I started my second year full of enthusiasm, as my first year, but when asked to actually chose a Company and design a collection for it I honestly felt lost for the whole first week. Not only I didn’t truly understand my style until then but I also didn’t know the name of more then a few interior companies. I always admired the designs i was seeing in books, journals or web but never deeply researched the why and the whos. This is when I started an extensive research in the library which resulted in an expansion of my knowledge, but most of all in a better understanding of who I am as a surface designer.
The break for field brought me quite far away from Subject and deep into making and into a business mind set. Making a chair from scratch was an amazing achievement and creating a product to sell in a creative group of people, contributed enormously to realise how much further I can push my skills, or motivation to learn new ones, in order to finish a project at my best. This is when I found myself being half way through being a Surface Designer and a Maker. I particularly enjoy the engineering part of designing a functional product and not only an aesthetically pleasant one.
Coming back to Subject made me feel a bit restricted because most of our background in Textiles is stitch and print while there are many other workshops around the University that could bring textiles to a completely different level. So I decided to bring in my Maker skills, acquired by chasing workshops, and combine it with my ongoing collection. This is how the idea of the Led Wall Panel came to life. By combining the function of a lamp with the decorative aesthetics of a wallpaper. I chose Mdf and plexiglass because they are strong and versatile materials, easily cut and engraved with the laser cutter, while the second is also capable to spread the light across its surface.
I chose Timorous Beasties for many reasons but mostly because of the shocking, but still sober, aesthetic of their designs and the combination of neutral and vivid colours giving a sophisticated and Gothic feel to their creations. After a wider research and deconstruction of Damask motifs, it led me to reinterpret its structure in my designs by bringing together organic and abstract elements in an organised layout, which also define my character.
I always had difficulties in choosing a colour palette, in the sense that I can not really pick them by eye or instinctively so I found a good system that works great for me. In this case I firstly created my mood and colour board and then picked the main colours in Photoshop ensuring, as well, that I end up with the right tones. I experimented hugely with different colour ways and coordination and now I can safely say I am much more confident in facing a similar task. Scale was also a major consideration in my designs, mostly for the wall coverings, where I’m keen in using large scale, so I decided to print my Totem design and see it in it’s real dimension on a 3 meter long roll. I also played with borders and placement, to have more varieties to chose from, even though it represents a side variation of my collection.
The desk space was really helpful in organising my work both on the table and the board. I wish I had this opportunity for the third term as well, and maybe this could also be an incentive for everybody to work more in University and allow everybody else to be part of the work in progress of others. Not only for the final work on the day of the submission. I think that class mates should be one of the resources that help and push us develop our skills and motivations.
I was, and still am, very happy to say that I didn’t change much of my brief since term one, just refined it slightly and adapt it to a work in progress that never really stopped in my head, not even during field. I added the specification of the Damask structure and the use of the word modern concerning the style. The initial research has been fundamental and quite exhaustive and allowed me this term to almost immediately go further and start analyse my Company’s designs more in depth and most of all, start experimenting with my own designs, techniques and materials. Considering that my target market is a more than 30 years old professional with a medium high income, I considered as materials mainly linen, velvet and leather which I also found quite easy to work with after adjusting the tools based on each one’s features.
The London Design Week was a full immersion of inspiration which I plan on repeating every year. I admired and analysed materials, techniques and portfolios. I studied some of the portfolios page by page, mostly the arrangement of the coordinates. Each colour way had a different arrangement of coordinates and I brought this experience back in the way I mounted my designs. I also took inspiration from the labelling and the fact that they included on it small symbols of the products those designs were meant for, depending on each one’s characteristics. I also gathered a huge amount of samples, chosen based on whatsoever detail that was triggering my creativity.
I’m planing to further develop part of my creations by integrating screen printing, more specifically foiling and flocking in order to create a more tactile texture and add my personal touch of sophistication. I also want to revisit my Led Wall Panel prototype by extending its dimensions and play with colour. Workshops permitting, I plan to also extend its function by integrating a touch pad and transform it into an interactive piece of design. I will definitely continue developing my colour skills and experiment with coordinating designs.
Overall, I had a really satisfying time since the start of my second year, always putting myself in challenging situations.