‘To satisfy his inner sense of orientation, man needs to situate himself in space’


How do we know where we are when we are hovering between two different spaces? How to we situate ourselves within this threshold space in order to determine our orientation in the world? My installation aims to explore the ‘in-between’ space and notion of self and sense of location.

I was inspired by megalithic monuments and their measuring of progressive lunar and solar cycles against the earth in order to allow people to have a sense of time and space. Their use of complex maths and stone markers have many different functions and relationships with the surrounding environment. It also shows that although these monuments were built around 3000BC they still demonstrate that humans have an innate sense to understand our surroundings and where we stand in the world.

Taking inspiration from these mathematical patterns I have created this emotive object in response to the notion of self and sense of location. My installation demonstrates a 3D map of how these megalithic monuments were constructed and also highlights our connection to our surroundings as human beings. By exploring the term threshold I aim to initiate a debate as to how each person specifically perceives their sense of place whilst standing on an ‘in between’ or transitional space.

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UNIT Future Workplace concept

UNIT (user cantered, natural, intuitive and timeless design) is a space which aims to break social barriers and increase collaboration in the future workplace. The office space is designed to allow fluid movement throughout the space and boost social encounters in order to create partnerships, share skills and disperse hierarchy. Unofficial discussions and meetings often plant the seed for a good idea, as architect Primo Orpilla states ‘great things happen over lunch’.

Primo Orpilla of Studio o + a outlines a set of guidelines for creating a successful office space. I have chosen to adopt these guidelines and create a conceptual office for studio o + a to inhabit in the future. Orpilla’s characteristics champion natural relationships between each section of the space to allow for different types of work to co-habit the same internal structure. It puts particular focus on flexibility within the working environment to allow for collaboration.

Sketch Modelling process

Taking these principles forward there are no personal offices within UNIT in order to break down the hierarchy within the company. Businesses have ‘flattened out’ by 25% over the last 25 years, losing several layers of management in favor of a more fluid structure increasing interaction and discussion. In this new plan ideas can flow along horizontal, vertical and diagonal paths throughout the firm. UNIT provides a space which accommodates this shift in management style towards the future workplace.

Walking up the ramp to the entrance you appreciate the light which is filtered through the wooden slats, creating a lattice work of shadows and light. This effect will change in response to sunlight and weather creating an ever changing, inspiring entrance to the workplace. Upon entering reception you can gaze down at visitors and staff enjoying hot drinks and food in the café or look upwards towards a group of individuals in deep discussion in the circular conference room. Proceeding down the curving ramp into the café you look down to see architects hard at work on laptops and model making alike. There is a bubble of chatter flowing up from below with the loud hiss of the coffee machine from the cafe breaking up the sound. Proceeding in the elevator to ground level you notice the organised clutter of models housed along various shelves within the studio. At one end of the ground floor light floods in through a workshop and brightens the private, individual conference rooms. At the other end of the studio soft lighting guides you to a quiet, individual work area set deeper into the ground. It is a cosy, quiet space with soft lighting and furnishings. Perfect for reading and relaxing.

UNIT reflects the principles outlined by Primo Orpilla but also integrates the values of Studio o + a into the space. They aim to connect and empower organisations but also integrate intuitive design in order to show sympathy to the user. UNIT reflects these values through material honesty, harmony between the building and user, flexible spaces and unobtrusive design to fulfil a purpose whilst benefiting user.

Disposture: Stand Against Sitting

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Disposture is a stool which is particularly uncomfortable and forces you into a ‘c slump’. In order to highlight the detrimental effects of slouching on the human body.

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More than 25% of adults reported experiencing lower back pain within the last three months. – Ninds.nih.gov

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Disposture was designed by myself Jessica Ross, Emily Wallace and Cathrynn Healy, as part of our interior design programme at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design.

The chair is designed to be uncomfortable to sit on, lean on or lie on. This in turn combats the real issue of training the brain to recognise the detrimental effects of the slouch and make a conscious decision to sit straight.

The idea for Disposture began after spending long periods at my studio desk being uncomfortable slouching. In experimenting with different bodily angles and shapes we found it difficult to come up with the ‘perfect’ sitting angle. Every angle seemed to help one body part but still hinder another.”

After coming to the conclusion that there is no such thing as a comfortable chair, we team decided to create a seat which would be deliberately awkward for people to sit in.

This in turn combats the real issue of training the brain to recognise the detrimental effects of the slouch and make a conscious decision to sit straight.






The V and A: A Substantial Investment?

If you travel north up the east coast of Scotland past Edinburgh you will soon reach the modest city of Dundee. I have grown up and lived my childhood in Dundee but left aged 17 to study in the bustling city of Syracuse, New York, USA. After leaving the small bubble of school life in Dundee the exposure to a bigger city with a resounding new culture opened my eyes to a different way of looking at things. Now on my return to the small city in Scotland I can fully see how the city is growing and developing into a centre for design innovation.

As Dundee is developing into a hub for design excellence there has also been a lot of thought into how to advance the city to make it a more prosperous place to live. As of recent figures there are currently 18,000 children living in poverty in the city. This is a huge statistic considering the population of Dundee is a mere 141,870 as of 2004. So in the development of Dundee’s waterfront, the designers involved have a moral responsibility to also create a working solution to this problem using design innovation and the waterfront redevelopment as a catalyst.

The first stage in Dundee becoming a centre for design is the construction of the new V and A. The building of the museum is a multi-million pound project which sees a lot of both council and grant money invested into the site. As a design student I believe this is a worthwhile expenditure but many across the city are opposed to such a large sum of money going towards a building rather than helping the poorer people of Dundee. The opposition view the investment as a superficial cost which is not necessary to the advancement of Dundee’s economic growth. Most of the opposition simply see the enormous cost rather than the sustainability of the investment.

The introduction of the design museum to Dundee will inevitably increase the tourism to the small city and create more jobs in the service industry. Cities across the world with high tourism income take most of the profits through restaurants, cafes and hotels. There has already been evidence of this with the renovation of the old Tay Hotel into the new contemporary Malmaison Hotel. The Malmaison has shown to have increased employment opportunities in the city and also set an example for other businesses looking at investing in the area. General Manager of the hotel Steven Simpson believes Dundee is an “up and coming” city and the Malmaison has contributed to this as “from our perspective, we employ 106 people, so that is a significant contribution and most of those employed have been local”. Simpson goes on to explain that as the waterfront develops into a tourist hub more jobs should become available.

As a comparison to the Malmaison franchise I spoke to an employee of city quay restaurant Porters. Relating to their brand as a business they believe that the V and A will bring in a clientele more suited to the up market food they serve. Porters prides itself on its locally sourced fresh poultry and seafood which they believe will be popular with tourists visiting the museum from out with Scotland. The restaurant is situated in the city quay which has struggled over the last few years to become an exciting hub of small local businesses. However the location has a lot of potential and with increased tourism to the city it is likely to grow and develop over time with new investors moving into the Dundee Waterfront.

Another local business which is in favour of the waterfront redevelopment is Interior Design shop Lovely Things. Lovely Things is a small store stocking furnishings for up market interiors. Talking to an employee at the business she enthused that the V and A “can only be beneficial” to Lovely Things and can’t do any harm to Dundee as a small city. Furthermore those visiting the museum of design are more likely to be interested in furniture produced by known designers rather than a mass produced IKEA number. This is the first aspect of the sustainability of the investment into the waterfront as more jobs are created which is the best way to get people out of poverty and into a permanent line of work. Therefore it will have a lasting effect on poverty in the city rather than a short term fix.

The benefits of the introduction of the museum of design to Dundee will also filter through to art students at DJCAD. As a student of Interior Design the waterfront has already had an impact on the work I am producing and the projects I am working on. Developing my design skills in line with the V and A construction creates a bond between the students and the city. This can only be beneficial to my learning as I am designing in context with the real world. This connection the V and A has created between students and the city will also be beneficial to Dundee as a hub for design. By creating a network of local design students who associate themselves with Dundee means they are more likely to stay rooted in the city as young professionals. Which in turn makes Dundee a more exciting, prosperous place to live.

This is why I believe the re development of the waterfront is a worthwhile expenditure. Dundee has struggled with its high poverty rate for a long time and this could be the solution to the issue. By investing in the centre for design it makes Dundee a prosperous place to be for young creatives whilst also creating more jobs in the service industry. The development of the waterfront will inevitably increase business in the city centre which will further lower the unemployment rates in Dundee as a whole. And as the benefits of the V and A filter through to young creatives in the city it will turn Dundee into an exciting, vibrant hub of design. Consequently developing Dundee as an affluent city in Scotland.

Jessica Ross


Forensic Jewellry

Arriving in the lecture theatre, ready to hear a talk from a jewellery design graduate, I honestly wasn’t expecting to gain much inspiration from the talk as an Interior Designer myself. My knowledge on what jewellery design entails is little above zero and I will admit I wasn’t expecting much.

Maria Maclennan took to the floor and I was instantly drawn to her big, child like eyes darkened with makeup and framed by various piercings and gems. She stood looking relaxed whilst staring back at all of her student audience.  She introduced herself by name and did not drop her gaze from the crowd. Her jawline was framed by dark, intricate tattoos covering her neck and also appearing on her hands. As she began to describe her line of work and how she was involved with Police Scotland I found myself to be drawing more and more interest towards her profession. She discussed various cases in which jewellery had been used to identify victims of crime in a way that science couldn’t.

It was amazing to hear how design thinking could create a whole new field of study and research. I have a lot of admiration for Maria in the way that she is pioneering a field that doesn’t really exist yet and would never exist if she wasn’t researching it. I will be following @forensicJewellery in the future and am excited how this develops as a concept in the near future.