What is good Design?

With the inspiration and message of this ‘What is design’ chapter in mind, we spent this last theory session with eve assessing the aesthetics and practicality of the interior design around us. We split into groups of 5 and each visited a different building within sheffield, viewing and interpreting the functionality of the design and also what the designer was aiming for when planning the space. For me the read highlighted very clearly what made ‘good design’, when making this deciding factor we would consider the usefulness of the space, is it for purpose? does the interior layout and exterior aesthetic give us the experience which we would expect from such a place? If the answer is no, then the design is probably not very well thought out. When planning a space aspects such as colours, size, interior routes, materials etc. should be carefully thought out, as ultimately this is going to be what transforms the space into a place fit for purpose. What is morally important within the space? Does the space cater for people with disabilities? If so has this been done with fun or has the designer took a basic approach to implementing this within. The most imperative thing i took from the reading, which is something i couldn’t agree more with, is that good design should be discovered independently in our own way. A person wants to have a personal connection within a space, especially if the design is done in somebody home, when something meets us on a personal level it seems to have a much bigger impact to us than with something which is just generalisable. This type of personal discovery is achieved by using abstract elements i.e forms mixed with shapes, referring to colour codes, and ensuring there is actually space within the interior.

Our group studied the Eric Mensford building in Sheffield, the same building to which we were doing the lesson in. When observing the building we were made to consider the exterior, entrances, furniture, signage, and of course the interior, commenting on the usefulness and overall presentation of each element.

The exterior

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(Fig.1)
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(Fig.2)
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(Fig.3)

Overall we felt that the exterior lacked enthusiasm, and presumed that no specific clever design plans were put forward for the build as it is just for study. The EMB building is quite flat with layered line elements, the windows are also incorporated into this flat layered theme which works quite well, and from the interior this has a great impact on the classrooms as a beautiful view of the city can be seen sitting down. The entrance is fit for people whom may need wheelchair access as seen in (Fig.2), however it is considerably longer to get around that the stairway.

The interior

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(Fig.4) The photos and layout of the brickwork collaborates well, perfect alignment is something which sits well in our brains. There is something our minds like about seeing perfection. For more examples visit oddly satisfying images.
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(Fig.5) Many squared elements sit within the interior of the EMB building. I suppose this keeps repetition and consistency alive within, making it predictable to know what we will expect when we walk through each door, but no, not allowing us to discover for ourselves.
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(Fig.6) A blue wall amongst many white ones. This breaks up the predictability within the building, the colour also giving us a feeling of calmness and serenity. Visit the colour section of my blog to discover more about the psychology of colour. A clever interior element in fact, as the stairway would be where students are going to and from lessons, so it could be possible that the designer intended this to promote a calm refreshing feel and reduce stress levels.
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(Fig.7) Incorporating much use of line and square elements again. I believe this interior aesthetic is to keep students calm, too many changes in colour, shapes etc. make excite students, and possibly encourage them to become loud and disruptive.
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(Fig.8) A very open space. Behind this glass window sits a library. The spaciousness keeps students minds open and active whilst studying, an obvious benefit.
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(Fig.9) It does look like the designer had a bit of fun when planning the interior for the EMB building. Simple circles cut out in the stairway highlights ‘fun’ and relieves the building of strictness, which students may depict when walking into the building to lessons. It represents free thinking, and enjoyment.
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