“The man who has no imagination has no wings” – Muhammad Ali

After another long year of hard work and perseverance I have finally presented my Level 5 work.

My year began with an exciting live brief which was set by the BBC; the brief asked several departments of the university to design specific items which would be placed in their new offices in Cardiff. We were given the “exciting” task of designing a laptop table for use with soft furnishing. This seemed fairly straight forward but with an extremely demanding client who continued to give mixed messages the task was much more difficult than it first appeared. My idea seemed from a simple and functional angle poise lamp due to its versatility. It would work with a simple pin adjustment system which would allow any individual to work it. With our client opting for ‘Orangebox’ (a company  based in Nantgarw who specialise in office furniture, with a focus on sustainability) as their manufacturer I therefore ensured that each piece of the table was easy to dismantle and replace; this would mean that the durability and longevity of the product was protected and at the end of the product’s life it could then be easily recyclable. Although with an incredibly fast approaching deadline (at the time) I was content with the work I had produced for this submission early on in the year but after some fair criticism from my lecturer I then amended the necessary work in conjunction with his feedback in the hope of achieving slightly better marks at the end of the year. I am therefore extremely happy with the final outcome and believe that it’s much improved on what I originally proposed.

After a very testing start to the year, It then became slightly more interesting with the a change to my first field module. My first field module of the year began with Fab-Field a module based in Cardiff’s Fab Lab; this was ran by Martin Lane who is now the manager of the establishment. This Field allowed us to broaden our horizons and test ourselves and our outcomes, we were given complete creative freedom and were offered the Fab Lab and all of its machines to produce our necessary products. After much deliberation and research I decided that I would produce a unique table centrepiece based on the iconic Italian city of Venice. This was produced by using two waney edge planks of solid oak, this was then joined by a ‘river’ of polyester based casting resin with blue dye; this was then raised by a hand crafted recycled ‘bright steel’ frame which was later sprayed in a quality copper spray. These oak planks were then CNC’d in order to house several portable venetian houses which could be transported around the house. Although happy with the outcome in the future if I revisited this project I would look to add Arduino, this would then tell us where each portable light house is at any given time. This project was extremely interesting and was made even greater by the constant help of Martin Lane. This was then further improved before my end of year submission by the inclusion of LED strip lights as well as improved marketing in order to relate further to the brief which was to gain funding from a kickstarter campaign. This therefore furthers this campaign and answers the brief successfully.

After this field module and a well deserved Christmas break I then began another field module which was slightly different, and was extremely architecture based. This field module titled ‘Design ‘N’ Snow’ was all about the incorporation of modern technology into a traditional industry. This incorporation is extremely innovative and has enhanced the industry, with the use of Virtual Reality architecture has forever changed; with the inclusion of VR in architecture, money has been saved, resources have been rescued and sustainability within the trade has been further enhanced. VR has therefore future proofed this industry and I as a product designer was therefore curious about this tech and wanted to see if VR could be incorporated into product design and if so how would this happen. This field module therefore set an interesting brief which was to travel to Austria and take part in ACUA’s winter school where we would be able to test the new technology as well as produce our own work for the Archicad association. We were given the task of producing a Virtual experience for these individuals in the hope of it being shown at next years winter school. As a collective group we therefore took a range of photographs and sketches of the area and at our arrival back at Cardiff we began using sketch up, which allowed us to reenact the scenes of Hochfügen at the winter school; this was a pain stacking task and although I had not experienced this software before it was extremely easy to use. Once we had produced the buildings and overall environment which included such things as ground gradient, weather conditions and overall experience we then transferred it into a gaming software which allowed the user to walk around the resort and playing a series of games. Whilst finding it hard to relate this experience back to my subject I then thought into the future, and found that VR could also enhance product design and could improve product marketing forever.

After a break from product design I then went back to my subject. I then went back and underwent a basic brief which would ease us back into CAD, for this we were given components and told to produce a glue gun with a specific theme. I marketed my glue gun at children in school and people who enjoy marvel memorabilia. I produced an extremely ergonomic glue gun which I was overly happy with. This was the beginning of a painfully long CAD-CAMM process.

Our next project  which would amount to 70% of our subject grade was to follow in the shape of a drill. We were therefore given a client along with their capabilities in manufacturing and told to design them a drill based on one of four clients. I chose to design for students. This allowed me to produce a range of first hand research based on my peers, and their thoughts and feelings. I also undertook months of research in order to perfect this drill, I looked at ergonomic studies from doctors and psychologist which allowed me to produce something which my client could be proud of. I therefore made every decision by the book and backed it up with an unrealistic amount of reasoning which was a strange approach for me. I therefore came to an end with this project with a range of well prosecuted boards and models, I was extremely happy with the outcome of this project.

I believe over the course of a year I have learnt an unbelievable amount. I learnt how to put design boards together, how to produce an accurate facsimile model, and how to go through each and every bit of the design process (evaluating and scrutinising each and every decision) before coming to an end; where you have answered each and every detail of the brief given by the client and more importantly have produced something that your happy to put your name to.

Although a difficult year, It has been exceptional in furthering me as a designer and improving me as a professional within the industry.

Below are some images of my end of year presentation, this also includes the work I have produced and the display I have composed both for my summative feedback and for the public to view.

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