Friday, October 24, 2008

Story of things

I was just looking through some designers websites and I found a website of a design group called Front. They are 4 girls from Sweden and they are doing amazing things. Very inspiring and clever. One of the projects they are running now, is about our homes and the objects that define the space we live in. They are doing very interesting research, collecting stories of the objects by writing them on the plastic moulds of those objects. It reminded me of the project that guys in Dundee are doing now about cultural probes. Are those not interesting examples?
For me those red plastic moulds are even more interesting than the originals. They tell the story about their owner and themselves, a bit like they were revealing some secret...

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I didn't have much time for blogging recently, because the Valencian life has been very intensive last days. But from now on I'll be posting more often, as I have to start researching for my dissertation. It will be the hard task, as in Valencia, there are not many resources available in English, so I mainly have to rely on the Internet.

So, for the update from recent days I'd like to write about the trip to Andalusia I have made with a couple of friends from here. Last Thursday, there was a local holiday in Valencia, so we had 4 days off from studies. That's why we decided to spent this time travelling.

First 2 days we've spent in Granada, which is lovely city, situated at the foot of Sierra Nevada mountains. The city is mostly famous for the Moorish palace Alhambra, which architecture is just stunning. All the walls are decorated with oriental patterns (arabesques) and stucco which lets the sunbeams shine through them. It makes them look a bit immaterial. Together with ubiquitous fountains and the exotic nature it all looked magical. I can remember from my history of art studies, that the fountains were there not only for decoration, but also they sprayed the perfumed water... Oh, I can imagine, 500 years ago, Sultan sitting there with his hundred wives and servants, dancers, artists, tigers, parrots, oriental music, drinking, eating, smoking... It must have been a paradise on Earth...

Well, so the next day we moved to Malaga. Actually, we were staying outside the city, in the small town next to the Mediterranean sea. Malaga wasn't that great when it comes to architecture, but it had vibrate night-life (vida nocturna). But for me, the most memorable point of this part of journey was when we went on the beach. The wind was very strong and the sea went wild. I have never seen as huge waves as those. I reckon they were greater than 2 meters. Some people went to swim, but soon they regretted it.

Generally, the trip was a nice experience, both cultural and social, and it gave us the chance to get to know each other. But now I really have to start working hard.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Kick off

The last two days of EPS classes were very busy. We had a new lecturer - David Ashworth from Nottingham who did a couple of sessions about project management. For me this was entirely new material, showing design process from completely different angle. Before, whenever we were asked to draw our design process we were simply naming the stages (research, brainstorming, idea generation, idea selection...) and then organising them in relation to each other. Here, we were asked to plot them against time, estimate the effort and the resources needed to complete each one, and assign the roles within the group. I believe this was very useful exercise that helped us to foresee how much work do we need to do. It also gives a complete structure to our project.

Classes with David required working in the teams. As on Thursday we were still waiting for some lecturers to come and do their presentations, many students were still undecided. Fortunately, there was enough people interested in project concerning accessibility, so we formed two groups - one, that will develop something for blind people, and another designing for senior citizens. I'm in the second group. We have 5 members - Anne, Remco and Eva from Business and Management background, and me and Lisa who are studying Design.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Accessibility Design

To finish off the discussion about the EPS projects. I just wanted to say that I finally decided to be working on the accessibility project. I find it the most connected with users and giving great possibilities for development. I still need to wait for Pedro's approval, because what they are trying to do here, is to mix up people with different backgrounds.

The project is very open, first of all we have to choose one group of users with some accessibility limitations, mostly connected with their health, disabilities or age. I have some experience in designing for disabled children (the Sensations project we have done in the first year) and the Microsoft project we've done last semester in Dundee taught me a lot about designing for old people. So this time I wanted to focus on a different group of users. Again my reading of polish Polityka came useful. In the article from 16/08/08 "Wejście Smyka" I read about the new social trend concerning bringing up children. Obviously, the article was mostly taking about Polish society, but I believe it's generally true for most of Europeans. Parents take their children everywhere with them - to the restaurants, on the exotic holidays, on the board of planes. As they do not want to resign from their normal life, they combine parenthood with everyday activities. Which basically means that children are more present in a public space which is often not children - friendly. This creates problems not only for parents but also for other users. I'm sure many people experienced a flight with crying baby on board. Nightmare, isn't it? To be fair, the first thing I do while coming on board, I try to spot all the babies and take a sit as far as possible.
I think this is a design problem that gives wide possibilities - it can be a product, a service or some interior design solution.
It also quite interesting for me, as I may be a future user.