Blog

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 

Scott Licznerski: Architect + Artist

Today I had the opportunity to have a conversation with Scott Licznerski, Edinburgh born architect who is now pursuing his own art in London. Scott had gained experience in architecture which took him to Japan and moved back to Edinburgh to lecture the Master architecture course whilst being asked to do so in Amsterdam

Although on the surface it may seem distant from my exploration theme, I felt it was necessary to see what an experienced and talented architect’s point of view was on the home. I was hoping to gain insight into how we interact with space within the home. However what was to come was something I was wasn’t expecting but has greatly broadened my thinking. 

Naturally, as we talked about nomadic culture, Scott's experience of living in a megacity, Tokyo. It’s crazy to see how far away their culture is to our home life here in Britain. One of the things which struck me most was the idea that “the cities become your home”. Due to the scale of Megacities, the coffee shop becomes your living room, the gym becomes you bathroom, street food becomes your kitchen, love hotels become a place of privacy. the modern city is about flexibility. It was interesting though to think that modern nomads aren't too dissimilar to those that roamed 200 years ago - “the one who wonders for pasture” Greek definition

One of the more alarming things was after reading a trend report following our meeting, the likely hood of this being a normal occurrence may arise.

Some photos refrencing our chat

Some photos refrencing our chat

Blair McIntosh
Knowing Nomads
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Chris Casey - Qatar

Had a little chat with an international student who has found himself moving from flat to flat whilst being at uni. In addition to that, his parents have been moving from house to house, meaning he hasn’t had a true home... but is the home the space or things or people?

One of the more interesting things we discussed was that his parents would buy a new set of bookshelves every time they moved house. The reason for this was they appreciate the shelves for the function they help but they treasured the books. Dieter Rams 606 shelving system embodied this idea where it was said to be “unobtrusive” whilst Rudolf Schonwandt referred to this as “thinning out” said that. Rather than have furniture being the centrepiece, instead could it facilitate the needs of the people around it, complementary to the objects around it. A frame which you then add your life too and grows with your experiences? 

Blair McIntosh
Nick Ross

Nick Ross is a Scottish designer who creates a fictional narrative by exploring the past. He wrote in Pamono website a little bit about himself which describes his work and inspiration: 

“My work looks at the role of history and storytelling in how we perceive the world around us, by working with themes such as place, origin, and the role fiction plays in past and present societies. My main interest lies in how guesswork or cultural ‘curation’ can create situations where we are influenced to think in certain ways and feel certain things.”

what I enjoy about Nicks works is how he abstracts history into narrative whilst having a material quality. As I got familiar with the thought process and I saw a potential for my own project to share the same values, one which would create an abstract project, provoking a thought and value vs a practical commercial product.

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Blair McIntosh
Knowing Nomads
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Lynne & Ross - Scotland

Two veteran nomads who in their time have lived in 3 different continents, equating to 5 countries, 7 cities and 13 homes. They’ve experienced the highs and lows of moving abroad and what it's like moving from house to house and what it takes to create a home.

Being frequent movers, their homes were ever changing. each new location brought a new thing to the walls, or the canvas so to speak. Just like Murray and Steph, Lynne and Ross express their life stories on the wall around them. Interestingly though, after each new adventure, their home would change with the changing memories. New objects and new furniture. Almost like bring a stranger into the home. (side thought when do you stop being a stranger to someone?)

With a family that has grown to a number of 5, Lynne and Ross described the home as a place of “love”. A love of the place you're in but also with the people you share it with. In addition to this, both said: “home is who they are travelling with”. Although they find comfort in the things which surround them, the importance is having people to laugh with.

Blair McIntosh
Jasper Morrison
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Jasper Morrison's work takes influences on objects from past cultures and older times. This interest in artefacts is evident from his publications “the hard life” where he explores tools of tribes and objects which he came across on travels. His 'All Plastic' chair has taken the character of the archetypal wooden chair used in Europe for decades and updated its appearance by making it entirely out of plastic; whilst his ‘Camper Sandals’ references the tatami mats of Japan.

His ability to transform a forgotten artefact into the modern world is a design style which i find very interesting; transforming an old story for a contempt world. How will it change in the new social, political environment or simply how would it change with the use of modern manufacturing methods?

I could potential see future ideas taking influence from things of the past, much like Morrison, adding the sense of familiarity and nostalgia to what would be a new and odd product/ object/ thing. 

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Blair McIntosh
Knowing Nomads
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Murray & Steph - New Zealand

Murray and Steph had recently embarked on a new adventure exploring the southern hemisphere of New Zealand. The two of them have always enjoyed the outdoors so moving to a place which is ‘Scotland on Steroids’ was an easy choice.

The conversation was really interesting, uncovering the importance of a comfortable home in a strange place. One of the things which made this easier was having one and other: “ home is where Steph is”. It was this idea of comfort and calm which ultimately makes a house a home. Not quite as romantically put but it’s also a place “where you can fart freely”... But this is true, a home is a place where you can be you, a place you can trust but ultimately a place which is familiar, safe and has memories. 

“Walls become a canvas of your life experience” 
~Murray. 

We tell stories on our walls. The walls become extensions of us. So a question, how has the way we tell stories changed?

Blair McIntosh
objects. meaning. value.
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“have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful” 
~ William Morris

The relationships we have with the things which surround us is one which spans the subconscious and conscious mind. Don Norman describes the emotions we have to objects on three levels visceral, behavioural, reflective. People add there own attachment to their products - “an emotional bond”. These can have different meanings at different stages of life, with the environment you’re in and the people you’re with, having an effect on how you later perceive that object. 

With this in mind, it would be impossible to design something for someone to cherish because people will put there own thoughts/values into it disregarding, to a point, what you intended. As designers, we have the ability to evoke certain emotions but that can only go so far. The things which inhabit our homes, these are objects which have great sentimental value: “people invest physic energy into objects because they are expressions of the self”. Is it possible to recreate this or is it an opportunity to cater for it?

Blair McIntosh
Future Materials
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In this last week newcastle has been hosting the annual ‘northen design festival’ which sees an array of design led talks and exhibitions around the city. One of these, was the “material exploration” in which future materials were exhibited. It was captivating to see the potential of some of these new materials but also the early application of these. although it may seem far from the topic of my exploration, i felt it was necessary to familiarise myself with the materials and process which will soon be the norm. Just like nomads new the land, material and craft around themselves, could this turn into a contemporary take of the nomads craft and culture form the use of our modern materials?

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Blair McIntosh
Nomad Craft

After researching the heritage and culture of many nomad tribes, what they all have in common was there own craft which they brought with them, completely depended and the resources around them and the tools they had. One of these ingenious items is a waterproof garment from intuits made from seal and whale intestines to create a waterproof yet air-permitting garment. it was so thin the garments was see-through. So a wee thought, could you apply that same principle to our products/ furniture but with our won craft of our own land? what if you had a frame which you could then interchange crafted pieces? or expanding on this more broadly, could you look at the relationship of the nomads with modern society and how they are slowly disappearing, creating products which show this in a tangible form - craft vs technology?

Blair McIntosh
The Forgotten Nomads
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Exploring the heritage of the nomadic culture from around the world. Originally it was going to be a topic which I just dipped a toe into, however, after some of the things I found, I imagine future design tasks revolving around this area. What really captured my imagination was this idea of a “band” (tribe/family) travelling through the unknown, either on the camel's backs or a donkey's whilst each landscape bringing its own obstacles. One of these tribes, for instance, are the Bedouin who are found in the Sahara - translated as ‘desert dwellers.’ In addition to this wondering, was the idea of how they tell stories and the original craft which occupies there time.

Blair McIntosh
Knowing Nomads
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Sandy & Kirsty & Noah - Dubia

Today saw the first of many interviews revolving around the home environment for those who are frequently on the move. This first interview, came more as a sleepy chit chat as my brother and his family got ready for bed… in Dubai. 

The back story - Sandy, Kirsty and Noah moved over to Dubai a couple of years ago and have moved apartments twice in there time there. In addition to the flat jumping, they find themselves in an entirely new environment - from Scottish showers to desert dust.

Our conversation uncovered many little hidden stories: from the things they took with them when they first set off, defining what a home was, creating new memories whilst having time to reminisce  about old ones and having a place where you can be yourself.  

on reflection of this it put emphasis on the importance of the small nicknacks around the house and less about the larger pieces:  “ the home is made of 1000 of interactions so to have 1 product and say this is home over simplifies it” - Sandy

Blair McIntosh
The Beginning
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Today see’s the start of my ‘exploration project’ where I hope to use the idea of the nomadic generation as the topic for the weeks to come. The modern nomad’s find themselves on the move more frequently, renting from flat to house but with no home. So the question hopes to answer how can we create a home from an unfamiliar house?

Blair McIntosh