completed by the public throught twitter and the world of tweeting has filled me with excitement of what the potential is out there in cyberspace!!
Its taking a while to get used to blogging my thoughts and ideas, but im slowly getting used to it and seeing how others do this has made me want to improve my blogging and tweeting skills! Social networking is the way forward - how many hours do we spend/waste on facebook?! we all know its far too many. If we can use facebook to network with our freinds on a daily basis then why cant we do the same with other designers, companies, people of inspiration and knowledge. So yea, i just decided to blog about my thoughts on blogging in the hope that it will improve my blogging skills. That is the purpose of space - so watch it! The thoughts are coming...

(its only right to give the lady herself some credit!)

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

build an igloo

Yesterday a few ied students attended a video conference on environmental sustainability:
As we are all aware the worlds resources are increasingly running out. This is obviously a problem to designers in this era. We are going to making new creations, which are going to have to be more and more sustainable - designing for the present without compromising the future. As a student I sometimes feel inadequate in how i could possibly change the world as one single person. But if we all have this attitude nothing will change and the worlds resources will run out. do we care? thats the question. or how can we impact the world? or the people we design for? its a difficult situation. More and more products and materials are being made that are sustainable making it a bit easier - is this enough? what about the lorrys and aeroplanes that have to transport these specialist materials across the world? what about the factories producing these? what about the child labour thats involved in making these? so many questions.
I think that this issue is something that designers need to start taking seriously, but also realise the extremes that it can be taken to. If everyone has a small input surely there can be some form of impact?
it was suggested that we should all just build an igloo. perfect insulation. it melts. turns back into ice. another one is made. zero impact.


Wednesday, 7 October 2009

mind map

I have just finished reading "The Tipping Point" by Malcom Gladwell. "How little things can make a big difference" This book was recommended reading as part of our design studies lectures in uni. The book is essentially about tipping points in live - points in which an epidemic takes a turn, begins or grows. Gladwell uses many examples to explain and exagerate the different aspects of tipping points. Whilst reading the book i found myself looking at points in my everyday life and design work that are tipping points giving me a new perspective on how simple things can have a dramatic impact and influence on our design work and our lives. Malcolms use of examples of such epidemics in the past helps to see how we can apply this to our lives now and in the future. So often we think that our designs become known by being in the right place at the right time with the right design but this book has made me realise that this is not always the case.

I have drawn up a mind map in more detail of the "power of context" chapter from The Tipping Point. This really interested me after my thoughts about being in the right place atr the right time. Our environment and surroundings have a massive impact on our lives and therefore our designs. Changes in our lives effect our designs - this can be for the good or bad. Gladwell uses many examples to explain this such as live in a prison cell and how this impacts a person. The people we interact with also effects our lives greatly, this is something we are not always aware of. The kind of poele who we socialise with can change our personalities and outlook on life - we have sensitive characters. We often think that this only relates to children but this is not the case. Our tendencies and habits are very changable - this is something i feel is important when designing. We can sometimes have a narrow outlook on our work, but if we interact with the right people, those from different fields of design our opportunities can become endless!

Monday, 5 October 2009

running the race

So yesterday i completed my first 10k race - its something I've been wanting to do for a while and I'm very glad i did. During the race and since finishing it, I've been thinking about how there are aspects that reminded me of parts of The Tipping Point book that we have been reading for Design Studies. For example, when running in a group everyone is trying to get past the next person, the person in front - some may say this is like a form of epidemic. Everyone is trying to do this and so it keeps continuing, nearly like dominoes collapsing - only instead this is causing everyone to move further and faster instead of falling over! Its a continuous process until the race is finished.
The second I finished the race, my first thought was 'marathon next!!' and also that i want to do another 10k, only faster. When speaking to a fellow runner in my class about this - her reaction was "you addicted now Karen, that's what happens." Which is very true, we are always wanting to aim higher, do better and keep moving forward. Again another form of phenomenon, epidemic - one you pop you just cant stop!!

Friday, 2 October 2009

think big?

Today our design studies lecture was from Mike Press, the Dean of Design in DOJ. Titled THINK BIG. This caused many thoughts to start triggering in my brain, so often i feel that many of us just enjoy living life in a bubble, floating along and enjoying the world. As design students, this may involve the odd little perk or shift and then we float along some more. But the world isnt really like that, we need to shift ourselves. To get somewhere in life and achieve something i think that its so important for us to get out there and do something about it. I suppose, think big! It easy to get into the mind set of someone else is doing it, or it has already been done. But this is just ourselves trying to take the easy route.
Personally i feel we need to be constantly looking at how we can improve ourselves, push ourselves and aim higher. Maybe this is just my nature, but i feel its important in the current way of the world. Recently ive been thinking about where or what i want to do with my interior design course after uni, this sometimes feels like its a long time away, other days i know that it will be in no time at all. Origionally coming from an architectural background i think that i have quite a wide perspective of what can be done with interiors, from small scale architecture to furniture making - but i know that the list is endless. This is something im hoping to look into, probably blog about. Things that im interested in and skills that i would like to develop while at uni. Its the time to do it after all!
Mike ended the lecture using the sigmoid curve - we should be constantly looking to strive for the best, to reach that peak and to THINK BIG.
rant over.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

atelier brueckner


this is an exhibition/interior designer who i found when looking for precedents for our project. i really like the variety of his work and the use of lighting. i like how he uses our sences to fully experience the exhibitions and think is something i would like to look into further, the idea of fully using the human mind and body to experience the exhibition to the maximum. I think that this is important in design as it then has a strong impact on us, leaving us with many memorys in other ways than just the visual sense.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009


In IED we are currently doing a group project based on exhibition design. We have to base our idea on the jute industary in dundee. As a group we have decided to look into the past, present and future of the landscape of dundee and how this has changed. trying not to make this like a history project!! We have decided to view and collect numbers of the mills in dundee and the chimneys that started to appear on the horizon over the years of the jute industary. I feel these are a really strong landmark of dundee, individual to it as a city. When standing at the top of the law, looking over the city this becomes apparent.
Reasearch into exhibition design has been proving really interesting and exciting!! There is a lot of scope to make it really individual and conceptual as well as having an educational aspect aswell. I feel that some form of abstract, conceptual map may be really interesting, something that the user can walk around, through and on top of. Also wanting to incooperate the present and future, with the viewer being the present is the current stage of investigation and development.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

exhibition at dca at the minute. we are currently doing a project based on exhibition design. this gave me a real idea of how exhibitons do not have to be fancy, hi-tech designs but can still have a massive impact on the viewer. this simple design had a huge impact on me and really made me think about both the design and what it was trying to convey.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009


pretty cool interior designer that I visited a few months ago. just thought i would share the website as it gave me a real idea of what interior design involves and a few different ideas of projects. it was really good to actually get on site and see the process and behind the scenes of some cool clubs, bars and hotels in edinburgh. she is about to start a project in dundee in the next few months - something im planning on keeping up to date with.

Friday, 18 September 2009

first timer

well.....this is my first ever blog, not excatly sure what i should be writing about just now. we were told to get one as part of our design studies in uni so reckoned it might be a good idea to work out how to use it first tho! so yup. thats me!