Southampton visit

Upon a visit to south Hampton we had the opportunity to get a feel for it as a city and expand our knowledge.

We began by visiting the Solent studio at Southampton university and had a chance to get to know the students we would be collaborating with. We were given a really warm welcome and got a chance to see another studio space and how it works for them.

The Solent studio felt really motivated. Their space was full of colourful work and the walls were shrouded with inspiration.

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Meeting the Solent students made the collaboration seem more realistic and gave us more of an incentive to share our work on the online shared document to work with.

After this meeting we ventured out to take a walk around the area to get a feel for the place that we would be studying. I began to notice the huge contrasts that were displayed between modern industrial buildings and historical architecture.

We took a historical walk through the city after lunch. I found it fascinating to discover that the city is full of underground wine vaults. as it is a town with a port it was used to export wine into the country. There was so much that they needed more space to store it. Hence the wine vaults were created. many people have no idea that they exist including people who are living above them .

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southampton wine vault 

During the war the vaults became useful bomb shelters and have come in very useful in that way. We were lucky enough to visit on the these vaults and i found it interesting that they were one of the only historical sites in Southampton that Weren’t tainted by modern industrial builds.

 

Four Corners Books, a studio visit

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Four Corners Books website photograph

Four Corners Books was establishing in 2004 and is run by Richard Embray and Elinor Jansz. When visiting their studio, I learnt something about the way in which they work and work as a team. Their studio is within a grade A listed room from the 18th century that maintains all its historical features. As a result of this they are unable to make many changes to the room such as sticking things on the walls. This may have made it difficult for them to create their own creative space to work in, however the room is incredibly beautiful and has a great sense of calm due to its neutral colours and tidy appearance.

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18th century ceiling

This could be seen as features that enhance a calm working environment. They have been in this studio space for 6 years which appears to have worked well for them. Un-like some practitioners, Richard and Elinor do find that they don’t gain much of their ideas and inspiration from being within their studio space, instead they tend to find getting outdoors and visiting different places, and seeing what’s out there is their main source of encouragement and they then take back all this ideas and research to their studio space and use it as a place to tie everything together. Ultimately a light, spacious and neutral studio space will cater to this.

Their website runs with this theme of clear and simplistic and you should find it is easy to navigate. Visit their website Here.

They began working on one book together at art college about adventure playgrounds and how they exist as inner city spaces and their partnership built up from there. All their books take on a different style but they all push the boundary of what is common in some way or another. For example, their edition of ‘A picture of Dorian Grey ‘ does not even display the title or author on the front cover.

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‘a picture of dorian grey’ edition

 

Walter De Maria, New Yorks earth room

 

Walter De Maria is an american artist/ sculptor/ illustrator. He deals alot with
conceptual and land art. I visited the Earth room is New York City with it being one of his most famous pieces. I was sceptical about how much a room filled purely with dirt could make your feel. Before my visit i thought the idea was slightly too conceptual for my liking.

However when entering the room i was surprised by the power in which the room had. As you first walk in you feel like you are just entering someones home. A normal apartment in the centre of Soho. I rang the buzzer and waited for the door to open before walking up a perfectly ordinary narrow staircase. Once entering the apartment you walk through the hallway and as you turn right there is a sight so unexpected. Simply the sight of earth in such an unfamiliar surrounding. 280,000 pounds of dirt is an impressive sight in itself; when contrasted with crisp white walls in such a conventional indoor space it is somewhat perplexing and mesmerising at the same time.

I thought it would make it more interesting if one was able to walk through it or be among the earth in the room. Nevertheless i realised that there was a certain untouched beauty about it.
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Museum of childhood

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I took a visit to the museum of childhood in order to gather research for my critical and contextual studies. It contains a collections of objects related to childhood such as toys, gadgets and entertainment.
I have been focused on the modernist movements and was drawn to the dolls houses displayed. There is a great number of them and they are a good reflection of style and it’s development through time.
I discovered that up until the mid 19th century that dolls houses werent actually seen as as childs play things. They were used by adults to display their sense of style and sat in people’s homes as something to be looked at. Therefore they are a very accurate reflection of changing architecture

Typology with Heather

 

In this photography based workshop we were required to go away and photograph a series of images. The brief stated that they had to ‘tell a story’ meaning there needed to be a ongoing theme throughout all of the photographs. I began thinking about all the traits of London that people don’t expect when imagining a trip to one of the biggest and furthest developed cities in the world. Such as furniture left out in the streets, piled up rubbish, beer cans and litter and more. Whilst at the same time these are all the things that make me feel at home. Last year I spent two months living in Paris and through this I discovered that I didn’t warm to how pristine the streets were. Every street there is very beautiful however they are look almost identical and as a result lack the diversity and character that London holds. Through this project i also began to look at gentrification and the way in which Londoners  don’t want constant changed and improvement and like their home the way it is; more affordable withholding character.

V&A visit

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Influences From beyond Europe takes us on a journey through foreign design objects deriving from the 19th century. In Victorian Britain retailers traded an array of imported good from Asia, and the Islamic world. Between 1840-1900 the British Empire was expanding and as a result of this trade amongst China, India, Japan, the Islamic world and Southern Spain steadily improved. Due to factors such as the industrial revolution photographers could now experience these other cultures truthfully. This was a chance for designers to break free from the traditional British style that had dominated the 18th and 19th century previously. Despite Britain leaping forward in time with technology, countries such as Asia and the Islamic world were ahead with the appearances of their stimulating use of colour and pattern.

The Victoria and Albert museum was originally the South Kensington Museum in which Queen Vitoria and Prince Albert introduced items that remained from the notorious Great Exhibition of the Victorian era. The great Exhibition took place during the growth in sales whilst partially being the reason for it. Britain was the most powerful and important nation in the world.

A lot of these artistic principles taken by the British from abroad were displayed in the Japanese section from the Influences from Abroad exhibition. Although these displays were larger and contained more artifacts the feeling of the room is still as dark and depressing. If anything expectations might be that the display held in a larger room might feel more spacious and bright but it was quite the opposite. The Influences from Japan are held in a larger room the feels, unbelievably, even more confined than the constricted corridor containing a century worth of prominent design from three parts of the world.

Conversely the colour and lighting of the displays were clearly well thought through during the curation of the displays. Nevertheless this does not necessarily work to its benefit. There is the use of a gold wall within the Japanese display, representative of the rich colour and fabric that were used at the time. Correspondingly within the corridor made up of Asian and Islamic works presented and rich red solid red background, a colour that was not traditionally considered British at this time. These indulgent backgrounds multiplied with the darkness of the gallery perhaps detract from the decorative items that are displayed.

The main item that stood out from all the other exhibits was the Japanese inspired sideboard. this famous piece of furniture design with its geometric form and ebonized finish come from the designer, E.W Godwin’s study of Japanese artistic principles. Un-like the other items from Asia and the Islamic world the sideboard is strategically placed on a simple bamboo flooring, in front of a well-lit and modest plain white wall. This encourages that it lives up to its glory as all of these beautiful and exotic items should.

Toby Leigh Studio Space

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Toby Leigh is a London born Illustrator who claims this has given him a fascination in odd people and characters. He likes to listen to people on public transport and having conversations with people he meets and shopkeepers and such. I admire his approach and his studio was a perfect reflection of his spontaneous yet laid back character as an artist. The studio was an inspiring space that I’m sure any aspiring designer would be grateful to work in. Leigh is a great believer in working in a social environment in which you are surrounded by inspiration from your fellow creatives. The space was filled with comical and interesting objects that he had found and collected; yet not cramped and cluttered. Leigh showed us the process in which he works which I admired as he still used pencil and paper to mess around with drawings and working on them by hand. However he then scans them into the computer and works on them further in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. I found this a very constructive way of working and ultimately the outcomes are personal, brilliantly funny, with a homemade feel whilst also technically very skilled.

 

Fraser Muggeridge Studio Space

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Fraser Muggeridge is a London based designer who runs a studio in Farringdon. Visiting Fraser Muggeridge’s studio was an interesting experience. The studio was highly individual and full of life. With the walls covered in a collection of posters and Typography. Muggeridge was wearing his polkadot socks and slippers, which I thought was quite fitting of his character and studio. The studio space is very cramped and I got a sense of chaos. However for him I think it is organized mess and is obviously the best way he finds of working. I did also gain some inspiration for creating our own studio within our university. He take an approach of printing all work before completion to get a feel of its appearance off-screen is extremely useful. Placing all of these prints up on the walls also creates a sense of creation and inspiration in your work surroundings.