Unit X

Over a period of eight or nine weeks I have collaborated with another discipline and also worked with people I wouldn’t of necessarily of worked with from my own course. For the final part of the unit we were set the task of responding to the brief ‘paper towns.’

Paper towns… “Fictitious entries on maps may be called phantom settlements, trap streets, paper towns, cartographer’s follies, or other names. They are intended to help unmask copyright infringements; if caught, copyright violators wouldn’t be able to explain the entry’s presence on their maps.

The fictional town of Agloe, New York, was invented by map makers, but eventually became identified as a real place by its county administration because a building, the Agloe General Store, was erected at its fictional location. The “town” is featured in the novel Paper Towns by John Green and its film adaptation.”

 Collectively, our group of eventually six interior design students which was originally five, we decided to create an extension to the famous Tado Ando Piccadilly Gardens wall. This happens to be his only work in the UK and is something that has much controversy attached with it, many people think it’s ugly including myself and there are plans to demolish the structure. Nevertheless, this did not stop us from researching around the topic and coming up with the theme of transactions. Many transactions take place in Piccadilly Gardens, but the more sinister just happen to be more relevant and are often publicised. Drug dealing and the use of illegal substances is happening all the time in Manchester, but particularly in Piccadilly Gardens. Our idea was to design a safe, hidden place on top of the Tado Ando wall for the participants of the drug trade to use, keeping them off the streets and out of the public eye.

My involvement in the project snowballed towards the end. I designed the logo, which was aptly an X. I was given a source image, and drew it in the back of my sketchbook, took a photograph of it and digitised it by tracing it within Illustrator. The rest of the group liked it, so it stayed. I then got hold of some small drug bags or baggies, and drew the logo onto them, creating this idea of a brand or movement. Something which was used a bit like a paper trail to aid the ‘police investigation.’

The process of designing the proposed area above Tado Ando’s existing structure started with creating what is already there. I used SketchUp to complete this task, then with help from the rest of the group, we had some ideas of what the space would look like. Essentially another story would be added, and a roof attached with partitions to create smaller sections within the large area. My trip to Berlin in 2016 gave me inspiration to not extend the internal walls from floor to ceiling. The Jewish Memorial has an information museum type job underneath the memorial itself, which shows artefacts, text and various information. Some of the internal walls in there are hung from the ceiling, but do not reach the floor, which created an atmosphere very different to anything I have experience before. It was this visit that inspired the design of the space.

For presentation purposes, I branched out a bit, and added an extension to SketchUp which allowed me to render my model in real time. Something which I had not done before, but am well aware is something in industry that is completely normal. This was actually really exciting, seeing the space I designed come to life. Having successfully rendered my model I exported 2D graphics and merged them with a photograph I took myself of Piccadilly gardens.

A tour of Ancoats gave me an information and facts ‘top up’ from the street art tour of the northern quarter I independently went on late last year. The Ancoats tour did however show me one or two things that I didn’t already know and it was great to be in the company of someone so knowledgeable about the area again. We were shown around the area via walking tour, the weather wasn’t great but it didn’t effect anything too drastically. The peep holes were not something new to me, however I did learn more about the story behind them.


Later that day we had an urban sketching session lead by Simone. I was looking forward this as sketching is one of my strong points. We had an hour to find something interesting and draw it. I set off in a small group but quickly found myself alone in a car park having found an interesting building to draw. The composition is an important aspect of any drawing, so when drawing buildings, you can cheat this task by choosing the right thing to draw. After an hour past (very quickly) it was time to regroup and put all our work together for everyone to see. Many people find this daunting and aren’t keen to reveal their work. I must admit, I did used to feel this way, but after years of studying art and sharing my work it has become normal. Seeing all the different drawings is a great way to finish the session, it invites people to talk about each other’s work and see what worked well and what could be improved.

Towards the end of the week we were set another small project. Again in small groups, a mixture of Interior Design and 3D Design students, we were told to individually teach a skill to someone else in the group, and be taught a skill. I taught a bit of Photoshop, and learned about ceramics. The slide below was created by myself and presented in a slideshow at the end of the day which showcased everything that everyone learned.

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Unit X began with a short collaborative project using the city of Manchester as the protagonist, Interior Design and 3D Design working together. There were four in my group including myself, which seemed like the right number of people. Communicating between the group was easy due to the size of it, and there was enough brain power to keep the ball rolling throughout the project which lasted only a few days. The brief was centred around Manchester as previously stated, and each group was given a section of a map showing an area of central Manchester. We were then told to recreate the information from our map section with very little guidance other than that. The idea being, each group would create a design at A2 then the map would be put back together showing a vast range of different styles and materials etc. The project worked well and between the four of us, everyone contributed equally.


In the second week all students were invited to attend 3D drawing workshops throughout the day. I was apprehensive about this part of the project, as there are many interpretations of 3D drawing, some of which are exciting and others not so much. We were all told to bring a variety of materials and tools to use, and there were boxes of scraps and leftovers free to use. Our instructions were to create our journey to university from that morning. From this point it became very clear that a certain level of imagination, creativity and freedom were required. The examples shown were very expressive and not necessarily accurate representations. This comforted me in the sense that I knew nothing would be considered ‘wrong’ and anything created would be considered in some way or another, perhaps completely differently depending on who is looking at my work. My journey was made from a piece of scrap metal about an inch wide. I bent the metal at right angles to show a ‘literal’ representation of my journey to university that day. I tried to keep things free and allow the material to have a say in the way I made my journey. Living just round the corner, it was easy to do a virtual walkthrough showing rough distances and left and right turns etc.

The second part of 3D drawing was to create something that referenced Manchester in some way. I’m often faced with thoughts of the Manchester bee, so this seemed like the right thing to work with. Whilst rummaging through the boxes of scraps I came across a box of bobbins. These would become the body of the bee. Next I found strips of yellow electrical wire which needed untangling, this would be wrapped around the bobbin to show the distinctive stripes. White tissue paper needed cutting to shape then became wings. I made quite a few bee’s, as one didn’t seem enough. With a little time to spare I decided to try and arrange my collection of bee’s, the simplest thing that came to mind was the shape of the letter ‘M’ for Manchester. We were then told to move around the room and stand in front of someone else’s work that we liked. Little did we know that we would then be invited to carry on working on the 3D drawings in front of us. Images to follow show the addition of a honeycomb pattern on my bee’s.