Vision Products Part 2.

Workshop briefing materials for a private client.

The word ‘workshop’ can be a loaded term and to be asked to attend one can often strike terror into the most enthusiastic of participants. Over the course of our practice, we have taken part in countless workshops of different types. In some cases, they are no more than informal meetings, while in others they are highly creative yet often aimless events.

 

Having designed, hosted and moderated over 75 Creative Workshops for participants from a wide variety of backgrounds we are confident that we know how to create an enjoyable experience that delivers results. Our recent work in Germany has pushed us to evolve our workshop methods further while at the same time confirming the success of our core model and this has inspired us to record and share the set of four workshops at the heart of our process, which we call the Vision Workshops. Using creative methods, these Vision Workshops push beyond initial, generic thoughts, to develop exciting concepts that drive innovative ideas and deliver concrete useable solutions.

 

Often our clients don’t involve us until midway or even the later stages of a significant project, and we know that they have likely spent months, even years developing a clear vision and a set of objectives. Frequently these projects are multi-million developments that can often be a once in a lifetime event. There is naturally, therefore, a significant degree of pressure to ‘get it right’ first time. To add to this most organisations now recognise the importance of a people-centred approach and require that stakeholders be consulted/engaged throughout the process. We believe that our Vision Workshops are the ideal way to hit the ground running in the earliest stages of a project and get people involved from the outset.

 

To this end, we have created a facilitator’s booklet along with a pack comprising all the information, instructions, worksheets and recommendations that you might need to run our Vision Workshops without having a single Nomad present! Of course, the more bespoke your group of workshops the better, and there is no real replacement for having a third party (particularly us!) to design, facilitate and analyse workshop material. However, we think that the Vision Workshop Pack will give those in the initial stages of a project a creative and productive kick start.

 

As with the Vision Cards we hope to be prototyping the Workshop Pack over the next few months. We are looking for partners to help prototype the Vision Products; if you would be interested in taking part in the prototyping of either the Vision Cards or the Vision Workshop Pack, please get in touch at info@nomad-rdc.com

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Vision Products

 

Since 2006 our team have travelled the UK and Ireland researching and designing projects which span between Secondary and Higher Education and Healthcare are recently we began working in the commercial sector exploring how to improve the experience of the working environment. During this time we have interacted with literally thousands of participants from students to professionals, and this has provided us with unique insight into how people use their spaces and the links between space and wellbeing.

To capture this valuable knowledge our team have been busy creating several products aimed at providing advice and practical activities to assist those in the early stages of a project to take a people-centred approach from the outset. Two of these products has now reached the prototype stage, and we will be testing them over the coming months before announcing its release.

The first product, called Vision Cards is a pack of cards containing information that is intended as a design aid to assist educators, architects and other interested parties to understand the people who use learning spaces and how to create appropriate places for those people.

The information on the cards draws upon knowledge gained from projects undertaken with twenty-seven Universities across the UK and Ireland and includes over 16K+ online interactions, 1000 soft interviews, 600 + maps, 70 + workshops, 50 + Cultural Probes, 12 Social Networks, and countless days of observation.

Throughout our practice, we have been reflecting and refining our participatory design workshops, and we now have a core set of workshops which we know deliver valuable results which translate into useable, concrete design strategies. This information is the basis of our second product, The Vision Workshops which is a package containing all the instructions and materials that you need to run a set of Nomad workshops.

We will be testing the Vision Cards and the Workshop Package over the next few months and are hoping for a late summer/early autumn release. If you would like to know more about the Vision Cards or take part in the testing email us at info@nomad-rdc.com

Project Win! – The Catalyst

We are delighted to start 2018 with a new commision from Edge Hill University for the interior design of their new landmark building the Catalyst.  The Catalyst is a student hub combining students services with the University library and is a four-floor building at the heart of Edge Hill’s leafy and idyllic campus. Our team will be providing the full interior design along with bespoke sign and wayfinding solutions and identity work which will be created through a participatory design process with staff and students.  The project has an ambitious timescale as it is due for completion this summer so all hands are on deck for this one and after a year of intense creating consultation and conceptual work we are all very much looking forward to getting stuck into a live project.

Happy Holidays Love Nomad

Our team and this year’s clients captured in our own little Christmas Bauble.  Based on our Biophilia Landscape Bubbles created as part of our WorkSpirit Creative Workshops for the European Central Bank 2017.

 

Please Note.  The studio will be closed over the Festive Season re-opening on the 4th of January 2018.

Client Interviews – Kings College London, Anne-Marie Canning | Director of Widening Participation

Ann Marie Canning is the Director of Social Mobility and Student Success at King’s College London and our client for the experimental teaching and learning space located in Somerset House. The space has been in use for just over a year now, and Ann Marie has been keeping a close eye on how it is functioning. Here is what she told us about the learning space we designed with her.

  1. Tell us about the background of your project?

King’s College London had plans to establish an outreach Learning Centre in the basement of Somerset House for a number of years. In my role leading widening participation, I was asked to make progress on bringing the Learning Centre into reality!

  1. What were your hopes and dreams at the outset

I always dreamed of walking through the Learning Centre and seeing different activities bustling away in each room. This happens on a daily basis – when I walk around I see community groups, revision sessions, debating, 121 coaching. A whole range of activities helping young people and co-located together. It’s a dream come true and inspires me every time I walk through the space.

  1. What were the high and the low points of the process?

A low point was seeing the state of the space prior to works. It was flooded and dark and had rats scarpering around. It was hard to imagine we could turn it into something magical for young people. A high was the launch of the space – there were times when I lost faith that we’d get to the finish line. It was a real moment.

  1. Which part of the project makes you proudest?

Thousands of young people from our local community get to enjoy dedicated top-class facilities at our university. It’s beautiful when they first walk in and gaze around at the space in awe! This term we ran a ‘favourite campus spot’ activity and the Learning Centre was nominated by lots of undergraduates at King’s. It’s a sanctuary for learning.

  1. Where do you feel your project is most innovative?

I love the dynamic between the terra incognita corridors and the mind-themed rooms. Each room is named after a brain function (our IOPPN colleagues advised) and the space works around that. The learning textures are great for trying out new forms of teaching practice. And the space stimulates beautiful conversation between children – especially the unicorn on the windows!

  1. What kind of reaction did you get to the completed project?

The space is in high demand – everyone wants a piece of the Learning Centre. Students love the different rooms and themes and are really happy to move things around and make the space work for them. I have a collection of photos of people using the space in different ways.

  1. If you had to do it again, would you do anything differently?

Our upcycled furniture would be less 80s!

  1. Are there any anecdotes or stories that stick out in your memory?

The space is underground– making it great for the odd leaving party as noise doesn’t travel!

 

Client Interviews. Glasgow Caledonian University – Douglas Little Head of Estates

Main Restaurant

As a reflective practice, we often revisit projects to review them in operation. Recently we have been asking our clients to take part in a quick questionnaire to find out how they feel about the places we have created and we will be featuring these mini-interviews over the coming months. The first interview is with Douglas Little, Head of Estates at Glasgow Caledonian University and the man who led the construction of the Heart of Campus Project for the University – this is what he had to say,

 

1. Tell us about the background of your project? 

In 2016 , work was completed on the flagship Heart of Campus project, a £32 million investment in the Student Experience which has changed the face of the Estate and has introduced inspiring new teaching spaces and social areas. The two-year redevelopment which centred on two of the University’s main buildings –The George Moore and Hamish Wood-has increased learning and teaching provision and added a host of exciting new elements.

Outdoors, three new courtyard gardens with fluid and organic designs bring colour to the campus and offer space for reflection and engagement.

2. What were your hopes and dreams at the outset?

To transform a 60s/70s ”college look university” into a modern university with inspiring places you would want to come to!

3. What were the high and the low points of the process?

Having to break it down into phases was the low point as you just wanted to get the work underway.  The highpoints were when you opened up the phases one by one.  This was a magical moment for all to see!

4. Which part of the project makes you proudest?

The complete Heart of Campus project but the best part is the Student eating area with the large connection stretching down George Moore into Saltire.

5. Where do you feel your project is most innovative?

Creating interesting spaces out of space that you would not think possible!

6. What kind of reaction did you get to the completed project?

Not one negative comment so that says it all

7. If you had to do it again, would you do anything differently?

Shout out to everyone the successes at each handover phase and celebrate each accordingly.

8. Are there any anecdotes or stories that stick out in your memory?

Plenty stories but you will have to wait until my book comes out!

 

Model Making

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The fabrication of maquettes, models, and prototypes is, and always has been, an integral part of our design and development process. Clients and stakeholders often have different levels of spatial perception and their ability to interpret plans and drawings can sometimes create confusion or fail to convey a full picture of the proposed solution.

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Employing models to describe objects and interior spaces allows the client to easily read and understand the designs presented. Various iterations of a design can be easily compared and measured, and the client can provide valuable feedback with the confidence that they have a firm grasp of the options in front of them.

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Recently, working with a client in Germany, we have produced far more models than is usual. The financial institution, based in Frankfurt wanted to investigate various ways to improve their workspaces. Following a series of workshops, we developed a number of solutions for the key areas highlighted in the research and consultation. The workshop participants were drawn from departments across the institution and each had brought a distinct set of values and requirements to the process.

Platform

Using models and maquettes to illustrate the proposed solutions enabled the stakeholders to understand how the various elements could work together and provided them with clear, tactile examples of how their particular requirements could be addressed, developed and satisfied.

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