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Reflections on architecture

Beauty Built In

October 13th, 2014

When it comes to our perception of architecture and design it is understandable why we often focus solely on the finished product. With so many images being consumed every day, it’s easy to forget that any project has almost definitely undergone a long journey with many negotiations, iterations, collaborations and submissions. It could be said our perception of construction materials is similar - we often only see the final product.
Film maker Yuri Ancarani in his piece, Il Capo (The Chief) - shows us that beauty in the design process can often begin long before a project even exists.
You can watch the trailer below, or to see a longer excerpt in much greater quality click through to Nowness


July 21st, 2014

So that's what goes on inside Provan Gas Works!



Creating A Cathedral Of Light Inside A Gas Tank | URBANSCREEN's 320° Light from The Creators Project on Vimeo.



Human Tower Building Competition

February 4th, 2014



The Concurs de Castells is a human tower-building competition in Tarragona, Spain. Dating back to the 18Th Century the human towers or “castells” are highly organised and split into teams according individual size and strength. Photos and film by Spanish photographer, David Oliete Casanova.



Adam Magyar_Stainless

January 14th, 2014

New Year, new resolutions, new blog(s).

I’m going to start posting some of things we look at in G R A S, which may or may not be related to a specific project in the office.

Here’s a nice one to start.




Adam Magyar is a Berlin-based Hungarian Photographer and has produced a series of photographs and films of people in various cities around the world. Stainless, is a series of films and stills using high speed recording at underground stations in Berlin, Tokyo and New York.

South Africa: Part III / Design Indaba

April 26th, 2013

Indaba, I learnt means “get together” and for the last day and a half we got together again for a walk round the Expo and to attend the conference with presentations by the following:

21/ Daisy Ginsberg

Daisy Ginsberg is an artist, designer and writer who is primarily concerned with Synthetic Biology and how we might design with nature. Daisy considers biological matter as the 20thC material for design and that design should be much more than just problem solving.

(Image from

Amongst others she presented, yesterday Today from the Supertask Series (a fascinating idea to make a model of the world) which "constructs a space in which the visitor experiences the temperature as predicted by the Weather Channel on the previous day". The idea being that when you visit you experience the fluctuation between yesterday's forecast and today's reality....bit of a head-wrecker isn't it?  - so see here for more info.

22/ Matthew Carter

This was a fascinating presentation by Matthew Carter, who is a type designer, probably best known for the creation of the Verdana and Georgia fonts amongst others.

He observed that text on traditional buildings was possibly a form of advertising and suggested letters may have originally been hyphenated, simply to squeeze words in rather than for linguistics reasons.

He also presented the Walker project where he developed a flexible typeface. Put simply, you can create your own type from 5 basic types and snap-on serif.

His description of anticipatory plagiarism which to him means references that lie dormant in your sub conscious  and unknowingly influence your work was particularly refreshing.

23/ Cristoph Niemann

(Diagrams from  his blog)

This was a hilarious, and very personal presentation by Christoph Niemann about his life and work. Originally from Germany but having spent much of his life in NY, he is a graphic designer, illustrator and author. His book is called Abstract City he draws daily for his blog for in the New York Times.

Christoph showed various illustrations depicting his thoughts, observations and frustrations of everyday life. He thinks the creative process is daunting, consists of 80% effort and for him is about working with what’s already in the world. I’m going to buy his book and his app, Petting Zoo looks to be worth the £1.49 price tag.

24/ Jessica Hische & Marian Bantjes

(Top image from and bottom

The next presentation was by Jessica Hische & Marian Bantjes who are both letterers and typographers and graphic designers. They presented their work together, compared styles and ways of working whilst discussing their influences. Their talent is undoubted and I particularly like Marian’s illustration, Indestructible, made from sugar.

25/ Daniel Charny

The final presentation was by Daniel Charny, (our team leader for the trip) who was a last minute substitution for advertising tycoon, Sir John Hegarty.

Daniel is founder of From Now On who, “devise, commission and manage creative projects” and Fixperts which unsurprisingly is about fixing and “sharing the creative and social values of design”. He also curated, the Power of Making in 2011 at the V&A which exhibited 100 crafted objects by amateurs and professionals from around the world.

He posed some intriguing questions about how we will learn skills in the future and stressed the importance of making which got me thinking about the possible outcomes of trip as a whole.


Put simply, the trip was exhausting but truly inspirational. The experience as a whole has provided me with a renewed desire to get things done, collaborate more and not let every day frustrations dilute your ideas and prevent them being realised.

The infectious, enthusiasm of many of the designers in South Africa is refreshing.  It all feels quite new and raw which is particularly relevant to our work at the Venice Biennale with Critical Dialogues and discussions regarding emerging architecture in Scotland.

If anyone has any thoughts or questions or wants more info let me know.