A trip to Shoreditch: Campaign & The Geffrye Museum

Last week our some of our students went on a research trip to Shoreditch, to both widen their understanding & experience of the UK’s spatial design industry, and to do a little research at one of London’s smaller museums.

First stop, http://www.campaigndesign.co.uk/ a design studio known for its conceptual, innovative & technologically integrated approach to branded spaces, in particular the retail experience

‘We create engaging consumer experiences for discerning clients’ – Campaign

Creative Director, Philip Handford welcomed us to his studio, and gave us all an insightful overview of his company and it’s development, his personal design ethos and his hopes going forward for the company. He also shared some illuminating facts about the way Campaign approach larger scale projects.

It became evident to the students that successful collaborative skills are essential on any kind of large scale retail design project, where increasingly a variety of design disciplines are coming together to create exciting three dimensional ‘experiences’. These might include interactive, digital, sound, lighting, graphic applications or film, but it is clear the pivotal role Campaign play in developing the overall spatial concept design, narrative, structure, and atmosphere of a space. It is good to see this, as it makes us all appreciate how well placed the BA Spatial Design course is at LCC, being surrounded by fellow students and lecturers on parallel courses to collaborate with, not only while at college but also in their future careers.

As we were shown around the office, it was also very interesting to see how the latest three dimensional printing technology is being used in house, as a testing and prototyping tool for the development of design ideas. For each project also how important it is to always have samples of the materials you are designing with close to hand….

Next stop  http://www.geffrye-museum.org.uk/ Museum of the Home, only a short walk up the road, but a very different spatial experience to our previous stop.



These 18th century almshouses are home to the Geffrye Museum

Our overseas students were interested to find out about the residential interior’s of the UK’s middle classes through the century’s, as two of them are thinking about looking at furniture design in relation to spatial design a summer research projects. It was also interesting to try and explore how the term ‘middle classes’ has evolved in the context of our social history, and impacted on the development of London housing stock

1830's Drawing room

1830’s Drawing room

1870's drawing room

1870’s drawing room

A living room in 1965 photographed by Chris Ridley

A living room in 1965 photograph by Chris Ridley

The 1965 room and it’s furniture proved the most popular amongst our students, along with the beautiful gardens to the rear of the building, these were also divided into areas of planting and design of the 16th century through to the 20th century.


A moment to relax in the herb garden

Enjoying the herb garden

Students commented that the Museum feels a bit like a small ‘oasis or time capsule’ in the the middle of what is a very urban and quite commercial part of the city.

Paris trip winning films


This post links to a previous post about the first year BA (Hons) Spatial Design students(London College of Communication, University of the Arts London) recent study trip to Paris.

Students were asked to make a 3 minutes film of their experience on the trip. We organised a preview evening at LCC a few weeks after the trip and all students, staff and guests were asked to vote for their favourite film. The films were great and people couldn’t decide so we had 2 winning teams.

Team 1 film by Ieva Symkonyte, Kajsa Lilja, Alice Filello, Ella Haavimb, Natalia Ivanova, Natalie Bondavera, Anais Bonnafous, Chin Chin Lam.

Watch team 1 film

Team 2 film by Zahra Khan, Aitor Fernandes, Emra Mercado ad Shanice Puckering.

Watch team 2 film

The film encapsulates all the details of our visits and samples of Parisian life. The team did a great job in editing the photographs and films they brought back with them. Anyone who has made films before will know that even a 3 minutes film is a lot of work. It is a pleasure to watch and brings back great memories from the trip.

Congratulations to Ieva, Kajsa, Alice, Ella, Natalie, Anais, Chin Chin, Aitor, Zahra, Emra and Shanice on winning the competition.

Clerkenwell Design Week

Last week our “Science without Borders” exchange students from Brazil went to explore what was on offer at ‘Clerkenwell Design Week’. As always there were so many design events and happenings, it proved difficult to know where to start….. So we started in the obvious place – registration at the Farmiloes Building. As well as hosting the latest designs from the furniture and lighting industry, the top floor of the building hosted a series of design ‘conversations’ throughout the three days with speakers from across the design industry sharing their thoughts on current spatial design issues.

See below for some our student highlights of the show

“Beaux is a company who has brought us this innovative material. The panels are constructed in modules and almost any kind of shape and colours can be made. It is a simple idea: it’s a type of hay mixed with powdered concrete and water. The proportions of materials is shown in the picture.”


“With very basic and simple materials it’s possible to achieve beautiful and creative patterns. This is not the only innovation, there is also in the fire retardant feature, given by the concrete’s inherent properties, and then main characteristic promoted by the company was the soundproof qualities of the panels”


“The interesting thing about TedWood was their stand. They actually brought their own workstations to the fair. With their tools on hand they gave us the feeling of passion for handmade furniture and how careful they are when making their products. It also gave us a sense of being closer to them, a more intimate feeling, in contrast with some other stands focusing on the luxury sector. Of course, it doesn’t mean they were much cheaper than these. Their products were simple and elegant, mainly with raw materials and this characteristic was well explored with their finishing of the furniture pieces”

Denise Ikuno – Year 2 Spatial Design

Ted Wood's 'workshop'

Ted Wood’s ‘workshop’

“The whole Clerkenwell area was full of design works on the streets and even in the smallest passageways, so on every corner you could discover something unexpected, new and beautiful….”

Camila Rocha Dias Silva – Year 2 Spatial Design

An unexpected find....

An unexpected find….

GX Glass installation by Cousins and Cousins

GX Glass installation on St Johns Square by Cousins and Cousins

Interactive writing walls

A series of drawings on the glass developed throughout the three days

“Lighting the way inside and out” was a great talk. The participants were experts on the subject and at the end gave their tips for places in London to visit with particularly beautiful lighting”

Speakers were Terence Woodgate, Carlotta de Bevilacqua (Artemide) and Keith Bradshaw Principal at Speirs + Major. The discussion focussed on interior, exterior and sculptural lighting, asking how it affects the way we perceive spaces. All speakers highlighted ‘short laser’ as being an exciting new technological development, to follow on from LED

Camila Rocha Dias Silva – Year 2 Spatial Design

Marble light by Terence Woodgate

Solid Carrara marble light by Terence Woodgate  – LED lamps enable a gentle glow

“Prooff are a company focused on workstations for the modern world. They believe that concentration and “isolation” also helps with creativity and efficiency. The workstations are very different from each other and always with a very ergonomic design, thinking deeply about the relationship between the worker’s body and the furniture.

This, for example, is a booth where the user will be standing up in an acoustic “cabin”. In this cabin, he would be able to not be visually and sonorously distracted and can, for example, talk on the phone without distracting his colleagues.”

Denise Ikuno – Year 2 Spatial Design

Proof sound booth

Proof 009 standalone

Cultures of Resilience Exchange

Last week some of our year 2 students had the chance to exhibit their work as part of the UAL Research event Cultures of Resilience Exchange at Well Gallery.

The project, titled Transience and Placemaking in Lewisham, asked the students to propose design interventions that created touch points for interaction between transient and non-transient residents of the London Borough of Lewisham, with the aim of fostering generosity and collaboration. At the beginning of the process the students were led through a series of workshops by design collective Eclective.

The exhibition culminated in a discussion between the students and Professor Ezio Manzini, who initiated the Cultures of Resilience project.

Here are some images of the event:

Paris study trip


1st year students from the BA (Hons) Spatial Design have just returned from a study trip to Paris. 36 students and 3 tutors in total. We left from Kings Cross International via Eurostar on Monday 23rd March. We arrived at our hotel late afternoon and, after check in and dropping off our luggage, we made our way to Pont de L’Alma to take a Bateau-Mouche for a trip on the river Seine in central Paris. It’s a great way to see this beautiful city and the grand buildings that line the river front.

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The next day, after a quick group photo session, we spent the morning at the Citée de la Science et de l’Industrie, located directly opposite our hotel. The Citée is a vast complex of buildings that include a science museum (with a really good section on perspective and another on acoustics), a greenhouse, a planetarium and the Geode, a 3D cinematic experience located inside a huge metal sphere. The screen is the biggest one in Europe and surrounds the viewer to provide a highly immersive experience. We were presented with a powerful intro sequence before a more tranquil film about sea life. Definitely worth going to, the details are amazing. I filmed some of the intro sequence though of course the reduction to a small 2D screen cannot fully express the intensity of the experience. We also went to the planetarium to see a beautifully made presentation about our galaxy. Unlike the Geode, where the seats are placed on a very steep slope, the seats in the planetarium invite you to recline for a more relaxing type of immersion, to gaze at the stars.

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In the afternoon we took the Metro to Citée, which is the station on the Ile de la Citée, the island at the heart of the river Seine. We chose to go there because it has one of the very few remaining original Art Nouveau station designed by the architect Hector Guimard. Students had studied Art Nouveau as part of their Contextual and Theoretical Studies on the course earlier in the year so this was a great opportunity for them to see Art Nouveau design in context. Notre Dame, made famous by Victor Hugo in his novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, is also located on the Ile de la Citée and we visited its atmospheric interior before a welcome break at a café brasserie nearby.

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Next, we walked along the river Seine, pass the Louvre museum and the Tuileries gardens and spent an afternoon studying Parisian branded spaces. The BA Spatial Design includes four pathways and so, wherever possible, we aimed to link our visits to one of the pathway and explore the connections to our curriculum. The first place we went to was Colette, the famous curator of iconic brands Faubourg St Honoré. We then went to the Galleries Lafayette, the department store famed for its exceptional stained glass dome ceiling. While walking the streets of central Paris, we realised that unlike central London, where the same ubiquitous few brands have overtaken the high street, Paris has retained the originality and uniqueness of independent brands and for that reason, the streets are lined with branded spaces designed with the imagination of people whose passion transcends commercial interests. Amongst the many we saw, our favourites were the original and eclectic design of a tapas restaurant, a small pen and stationary shop where the owners displayed a real passion for writing and a chocolate shop with wonderful smells and beautiful displays.

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On the 3rd day we had an appointment at the Foundation Louis Vuitton in Neuilly sur Seine, Bois de Boulogne, on the edge of Paris. We had to get up quite early to make the 10am appointment but everyone agreed that it was well worth it. Designed by the architect Frank Ghery and only recently opened, the Foundation is an amazing building where the seemingly disconnected forms emulate the shape of an upside down boat. The interior is equally impressive and houses the company’s art collection, including an amazing light and mirrors installation by one of my favourite artist, Oliafur Elliasson. The panels are angled differently and placed in such a way that when standing on one particular spot, people can see their reflection multiplied across every single one of the 43 mirrored panels. In just over 60 years time, when the lease of the land onto which the building is built expires, the company will donate its Foundation to the city of Paris and it will become a public gallery for all to enjoy.

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That day we had a free afternoon where everyone could choose what they wanted to see or do. Some went to the Musée du Quay d’Orsay, some visited Montmartre, others went to La Défense. After a long and rather enjoyable lunch in a typical French brasserie, a few of us chose to go the the Musée de l’Orangerie to see Monet’s paintings, les Nymphéas, of his garden in Gyverny. I had previously visited the garden and Monet’s house so I was looking forward to see the paintings. Made especially for the space, the paintings follow the curve of the oval rooms in which they are housed. There are two rooms in total with three paintings in each room. Daylight coming through the skyline is filtered through translucent fabric hung across the ceiling. The effect is restful and stimulating at the same time and allows visitors to fully appreciate the beauty of the painting and the absorbing qualities of the colours. The Museum also houses the art collection of Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume whose study is reproduced in minute details in a maquette on display at the museum.

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During our last day in Paris, we went to the Pompidou Centre, a multi-cultural complex designed by the architects Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano in 1977. Its unique high-tech architecture contrasts greatly with the surrounding stone buildings and one of its key attraction are the escalators located on the outside of the building. As people slowly go up, Paris reveals itself in all its splendour and, should the weather be favourable, offers a vantage point to see a beautiful sunset on the horizon, which, in March, is almost directly behind the Eiffel Tower. Unfortunately for us it was raining that day but I’d had the opportunity to see the sunset while on a previous visit a few years ago. There is an unusual sculpture fountain to the side of the building created in 1983 by sculptors Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle. It is called the Stravinsky Fountain because it is inspired by Stravinsky’s work, notably the Right of Spring.

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Our final destination was Gare du Nord where we boarded the Eurostar to return to London in the afternoon of the 26th. Everyone had a fantastic time and there was a great atmosphere during the journey back. We were really touched when, before we parted at Kings Cross, students presented each of us with a thank you card they had all signed. It was such a lovely gesture and we’d also noticed that throughout the trip, all students displayed genuine enthusiasm and interest for what they did and saw. Study trips are a lot of work to organise but this shows that they are definitely worth it. As well as a great learning opportunity, they also provide an platform for students to interact outside the classroom and although we also regularly go out on day trips in London and the UK, a few days abroad bring a new dimension to the students’ experience. As the course is fairly new, this is our first trip abroad but our aim is, for each year of the course, to go on a study trip so that by the time students graduate, they will have gone on three trips abroad as part of the course.

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While in Paris students were asked to record their experience using photography and film to make a 2 minutes film that summarises their experience of the trip. They worked in small groups and the films will be presented on the 4th of May when students will vote for their favourite film. Each member of the winning team will receive a voucher for 1 hour of laser cutting in our 3D workshop. We will upload the best films to this blog after the 4th of May so… to be continued…



Prototyping Generosity – Transience and Placemaking in Lewisham

Some of the second year students are currently working on a project based in Lewisham, led by design collective Eclective. Lewisham is a place currently in a state of change with a planned regeneration in progress, the recently opened overground station and and influx of new residents fleeing high rents and housing prices in other areas. The aim of the project is to create design interventions that encourage generosity and collaboration between transient or new residents and permanent residents of Lewisham by creating touch points for interaction.

Last Thursday the students went to the site with prototypes of their ideas. The aim was to test their design ideas prior to finalising their designs, and to collect primary research by observing residents’ reactions to and interactions with their prototypes.


Students Gui and Lucas set up their prototype

Students Zijing Gui and Lucas Anghinoni set up their prototype

Gui, Lucas and Jessica's prototype

Zijing Gui, Lucas Anghinoni and Jessica Mavambu’s prototype

Karin setting up one of her group's prototypes

Karin Onuki Kussaba setting up one of her group’s prototypes


Close up - Karin, Stephanie and Joy's model on display

Close up – Karin Onki Kussaba, Stephanie Nylen and Joy Williams’ model on display

Stephanie creating an intervention with balloons

Stephanie Nylen creating a mini-intervention with balloons


Cindy Wong, Ella Zhao, Shiman Feng and Fin Rujikiatkamjorn marking up their space in the park

Cindy Wong, Ella Zhao, Shiman Feng and Fin Rujikiatkamjorn marking up their space in the park

The Lewisham project is part of two year UAL research project titled Cultures of Resilience (CoR). The project aims to create a new discourse around Resilience, with the hope of creating a more Resilient society, better able to cope with crisis and disaster.

The first phase of the project will culminate in the CoR Exchange at Well Gallery, from the 24th – 27th March. Our students will be presenting their work and some of their prototypes on Thursday 26th March from 10am – 11.30am.




ReSound project

Year 1 BA Spatial Design students just completed their first live project! They redesigned the interior of the digital space at LCC to enhance the aesthetics while also provide acoustic solutions that enable students and staff using the space to work more comfortably. To help them with the project, we worked with acoustic experts from the South Bank University so this was also a great collaboration between both universities. The results were fantastic and everyone had  a great time!


Staff and students in the digital space have experienced and noted problems with intelligibility and productivity within the space due to insufficient and inadequate acoustic treatment. The digital space is used every day by students as a space where they can work individually and collaboratively and is therefore central to their experience. So the issue of poor acoustics needed to be addressed, to improve health and safety within the space and enhance wellbeing and productivity for its users.

Acoustics considerations include creating barriers to sound, sound absorption, reflecting sound and diffusing sound. So the designs include free standing acoustic panels, wall panels, ceiling tiles, a ceiling or wall feature that could act as a focal point, infill panels for the meeting pods or even furniture or modifications to existing furniture.

Students benefitted from a lecture and presentation on acoustics, with the client and sound experts from London South Bank University (SBU), on Tuesday 13th January in the Street Lecture Theatre at LCC.

In addition to functional and acoustic considerations, proposed solution took into account the visual impact of the design across the space, materials, sustainability, health and safety, longevity, ease of maintenance and cost.

One of the key aspect of the project was sustainability. The client was looking for innovative solutions using reclaimed or recycled materials that had never before been used to develop acoustic solutions. So this ground breaking project will be used as part of a research project at SBU to develop sustainable solutions in acoustics for interior spaces. Selected designs will be tested at the SBU’s acoustic lab and the most suitable solutions will be implemented within the digital space over the Summer. So students will also be able to see their designs realised and implemented within a real space.

Below are a few examples of design explorations and prototypes

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The Culture of Architecture: 3 buildings, 3 periods, 3 ideologies

The project’s research and analysis was compiled into a book written by Valerie Mace for the Making Interior Space journal on the MA Interior Design at the University of Westminster. Below are extracts from the section on Foreground, Middleground and Background followed by the section on Grand Narratives. 

A pdf copy of the book is available from academia.eu

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After the Fire: Re-imagining the Cuming Museum


After the Fire: Re-imagining the Cuming Museum is a live project to be co-designed by LCC and Cuming Museum staff and year 2 students from BA (Hons) Design Cultures and BA (Hons) Spatial Design. The aim is to support our industry partner the Cuming Museum, following a fire which seriously damaged its buildings and resulted in the closure of the museum to the public for the foreseeable future. Reduced government spending, radical regeneration plans and complex local politics have contributed to uncertainty regarding the museum’s prospects, the future of its collections and its role within the local area.


Working together in the creation of a project brief that aims to offer tangible benefits and support to the Cuming Museum, staff and students will design and curate an exhibition and related events in order to stimulate public debate about the future of the institution. By working with a range of museum staff, stakeholders and community groups students will develop useful transferable skills for employment and lifelong learning. The experience of collaboration, knowledge sharing and dissemination will help students to understand the challenges and benefits of real-world socially engaged projects.


Why do we need primary research in spatial design?

Primary research is a process of documenting and understanding spaces, people and situations from their original source and through personal experiences. Unlike secondary research, which uses other people’s research found in books, magazines and websites as supporting evidence, primary research is about being there and experiencing the space and its occupants for yourself. It’s about immersing yourself in its atmosphere, observing how people behave and interact, finding out about how they feel, learning about the complexity and idiosyncrasies of the environment.

Various methods are available. They are carefully selected depending on the focus of the documentation and the purpose of the design. Irrespective of the method however, it is important for the designer to develop the ability ask questions: who? what? when? why? and how? So when conducting primary research, the designer becomes a curious investigator, looking for clues on site, documenting the space, mapping its environment, listening to people, making connections and noticing things that others would overlook.

Sketch by Natalia Ivanova, BA Spatial Design student year 1 

Techniques vary depending on the focus of the investigation. On the BA Spatial Design, students are first introduced to primary research techniques through a series of workshops. One of them encourages students to consider place making and identity through the study of London riverscape and cityscape. In order to do this, we take them on a boat trip, from Embankment to Greenwich, and ask them to identify and capture the uniqueness of the urban landscape and the elements that imbue the cityscape with a distinctive sense of place. The objective is to capture these characteristics through a series of drawings while travelling form East to West and back.

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Sketches by BA Spatial Design students year 1

Another workshop requires students to consider the different types of users in Spitalfield market, record and reflect on people’s movement, levels of interaction within the space. We also take students to the South Bank and ask them to consider the interior of the Royal Festival Hall as a curated spatial environment and, using drawings and mapping techniques, explore and documents this multi-layered and multi-experiential interior and its organisation.

Sketches by BA Spatial Design students year 1

Developing a sound knowledge of a space and its characteristics is important but insufficient on its own because spaces are designed for and used by people. Therefore, students are also introduced to interview and survey techniques as a mean to find useful and relevant information directly from the people who are using the space. Beyond the survey, we also borrow from other disciplines such as service design, a practice that focusses on designing for people and often also with people. So, as part of their primary research, students are introduced to co-design techniques such as storytelling and character profile.

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Sketchbook by Natalia Ivanova, BA Spatial Design student year 1 

Another important aspect of primary research taught on the course are techniques used to document, capture even, the more elusive attributes of space, its atmosphere and our sensory perceptions. Atmosphere is intangible and our perceptions are often subjective yet they are essential components of space. The atmosphere of a space affects the way we feel and consequently, our emotions and sense of belonging. In order to construct atmosphere and manipulate sensory perceptions, it is important to understand them and so, to develop the ability to document them.

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Sketches from various BA Spatial Design students year 1

Students on the BA Spatial Design are taught a rich palette of methods and tools that enable them to fully immerse themselves in the environment they are designing in, understand the context they are working with, connect with the people they are designing for and develop a sustainable and inclusive approach to spatial design. No matter what kind of space they are designing, effective primary research enables spatial designers to create positive and meaningful experiences for people, foster a sense of belonging, human attachment and scenarios that will enable occupants to imbue the space with meaning. The way spaces are designed affect the way we interact, behave, work, play, learn; the way we feel, the way we live and even our health. As Iain Borden, Professor of Architecture and Urban Culture at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, underlined at the 2011 Royal Academy Forum “Spaces of Memory”, “we make space and space makes us” (Bartlett UCL, 2011, 1:15 [Video file]) and so it is essential for students of spatial design to develop into perceptive, mindful and thoughtful designers, and this is why primary research is so important.

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 Primary research intervention by Kajsa Lilja, BA Spatial Design year 1 student

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Primary research intervention by Wenjing Luo, BA Spatial Design year 1 student