Tag Archives: creative space

London Design and Anti Design Festivals 2010…

LDF at V&A

Last Friday I had a chance to visit London Design Festival and after last year’s good timing and awesome events my expectations were rather high. And truthfully, this time was different: horrible weather, bad ankle resulting in limping, and not many great inspirational moments.

I don’t wish to go on about everything I saw, but to pick out some of the memorable bits (you can also check more photos on my Flickr page):

A dark room with cabinets displaying objects, all pure white. Next to the cabinets, stories related to the objects building a saga of a fictional mixed background family. (I Cling to Virtue at V&A)

Miniature design doll house, magical, it can hold your gaze for hours.

The printed guide had no maps! You can stuff pages with advertising but not bother with a map. Pffft.

Stumbling through a door way into Anti Design Festival headquarters, and managing to get a free ticket to the afternoon talk Renewal & Strategy to Destroy and Rebuild featuring designer celebrities and their pals and some interesting artists.

“There’s  no such thing as grown ups, we’re just winging it because we have to.”
– Gerald Laing

Adrian Shaugnessy getting excited about magical Wales and praising young designers’ will to do social design projects instead of clamoring to be the next Neville Brody…

Shaugnessy’s realistic insights – we all need to make a living but it’s not an excuse to do something different either.

Peter Kennard’s vivid reminders of the simple power of image. His Cafe of Equivalents is a truly inspiring project: it made people rethink the value of money and the value of their earnings, and provided a space for discussion. A project worth looking up.

“The middle is not a great place to be” – Stuart Semple on the danger of the homogeneous middle

Barnbrook’s shifty nature not being allowed to talk about his work – felt like he was talking to students – again.

Brody being ripped into with criticism about “all talk no action plan” by a gentleman, watching Brody slither around responses.

Anti Design Festival space showing work by maestros and students alike, side by side on the walls without captions – interesting.

Hel Yes! Design and food from Helsinki

Hel Yes! warehouse converted into a hangout/ café/ restaurant/ discussion space, Finnish brunch to warm my soul, free coffee, use of wood branches to create tables connecting us back into nature.

Ok Do! talk Borderlands highlighting increased collaboration with co-creators and resource providers. “Friendship as an important catalyst for collaboration” – still resonates strongly within me, like a warm fuzzy feeling that tells me there is truth in those words.

Spotting parallels and common themes that have been popping up in recent workshops and events I have attended:

  • the need to embrace and explore collaboration and co-creation
  • engaging with society and the citizens living in it – inclusive design
  • the title “designer” losing its gravity and significance: we fall under different roles more and more
  • embracing technology to create future possibilities for participation, freedom of speech, debate, co-creation and strengthening networks for knowledge sharing

That’s it folks, tried to keep this short and hopefully shared some interesting observations. Please do share comments and thoughts.

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Creating space for a creative headspace

After a nice break that included no presents, rushing or spending much money, I have been getting back in gear by reading some of my favourite blogs. And I feel particularly warm and fuzzy in my heart as I see the same ethos and sentiment carry through so many people’s minds: to establish better conditions to unleash creativity within themselves.

First lovely Lulu, a creative designer and facilitator beaming with positive attitude, expresses her desire for self-exploration and creation of artistic works:

I believe that by committing to spend some time educating myself about my Self, by using the act of creating to journey from question to understanding, that artistic voice within me will be unleashed. And that the most appropriate mediums of expression will naturally emerge.

Then Olivia, a creative writer and thinker, talks about creative space which she calls “Olivia’s Kitchen”:

This year is about creating conditions that will allow my work to emerge – and Olivia’s Kitchen conjures the image for me of that space. — It is my belief that we are often so focused on worrying about what we are going to do and how we are going to do it, that we actually neglect creating the space which would allow the answers to those questions to emerge naturally.

I also enjoyed reading an ebook about happiness, quality of life and work by Vehmas Assembly (available in Finnish only), in which the author Sampsa coins a nice phrase saying that we all need to “re-educate our inner monkeys”. With this he refers to our evolutionary survival instincts and the unfortunate hoarding and status craving instinct that drives many to a vicious cycle of overconsumption, overworking and unhappiness. I share the point he and many others have made: a process of kindness, love and self-awareness is needed. Channeling these things into everyday life and ways of looking at things will affect everything else, like a chain reaction. One becomes kinder to oneself and this transfers to relationships, work and quality of life.

I felt inspired by all these generous and heartfelt pieces of writing and thought I would simply share my process of creative space. It’s not finished yet and I hope it never will be as things change with the flow. And change and flow I know now to be important parts of my quality of life in general.

I have reorganised my working space at home over Christmas. I have a desk in the corner of our light and cozy living room. It is only when I got rid of lots of clutter that is not related to my creativity (if it’s related, then it’s not clutter), moved it facing the window and allocated a wall next to it for free notes and drawings that I actually feel in my bones I can finally embrace this spot as my own. I have my candle, space for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, a crazy plant, cat per week desk calendar, origami a day calendar, pot with lots of brushes and pens and sticks, a beautiful 50s book of British birds, a shelf with more books, different drawing papers and sketch books, woollen socks to combat drafty floors and the laptop, of course.

I hope you noticed that the laptop was last on the list.

I have now begun addressing the time space issue – to comfortably enjoy spending time here even after a long day at my full time job. Time space is for me really more about the whole sphere of an issue about creative headspace. It’s more about that freedom inside my head, a simultaneous lenience and vigorous drive towards exploring and expressing myself.

The good thing is that I have a perfect project starting up at the end of January, and this project will offer me a framework to help with creative time outside normal working hours. The project involves a workshops with many other great creative people: musicians, actors, filmmakers, writers and me as a storyboard artist. It’s a dream project – I’m going to be exploring storyboarding techniques and hopefully find an interesting way of showcasing the athmospheric moods and even sensuality of a scene. It’s work but it’s firstly more fun and personally rewarding exploration, happiness.

It’s a good start for 2010, a continuity of good things. I wish you all the same.