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
The exhibition ‘Food as a Weapon: the Hunger for Power’ at the British Museum in London explores how food production and distribution are related to power, exploitation and control of natural resources. Today, hunger and malnutrition are still major health risks in some parts of the world, with social inequalities acting as a major barrier to people’s access to food.
The Super/Power Market design concept is a proposal by MA Narrative Environments Year 1 students for an interactive exhibition in the British Museum’s Room 3, examining the dynamics between food accessibility and power.
The exhibition takes advantage of the location of the British Museum’s Room 3, where visitors are on their way out, to highlight food control throughout history.
Visitors are invited to join the Super/Power Market membership and browse from 6 food related products, case studies of food control, and witness the impact of their choices through a bona fide shopping experience.
The interactive ‘shopping experience’ will shine a light on how daily food, provided by the Government and large agribusiness, is often a direct result of someone, somewhere else, being forced and coerced to give up their rights.
Re-imagining what a market can offer, MA NE Year 1 students, supported by Hemingway Design, created a design proposal for Inverness Street Market in Camden that revives the market place through a narrative led experience that inspires visitors to be creative and fulfil their dreams.
The design proposal responds to research showing that the market attracts mainly tourists and fails to reflect Camden’s cultural identity. The aim is to attract locals back to the market by offering an inclusive and innovative range of products and experiences based around helping them achieve their dreams.
Amongst the current offering of tourist products, new flexible stalls would be included in the markets that are personalised by the vendor, sharing their stories and offering visitors the possibility of doing something new, of realising their dreams. The design also includes new signage signalling what the stalls offer, installations, seating and a shared community court for performance and events.
Yaatzil Ceballos Fernadez
Rosalinn Lofling Krosshavn
We catch up with Anna Lincoln in this very first edition of our ‘In Practice’ series, shining the spotlight on MA Narrative Environments alumni trajectories since graduating from the course.
Anna Lincoln // annalincoln.co.uk
Where are you working now?
I work as a designer for the Arts, predominantly with museums and cultural institutions.
Currently I lead the 2D team at the Natural History Museum, and I continue to work freelance on creative projects in my own time.
Working with interesting people and stretching myself keeps me up to date and feeling alive, so I’m always looking for exciting new collaborations.
Tell us about a narrative environment you’ve worked on since graduating.
After graduating, I worked as a senior graphic designer at the British Museum on temporary exhibitions, including the exhibitions Japanese Woodblock printing and Edvard Munch.
Part of the enjoyment of exhibition design is that you get to work with a team of specialist designers and also find out really diverse subject matter from the expert curators. In this kind of project, a huge editing task takes place, and it’s a group effort to work out what narrative will work best within the restrictions of a gallery space.
Recently, I have started working on the newly housed Feminist Library in Peckham – developing its visual identity and interpretation design. It has a long and hard fought history so the challenge is to respect that, while doing something contemporary that fits for a group of keen followers committed to supporting its future role in society.
Such projects can be emotive, as I discovered when I was commissioned by Canary Wharf to roll-out one of my major project’s research pieces, about working women in the Isle of Dogs. ‘Island Women’ was displayed in the heart of Canary Wharf’s financial district, and contrasted the experience of working women in the twentieth century with their experiences today.
What’s the most unexpected collaboration you have been involved in?
I’m currently working on a bespoke carpet design with fellow MANE graduate and artist, Julie Howell, for a National Trust site, Calke Abbey. This is a first for me! And it’s unlike other carpets, in that it doesn’t have a repeat pattern and features handwritten notes. So people will be walking over the design.
At 13 metres, one of the things that really excites me is the scale, I can’t wait to walk all over my work!
Is there a current narrative environment you would recommend people to visit?
I did my Final Major Project for the Narrative Environments course ontheIsle of Dogs in London. I’m still obsessed with it,as a location. It is steeped in history, has some fantastic characters livingthere, hasthehighest disproportion of wealth anywhere in London – with city workers splashingthecash right next to families who have livedthereforgenerations as dock workers – and it has a farm and a post-modern designed pumping station. Itevenhas beaches too.
What narrative environment method or approach have you found useful in your practice?
I love to research and I set aside a lot of time for it within any design project. Even if it have not been commissioned yet, I like to look into the project and its background. This means I come to a project brimming with ideas from the very start, and if they are not ideas I use there, they might set off a chain of thought for something else.
I keep a note of all these things that crop up, saving images, web pages, books or just telling people about the interesting bits and pieces I have come across which keeps it fresh and evolves the ideas for future use. Narrative design is often layered and my design decisions will have defined rationales, specific to different contexts.
What advice would you give a current student about to graduate?
Meet regularly with your peers and contemporaries. Find out whatthey are doing and be generous with information in return.And don’t drink too much at your final major show, you may be feeling a little emotional after all that hard work…
Tackling social issues partly caused by the isolated location of the Maiden Lane Estate, Year 1 Narrative Environments students worked with local residents to create a proposal that activates empty public spaces around the estate to encourage interaction, promote cultural exchange and create platform for creative expression.
The students staged an interview on the rooftop of one of the buildings, with views over London. The interview gave a voice to young creatives on the estate and encourages locals value their community.
They used gold emergency blankets to mark out the spaces and gathered residents around a soundbar.
The Soundbar concept tested the idea of a community radio and provided participants with a toolkit for an interactive story sharing experience that can be expanded out to other platforms.
The project can be extended from rooftop platform to AR platform through an app that allows residents to share and locate events and attended them.
MA NE Design Team:
Eleonore Calypso De Pesters