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There will be 30,432 spaces and 5.1 million coworking members worldwide by 2022. From solopreneurs, startups to corporate teams; workers everywhere have embraced coworking spaces.

Secondary introduces increasingly sophisticated resources, including dedicated teaching environments, computer aided designing and manufacturing equipment and specialist teaching. Could you ?

Spent part of the summer perfecting my pasta making skills in Italy ready to share with year 10 and 11 pupils in September. We will be masters this year! Fantastico!

We were able to carry out a strong and vibrant website that reflected Build Generation’s tagline, ‘design, build, and inspire’. Learn more about this design challenge:

‘From plain and static to minimal yet luxurious’ What do you think of this website redesign project done by Magnetic for an exclusive off-market real-estate firm?

Magnetic and Live Union created a ‘come to life’ event experience enabled via augmented reality for Black Rock. Learn more about this design challenge:

Year 10 Design and Technology students have been working on a great bird feeder project during their lessons. Here are some of their amazing creations, some excellent work!

Ta-Dah!!!!!!! Design and technology summer bunting is now complete! Well done to all year 7 learners involved. Have a great summer!

Great celebrations last night with these three wonderful ladies. The future of Design and Technology

After 9 months my major work is finally done ! The renewable power pack utilises both wind and solar power to charge a portable battery that can be used in energy poverty communities.

Design and Technology summer bunting project - Update! Almost there! Cutting out and first piece of bunting ready to sew!

Great range of GCSE and A-level D&T work on show this evening with students taking on real-world design challenges and showing some excellent creativity and problem solving!

Thank you to everyone that came to the museum! The children have worked SO hard and really enjoyed sharing all their work with you! More fun photos to follow! 🌎✏️🖌️🛠️🔨

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design and technology .07

Robert McCaffrey - Graduate of Product Design 

Products for Purpose

“life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving.”

Robert shared with us the insights and experiences he had that led him to his clever and classic designs. Having become a footwear designer, specialising in smart shoes for commuter cyclists, he has successfully designed for a real context and filled a hole in the footwear industry. His creations are designed for a very specific function, smart cycling. A smart shoe with a rubber panel in the soul to stop your flat-bottomed smart shoe from slipping of the pedal when wet, using materials that allow feet to breathe when the body is exerted. I ‘popped-collar’ style heal to make the shoes reflective when in the light at night. And my favourite feature was the show that made use of the patterned leather and underneath was a reflective layer that was so subtle you could only tell when the lights were off and we all got our phone torches out. I found this lecture very interesting, not only because Robert was engaging and had an interesting story to tell but because of the market he was selling to. After spending a semester designing for ‘the cyclist’ I have a pretty good idea in my head of who my customer is, someone very different to Robert McCaffrey’s customer. It opened my eyes and reminded me that despite being under the same umbrella, ‘the cyclist’, it is very important to remember the many different types of people you could be designing for and to not lump them all together within the same title. Robert highlighted just how important it is to have an image, and solid idea in your head of who it is your designing for and why.

“everyone is a genius. but if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

 - both quotes Albert Einsein

design and technology .06

Matt Marais - Graduate of Product Design Engineering 

The Power of Kickstarter

Matt Marais is the creator of the camera equipment that sits under the company name Loki; which he started developing as his final year project when he was a student at GSA. He told us about the journey he took, after graduating with his masters, to get his project to market. Matt gave us one of the most inspiring and interesting talks that we have been given as part of out Design and Technology module, he spoke about a very important lesson in design; knowing when not to give up on an idea, and learning from your mistakes and failures. What struck me most was the way in which Kickstarter dictated many of the steps, both forwards and backwards, that he made.

Since making it’s debut in April 2009, Kickstarted has fully-funded, through crowd sourcing, more that 100,000 projects! Kickstarter acts as a platform for inventors, creators and people with ideas to launch whatever it is they believe is worth it. I couldn’t believe the extent that Kickstarter decided the success or trajectory at stages of Matt’s process. There are obviously other ways to fund projects but when you can source thousands of pounds from people all over the world at the end of your fingertips via the internet, why wouldn’t you?! The power of the internet and its’ abilities and capabilities is just striking. People from all around the world offering tiny all the way up to massive sums of money to a stranger just because they quite like their idea. The limitless possibilities for design and designers, makers and creators, is quite incredible and truly inspiring. What is also incredible, is the scale at which it can destroy a project or an idea. Relying on people to back your idea based on a 2 minute video that you have to try and cram your years worth of work and research into to fully fun your life (up until now)’s work. We only really ever hear about the success stories, as if it’s a dead set way to fund your projects, but it was interesting to hear from Matt about his struggles which getting across the correct image to make people feel compelled to donate and his failed attempts. It just makes me wonder how many revolutionary, life-changing products and ideas have been given the wrong image and not evolved beyond their kickstarted campaign.

D&T 8 : the influence and impact of design

Nicholas Oddy, Head of Department of Design History and Theory at GSA, spoke to us about some great design icons and their background. 

In conducting a whistle-stop tour of some iconic pieces of design from the last few centuries, Oddy provided interesting insights regarding everything from how the design came about to what future designs it inspired. The Forth Rail Bridge, the Model T Forde, the British road signs, for example, are all familiar, but his encyclopaedic knowledge of their context showed them in a new light. 

Oddy highlighted that design is a reaction, it has a motive, and it causes effects. I’ll look at some examples of this here. 

The Forth Rail Bridge (1882) subscribes to a modernist design discourse as its beauty is established through engineering, not decoration. However in reality it is perhaps over-engineered, it was created as a symbol of strength to restore confidence in British civil engineering in the wake of the Tay Bridge disaster a few years earlier. So the cantilever bridge we know today, and is plastered all over our bank notes and post cards, could have looked very different if it weren’t for the social motives behind the design. 

With the Model T Ford (1910), it is perhaps the thought behind the design, the belief system and manufacturing progress which makes it so great. Ford had the philanthropic paternalistic capitalist belief that goods should be available for all, so he strived for more automation in production, reducing the assembly to repetitive basic manual tasks which meant he could hire untrained staff and ultimately cut the cost of the car so much that any employee could eventually afford one for themselves.  

This system of automation snowballed, creating the consumerist culture born in America in the twentieth century. This in turn began to encourage more dishonesty in design, such as Henry Dreyfuss streamlined fridge (1938) which was visually compelling and desirable but in reality was merely a fancy shell containing no superior technology underneath.  Similarly, Raymond Loewy’s Coldspot refrigerator (1934) which Sears released refinements of annually with only exterior differences, motivating sales with stylistic obsolescence. These appliances may be hailed as ‘great design icons’ and rarely questioned, but when we dig a little deeper we can see that they’re serving the industry but not the consumer. In cases like this, we need to personally decide what, or whom, we believe must be prioritised in ‘great design’.

In the early 1960s, the British government sponsored many design initiatives including rehashing the road signage system across the country. Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert would undertake this, the “biggest graphic design job in history”. For the first time, the communication of road signage was deeply considered, resulting in a balanced and uniform system. Calvert tried to keep the figures timeless, without hints of the fashion of the times. An interesting decision she made which could be considered as an act of subliminal feminism was to make the girl bigger, and leading, in the sign shown above (1963). Kinneir and Calvert, he said, created “a house style for Britain”. “On a project of that scale, you have to get it absolutely right.” The fact it has lasted so long is testament to how right they got it.

As these brief examples demonstrate, any piece of design is a comment on the society of the time, and will have ripple effects throughout that society. Design is fascinating because it is richly contextualised and constantly changing, forcing us to continually reassess our understanding of it. This talk was a lesson in remembering that, and in constantly questioning our definitions of great design and having an opinion, never becoming complacent. 

brain plasticity

Last night I watched the second episode of the BBC’s Incredible Medicine: Dr Weston’s Casebook series. It’s only episode 2 and I’m already hooked, last week featured the stories a young 7 year-old girl who’s heart was on the outside of her ribcage instead of the inside, and a man who’s body couldn’t store a single gram of fat. This week showcased the only human on earth to have been cured of HIV; I didn’t even know that had happened, and I’m not sure how I didn’t know. What I found most incredible was the story of a 28 year old girl, Casey, who at the age of 3 years old, started to suffer from seizures that cause one side of her entire body would become paralysed causing her to collapse. It got to the point that Casey began to have fits nearly every 3 minutes and her parents had to be next to her in order to hold her up. The doctors worked out that it was a condition known as Rasmussen’s encephalitis; a rare illness that causes chronic inflammation of the brain, most commonly occurring in only one hemisphere of the brain. Her neurologists concluded that the only possible way to treat the condition was to remove the half of the brain that was effected.  By removing the right-hand side of the brain it was hoped that the left hand side would compensate and take over it’s functions. 

This phenomena is known as brain plasticity, the brain’s ability to adapt, organise and change its’ function. Because of the young age that Casey was diagnosed at, (because of the early stages of development,it is thought the brain is in it’s most plastic state when we are children) her brain was able to alter it’s ability and adapt to compensate for the missing half. 

It is incredible that the human body can adapt to losing half of it’s most important organ in such a way that Casey can survive and function completely normally while having full control over her entire body. 

All the while we are adding to out lives, creating new ways to experience and replace our natural bodies, we are able to exist with much less than we think we need. This is all down to the remarkable and unknown abilities of the human body.


design and technology .02

Urban Spaceman - a BBC documentary about the Australian designer Marc Newson.

It’s funny, I watched the documentary about this ‘great designer’ and I don’t really recall much work that I liked, to give him his dues I want one of his Ford concept cars, that thing was cool. As someone that is yet to learn to drive, the idea of a simplified car with minimal and ergonomically pleasing controls is certainly appealing, and is achieved perfectly in my opinion. 

Despite the majority of his work not being to my taste I would still argue that Marc Newson is a great designer. The sheer range of stuff he has produced is nuts. He has managed to apply his design thinking to so many different applications, products and furniture. All the while while I don’t necessarily like the stuff; I can more than definitely appreciate the thought and execution behind it. 

When I first saw the well known Lockheed Lounge, I instantly decided I didn’t like it (it reminded me of the characters in the video game WORMS). Part of me doesn’t agree with what appears to be a worldwide opinion, that these ‘great design chairs’ are worth up to £650,000; when their main function, to be sat on, cannot be fulfilled as they are ‘not comfortable’ and they are ‘too expensive to be sat on’. 

However, after discovering the intention behind the chair, attempting to create a piece of furniture that replicates the appearance of liquid mercury, I was able to appreciate the meaning and work that had gone into creating it. Maybe all design should be sold with its’ story, but then again, maybe it shouldn’t need to be explained. 

I chose to feature my two favourite pieces of his design from the documentary. A table and chair, each formed by an extrusion through a single block of marble. Not only incredible in appearance but the engineering and perfection in tooling that went into the forming of them. I think the transformation of a 2D image into a 3D form is extremely beautiful and the material used makes it even more impressive. 


Wacky genius