Something New

Second term started and it’s been interesting. This term I am doing only a Graphic Design module, which is really exciting and also new to me. Usually I study Interior Design, but since I was given the opportunity to chose from all the subjects available in BAU, I told myself why not do something different. It turned up being really useful and enhancing for me. Also I’ve always been interested in that field. It’s challenging, but I’m truly enjoying it.

My first project was to design a logo for Coordinadora de Cooperatives de Consum del Poble Nou, a ‘union’ between 4 consumer cooperatives in a neighbourhood in Barcelona, called Poble Nou. The CCCP9 is a project that stands for raising awareness of responsible and  ecological consumption and proximity. Their inspiration come from La Flor de Mayo.

We got to meet the real client and than we had to present our work to the real client. I’m not going to lie, it was stressful. There is also a money prize for the designer whose logo has been chosen, well…, we’re still waiting for the results. Luckily for me this was the first project of such kind for all the Graphic Design students, so it was kind of new for them too.

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It was difficult for me to understand this project, because of the language barrier and although i did my research, most of the information I found was again in Catalan. I tried to look at other people’s work in order to understand fully the idea behind CCCP9 and I actually got inspired by some of the students in my class. For my logo I preferred to play around with the typography.

In the end after all my language troubles and pages of sketches I created my logo, which I am satisfied with. Of course it can be much better, but the important thing for me is that I got out of my comfort zone, used a software I wasn’t familiar with and managed to submit something that was actually liked by the clients.

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Ways of seeing

Last week I had to submit my work on the second exercise for ‘Spacial Workshop’ class. We had to create small spaces from paper, in the very beginning 8-9 small spaces. After that we had to chose 4 and develop them. The whole class had to vote for everyone’s best space and give suggestions and ideas-what kind of actual exciting place it reminds them of. After the vote we had to take the chosen ‘space’ and build a small model, using the exact same materials, we would use if we had to build it in real life.

My space reminded a lot of a honey comb and I decided to transform it into a shop for organic and bio products. I also wanted to play with the lights and shadows, which were really interesting. Another thing I enjoyed was researching different kind of materials. It was funny, because having studied all that in English, I had absolutely no idea how those materials are in Spanish. I struggled a bit with the translation, but I am happy I learned something new.

The more important thing for me in this exercise was seeing everyone else’s work and ideas and how their imagination works. There were people in my class, giving so bizarre suggestions, but this is not bad, it shows how different everyone is. The exercise really showed me new ways of thinking and opened my mind for new ways of seeing.

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Falling water House-Illumination

As mentioned in some of my previous posts this term I have a class called Construction and Installations, which is divided in two. For the second part of it, which is Lighting design I had a project that consisted in Illuminating a well known building, that somehow left it’s trace in the architectural history. This was interesting, because not only did I work on the illumination of a house, but I had to research some of the most significant buildings ever built, the architectures behind them and their work. My list was long but in the end I chose Falling water house, by Frank Lloyd Right. I read a lot about the history of the house and it’s specifics in constructing and I sure did learn one or two things about waffle slabs, reinforced concrete, t-profile columns, light structures and of course, my favourite, compression, tension and flexion.

This was a project in pairs and we had to use a completely new software, called DIAlux.

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My partner and I decided to illuminate the waterfall and the base of the house, as it is the most impressive thing about it’s construction. We wanted to show the beautiful flow of water at night as well as during the day. The lighting of the waterfall provides additional security at night and also gives a feeling of spaciousness.

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As well as illumination the house, using the specific software we had to chose the right lights and calculate the light we wanted.

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The results were not magnificent, but I still learned a lot about lighting design.

Feeling Spaces

One of my favourite classes this semester is ‘Spacial Workshop’. The class itself is a workshop, we are making models and exploring shapes. And the idea behind this is to be able to feel the spaces we are creating with all our senses and also subconsciously. An important thing to say here is that when I left Coventry University and came to Barcelona, I was looking for inspiration and ideas for my final project next year. And this class was really helpful. I was given a list of books to read, among which ‘The eyes of the skin’, by Juhani Pallasmaa and ‘Ways of Seeing’, by John Berger-2 incredible books that every person that calls himself a designer should read and I wonder why haven’t I discovered them earlier.

Another great thing about the class is that it is fully practical and concetrates in model making, which is again beneficial for me. One thing I definitely had to improve was my model making skills and after doing this class I feel more confident in what I am doing and seem to enjoy it more. Also the tutor is really supportive and really tries to make sure that everyone understands the tasks, which is always good and appreciated from my side.

Moving forward.., one of my excersises for this class was to create 3 white boxes (20x20x20) and add different shapes in them and observe how the space changes, aso we had to draw them, which surprisingly was not that easy for me. After adding the shapes we had to add colours as well and again try to feel the space. It sounds easier than it is. My trick was to imagine how I would feel if i was standing in my box, the concept sounds weird but it’s interesting and works your imagination.

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Electrician skills and a new Software

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One of the classes I am doing is Construction and Installations and it’s divided in two subjects-Construction(from the engineering point of view) and Illumination or lighting design. that class is extremely important and helpful and I am happy that I have the chance to attend it.

I’ve always been interested in lighting design and how it works. I try to work a lot with light and shadows in my work, so this class was really interesting for me. In this post I am going to share what I did in my first classes and also a skill that I am really proud of obtaining.

For our first day we had to bring a lamp holder, 5m cable, lamp socket and a bulb. We learned how to build a lamp, which is a basic skill and may be a lot of people know it already, but I didn’t and I am extremely proud of myself that I learned it.

The purpose of this was for our next exercise, which was to pick an image an abstract photo or painting and than try to recreate the feeling that our first picture suggests. Recreate it, how? Well we had to use our photography skills and take a picture of a place or object, illuminating it with our lightbulb. My feeling was warmth and I had to use cold light. I struggled so much, I really didn’t know what to do, but one day I accidentally took a picture an it was actually the one I needed.

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I also started learning a new software, called DIALux, which calculates the amount of light in a certain space and its intensity. This is a helpful software that can really make my design work look a lot more professional. One of our projects was to illuminate a house (Falling Water House, by Frank Lloyd Wright).

Christmas Special-DIY

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This year I am going back home for Christmas, but still I decided to decorate my flat here in Barcelona. The thing is I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on decorations and also because I am staying here just for a couple of months there was no point for me buying stuff and than throwing it away (I think it’s obvious that I can’t really bring everything with me back to England).

I had a few free days, my flatmate was away so I decided to get creative. I used white paper, a few sticky ‘golden’ sheets of paper, some branches I collected from the streets (yes, people were looking at me weird while I was collecting them, but who cares) and I spent 1 euro on some little red christmas star stickers. And that was all. The result was pretty good. I managed to bring some coziness, Christmas joy and also surprised my flatmate.

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Talking about Christmas I also decided to make my own name tags, which turned out being something between a tag and a Christmas card.

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It’s that time of the year

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The sun is shining, seagulls are singing, people sunbathing on the beach and no, it’s not summer coming, but the contrary.  End of November and despite the wonderful weather Christmas mood is in the air in Barcelona. So far i’ve experienced the magic of Christmas in my home country and in England and honestly i can tell that the Christmas spirit is definitely stronger in England. Stores start selling decorations and treats in the early beginning of November, decorations and fancy lighting everywhere, children singing Christmas carol and all that festive feeling when you visit the local pub, wonderful, right? In spite of all that I prefer spending my Christmas in Bulgaria, simply because this is where my family and friends are. This year won’t be an exception, but it is nice to see and experience a new type of Christmas, warmer( talking about the weather) and more…, Spanish.

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The decoration of the city is mesmerising, lights everywhere and every street has it’s own unique decoration, which makes it so exciting and interesting to explore. But the thing I loved the most are some of the tiniest streets in the Gotic quarter. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to take good night pictures, but I hope that would make you, visit Barcelona and see everything i’m talking about.

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IMG_0983And like every big city in Europe, Barcelona has it’s own Christmas market and it’s not only one, there are three of them, although it’s not like the traditional German markets or the ones in England. Here they don’t really sell drinks and treats but mainly handmade christmas decorations, all locally made.

Exam Week and Designing a chair

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It is the least week before Christmas break and it is exam week. I am not used to having exams, because in Coventry we never do, but luckily I had only one-in Construction. Yes, it was tough. We were examined on different type of building structures, forces and different materials and their use.

Also after the winter break we are starting a new project, designing a chair, using minimal materials and applying the laws of physics we already learned. It’s a group project, but I decided to work alone on this one. I am sharing some of my initial sketches and ideas.

Boqueria Project

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La Boqueria is a market different from any other I’ve seen before. It is a main touristic attraction and now I see why. It’s busy, loud, humid, sticky, nerve-racking, but also colourful, lively, curious, exciting and so so international. I will not bore you with history, I would only say it’s been in Barcelona for quite a while. It has all the goods and products you can buy in every other market, but here the presentation is excellent. Everything is exposed as if for an exhibition. It is all tidy and clean and just begging you to take pictures and than show the rest of the world. It has all those pavilions for fruits and fruit juices, which are actually a saviour in the hot summer days, and tiny bars, that welcome you to try every traditional treat Spain and Catalonia have to offer.

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For me as a tourist this place is magnificent, and I feel lucky that I am living here for a hole studying year and that I have the chance to visit it almost every week and try something different. The things get a bit different from the local customer point of view. If you actually want to be a regular customer it might be a bit nerve-racking. Tourists everywhere, taking pictures, pushing people, yes it’s annoying. And of course when there are two different sides, two different opinions a conflict is born. Part of the merchants are happy with all the tourist attention, the other part not.

And here comes the question, why Boqueria project? Well, when there is a conflict someone has to find a solution for it and in this case there is a designer needed. So, this is my first project-research how other markets around the world deal with such problems, analyse all the aspects of the conflict and find a solution.

We started the project with group work, we were put in groups of four people, which actually helped me meet some of the students in my class and get to know them better. There were 3 different types of groups, the first one graphic analysis of the conflict, second one-analysis of the uses and third one-analysis of the users. I was put in the second group and our work consisted of observing the uses of a traditional market, uses of the specialised markets, uses of touristic attractions and use of all the services provided. We visited the market, talked to both merchants and customers-tourists and locals. We also investigated where the conflicts occur and which are the most affected areas.

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After finishing our group work and after presenting, we found out that there is more than one conflict. I was put in another group and we had to discuss all the problems, chose one and start thinking about solutions. It was really interesting for me, because all the other members of the group were local students and I was the tourist so we had the different opinions within the group which I think helped understand each side better. We counted more than 10 different conflicts.

I chose one which was one of the main ones for me. Everyone was complaining about the collision of people at the entrance of the market and the fact that local customers cannot reach the stalls at the bottom of the construction. Also the market is situated on a street called La Rambla (which by the way is one of the busiest streets in Barcelona) and there is no resting spot anywhere in this area. My solution was to rearrange a bit the stalls, saving the original layout, design a booth that would simplify the use of the bars and may be create a small resting area.

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To be continued…