Week Three

This is the first week that I’ve managed to read during my commute. Before now I found watching people getting on with their day far too compelling, not that the novelty of London has worn off in any way. I still get excited when there’s a seat free right at the front of the bus. London on the big screen.

Although in spite her beauty London can also be a cruel mistress for so many reasons, in part because she is an expensive companion but also because she is confusing. Due to having lived in a small town my whole life and also because I have no particular aversion to walking, I have never really had a need to catch buses before, so this was something of a learning curve for me when I first began my commute. Fortunately, I sailed through the first two weeks with ease, jumping on and of buses almost like a local. Becoming quite proficient in fact. Until Monday… The plan was simple, jump off the bus at a small parade of shops – around a quarter of the way through the 45 from Kings Cross’s journey and half way through mine to Blackfriars – to grab some bits from the CO-OP. Then, of course, jump back on the bus and continue on to work. The first part went off without a hitch. Blueberry muffins and pasta pot stowed away in my bag I reappeared on the bustling street, sunglasses on, and after some time of carefully taking in my surroundings, I realised that I had no idea which direction I had entered the shop from, which is situated on the corner of the ever-busying roads. I thought I was saved when I saw the beloved 45 at a red light, about to head towards a bus stop I could easily make if I walked briskly. Positively smug I jumped on the bus when it stopped in front of me, headphones blaring I took my seat. As always I watched the world go by from my bumpy throne, taking in the things I recognised and the things I didn’t. 20 minutes later I found myself sat outside King’s Cross station, where my journey had begun.

The rest of the week was considerably more successful. I got my first legitimate drawing pack. Gone are the days of tinkering with my Greggs Training file. Time now to apply what I have learned the last two weeks to a live project.

However, although things have gotten more serious this week there still hasn’t been a day go by without a small London treat, like free frozen yogurt from SNOG if you order via Uber Eats or a free bottle of Honest T if you take a photo with their floral installation (that picture is never to be seen). This week was no exception, this week I got the insane opportunity to see London in a way not many people do, from the very top of the OXO Tower Wharf. For a dizzying half hour, I got to peer at London through a birds eye.

 

Also this week I was given my very own set of keys to the office which means that during the half an hour before anyone else gets there I can let myself in and, in this instance, take photos.

London Showroom

Week One

The first morning felt like a dream, not only because it had been a long time since I’d been up at 6 am but because that was the first day of my career as an interior designer.

Bleary-eyed I got dressed, in an outfit I’d planned the night before, grabbed my bag, which I’d packed the night before, and gathered up the last few bits; wallet, phone, keys, and my lunch, which I’d made the night before. I felt accomplished already by the time I got to the bus stop. There’s something satisfying about walking the streets before most people have even opened their eyes. Dog owners, early morning joggers, and fellow commuters were my company that morning, it was nice. I’d already anticipated the morning commute being the worst part of my week so I was pleasantly surprised when I quite enjoyed it. Saying that coming back is much less enjoyable. Traveling there is easy with all the anticipation of what I’ll be doing that day putting a spring in my step, but an equal anticipation to be home at the end of the day adds a haste to my footsteps on the way back, and brings out an inner intolerance for slow walkers. Also having said that, it’s only been a week.

I walked into the office to see a neatly piled stack of paperwork and a drawing pack, as well as a Pukka Pad, a dates diary, two pens, and a highlighter in front of my computer on my side of the carved wooden desk. I stifled the grin, said good morning to my new colleagues and thought this is fucking it as I lowered myself into my chair. That morning was spent doing new job things like setting up my email, getting shown around the building I would be spending the majority of the next year of my life in, and of course being given some work to do – after all, this is my job now.

As Philip Watts Design is split 50/50 between product design and interior design, Arun explained that it is important for me to have even a basic knowledge of the products the company has on offer, especially as our studio is also a showroom. So I busied myself referring to the product website to find the names of the handles around the showroom. Then lunch, which as I had no stack of work to do this week has been a great chance to explore the area and test out different lunch spots. I found one that I liked on the third day, right in the sun at the top of a set of steps that leads right down to the Thames.

It didn’t take long for me to start working on one of their ongoing projects. I picked up one of the only residential projects Philip Watts works on. My job was to source furniture options, present them in an InDesign file; including image, where it’s from and how much it costs, also any additional information that might be helpful such as dimensions or other colour or material options. This was something I continued to work on for the rest of the week, all the while listening to the comments fly around the room regarding other projects and getting involved where possible.

I had the opportunity to meet the Nottingham team one afternoon early in the week while Arun was on a Skype call with Phil to discuss some changes the clients had come back with. I also managed to meet the teams’ sweetheart and mascot, Hilda, who you can see on the teams Instagram. I know it’s a cliche to say a company is like a family, but it honestly feels like one. What with Arun throwing the phone at me throughout the day to say hello to various team members, much like my mother does with my grandparents. My nerves ebbed away with each friendly welcoming to the team. Also in true family style, my computer is a lovingly cleared out hand me down.

On Friday the long process of training me to produce a complete drawing pack for the new Greggs national roll out, a design the Philip Watts team is responsible for, began. First learning about the different floor finishes and then onto wall finishes, all the while rapidly writing notes on all the AutoCAD tips I’m learning from the guys as I meticulously work through the tasks I’m given. I think the best thing about beginning my adventure in such a friendly environment is the ability to ask questions and, in some cases, be openly be confused. Fortunately, nothing is too much trouble for my new team, even if it is to explain what a bulkhead is for the 10th time.

We finished off the week with a prosecco toast in the office and then when 5 o’clock hit shortly after we left in the direction of another watering hole for one more before it was time for me to begin my commute home.

I walked to the bus stop with the same grin on my face that I had on my first day, this is is it, I did it. And I think I’m going to like it here…

 

 

Follow my Instagram and Twitter to keep up to date with my adventures before my next blog post, which will hopefully be weekly from now on.

 

Note to Self

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I always think it’s vital to start any day or task with a plan of what you hope to achieve, as a way of ensuring you stay on track. I personally like to do this in the form of a physical list so that I can tick things off as I go and make notes or adjustments without relying on my frazzled and probably elsewhere mind.  I’ve been told by almost everyone who knows me that I’m extremely organised, bordering on obsessive when it comes to making lists and plans. I never shy away from careful colour-coding or frantic post-it noting, also techniques I find very helpful when I’m organising my workload.

As you can imagine I’ve worked my way through my fair share of notebooks (as well as highlighters, pens and various other stationary) but my Bullet Journal is my favourite companion by far. It remains tucked safely in the bottom of my bag, always there when I need it to jot down notes or sketch something quickly.

I also take lecture notes in my Bullet Journal, which you can see below. Since first year I’ve developed my own style of handwriting when taking notes, more as a necessity than by choice, as my regular handwriting is extremely difficult to read, especially when written in a rush. This has helped enormously when it comes to looking back at my notes at a later date, as well as when I’m getting my work looked at by lecturers, this process is made much quicker when I don’t have to read every other word to them.

Ultimately, what I’m saying is, get yourself a good notebook and a good system for making and keeping notes.

TITle

So I’ve been thinking a lot about my image lately, the need to be, or at least appear professional. The idea of creating a brand, or maybe even being my own brand. Especially as I’m currently looking for placement, emailing a lot of companies my portfolio and CV, along with accompanying social medial accounts which needs to adhere to level of maturity. This unfortunately means censoring myself and some of my old and more controversial work, such as my Free The Nipple project.

I worked on this project during my final year of college and am very proud of the outcome, as well as the project itself. During this time I explored a lot of avenues within the idea of feminism. The project asked questions regarding the censorship of women and tentatively pushed the boundaries of what I discovered is ‘appropriate’. I took great pleasure in asking the sniggering kids in my school exactly why they found my braless breasts so funny, while pointing out I could see all of the boys nipples who were giggling at mine. I tried to challenge the stigma of misplaced embarrassment that surrounds harmlessly revealing the female form. Ultimately, despite mine and many other feminists best efforts, I still believe that women are unfairly sexualised in all forms; the media, social stereotypes, porn, adverts, music videos, sport.

While I resent the fact I cannot parade this project I also respect that it is sensitive and controversial. I am putting this project out there for whoever it may interest, because the idea of censoring it goes against the exact reason I made it. This project was made to challenge, to ask why we women must be so modest with our bodies.

Damn being a grown up…

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Below is the link to my Free The Nipple project, please be warned that there are many images of naked women and probably some misspelled words. Peruse at your leisure.

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Autokind V’s Mankind

Although it’s arguable that presentation skills are more important and useful in the design industry than written communication, it is still important to be able to demonstrate ideas cohesively through written work. For this reason one of my modules, Context and Critical Studies, is assessed on an essay that is written and critiqued during the semester. Above are the covers of the books I used to research my last essay. My question, ‘What are the similarities and differences in the ways in which official authorities have employed design and architecture as part of larger social and political agendas?’ lead me down the path of post war rehabilitation of England. An extremely interesting subject to read up on and a very enjoyable essay to write.

Luckily, I enjoy writing essays. English is something I have always been passionate about, keeping it close to me all the way through school and college. This year I’m using my 2500 words to discuss something I wouldn’t usually chose to research, the evolution of the automobile and the effect it has had on architecture and town planning. I am a self confessed pen and paper girl so learning about the automobiles technology and its rapid advances is extremely enjoyable. Especially as cars are an entity I have a strange relationship with, respected form a far for their undeniable capabilities but also fervently disdained for the countless negative impacts they have had and will continue to have on our planet. This was mostly spurred on by a crash I was in a few years back, it was around the time all of my fiends were learning how to drive but since then any urge to drive was literally knocked straight out of me. This love loss has allowed me to view the damage that automobiles inflict on our planet without smog rose tinted glasses. I think researching and writing this essay is and will continue to enable my cynicism about the modern world. And the wise words of Kenneth R. Schneider are only consolidating my beliefs that ‘settlement through history has been the simultaneous result of both creative and destructive forces’.

I’ll leave you to ponder this quote:

‘If transportation in the city is smilier to the blood vessels in the body, the automobile explosion occurring throughout many parts of the world today is now creating the same problems for the health of the city as blood clots create for the body’

Leave a comment and let me know what you think about the automobile, join the discussion

STUDIO

Studio is arguably the most important module of my course as it teaches us how how to create and present innovative design concepts, which will eventually be the basis of most of our careers. Studio should also be the most enjoyable module, however again due to being unfortunate enough to get a lecturer that has no place in a primary school let alone university studio had become one of the most frustrating modules yet. Luckily our brief this semester was an exciting one, to redesign the foyer and walkway of the Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre. The building consists of:

One dark and smelly walkway which runs through the building, linking the Stevenage train staton to the town.

And the centre itself which has multiple functions. It’s foremost being the theatre although it also boasts a large restaurant area, cafe, gym, multiple sports halls, conference rooms and offices.

There was no doubt in anyones mind that the building is ugly, badly designed, poorly laid out and, absolutely bursting with opportunities. The site, although dingy and drab inside actually had access to a lot of natural light in the form of large curved windows.

This, and the beautiful cement structures (visible through the windows) which support the walkway were the aspects of the building that immediately stuck out to me and later were the primary influence in my design.

We were lucky enough to have a guided tour of the building by the building owner Paul who was very specific about the aspects of the space he wanted preserved and which ones he wanted intervened. From the site visit the main interventions I wanted to implement were:

  • Opening up the space, making it more open plan, and allowing the views to be more visible
  • To add an additional entrance to the building, possibly focused around disabled access (something the building is currently lacking)
  • Modernise the space
  • Combine the walkway and building so they’re not such separate elements

 

I’ll do another post soon detailing how I went about these interventions, but first, I think it’s about time I showed you guys my new house…

 

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