Translucent Cubes

21 Apr 2010

millbank studio

What I've learnt about myself through designing.

Before I started studying Interior & Spatial Design, I hadn't given any kind of materials much thought. I had no idea how to design, or what design was really all about - I was a bit of a nightmare! - but my tutor encouraged me to try to work out what I like, and I spent a lot of time looking through projects in the library and built up a little collection of things that inspire me. Ideas that jumped out over and over again were CUBES (anything cubic or rectilinear - do you get the blog name now?) and TRANSLUCENT materials (glass, mesh, wafer thin stone.. anything that partially lets the light through). It's funny that I felt so strongly about these things, but hadn't given them a second thought a few months prior. The image above is from my first project (a studio apartment for a fellow student) and I combined my love of cubic forms and translucent glass in the form of an intersecting wall and table.

Well, after this first project I didn't realise I was allowed to continue exploring the same kind of design language, so I spent a couple of months pulling out my hair trying to work out what to do with the second project. Then I suddenly realised that it was OK to continue working with this idea of layers and filtered views. So I was sorted and it worked out fine.

language centre

So you'd think I'd know what to do for my Masters project, wouldn't you? Well, apparently not. I've spent the last few months in a panic, not knowing what direction to go in. My research area is the use of text in buildings (linking back to my Linguistics background) and it was only a few weeks ago that a little lightbulb lit up in my head and I realised that actually translucent materials would work perfectly with this project too.

The photo above is of an early sketch model for a community language centre that I'm designing (the wood actually represents the existing steel framework). The site I chose is in Bethnal Green and it is very rich in terms of languages spoken (around 100 different languages are spoken in that area). The words printed on the glass are Yiddish, which was widely spoken at the turn of the 20th Century, but it's hardly spoken by anyone in that area now. I'm trying to create a building with layers of materials that relate to the layers of history.

Anyway, the reason I felt so compelled to write all of this down is that I had a tutorial this morning. My tutor seemed to understand exactly what my project is all about, and hearing him say it back to me has cemented it in my mind and I feel much more confident pursuing it. It's just as well, as I need to submit my whole portfolio for an interim assessment in 2 weeks. Better get working. Yikes!

* Both photos are mine. Please do not reproduce. Thanks!


Kelley Anne said...

That's so interesting. I love the idea of layering language and transluscent materials. That image is incredible. Its so peaceful and reminds me of seeing rocks under clear water in a still pond. As if the words are descending towards us or revealing themselves. Would you please show us more as your work progresses?

Anonymous said...

Best of luck with your project! Portfolios are so tough; but trust me, when you're done the feeling is unmatched. I love the idea of translucency and filtered light in design. I'm also really impressed with your idea of text within buildings. Reminds me of the house in the movie 13 Ghosts. Keep up the good work!

Stephanie Sabbe said...

rebecca! I LOVE this SO much! You are going to be a famous designer and I'm going to be able to say I knew you when...:)

Post a Comment