Hello, so this is going to be a little glimpse into the thoughts and things around some projects. Right now I'm exploring the topic of atmosphere and how objects within the home can influence it. Hope you enjoy 

1:4 Maquette 'Families'

Once three ‘bases’ had been identified as plausible concepts, I explored their design language and developed the ‘background’ lights to create a family. 

After seeing the scale model, it was apparent a few things were off - proportions and scale. This will be resolved and in doing so it will slim down the two ‘background’ lights so little attention is attracted to them - the emphasis should be on the ‘base’,  artefacts and the effect of light.

In addition to this realisation, it was clear that the forms I had made were to 'interesting for the purpose of the project. Designing forms which hold a sense of character and intrigue is something i enjoy; however it's not appropriate for this brief. 

Although it's not fully resolved the final design is not far away.

Blair McIntosh
1:1 Cardboard Models

The design process began by looking at the main point of interaction: the ‘base’. This was influenced by considering how and where people already collect these artefacts. There were multiple themes which looked at glorifying these objects whilst others would reside in the background.

Naturally this began with sketching but the ideas only really came to life when they began to exist in 3 dimension. 

1-1 models.jpg
Blair McIntosh
Identifying Where | Starting with the ‘base’
defining where.jpg

Where the ‘base’ is situated is a crucial factor and will affect how people approach and interact with the design. So understanding how and where people collect these artefacts is essential. 

there were three places which I had identified as areas which could be interesting: the wall (acting as a shelving unit and an alternative switch, a centrepiece (glorifying the artefacts) and then a mantlepiece (residing in the background).

“Well I don’t like having them as a centrepiece because they’re personal... to be honest, they tend to stay on the shelves or the periphery of the room” ~ Lynne Buchanan

With this key insight, my opinion is leaning towards a ‘base’ which is integrated into shelves/ mantlepiece, however other designs need to be explored and trialled before a decision can be made.

Blair McIntosh
Proof of Concept

I decided to make a working prototype which would demonstrate the core concept of my idea - how different artefacts would create a different lighting effect or ‘atmosphere’ so to speak. This was the first point I had integrated a changing colour temperature.

This had turned out to be a very significant moment as I got to see the reaction of the lecturers but also my peers. What this prototypes captured so well was the sense of magic, mystery and anticipation as the lights flouted and wobbled through its transition.

proof of concept_a.jpg
Blair McIntosh
Flowing Lights

A lot of my time this week had been taken up with refining the interaction of how the lights behaved with one and other. although these lights are still connected, the aim is to have three wirelessly connected lights which behave in the same manner as the one shown above - but that will be for another week.

My coding skills are progressing but still very much a novice.  I had described my struggle to others like so: "coding is like being asked to cook a risotto... but you don't know what the concept of food is". despite this, however, I'm learning... slowly. So to achieve this effect I have to give credit to a friend Will who massively helped with this development in coding.

What the GIF doesn't show is how each object has been assigned different temperatures of light (measured in Kelvin) and the relationship between the lights, some being faster whilst others are more mellow. These will be shown in due course.

Blair McIntosh
Design Talk - 'Colour Collection UK'


I had attended a talk given by the "colour collection UK' which focused on colours in interior design. what was so fascinating was the verity in talkers they had provided giving a different perspective on how they use and consider colour.

One of the more interesting people was Joe Feely, founder of 'Trend Bible' who gave in-depth knowledge in how colour trends through the season. She had mentioned that these trends can be seen early on in the adoption of 'mavens' whilst social, cultural and geographical moments can have a major effect on those colour trends.

She had identified how we will see a shift away from the refined scandi hygge interiors as we move into what she called 'Zen Garden' and 'elemental'  which have both been a response to how busy and cluttered our lives have become whilst also being influenced by the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. More interestingly she talked about 'Feed the mind' which is the complete rejection of scandi minimalism and uses bold/ bright colour, textures and patterns. 

Although not entirely necessary for me to attend the talk it was a topic of interest and has given some more food for thought regarding the project. However, for my project, I want the emphasis to be on the effect of light rather than the lights itself, so to choose trending colour might be contradictory to what i want to accomplish. 

Blair McIntosh
Nicolas Dorval-Bory’s 'Spectral Apartment'

The Spectral Apartment originally began as a Parisian studio which lacked natural light so it was architect Nicolas Dorval-Bory’s brief to solve this using artificial light.

To help him do so he took an objective approach, looking into CRI (colour rendering index) of each room, providing each space with the necessary lighting for the task at hand.

As a result, the flat has been split into two clear areas to offset the lack of natural light. the kitchen and living room are illuminated with fluorescent tubes emitting a high CRI glow for maximum colour reception, while low CRI sodium lamps provide a warmer hue in the bedroom.

The 'Spectral Apartment' is of great interest as it demonstrates how different lights are used within the home; whilst also highlights how different space of the home is used for different things. This thought will be something I will keep in mind as I begin to think of the role of each light.

Blair McIntosh
Philippe Rahm's 'Split Time Café'

this Philippe Rahm's 'Split time zone cafe' has created the illusion of three different times zones from the careful consideration of colour, playing on our bodies natural response to colour.  Two of the three rooms have each been designating for different physiological environments and functions, whislt the third has been used as a control which mimics the natural motion of the sun.

Philippe Rahm refers to these spaces as 'temporality' and later describes them as such:

The first temporality, taken in an envelope of clear glass, is, in real time, the time of the natural solar course. Classic furniture of a café is there, tables and chairs. 

The second temporality is built with a yellow
colored glass envelope, blocking the wavelengths of the light responsible for the fall of the melatonin in the body. It reproduces a true physiological night while being luminous. Furniture is here closer to a lounge and approaches the sofa to the bed. 

The third temporality is defined by an envelope of
blue glass of which wavelengths block the secretion of the melatonin in the body. It is thus a kind of perpetual day, for action, which becomes a bar, with high tables only, where customers stay upright for short stays.

This project was one I happened to come across as I began searching for how architects use lighting in space to convey an emotions. it helped to show the pyschologocal power of lighting and how it can be used to convey different moments.


Blair McIntosh
Richard Kelly's Theories of Lighting

Richard Kelly is a 20th century American lighting designer who has been considered one of the pioneers of architectural lighting design. With a background in stage lighting, Kelly introduced a scenographic perspective for architectural lighting. His principles are self-evident with today's architects but during his career, they were groundbreaking as he broke the engineering dominant mindset found in the early 20th-century architecture.

In his college paper, essay "Light as an Integral Part of Architecture" (1952) he introduced his three principles of lighting design: 

Focal Glow"Focal glow is the follow spot on the modern stage. It is the pool of light at your favourite reading chair. It is the shaft of sunshine that warms the end of the valley. It is candlelight on the face, and a flashlight on a stair... Focal glow draws attention, pulls together diverse parts, sells merchandise, separates the important from the unimportant, helps people see.”

Ambient luminescence - "Ambient luminescence is the uninterrupted light of a snowy morning in the open country. It is foglight at sea in a small boat, it is twilight haze on a wide river where shore and water and sky are indistinguishable. It is in any art gallery with strip-lighted walls, translucent ceiling, and white floor. (...) Ambient light produces shadowless illumination. It minimizes form and bulk.”

Play of brilliants - "Play of brilliants is Times Square at night. It is the eighteenth-century ballroom of crystal chandeliers and many candle flames. It is sunlight on a fountain or a rippling brook. It is a cache of diamonds in an opened cave. It is the rose window of Chartres... Play of brilliants excites the optic nerves, and in turn stimulates the body and spirit, quickens the appetite, awakens curiosity, sharpens the wit...."

lighitng princilpes.jpg

The first two of kelly principles are of great interest, and i feel my project would see the benefits to apply them. However, after thinking about the third, in which light attracts attention through sparkle and glamour, I not entirely sure if this would be appropriate for the home environment where a sense of calm lies.

his work.jpg
Blair McIntosh
A Conversation with Dario

In the last couple of days, I had contacted an architectural firm in Stockholm to get a better understanding of how architects use and consider light within the home. It was at this point i began to talk to Dario who had been practising architecture for the last 10 years.

Earlier in our conversation, he had brought up some points which I had before considered but was clear I had to refine those points so that, to a bystander, the intentions of the project are clearly defined.

That aside, the conversation was really great and his initial thoughts on the project were very positive a felt there was great potential in it. One of the more interesting points we discussed was about Richard Kelly for his pioneering use of light as part of the architectural concept as he established the three basic visual effects in order to design the lighting of any space, these being focal glow, ambient luminescence & play of brilliants.

These techniques are similar to those used by photographers, as discussed with Paul, and has potential to be applied the three lights I hope to create, giving the project more purpose.

Blair McIntosh
Design Direction No.2

After discovering how a family of diffusers would be too expensive and the project needing to have more character than three basic forms; the design direction has been tweaked.  it was also the observation that these glowing volumes may create some glare in the space of the home that induced the changed. 

In addition to this, at the 'Stocklholm Furniture and Lighting Fair' menu has just released the 'TR Bulb' of which is a versatile glowing globe. Understanding that that this earlier idea may be of a style/ trend is something I would like to avoid. Rather than appealing to what is currently 'cool' I hope that the form and style which these object to embody to be of their own style and character.

So the idea for 'Design Direction No.2' is too utilities the walls as natural diffuser. In doing this, the light source will be hidden whilst creating a even glow as it reflects off the wall.

Blair McIntosh
Thursday Group Chat

Each Thursday we have been gathering in our peer groups to discuss the progression of each project. This has evidently been a valuable experience as you never know what a pair of fresh eyes can give you. 

During the week I had been excited about an alternative idea which we then discussed during the session. After talking through it further, it was clear that I had strayed away from the simplicity of my original idea, and the values which I wanted the project to hold gotten blurred. This quick thought which I felt added more value to the project, in actual fact detracted from it and was a result of me over thinking the project. 

The idea and values are there;  time to start doing it.


Blair McIntosh
Contacting Manufacturers
picture source: BarberOsgerby

picture source: BarberOsgerby

With a clear idea of the design direction, I would like to pursue, I had quickly contacted a couple of Glass manufacture who specialise in precise and bespoke glass manufacturer, these being, Sunderland glass centre and techglass. 

With the intention to use opal glass, my lecturer had pre-warned me how opal glass for one can be very hard to come by and secondly can be over twice as expensive as traditional glass. So with that in mind i wanted to discover if this design direction was actually feasible considering I would want to make three bespoke diffuses, each with their own character.

After a few emails and phone calls, it was clear that this design direction wouldn't be feasible. 

Blair McIntosh
Paul from BarberOsgerby

During my time at ‘forpeople’ I was fortunate enough to have met and worked with Paul Gradder who is now at BarberOsgerby.  BarberOsgerby's studio works with both light and furniture and has a great understanding of space and the way in which we can influence it. 

My initial reasoning for contacting Paul was to see his opinion on my initial design concept ‘A family of Lights’ but also to better understand how Britain's top designers use and consider light within the home environment. 

In our initial conversation Paul had said the idea had some good potential but in doing three lights, they all have to be worthy of a final major project and can’t be basic revolves, instead they should hold some identity and character. He had also mentioned the lighting techniques which photographers use to light their subjects may be useful to keep in mind when considering different light typologies. the technique Paul was referring to was the use of a fill light, key light and a rim light.

He had also mentioned that my writing ability was no good... but there are no hard feelings...

Blair McIntosh
Connecting the Lights

So with the interaction simplified, it was time to get a better understanding of how to connect the three light wirelessly. The lights would be able to communicate with one and other relatively seamless if there were connected with wires. However to create the desired effect, wireless was the way forward.

In a conversation with Tommy, we had talked about different options but 'XBEE' seemed most appropriate. XBEE's use there own wireless system to transfer data from Arduino to Arduino;  opposed to using the wifi from the building. Tommy had also mentioned how XBEE's was the bain of his life... so well see how it goes.

So each light will need there own Arduino Nano and XBEE, so that will be something to bear in mind when thinking of the form of the lights.

Blair McIntosh

Today I began to learn the basic of Arduino and coding with Tommy (uni's technical guru) to put the idea into practice. From my experience with previous projects, I already knew soldering wasn't quite my forte so I was apprehensive as to how this would go. However, to my suprise, and i think Tommy's, I managed to wire together a load cell with Neopixles, so that depending on the weight a different colour effect would appear. 

We had previously discussed using a verity of sensors that would monitor, colour, distance, surface area. the aim for this would be to create a sense of mystery to the effect each object produced as the sensor would be used in different combinations. The idea for this was to try and mimic the mystery of atmosphere. however, after discussing this further, we figured in may be overly complicated and a few lines of coding may be able to solve it 

Blair McIntosh
Refining the Interaction

From exploring more playful interactions, I came to the conclusion that they detracted from the core idea of the project. So after refining it down to the bare essentials, i came up with a very basic interaction (shown above). the video shown is an exaggerated version of how I intend for the interaction to work but I feel it demonstrates the idea well.

Blair McIntosh
Interaction Experiment

Following the conversation with Neil the other day, I had quickly made some models to help demonstrate some interaction we had discussed. This included gestural affordances, for instance, if you were to push the object away from you, the lights would fade away. 

Exploring new forms of interactions was interesting, however, I feel gestures which allow you to control the light in a very specific manner takes away the core value of what I wanted the project to be - that being exploring and discovering atmosphere, not controlling it.

Above and below are animations of interaction concepts which, although interesting, overcomplicates the project. 

Blair McIntosh
A Conversation with Neil

Early this year I had many conversations with one of our courses wisest lectures Neil Smith however once entering our final major project our conversation began to pitter out. This is partly due to my anxiety of how my projects focus comes from a more abstract approach opposed to the traditional solution driven direction on ID. Reflecting on this, postponing a conversation with Neil was daft and what we had talked about helping the progression of the project.

When we talked Neil had mentioned exploring more natural and gestural affordances, and simplifying the use of the ‘emotional artefacts’ due to the subjective nature. So rather ‘personifying’ a specific object of sentimental value could the switch become any old object that the nearby?

This thought would be something I would explore in the next coming days.

Blair McIntosh
Design Direction No.1
design direction 1.jpg

With the idea of a family of lights firmly set in motion now, my initial thought is to have each light to be glass blown in opal glass. It would be the purity of form and glowing volume which I feel is appropriate for the project. Instead of having sculptural objects attracting the attention, I am hoping for the effect of the light and shadows that it casts to be of emphasis of the light.

Design Dierwctio no.13.jpg
Blair McIntosh