Heineken Iconic Bar Design Challenge 2014 – I was a finalist!

Well firstly I would like to apologise for my long absence on here, when I looked at the actual date of my last post I was a little shocked! The time since I graduated from my course has been amazingly hectic and I don’t know where the time has flown to. I have mostly been looking for work but alongside this I have been applying to design competitions to keep my design skills up and promote myself as a designer. One of the most exciting of these has been the Heineken Iconic Bar Design Challenge.

Heineken Iconic Bar Design Challenge 2014

Heineken Iconic Bar Design Challenge 2014

I applied for the competition online where you had to share 3 previous projects and explain what you thought you could bring to the project. I sent it off with lots of hope but not entirely convinced that I would hear back from them. I was then really surprised to find out that I had been selected as a finalist.

From that moment on it was chaotic the turn around was much quicker than I expected. On the Monday I was told that I would need to be in London for 2pm on the Friday to give my presentation in the Heineken Pop up Bar that was part of London Design Festival. I had to produce a presentation that summed up my initial ideas for the brief – to design a point of sale that promoted social design.

What made this more difficult was the format; it had to be set up in the Pecha Kucha format, and sent down to the organiser before hand. The Pecha Kucha format is 20 slides which are only shown for 20 seconds each; the timings move on automatically leaving no room for error.

I managed to sort in all and the full presentation can now be seen on my portfolio: www.behance.net/gallery/20128605/Heineken-Iconic-Bar-Challenge-Finalist-Presentation

The experience itself was amazing being at an event in the centre of London Design Festival was amazing on it’s own but over the day I met and had discussions with some amazing creative people.

One of the great excitements from me was meeting Rob Alderson from It’s Nice That. After listening to his opinion on the websites podcast Studio Audience for two years it was amazing to be able to talk to him and person and discuss art and design!

I also met Tom Dykhoff who has some brilliant opinions about urban design and our connection with architectural space which he expressed both in his own Pecha Kucha talk and our following discussion in the bar!!

I met so many other including the founder of Pecha Kucha and the head designer at Heineken, all while drinking posh Hoptails and Heineken from limited edition bottles. The pop up bar suited the atmosphere to a tee with it’s discussion booths and open layout which makes sense after all it was designed by a collaboration of designers from across the world.

I had an amazing time and hope that I will get chance to work with Heineken again soon!

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The Importance of Checking, Double Checking, Triple Checking, and Checking Again

So as I mentioned in my last post I want to highlight some of the lessons I have learnt by throwing myself into the web of complications that go along with working in the public realm for my degree project. I learnt so many real world lessons that will ultimately help me so much in my career but I will just share with you the main ones.

Today I want to highlight the lesson I learnt in regards to the performance installation I put on at the beginning of May. The lesson is that even if you think something has been agreed or approved until you have it in writing it actually hasn’t.

The installation I designed was always conceptualised around an area of land more central to the site. The design emerged to be parasitic to the walls in the space and was used to highlight a possible circulation route through the site.

The design work for this project and it’s location was shown at multiple meetings to members of Derby City Council and the University. Throughout these meetings no issue was raised with the area chosen and the more nods of approval I received the more secure I felt about the pieces location and moved on to secure planning permission for a different piece. It wasn’t until I went to the Council to secure access to the area in the evening that an issue was raised.

A week before the performance was due to be enacted at this visit I was introduced to a member of the facilities management team that informed me that the area I had selected and had been working on for the past 6 months was not public access. This was a huge blow as I thought that this had been addressed in previous meetings and suddenly I was looking at an entire redesign for a new space.

I picked myself up though and immediately started working on Plan B. In light of the redesign I made the decision to postpone the event to a week later and then looked at finding a new site for the project. Just across from the other planned installation was the Cathedral which would still be connected to the site and serve as a stunning backdrop. So I went that day to talk to the Cathedral and ask for the permission to hold the performance piece it their public plaza. Once I had gained this permission I informed the body in charge of public events in Derby of this change and set about redesigning the piece.

During the design process I met with my eventual performer Debi Heddwerwick who worked with me on connecting my design ideas with the movement of the performance and it’s connection to it’s new location. We settled on the ideas of procession and journey connected to the religious traditions of the Cathedral and the urban thoroughfare of the adjoining main street. It was also decided that I would reflect the stain glass windows in some of the transparencies of the skirt.

In the end the Cathedral served to be a much better location for the performance gaining some passing viewers and taught me the importance of double checking all the red tape has been dealt with!

For more information on how the performance turned out see the project on my portfolio here.

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The Hard Work Has Paid Off Now For Some More!

My Degree Show Stand

My Degree Show Stand

So you may have noticed the gap in me posting on here in the run up to my degree show. It was very hectic and I developed a certain amount of tunnel vision as I perfected my work, the exhibition stand, and installations.

My Best in Show Awards and Prize

My Best in Show Awards and Prize

Now the show is over I can briefly relax and reflect on the results of all the hard work I have put in. I have to say I am very happy. The project got some great feedback at my presentation from Derby City Council, it was expressed that if I could develop my ideas into a series of phased packages then it could be a commercially viable project. Then at the degree show I won two Best in Show awards; one from Derby Museums and one from the Chartered Society of Designers. The gentleman from CSD was very complimentary and when presenting the award gave a speech about my work and it’s reflection of the goals of the society. It was amazing to get this recognition for the work that I have done from a body that represents the field that I want to build my career in and hold so much passion for.

I recently got my grades back for this year and that was a different kind of satisfaction; realising that after five years at university I had come out with a first class degree meant that it had all been worth it.

During my presentation to Derby City Council one of the representatives mentioned that, I must have learnt a great deal through experience while delivering these urban interventions on my own, on a shoestring budget, and that these would be great to hear as not many students get to learn them so early on in their career.  So over the next week or so I will aim to share on here some of the lessons I learnt over the past year and highlight how I have been able to develop my problem solving skills.

As well as this and as highlighted in the title of this piece the hard work is still continuing as I embark on the journey to find employment; stay tuned for updates on this!

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#CQintervention Performance Installation 10.05.14

Performance Installation #CQintervention

Performance Installation #CQintervention

At the weekend I put on a performance event outside Derby Cathedral as part of the project I have been working on for the final year of my degree. For this project I have been developing a Tactical Place Making proposal as you may have seen on my TEDxDerby talk or in previous posts. The principle of Tactical Place Making is to use temporary installation and events to stimulate an area and re-interest the imaginations of the surrounding community.

After all the research and designing I had put into the project I wanted to put some of it into practice. The process to making something happen in the public realm was a rocky one and lots of back plans had to be enacted but I was still able to host a performance piece outside the Cathedral in the centre of Derby.

The piece itself was inspired by two projects from different backgrounds; a catwalk show by Hussein Chalayan, and Strung by Tanja Beer. Hussein Chalayan’s work that inspired me was a show he put on where an entire living room set was disassembled and the models left wearing it. Strung by Tanja Beer was a performance which started as a large ball of string that as unravelled revealed a person inside; this person could then move and interact with the web that had been created around them.

I combined these two ideas to design an installation that was installed through the act of performance; I designed a long and elaborate skirt that once unravelled formed a sculptural space. Visit here for more on the design process.

Once this was designed I worked closely with performer Debi Hedderwick on how the performance could work. With the piece being outside the Cathedral, and the way that it unfurled, Debi suggested that the performance be based on the idea of a journey linking to religious processions and discovery of a space. We later also added in a layer of curiosity to the piece to allow some interaction and reflection of the atmosphere created with light installations.

On the day there was a lot of wind which played havoc with the structure but Debi was able to play with the wind and create interesting shapes and the result was quite beautiful.


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Paul Staples at the Greenhouse

So I went home for the Easter break which offered me the opportunity to go to the opening of the new exhibition at the Greenhouse in Guernsey. The exhibition, put on by the Guernsey Arts Commission, shows the stunning work of local resident Paul Staples.

Paul Staples has created stages and environments for amazing people and places; from hotels in Las Vegas to Stages for Pink Floyd. It was amazing to see a small part of such a prolific career and I left completely in awe.

I have always been fascinated about the design of temporary structures and being able to see the work of someone who has worked with such big names was incredible. On display are a range of archived materials such as drawings, photographs, models and other memorabilia.

Paul Staples Set Design for Rod Stewart at he Greenhouse

Paul Staples Set Design for Rod Stewart at he Greenhouse

My favourite piece on show was a model of a stage design for Rod Stewart. The model itself was mesmerising and I had to keep going back for another look; trying to absorb every facet of it. The photographs of the actual stage in action were just as entrancing and it was great to see the project from idea to reality.

It is well worth a visit!

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Playing with Light #CQintervention – Part 4

Recently I have been working on the light element of my tactical place making project Sadler Square; developing cheap, quick and interesting light interventions that will encourage the community to interact with the space in a new way.

Today I want to show you a glimpse of what I have been working on for the space in between the archway pieces and the performance piece. The space is a pathway that snaked around the side Middleton House and is planted with trees and shrubs. I wanted something that would highlight the path through the site but in a subtle way.

When browsing Pinterest I came across instructions to make fairies in a jar. The result is supposed to be a glowing jar which I thought would work well. I gave it a shot and here is the result:

Fairies in a Jar for Launch #SadlerSquare

Fairies in a Jar for Launch #SadlerSquare

So look out for a glowing trail in the bushes on launch night!

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You Are All Invited #CQintervention

Recently I have bee telling you all about my project CQintervention; here is the flyer for the project I hope to see lots of you there! Event pages to be released soon!

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