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 

The Idea
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After exploring ideas from spacial to personal, a concept which struck me most was to have a collection or a family of lights which worked in harmony with one and other. It would be their relationship with one and other that would ultimately have the greatest effect on the atmosphere. With that in mind, i imagine that these lights could rise, flutter and fall together, instead of the very basic on/off that we are use to.  

Blair McIntosh
Quick Visuals

After discovering that the essence of the ideas i was trying capture in the earlier maquettes was lost, I put together some quick visuals which better shows the idea at hand. The ideas I chose to quickly visualise were more of spacial installations apposed to smaller products. I had also applied the earlier 'Abstract' photoshop experiments to give some more context.

The time spent on this exercise was a fraction of that spent on the maquettes and the results are notably better. Despite this the earlier maquettes were necessary to gauge size and interaction

Blair McIntosh
Exploring Spaces

in order to fully visualise the sketched ideas, I spent some time creating a scale model living room to help see how light could potentially be used within the domestic space. There was much variety in the ideas, however, i feel i may have gotten carried away in the process and should have assigned my time to other activities that may have seen more progress in a shorter time. even still it was enjoyable to do and helped to distil ideas down to ones which felt most captivating.

Blair McIntosh

The early thinking for this project was to create a singular light which would alter the mood of the room depending on the objects placed upon it. However, from having this very narrow mindset, I felt my ideas were being restricted and I wasn’t doing the topic of ‘atmosphere’ justice.  It was after this realisation that I took a step back and reconsider what was atmosphere, what effects it and how do we interpret it.

It was from here that I realised atmosphere can be observed in different ways. One can encompass entire room whilst another can sit aro the vasitinity of a favoured artifact. in respect. It was from the observation that I began to ideate around the idea of an entire space and personal spaces.

Blair McIntosh

Following the previous photoshop experiment, i began to explore the idea of abstraction, in which the weight and colour of an object would be used to produce a unique pattern.

After discovering a Data collection project called ‘Helia’ (shown above) which is based on the central idea to unify data as well as creative work and to establish a universal language. An outcome of this is an abstracted form of data which represents the weather conditions outside.

It was this ‘Helia’ Project which influenced the aesthetic for the following illustrations which looked to abstract the raw properties of people possession.

Blair McIntosh
Mimicking Nature
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To better understand how I could portray peoples possession I had explored the idea of how we could use the natural properties of light. To help do so, I used the mood boards I had made whilst learning about the properties of light.

I had spent an afternoon producing these visual which I feel helped with the progression of the project as envisioned how the project could influence the space. Although the excerise was very valuable, the effect which these natural depictions gave was too obvious and familiar to moments outside of the home.

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Blair McIntosh
Lighting Effects

Early on in the project, i had realised that there were two ways in which I could use light to translate peoples objects. the first of which was by mimicking the natural properties of light: dapples, shadows, reflections, refraction, gradient whilst the other would use abstract forms and colours to portray the object.

at this point i had some early thought on what the outcome each would be however, there was no point in sitting and thinking on the topic so instead, i used photoshop to explore what the effects would be.  by creating visuals for other to see it would allow me to gain there opinion to further the advancement of the project.

Blair McIntosh
Light > Sound

With the enthusiasm of the day before, i proposed the concept to Athony who, rightly so, provided a reality check. Although the idea was commendable,  sound is very different to light, which meant the research, development and execution of the two products would be vastly uncomparable. With this in mind, there was very high chance of handing in two polished turds apposed to one pristine product.

At this point, i had the aspiration to have two products just like Adam HK from two years prior. However, from learning of the stress and time required for both I felt it was a wise choice to stick with one.

Blair McIntosh
Light vs Sound
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Whilst talking through another student's projects with the topic of sensory disabilities, one of there own insights was how “95% of the information we gain from around us is through light and sound.”  After discovering this, it sparked an idea for my one project. Instead of focussing on one medium to portray atmosphere (i.e. light)  why not use two: light and sound.  Why not use our two most heightened senses to portray atmosphere. 

it was at this point I thought of a project title “tools for translation ”, imagining a set of products which, in an abstract manner, would ‘trasnlate’ the emotional attachment held within. I was picturing it to mimic the attribute which doctors from the 1940’s, as the travelled from different people homes, but instead of diagnosing physical illness, it was discovering emotional values.

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Blair McIntosh
Understanding Atmopshere

To get a better understanding of  ‘atmosphere’ within the home environment I spent some time being conscious of what effects the environment of the home or space for that matter. In addition to this, I had read Peter Zumthor ‘Atmosphere’ to deepen my understanding. From doing this it was clear that atmosphere can be influenced by the largest and smallest of elements: sound, music, noise, light, shadows, temperature, wind, people, colour etc. However, an atmosphere can go deeper and becomes as subjective as the emotional values attached to object. Atmosphere isn’t as easy as saying blue makes me feel cold and soft makes you feel cosy. there are extra emotions attached to each moment.

From this simple exercise, it had made it very obvious to myself that tackling the topic of ‘atmosphere’ for my final major project may have been a little trickier than first anticipated.

Blair McIntosh
Anthony McCall's Solid Light Sculptures

Traditionally artist would sculpt with marble and stone whilst others use more esoteric methods. for Anthony McCall, who is a British born artist, falls in the latter as he creates light sculptures. The pictures shown above showcases McCall’s “solid Light Sculpture’ which was exhibited at the Hamburger Bahnhof museum in Germany.

The artwork is actually a 2d drawing which is projected vertically through fog to produce a volumetric shape in the black space. In addition to the graphical volumes slowly change as viewers interact with it. 

What is so captivating about this project is how a 2 dimensions drawing has been transformed into something physical, making the intangible tangle. in addition to this, it was McCall’s transformation of s standard space which drastically changed the mood of the room, giving the impression you were floating in space

Blair McIntosh
Peter Zumthor ‘Atmosphere’

After redirecting my project to look more closely to the idea of atmosphere, and more specifically the atmosphere created from the object which surrounds our home, I wanted to do some further reading. This lead me to read Peter Zumthor’s ‘Atmosphere’: a book exploring his ideas of atmosphere and what things can influence it.

He talks about the power of atmosphere as such: “we perceive atmosphere through our emotional sensibility - a form of perception that works incredibly quickly… Something inside us tells us an enormous amount straight away. we are capable of immediate appreciation, of a spontaneous response, of rejecting things in a flash.” Atmosphere can be influenced by people air, noise, sound, colour, material, textures, forms, object which can all have such a profound effect on how you remember and experience something. Within his book, Zumthor had written about 9 principles all of which were of interest; however, those that caught my attention gravity to the things which assure an atmospheric energy. These principles being:

The sound of space: “interiors are like large instruments, collecting sound, amplifying it, transmitting it elsewhere”

Surrounding Objects: “people interact with objects… you find things come together in a very caring, loving way, and that there’s this deep relationship”

The light of things: “Where the and how the light fell. Where the shadows were… the light of things is so moving to me that I feel it almost as a spiritual quality.”

Blair McIntosh
A New Direction

The last couple of weeks saw the end of the initial exploration period. However due to other projects running at the same time, documenting the process of exploration began to get lost. That being said, our exploration has now been handed in and we see ourselves moving into our final major project with a new brief.

After the initial round of interviews with nomads, and the research that followed it was clear that the home was a feeling, one of comfort and familiarity. These emotions are created from the fond memories held within - from people, products and things. As humans, we begin to collect miscellaneous objects: “people invest physic energy into objects because they are expressions of the self”. To an outsider, they are just that ‘random’, but to you, they capture a moment in time when you discovered it. Thus when you are in the company of the object, you feel at ease. 

So it is these objects which are shrouded in mystery, containing great sentimental significance and cast an allusive atmosphere amongst a room, that I wish to draw my attention for the remainder of my Final Major Project.

Blair McIntosh
Mick - Stories of Things

Mick has had over 20 years working alongside Nike, Adidas and Puma as a fashion designer but has recently settled down in the north with his own studio ‘Darned Fine’ where he creates new bespoke denim garments whilst repairing our old ones.

Our long chat covered a host of topics but as time went on the conversation revolved around the idea of stories, memories and ultimately familiarity.  To create this feeling of familiarity, he said whilst designing the 2000 world cup football strips, they would mimic fonts from the past to tap into the values and memories associated with those nostalgic moments. It was this idea of ‘piggybacking’ old values but translating them into a contemporary form which really captured my attention.  At no point are you directly copying the old piece but instead capturing the essence of it, maybe a hidden detail or the colour, nonetheless it registers into your mind on a scabious level with the user's mind. 

Towards the end of the conversation, Mick had said: “Memories are the currency of the soul”. It is this which I feel is align with the direction of my project, in which the home (a place of comfort and familiarity evoked by the memories of the things encompassed by it) puts you in a sense of calm which ultimately put your soul at ease.

Blair McIntosh
National Museum of Scotland

As I walked around the scottish museum what struck me most the way in which anceint cultures told stories. Unlike today each object had a spirit which was decorated. These decoration told stories about the social and economic climate at the time of the creation, whilst also telling personal stories of the user and their family: from the jobs and location. For instance the the ‘manta’ (male poncho from Chile) does this by the complexity of the horizontal columns.

I feel the reason for the decoration is for a sense of entertainment. Tribes couldn’t loose themselves watching tv like we do now, insetad they would huddle round fires and tell stories of mythical beast. The stories would capture the imagination of everyone listening (bieng told not shown - allowing their own thoughts to tranform the story being told). it was this strong sense of family and stroy telling which i felt was most compelling from the tribes and cultures gone.

Blair McIntosh
Susan Philipsz

“Sound is materially invisible but very visceral and emotive. It can define a space at the same time as it triggers a memory.”
~ Susan Philipsz

Susan Philipsz is a Scottish artist based in Berlin who works with spaces, narrative and sounds. she uses sound as a stimulus to alter individual consciousness aiming to evoke an emotional response which triggers memories.

On display in the ‘Edinburgh gallery of modern art’ largest space is Philipsz’ 2016 work, ‘Seven Tears’. this work consists of 7 synchronised record players each playing a single tone taken from Lachrimae, a collection of instrumental music composed in 1604 by John Dowland (1563–1626). Alongside this was her 2015 ‘Elettra’ where sound played alongside large architectural prints.

What interested me in Susan’s exhibiting pieces was how her use of sound accompanied the space and pictures, changing the atmosphere of the room. From the addition of sound to a still picture, it created a new sense of imagination which a still picture wouldn’t have evoked, it caused you to reflect on the moment in a way you wouldn't have done before. Could this stimulation of other sense help to tell stories of objects of the home?

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Blair McIntosh
Cabinet of Curiosity

Edinburgh Gallery of Modern Art

These are traditionally associated with the 16th and 17th centre where owners would fill the cabinets with object demonstrating their knowledge of archaeological, geological and natural history objects. however, in this particular example are the cabinets of 20th centre surliest home which to focus on the baffling and unexpected.  

What I found interesting from this was how the artefacts inside evoked curiosity in the viewer. However, maybe more importantly to this was the realisation that as humans we tend to collect 'things' which evokes certain emotions, artefacts of our lives. Although this wasn't the purpose of the curiosity cabinets, it stimulated this thought of how we collect items, whether it's a pebble from a beach or a bottle cap from a night out. could this maybe become a library of nomadic stories? 

Blair McIntosh
Knowing Nomads

Ignacio Allendesalazar - Spain

Ignacio Allendesalazar (a.k.a Nacho) has lived away from home for the last 8 years and has found himself moving from flat to house every year through school and university years. So the weight and space of the things he wishes to include into his life have to be very very carefully considered. Nacho had mentioned he had received the Philip Stark lemon squeezers as a gift and loves using it and make him smile. However as he puts it: “ I don't squeeze that many lemons”, although it had brought him great pleasure to use and look at, he couldn't justify keeping something that couldn't fulfil enough of a functional role. Nomads don't have the luxury to keep things to keep on shelves.

Later in our conversation, the emphasis moved to the idea about the stories that objects say after years of use. From dents to scratches on metal, to pulled wool and de-coloured denim. They are all unique and tell something about the user but also relate back to specific memories. These are known as ‘witness marks’ as we later discovered. Nacho had said he prefers to rescue old object for these exact stories, and feels that the “ownership get blurred with new products”.

Having a place where you are surrounded by your things helps to create this atmosphere which “put your head at rest” as Nacho put it (an idea shared by Jasper Morrison in ‘Super Normal’) however, for nomads, these are maybe things which hold more function than they use to.

Blair McIntosh
'Super Normal'

After looking into Jasper Morrison work I came across his joined design principle of ‘super normal’ design with Naoto Fukasawa.

“ ‘Normal’ is something that is created through the existence of an object interlaced with overall atmosphere that surrounds it”

When reading through their book, there were two examples which jumped out at me. The first was looking into the atmosphere which objects can bring to an environment and without there presence the dynamic of the room can change - “this quota of atmospheric spirit is the most mysterious and elusive quality to products” Jasper Morrison. Objects define us and make us feel calm, an object can create a quality to the space around you whether you know it or not.

The second of these examples was how we associate certain experiences with specific objects and when we find them outside the ‘normal’ environment it surprises us. The example was in reference to a cafe tumbler in which you traditionally drink from quickly. However, when you use it in the home environment your intentions are different and it may feel strange, in this case, the home. From this could we use different typologies traditionally associated with movement but used in the home, changing a typologies environment?

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Blair McIntosh

Viewpoint is a trends magazine and this issue covered the idea of our growing cities which helped to give some meat to my exploration. The lack of space and privacy is an issue we have now but will continue to get worse. By 2050 they estimate that 70% of the world’s population will be in cities, 40 of those being megacities with over 50 million inhabitants. 

They said with this rapid urbanisation as we transition from rural to urban areas, cities will become the new ‘nations’. Describing the new cities to be a beehive’s which are busy and functional. However, with this mass expansion, it will be even more important to cater for our emotional needs as we lose privacy and space and find our selves on the move more (from where we live and work).

Cities have become disconnected with nature and have “never been considered to be good for you health”. However, they predict a push to make the cities a safe place. ‘Biophilia’ is going to play a key role, as we try to include nature back into the cities: natural light and plants.

the future of our ‘homes’ may seem bleak on current facts; however, there is an optimism as we look to cater for our emotional need in what will be a very condensed place.

Blair McIntosh