Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Chair-ish Creativity #2

DesignBox Architecture are delighted to have been invited back to Furzedown Primary School to run some more Architecture and Design Workshops.  We worked on chair designs over two weekly lessons.  The workshops focused on the development of design using writing, drawing and making skills.  

  • Writing skills started with a name for the chair design and a 'narrative' to describe what the design is about and its significance.
  • Drawing skills looked to visualise the written design idea.  Pens, pencils, colours and any artistic medium were encouraged to express the student's ideas.  Drawings could be orthogonal (we discussed plans, sections, elevations and axonometrics) or free-form.
  • Model making skills using materials sympathetic to the material and structural choices made by the students in their designs.  
Extracts from the workshop sequence sheets, looking at the concept, structures and ergonomics.

The idea of the workshops was to investigate a holistic design approach.  Each skill-set informed the next and progress through the workshops informed the student's overall designs.  For example, model making revealed both restrictions and opportunities over the drawn ideas, and both offered feedback on the narrative and initial concept.  

The workshops were fast-paced with lessons broken down in to progressive steps lasting about 20 minutes each.  This kept the students focused in their ideas and enthusiastic for the process.  The students were a class of year-5, 10 year olds.  

The design process looked at thinking about: 
  • The concept; who the product is for and what is significant or special about it,
  • Functionality; considering how a concept translates in to a purposeful design, 
  • Drawing practice; how to represent ideas in different ways in two dimensions, 
  • Structures; the different types of structures that surround us and how they work,
  • Ergonomics; considering how how humans move, our differences and the importance of inclusivity.

Examples of work showing text, drawing and models

The results were hugely creative.  The student's imagination produced some very impressive results.  Their application and involvement in the process drove many of them to work through design issues positively which was very encouraging.  The students considered their designs carefully.  In addition to the predicted gaming chairs, the works included a comfy chair for Mum, a trampoline chair, and a chair to meet friends on.     

More examples of work showing text, drawing and models

Thanks to Furzedown Primary School and their Art department.  Have a great Summer!

Education note: The purpose of this design workshop was to demonstrate the importance of Art and creative subjects in the National Curriculum, especially when used in application with mainstream subjects like English and Maths.  'Chair-ish creativity' is about how we should 'cherish creativity' and demonstrate why the STEM subjects are much more accessible and enjoyable when set within an environment of STEAM.

The multi-mode process also helped the students to understand how design develops and is informed by each separate step in the process.  

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