It’s the Final Pitch!

The day arrived once again with a flurry of final prep the day before getting all the slides organised and running through the presentation. This time was slightly easier as all the prep work had been done and the team were all here. We’d got the order down and even convinced Jade to talk a bit (which she did well). There is a part of me that relishes talking to groups so I was eager to go and enjoying pre-talk adrenaline nerves. 

 

This time we got to do the presentation in the Researcher Hub which is laid out like a large courtroom (M’lord) and the acoustics are great. I couldn’t help glancing round and thinking “I know what those dangling things are on the ceiling and the shapes on the walls are for”. Who knew research learns you stuff?!

 

The presentation went well and the feedback was fairly favourable although we did go over the allotted 15 minutes, but just slightly, and for once it wasn’t me that was talking too much. I’m even slightly looking forward to the grade for this part.

 

For Friday we have to submit this is a pdf and I seem to have volunteered to make sure all the referencing is correct. Will I ever learn not to volunteer?

A place to call my own

In a world of hot-desking one of the major complaints from users of the DOYYEC was a lack of anywhere to store things. Fine if your work involves sitting in front of a screen but not so good if you have a lot of equipment or samples.

 

So with that in mind I started looking for storage solutions that would fit with our designs for the DOYYEC. In this case I wanted the storage to be adaptable, acoustically absorbing, well designed and moveable. 

 

The best supplier seems to be a Scandinavian company called Glimakra based in Stockholm. They have released a line of office storage units which are covered in sound absorbing materials and they are in a variety of sizes and shaped and can be moved and used together. This is an almost perfect match to our requirements. Here are some of the examples I found:

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The only thing I’d add would be a touch of colour.

 

The last thing I considered including would be a couple of architect plans chests for storing photographs and artworks.

 

  1. Dezeen,. (2017). Soft storage. Retrieved from https://www.dezeen.com/2015/02/10/johan-kauppi-bertil-harstrom-sound-absorbing-office-furniture-sabine-glimakra-stockholm-2015/

Sex: My British Job

Well, not mine. It’s a documentary directed by Nick Broomfield starring Hsiao-Hung Pai looking at the hidden world of the prostitution of Chinese illegal immigrants.

Starring is probably the wrong term to use here as the documentary is predominantly filmed through her eyes by way of a secret camera hidden in her glasses. As such the footage is all fairly low quality but the topic is so absorbing that you soon forget about shaky, low quality image.

In the documentary Hsiao-Hung Pai works as a maid in a brothel in London and her duties include cleaning, cooking and answering the phone. This is about 14 hours a day every day all for about £100 a week. Those are meant to be her duties however as the film progresses there is increasing pressure put on her to work as a prostitute with the madam getting more and more aggressive and verbally abusive the more she resists. You can see Pai getting more depressed as time passes and in the end she agrees to prostitute herself, calls in Nick and gets out. The documentary finishes with Pai, accompanied by Nick, going to confront the madam about her behaviour and the way she victimises the vulnerable girls who through being undocumented cannot work in legal well paid jobs.

As I said above, this documentaries strength lies not in its visuals but rather in the immersive investigation that Pai undertook.

In my own work I’m trying hard to produce strong high end visuals but maybe I shouldn’t get too tied up with that.

Documenting the Madness

As a part of developing my own documentary I have been watching a lot of documentaries to learn more about the conventions of documentaries and explore how they develop their narratives. I’ve decided not to restrict myself on the types of documentary I’m watching but generally they are around equality, feminism and violence.

Sounds about right

One of the areas I chose to look into for the DOYYEC was sound as that was always one of the things that got to me with the space. It felt so quiet at times that it was oppressive and at other times when it was full it could be overbearingly loud. Humans feel comfortable with an ambient noise level of around 50 decibels and so this needs to be factored into a new design. Less than that and people can feel uncomfortable and isolated or inhibited in breaking the silence. More than that and it’s hard to focus or follow a conversation.

 

To control this then we need to control the acoustics of the space with the use of speakers for when the room is fairly empty and sound absorbing materials and baffles for when it’s full. That brings us to part of acoustics which can be overlooked: reverberation. The DOYYEC has many large smooth surfaces and this can make the sound bounce around a lot which can be distracting to people holding conversations. This can be combated using materials to break how the sound would normally bounce.

 

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This is a nice example of how large surfaces can be covered to control sound and bring in some vibrant colour.

 

As I mentioned above speakers can be used to stop the area getting quiet but any that are used need to be controllable locally and I have been looking at the use of sound bars and domes such as you see in restaurants and museums. 

 

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Above are two examples of directional speakers supplied by Brown Innovations and the use of these could transform the way a space sounds. The only big surface I not covered, if you’ll excuse the pun, is the ceiling. In the DOYYEC this is one massive, smooth surface so something to look at would be the use of baffles on the ceiling, and these can be quite decorative:

 

 

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Like this one from Resonics

 

 

  1. Brown Innovations,. (2017). Domes and soundbars in location. Retrieved from http://www.browninnovations.com/
  2. Resonics,. (2017). Room with ceiling baffles. Retrieved from http://resonics.co.uk/acoustic-products-projects/texaa-abso/

Sounds about light

For a photographer you’d probably expect me to have a lot to say about light, but I really don’t. All I’d want for the DOYYEC would be control of the lighting in zones, daylight balanced bulbs and blinds to control the amount of light coming in from the windows. 

 

In our interview with Phil he did raise concerns over the harshness of the light in the pod so we would look at diffusers but the main requirement for the space is plenty of light with control over where from and how much.

 

The idea of broad-spectrum lighting was raised but looking at the evidence for this and the potential for long term damage to coverings and art works it was decided to avoid this. (1)

 

 

  1. How valid are the claims regarding full-spectrum light sources? | Full-Spectrum Light Sources | Lighting Answers | NLPIP. (2017). Lrc.rpi.edu. Retrieved 4 April 2017, from http://www.lrc.rpi.edu/programs/nlpip/lightinganswers/fullspectrum/claims.asp

Feedback the 2nd with Jo

Once again it was good to catch up with the team and do a bit of planning before meeting with Jo. Everything seems to be coming together well for the presentation and real progress is being made with getting feedback from the DOYYEC users. Some of the team have been in the DOYYEC talking to the people there, an online questionnaire has been created and is being acted upon and I have been on facebook in the current years EPY (Entrepreneur Placement Year) group talking to them their. With it all coming together like this the final pitch should go well.

Feedback from Jo

The main thing we had to go into uni for today was a session with our tutor Jo, to go over the feedback we’d had from Orangebox. It was mostly a recap on what we’d had on the day from the Orangebox team so I won’t rehash my post about the presentation but it was interesting to get Jo’s input and to have a face-to-face meetup with the rest of the team and discuss where we were up to with our own research and the website. 

 

Finding the time to meet together when we are so widely dispersed and all busy with out own lives is a challenge and not conducive to working as a team. This is always a shortfall with ongoing collaborative work for university projects. You can play-pretend that you are a business without the luxury of it actually being a paying business and these exercises tend to get in the way of any real work being achieved. 

We have a second feedback session planned for next week with Jo so we’ll have to see where the pitch is up to then.

A Biophilic Designer I can get

So ok, I’ve said I’m not convinced about the distinction of biophilic over good architecture, and I’m still not. But what I do appreciate is good design, and Bjarke Ingels does good design.

 

In this youtube video Ingels talks about 3 of his designs:


 

These videos all show good design with a strong biophilic bent.

Biophilic Design

In my previous post I mentioned biophilic design and that I would go into further detail about it. Here’s a definition from Biophilicdesign.net

 

Biophilic Design is an innovative way of designing the places where we live, work, and learn. We need nature in a deep and fundamental fashion, but we have often designed our cities and suburbs in ways that both degrade the environment and alienate us from nature. The recent trend in green architecture has decreased the environmental impact of the built environment, but it has accomplished little in the way of reconnecting us to the natural world, the missing piece in the puzzle of sustainable development. (1)

which is making some quite strong claims that I’m not certain are fully backed up by evidence and some say that any health claims are overstated. The Skeptical Specifier goes into more detail in their blog here (2). 

 

So what do I think biophilic design is? In essence I think the term distinction without difference applies. Biophilic design is just good design with a slant to ethical practices and environmental considerations. Designing working and leisure environments which people are comfortable and productive in would be the aim of any good designer even if they didn’t use the biophilic title. When it comes to myself I wouldn’t give myself that distinction but I do enjoy nature, have ethical concerns over the environment and our impact on it so, while we have this brief we may as will stick a tree in the corner…

 

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  1. Biophilic Design: The Architecture of Life. (2017). Biophilic Design: The Architecture of Life. Retrieved 4 April 2017, from http://www.biophilicdesign.net/
  2. Is Biophilia Really an Added Value in Architecture?. (2017). The Skeptical Specifier. Retrieved 4 April 2017, from https://skepticalspecifier.wordpress.com/2015/09/01/is-biophilia-really-an-added-value-in-architecture/
  3. Oliver Heath Design,. (2017). Image of an office with plants.
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