After mapping the mail room, I had a couple of observations. First, I noticed that people would go to their mail box and quickly turn the knob to their combination. Most would not get their combination on the first try. After opening the mail box there were two reactions. One of the reactions was excitement in getting mail and the second was disappointment, followed by the slamming of the mail box. Another observation I had was that at certain times of the day (lunch time around noon) the mail room would have too much foot traffic and people would not have space to open their mailboxes. I propose to solve these problems of: disappointment, time efficiency, and traffic with one simple solution. TINY glass or plastic windows on the mail boxes!
Please click the link below to see my proposal.
I decided to create a ball pit and placed it in the elevator. The objective of this was to intervene with our expectations of an elevator as a transitory space rather than as a contained space for human interaction. Most importantly, it tries to inject a sense of fun into the design center by encouraging visitors to rediscover their inner child, or simply relax. The strength of the project lay within its ability to be completely intuitive — the ball pit was not only inviting and fun, but required absolutely no instructions from its user. Instead of designing a specific interaction with an end goal, the ball pit invites visitors to create their own interactions.
The schematics of the ballpit, which required some math!
Building the ballpit:
The pit was constructed by using cardboard and a generous amount of wood glue. It fits one person perfectly, much like a bed or a coffin.
One way the project can be further developed could be a change in size or scale. If the ball pit was the size of the elevator, leaving the user no choice but to enter into the pit, would that intervention be more succcessful? Another change I could have made was to consider the redecoration of the entire elevator space, integrating the ball pit as part of a joyous space rather than as a stand alone pit.
In any case, the ball pit currently lives out its life in the 6th floor studio, and has very much become part of the studio architecture.
This project began with an investigation and mapping into the Design Center’s elevator. I was very interested in the elevator as a choice for my intervention, because its ability to move meant that it was regarded both an object as well as a space. I loved the idea that the elevator was a physical space that people had to call, and that they were then able to enter it and be transported to a completely different space.
Here are some images from the mapping I created of the space. I made observations about specific input and output interactions with the elevator, and visualized it. It was very interesting to me that an elevator always arrived with a sense of surprise — it was impossible know what was behind the door. That meant that even if we can properly predict our physical interactions inside the elevator (such as pressing a button, or standing), it is impossible to predict our actual behaviour within the elevator, because there’s no knowing what kind of circumstances we wil be placed in.
With that, I delved deeper into the elevator decision-making process, and thought about how I could subvert that expectation and create a unique spectacle.
I noticed that the different floors of the design center had different color schemes. I concluded that this was designed to serve as a wayfinding system within the building. Most people I talked to either hadn’t noticed this before or did not think it was an effective wayfinding system. Personally I had never noticed it before and I wanted to design something that would draw attention to this detail. I used the form and color of the checked floor as a jumping off point to design a color-coded number system that I applied to the elevator buttons and the door frames of the elevators. I also constructed a large number that played directly off of the floor’s form. I wanted to highlight the playful aspect of the color system that was already in place in the design center.
I observed and mapped out the sound on the 8th floor studio of the Design Center. The mapping process involved a more human, subjective means of recording as I estimated where the sounds I heard came from in relation to where I was sitting in the room.
The map led me to notice the silence of the room. The silence, along with the dull colors of the room made it feel like a very dead space. In comparison, the 6th floor studio always seemed much livelier, due to its brighter colors and abundance of work put up on the walls. With my intervention, I attempted to add color to the space, but at the same time attempting to make it a collaborative effort with the other residents of the 8th floor. I initiated the colored tape compositions on the walls and pillars and left the colored tape hanging on the walls for anyone to contribute.
(pinterest low res) <- link to pdf
This is a solution I designed for the display boxes in the Design Center across the elevator. Inspired by personal curations on studio desks and bringing the idea to display cases for faster circulation of contents thus, keeping the visual interests of the viewers.
For the Site Intervention project, I began by making two maps. The first was of the first to second floor stairs of the design center, and the second was of my desk, and the mental connections I had made between all of the items. Both of these maps lacked hard data from the actual site; the stair map relied too much on outside research and incidental observation, and the map of my desk did not lend itself to an intervention that would be applicable to others.
For the next week, I refined the stair map by sitting in front of the elevators for a few days and recording who rode the elevators and how. I observed that many people would take the elevator up to the second floor, and then take the stairs down. I calculated the ratio of stair-to-elevator takers, and used that hard data (in addition to a bit of relevant research and anecdotes) in my new map. I then put together the below slideshow with interventions based on my findings. Through this project I learned the importance of spending real time with the problem you are going to solve. Speculation, anecdotes, and outside research don’t always complete the picture, and visiting the site was key to further developing ideas. Below please find my modified site map and presentation of proposed interventions. They would not upload as a gallery, so I have included them as PDFS. I am sorry if this causes any inconvenience.
For my mapping project. I decided to map the number of people who opened their mailboxes within a couple of weeks.
I first began by turning all of the knobs to the number 40 and from then on I checked to see if each number 40 had been moved.
Please click on the mailroom PDF to view my presentation.