For my Specialist Professional Practice my aim was to produce a range of samples, that acted as ‘curiosities’ for architectural and interior exploration and development into situations were they acted as engaging design that generated an intrigue of touch and discovery.
My basis for inspiration came from ‘wallflower’- the notion of the unexpected and ‘blooming’ beauty of nature. I began by looking at elements of nature which had budded and flourished, as well as looking to the odd patterns and repeat forms when you look close up at plant life. I quickly began to use these forms with 3D drawing methods of paper cut to understand how they work in sculptural form, with the intention of them working as facades and wall coverings- looking to the work of designers like Anne Kyyro Quinn and Tord Boontje. However I struggled using the more ‘pretty’ side of nature as the translation into sampling did not suit my style of work- I wanted to make curious outcomes that were abstracted from the initial inspiration and could be interpreted to look like a multitude of oddities.
Instead I felt I needed to source new primary imagery that focused on the more unusual side of nature - the ‘ugliness’in the organic, by visiting Kew Gardens and finding particular interest in the Sub-tropical plants, Cactus, roots and leaves. This focus on bizarre nature allowed me to start understanding the development into textile outcomes. I began to see ‘sensory hints’- i.e. feeling as if I knew what the fluffiness of a plants stamen in the greenhouse would feel like, compelled me to want to touch it and find out how it really did feel. This also allowed me to make direct associations to materials, for example I recognised the fluffiness of a stamen or cactus hairs could be shown using fur or hair, materials perhaps unexpected in a project inspired by the nature of plants.
This level of tactile interest and playfulness led me to look further at the material concerns for this project. Looking at research sources like the Sensorium by Les M and Marie Rouillons work I could see how unusual, surfaces can create a reaction of repulsion or hesitation, but always interest, like that of Meret Oppenheim works. This surrealist element was inspiration for design development.
By thinking about the SPP as framework for experimentation to inform the FMP I became more open to exploration of materials and processes to gain tacit knowledge. Using the project to understand and confirm my successes, failures and processes that interested me and I would like to develop further, I affirmed that innovation was an appropriate way for me to approach the sampling. Deciding that I would use the bulk of my sampling time to explore techniques and materials, ultimately finalising/expanding on the most successful.
The ‘Jewellery for Buildings’ concept explored at level 5, with jewellery being a snippet of excitement, an embellishment to something, meant I wanted to maintain this quality through samples as ‘curiosities’- exploring the wide range of design ideas, materials and processes. Looking at the role of Scin, a materials library- ‘you little black book of materials, surfaces and finishes’ I began to feel more comfortable that the samples I was producing did not all have to be realised, ready for intended purposes, but could instend investigate the surface interest and suggest application in visualisation.
At the project mid-point the ‘white on white’ colour scheme became an apparent problem, once I had collated a body of initial samples- the pieces did not differentiate themselves enough as a diverse collection; they did not read as progression. The iridescent became a difficult effect to bring into the project, so I took a ‘pink’ highlight and ‘blue’ from the iridescent and chose to add this into my palette as a highlight tone in order to give the further outcomes more range of colour and distinction; it really lifted the look of the project.
Choosing to use CAD was another decisive point in the project, I used CAD to introduce more form, shape and repeat pattern into my samples. Its introduction had a big impact on the direction of my project, it gave a very professional finish to the work and introducing the softer element of stitch produced a clean cut, luxurious, opulent
look which gave my work a fashion edge that could be seen to work as embellishment for runway fashions, showpiece jewellery or for bags, belts and other accessories. I was excited by the prospect of applying my outcomes to two scenarios, like the work of Grace Du Prez. My quilted sample for example with hair running from it as a sleeve embellishment, or other quilted outcomes which could be applied as upholstery for furnishings and even interior walls.
I wanted to look at visualising my outcomes in fashion stores, dressing rooms and shop frontages, where they acted as exciting tactile temptations for the customers whilst also visualising the samples as fashion outcomes to show the versatility of them. The work of Giles Miller- using similar materials, techniques to reflect the aesthetic of the company was also an influence, I could see how fashion brands use their interiors to reflect the image of the company and the style of the clothes.
Having intended for some of the samples to be appropriate for exterior use, the practicalities of having used fur in my work meant that this was not really possible. And the introduction of considering fashion and accessories meant that I became more interested in looking at commercial application. Studio Toogood’s unique approach to dressing a space, that is often for retail and commercial fashion brands, by designing the spaces to intrigue the audience they create an atmosphere of interest. The versatile options for intended purpose of my samples meant that to present my work I looked at Eva Hesse’s works presented in gallery spaces, placed as items of interest and intrigue - ‘curiosities’. I also thought about the display of stands like Scin and Materials Lab at the Surface Design Show- samples of designs are shown to the audience, not transformed or applied for its intentional use but treated as a taster. Presenting my work in this way voiced the purpose of creating samples that were for multiple uses and functions.
In summary this project was a learning process, progressing from my Level 5 work, I wanted to move forward with a sophistication and tasteful minimalism to my work, but that could still create and excitement and imaginative spark by looking and interacting with the work. Although I struggled with maintaining the balance between material interest and aesthetic style, I think that the breakthrough of using CAD allowed me to keep this balance and introduce variety. I also explored materials I had not used before, using fur and hair in my work is something I would like to take forward for FMP as it has the ‘Oppenheim effect’ of disgust and attraction, which is a line I have enjoyed treading in my work. My main problem through the project came at the end, when coming to visualise the work, I was aware that the accessories and embellishment slant it had taken made me question its appropriateness for galleries space, hotel and bars etc. I think the samples could have fitted into this territory, but the opulence assertion of them created a correlation between fashion and interiors that I found to be a unique partnership that I would like to investigate further next term. I felt that the ‘Jewellery for Buildings’ concept from Level 5 was taken further to encompass jewellery for various outlets- as fashion, accessories and for interior purposes. I learnt a lot about the materials and processes I favour but also about the intentions for my work in this project and therefore I believe it to be a success, which helped me to understand what I would like to explore further as I progress into the FMP. The collection I produced have a tactile intrigue, though abstracted from the initial inspiration of unusual plant life, I feel I developed an interesting dialogue between the aesthetic and the sense of touch - a humour, playfulness and confusing desire to discover, similarly to the photos at a Kew that I drew my creative ideas from.