Design | Architecture | Photography

Down there

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Taken on a behind the scenes tour of the MediaCity construction site in Salford Quays.  A few more images can be seen here.


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November 18, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Posted in Design Lab, Photography

Map cuts by Studiokmo

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Studiokmo produces and sells cut-out maps of cities.  All of her work has been hand cut. so each piece must take a unimaginable amount of time.  But judging by the photos the results are well worth it.  You can visit her online shop for more images.

The image above is Manhattan, but shes also worked on London and Paris versions.

The process looks very similar to producing architectural figure ground maps, but in this case instead of blocking in the building footprints, you simply cut them out.  I might look into doing something similar for DesignLabs ongoing Manchester project and maybe using the final cut-out as a giant stencil… need to get practicing with my scalpel then!

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November 12, 2009 at 6:54 pm


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The official MA DesignLab 2010 blog is now online.  Credit to Dom for getting it started and posting updates!  Click link below to visit.


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November 12, 2009 at 4:29 pm

Posted in Cool stuff, Design Lab

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UNKLE – HEAVEN vid by Spike Jonze

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Stumbled across this amazing Spike Jonse video the other day.  I’m not a skater but I do listen to UNKLE on regular basis.

“‘Heaven’ was used in the acclaimed skate film Fully Flared directed by Spike Jonze and Ty Evans. The collaboration inspired the directors to take footage and re-edit a sequence of shots that shows the Lakai skateboarding team demonstrating their considerable skills as they navigate through and around various exploding obstacles. With ‘Heaven’ as the musical backdrop, the resulting marriage of sound to picture is quite extraordinary.”

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November 10, 2009 at 7:06 pm

OWL Project

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“What could that piece of wood sound like?”

Today we had a lecture/talk/performance from the OWL Project.

“Owl Project is a collaborative group of Manchester based artists who share interests in human interaction with technology and process led art. The group currently consists of Simon Blackmore, Antony Hall and Steve Symons. Over the last few years we have become known for a distinctive range of wooden musical and sculptural instruments that critique human interaction with computer interfaces and our increasing appetite for new and often disposable technologies.”

The talk began with a short introduction and a few videos of there performances.  Admittedly I just didnt “get it” at first.  From a solely audio perspective, the sounds produced didn’t appeal to me.  It seemed like a near random collection of sounds, which although generated in a unique and unusual way didn’t have any meaning.

However, when they performed live infront of us my opinion changed.  It turned from being a video on the screen to a entertaining engaging show, in which the performers were totally immersed. Perhaps the process of making the sounds is more important than the sound itself.

The “instruments” themselves were great and demonstrated craftsmanship and a think-out-of-the-box approach to design.  I now have a craving for one of their I-Logs (see below) even though I have no musical ability whatsoever and wouldn’t know what to do with it!  Some things are just cool.

Thanks to Simon, Antony and Steve for a great lecture.

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November 10, 2009 at 6:30 pm

Projected Media: Paul Basson + Graham English

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Today the Media the DesignLabs had a joint lecture meeting with Paul Basson and Graham English. I can honestly say that these lectures were 2 of the best I’ve had in my entire 6 years in Manchester.

Paul is currently Director of Creative Manchester but has previously worked on large scale digital projection work all over the world. He highlighted how people during the mid 20th century had made bold predictions about future technological developments; the prediction of the “home computer” and how we’d all be living on the moon by the year 1999. While we aren’t living in space yet, some of the predictions about the future of digital technology were incredibly accurate; where will be be in 20 years time?

He also mentioned the future evolution of the internet and introduced Microsoft’s Photosynth system which I recommend checking out; stuff like this could change the way we view/use the digital world forever.

Some interesting predictions (based on current development trends for computer processing/storage):

By 2012 an Ipod will be able to store 1 years worth of video
By 2015, all the worlds recorded music
By 2019, an entire lifetime of video
By 2020, all the digital content ever created

Pretty scary stuff, but amazing all the same. People could film and record every single second of their day, everyday for their entire lives- no more lost keys, just rewind and play!

Graham English runs his own Audio Visual Media consultancy. He’s worked on various projects, usually involving digital projections for expos, events and TV. He also showed us the video at the top of this post. It’s not his own work, but it illustrates the sort of stuff he does. Large scale projections, interactive projections etc.

I really enjoyed the presentations and it was great to learn a bit more about a medium which is unfamiliar to me. Hopefully we will get to hear more or even work with these two in the future.

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November 5, 2009 at 1:14 pm

Materials of Manchester

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As part of my work in the MA DesignLab we were asked to examine the image, language and materials of certain parts of the city centre.  To illustrate the materiality I went round shooting close ups of various materials and textures. 

The old Manchester certainly has much more character than the new steel and glass buildings that are now starting to dominate the city.  You can see more on my materials study at my flickr page.

This shot was taken just off Dale street.

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November 3, 2009 at 11:58 pm