looking up:

looking down:



2018 has been busy

The year thus far has involved pulling my research trip to New York, Toyko and Hong Kong into community driven public space, into some demonstrable outputs, primarily:
- a book summarising my main findings and recommendations,
- an exhibition, displaying my recordings from those three cities - especially the sounds I had captured - but more than anything to offer up my way of looking at and understanding places.

And to really give weight to the 'dead' part of 'deadline' the book launch and exhibition opening were the same night.

Well, somehow I did it.

I think the collection of drawings, maps, and diaries worked well together, but by far the biggest achievement of the exhibition was the sound sculptures I designed in collaboration with Jonathan Munro that were lovingly brought to life by Gareth Goodison.

I had bought my entry level sound recorder about five days before my trip the previous July, without much idea of how to use it. It was easy enough as it turned out.

And so I sat still for three minutes at a time in public spaces to make my recordings.

But what would I do with them?

I wanted to be able to display sounds somehow on my return, and really display them, not just play them out of headphones dangling from a wall. Unlikely the first person to struggle with the problem of how to make sound visually interesting, without going down the soundwave visioning route that is. Not that I know how to do that. In fact I didnt really know anything about the pragmatics of making sound sculptures. But it didnt stop me from making sketches about how I thought it could work while I was away.

And when I returned, these sketches formed a starting point for discussion with Jonathan and Gareth, they lead to other sketches...

and then a prototype...

In the end, three sculptures - one for each city - with each one playing five sounds simultaneously and on a loop. A continuous soundscape of the city's public spaces. Each sound had its own speaker, and mounted above the speaker, copper tubes inviting the passerby to have a closer listen.

The idea worked in theory only until the night before the exhibition opening when Gareth delivered them to the exhibition space.

And then, thank goodness, they worked for real too.


The Mayor's Public Space Charter

I was pretty stoked to be invited to pitch an idea alongside nine other speakers for the Mayor's forthcoming Public Space Charter at an event organised by Architecture Foundation.


The Everyday

I was recently asked to give a short presentation titled:
A Good Piece Of Everyday Design From A Place I Know Well

The stair in Homerton Library lends a legibility and a human scale to the interior that mirrors that of the building itself in relation to Homerton High Street. 

The stair begins just inside the entrance, at a point between the foyer and the library proper. At the top of the stair: to the right a narrow gallery overlooking the void, to the left an expansive room filled with evenly spaced small square desks. 

In that room are whiskery men reading newspapers, an elderly lady with piles of paperwork, teenagers working on coursework and assorted millennial and gen x freelancers. I prefer the desk in the back corner overlooking the street.

The winding stair is held between two heavy breezeblock walls but the grip is given lightness by a fine shadow gap that runs around. It is given breathing space by the end wall that is mostly – but not entirely – glazed. That wall offers a view of the sky as you walk up and a view of the busy pavement as you walk down. It is a connection to the High Street, on that stair you are pleasantly sequestered, but not bluntly cut off from the world.

On bright days, southern light forms brilliant trapezoid shapes on the vivid pink wall – a sassy touch that painted pink wall.

The stair’s broad, shallow treads invite a leisurely pace. They are complimented by a slender hovering hardwood banister that has a richness and an agreeable smoothness.

I always take my time on that stair.