Latest News from Narrative Environment
MA Narrative Environments students collaborated with ARUP to imagine a healthcare ecosystem, after the NHS has been privatised, that is preventative and dispersed.
In this scenario, the privatisation of the NHS has caused people to become increasingly aware of preventative healthcare as a way to reduce their healthcare costs. In large cities like London, investment in the construction of facilities for wellbeing for residents has become a commercial reality for housing developers and estate agents. Health insurers use the opportunity to extend their service points into homes and community spaces with AI technology.
However, because affordability of healthcare is an issue for many people, communities group together to aggregate their data in exchange for discounts on healthcare services and insurance. The subsequent sharing of that data raises questions about confidentiality in the system as a whole.
How could London’s healthcare system function in a preventative and centralised way in 2040?
In collaboration with ARUP, MA Narrative Environments first year students extrapolated out current health concerns including loneliness and depression, anxiety, stress, antibiotic resistance and an ageing population to imagine a Future Healthcare Ecosystem for London in 2040 inspired by the health benefits of play, delivered through the creation of Joyful Healthy Hubs across the metropolis.
Housed in a protective glass dome with purifying entrance thresholds, the Play More London flagship hub would offer a three levels of of play options, in a treehouse core space, that include social and competitive games, intelligence and creative play as well as socio and dramatic play. Users of the More Play London will discover their own play preferences and over time will benefit from a stronger immune system, a more active lifestyle and forming new social connections to combat loneliness.
These play options would be enhanced and extended beyond the hub by intelligent wearable accessories and flying playpods. Data collection would provide feedback on the success of the play treatment.
Additionally, the 2040 Healthcare Ecosystem proposal would encourage private developers of public spaces to design semi-enclosed free play spaces, accessible 24/7 in bacteria-free, air-filtered and temperature regulated spaces. All public spaces would be required to offer a range of play activities and features so people of all ages and abilities can find something to engage with.
Yaatzil Ceballos Fernandez
For the second edition of our monthly In Practice series, featuring an MA Narrative Environments alumni, we talk with Luca Ponticelli, Designer at IDEO London.Luca Ponticelli
I am Visual Communication Designer with a background in Psychology. I worked across industries for the past few years at the intersection of brand, exhibition design and social innovation, always with a human centred lens. I am a currently Designer at IDEO London.
– Tell us about a narrative environment you’ve worked on since graduating.
One of the first projects I worked on at IDEO was a speculative design piece on the future of aging for the Design Museum. We were asked what role design places in ageing and what can we do to enhance that experience, and in particular what role design and new technologies (Ai, Biotech, Sensors) play in ageing and community.
When we start a project, we always put people at the center of it, after our research around ageing, we stumbled across the challenge of loneliness, which according to research is a dangerous as smoking or not exercising.
So we think tackling that is one of the biggest design challenges out there when it comes to ageing.
So we designed spirit, an Ai trained to help you be more social. Spirit is a pill full of nanobots, giving you nudges to help you connect more with the people that are the best fit for you.
This Narrative piece was divided in three parts:
- An Illustrated day in the life of Simon, a 92 years old man living in 2047, using spirit to stay connected to his friends and family.
- A cabinet with three formaldehyde body parts sculptures – showing the functions and effects of Spirit’s nanobots on Simon’s body.
- A large screen ‘hosting’ Spirit as it is today: a young AI, seeking for training from visitors interactions, to learn from people’s needs in social life. In front of it, a sound shower where people could answer Spirits’ questions, connected via audio sensors to an arduino piece which constantly collected data points.
This project was a priceless piece of design to analyse, learn and present elderlies’ needs and a great exercise to think about a narrative arch spanning from the present to the future, using different media linked to one coherent story. Don’t forget to put humans at the centre of your story, that’s what sticks with your audience.
above: Simon’s ear lobe lights up when Spirit is turning on / off. Body Parts Design: Agi Haines
above: The purpose loop, showing how Spirit creates more cohesive communities
– What’s the most unexpected collaboration you have been involved in?
A couple of months ago I started a collaboration with a social entrepreneur from Médecins sans frontière to design a vest to protect volunteers from chemical attacks when working in danger zones. It’s at a very early stage but I am focusing on a series of pictograms, sewn on the inner pouches, to ensure users have a clear idea of all the steps required when in threat. This is a very new kind of design and commission and I hope to be doing more of these in the upcoming future.
– Is there a current narrative environment you would recommend people to visit?
One day I was in Dubai, 45 degrees heat. After a morning at the beach and an afternoon skiing in a shopping mall, I drove to the emirate of sharjah. Among the dense arabesque urban texture, I get caught by a concrete box, here I found Random International’s Rain Room. It’s an indoor raining experience powered by sensors, where you never get wet. I thought that was a powerful example of a simple, effective narrative environment. And a necessary step to my multi climate day!
– What narrative environment method or approach have you found useful in your practice?
I constantly use storyboard at different phases of a project. I find sequencing actions and drawing more of a tool to help me think deeper about a people’s stories and how to best design for them.
A storyboard doesn’t need to land into a film, I storyboard to prepare the flow of
a conference, a client meeting or a Skype call at times!
– What advice would you give a current student about to graduate?
Often you won’t find a job description that would encompass the variety of work you do on the course! But you can seek multidisciplinary environments to feed your creativity. Seek collaborations, and work to build your clear point of view in the world. How can you find your own definition of what the course does and fit it to the industry you want?
Use your deep expertise to guide you through to land a job that would satisfy your creative thirst! There is plenty of interesting work out there, pick up your Narrative Hat and remember to be humble and very patient, it takes trial and error to succeed!
The Design Museum and MA Narrative Environments came together on Wednesday 20th February 2019 to host an all day Industry Insights event exploring the relationship between space and stories.
A diverse panel of designers and architects shared examples of their work and captivating insights into how to harness storytelling as a tool to narrate and communicate with audiences when designing a building, place-making, creating an exhibition or graphic installation. The event was chaired by MA NE course leader Patricia Austin.
Many thanks to the speakers for their fascinating contribution to the discussion. They included:
Carolina Caicedo: Co-founding member of The Decorators, a multi-disciplinary design practice that aims to reconnect the physical elements of a place with its social dimension. Find out more about Carolina’s work: The Decorators
Chloé Morris: Chloé Morris founded Edible Stories in 2012 to create playful food and drink events that stimulate all of the senses. Find out more about Chloé ‘s work: Edible Stories
Nele Voss: Nele Vos is a multidisciplinary designer combining her expertise in communication design with its built environment through storytelling. Find out more about Nele’s work: Nele Voss
Thomas Aquilina: an architectural designer, urban researcher and itinerant academic. He has worked for Adjaye Associates since 2017 and recently coordinated the exhibition David Adjaye—Making Memory at the Design Museum. Last year, he was nominated through the RIBA as one of the Next Generation of Black Architects.
Find out more about Thomas’s work: Adjaye Associates
Alex Newson: Senior Curator at the Design Museum and the curator of David Adjaye: Making Memory. Find out more about Alex’s work: Design Museum
Patricia Austin: Tricia Austin is an academic and design researcher. She is the Course Leader of MA Narrative Environments in the Spatial Practices Programme at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. She has lectured in Europe, Asia and Latin America and led a number of creative projects with universities and governmental organizations across the world. Find out more about MA Narrative Environments