Tuesday, June 30, 2009

IDEO : Lessons on Creativity

A 3 part clip of how IDEO taught everyone on the Process of Creativity. Although this was some time ago, the lessons involved still applies to all design work being done today.

Designers: If you're being sidetracked in your workplace, this might help straighten you out.

Clients/Clients-to-be: This is how designers work. Dont try and be the designer. Let them work their magic. You hired them for that very sole purpose.

Thank you IDEO.




Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Every house and space tells a Story. It has to. If not, it shouldnt exist.

Apart of formal and contextual issues, it is the characteristics of domestic life that underpins most residential projects. Design ideas are are born from initial discussions and brainstorming with the client(s) and from getting a feel of the talked about 'space'. The first design sketches happen really quickly because its the best way of communication between designer and client. Its an act of conversation and translation.

There is a very obvious line between designing houses and decorating them. I recently flip through this magazine titled 'Designers of the Year', a Malaysian publication, and I found it appalling. It should've been titled 'Decorators of the Year'. Even that, those in it fail to make the cut. At least for me.

I've always wanted to design houses that respond to a certain characteristics of landscape and context and yet is an accurate interpretation of the client's brief and requirements. The design must engage directly with the complexities of the domestic family life. Many architects / designers are pretty strict and orthodoxed which results in their client becoming totally subsumed, requiring them to live in a certain way and conform to a rules set by the architect / designer's design agenda.

In contrast, my endeavour is to find the theatricalities of the occupants existence, issues of socialbility and what dynamics are apparent withing the occupants. The story of the house then emerges out of that mix and its complexities.

If a house has no story, it should cease to exist.

Monday, June 8, 2009

What is your Design Process?

In our work place, bogged down with tons of work and never ending deadlines, we tend to lose ourselves and the way we work. While having a multi-tasking skill in a design environment is vital, how often do we skip the design process? Which results in designs being rejected, and never ending amendments. Most of them ridiculous.

While my methods are not perfect, each time i find myself being sidetracked, i got back to my roots. We all should remember this, each time we get lost, recall back the fundamentals that has been thought to us. Even if it seems like we're back in school, there's nothing like Back to Basics.

Design Brief - How do you approach it?
- Design is a methodology to solve problems. Every brief is an oppurtunity to solve one. By using basics steps, list down the things that need to be solved One by One.
Ie: Fixed requirements, limitations, budget, etc. This will automatically create a framework in which you are going to work in.

BrainStorming Sessions
- The most vital of all. Which most of us fail to do - properly. What may seem unimportant / trivial is what will get us closest to the finish line.
- Spend more time BrainStorming. I do that a lot. A good BrainStorming session should be about 1 hour. 1.5 hours max. Anything after that is just a repetition of the past hour.
- Whether you do it in a group or alone. Do it.

Research Methods
- Internet!; it would be ridiculous not to use the internet as ur first tool for research.
- Create ur own mockups and do tests. Dont be lazy!
- Approach people who can help you. Nothing beats first hand communication. But be sure to ask the right questions.
- Watch a movie! I do that to get ideas/inspirations.

How do you prove Ideas that come from your BrainStorming session?
- I do fast sketches, quick rough mock-ups. A whole wall of mindmaps will easily be beaten by a 3d object in front of you.
- Sketches give more dimension to words. Even if its a rough sketch. It works.

Design Development
- Proper Research and Brainstorming would lead you to have development ur findings further. Here you would start to explore ur ideas in 3d softwares. As i use a lot of 3dS max, my sketches are very rough and usually straight into 3d. My design developments methods usually cross between sketching and 3d modelling.

Design Refinement
- This is where the magic happens. Designs are being realize realistically in 3D. You almost see the final product. At this point, junior designers are usually in awe that the renderings are so kick ass they forget to re-evaluate the 'methodology' that is supposed to solve the problem. The line between the answer and aesthetics become a little too fine.
- We should have checklist and check them out one-by-one. See if all requirements/problems have been met and solved. And if any improvements can be done about it.

- Designers should always be present in delivering the idea to the client. If you let anyone present them for you, its a 50-50. Some points are sure to be missed and you will not be there to explain/defend your work. Its almost like a sitting duck waiting to be shot at.