Collage Image Dialogue in Industrial Design

In 2008 I had the chance to work on a book with one of my teachers (and later colleague), Jane Graves. The book is called The Secret Lives of Objects and is a collection of 19 essays — an incredible distillation of Jane’s 30+ years of research, teaching and practice at Central Saint Martins. Initially this was the area of psychoanalytical theory and sociology, later on Jane worked as a psychoanalytical psychotherapist. These essays capture Jane’s ability to bring razor sharp analysis to what many treat as a lightweight area of study — design and aesthetics. So many students learned so much from Jane and this book is a modest attempt to capture some of her approach.

I am sad to report that Jane died on 29th March 2011 at the age of 76

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Making is Designing

This essay was produced for the catalogue for the Six Cities Design Festival. It concerns the importance of making in the act of design — a strong philosophy behind the development of the Claystation series of events. “Claystation – Remodelling Scotland, Published and Distributed by The Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Architecture. ISBN 1–905061-11–0

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2007 Milan Review

If you like my Clay chairs, you must be a Good Guy” Maarten Baas.

This was the first full scale review I did of the Milan Furniture Fair. I continued to write regular reviews for Chinese publications for around 10 years. It was always a rush to get to interviews during these years as I was also putting on exhibitions with my students, but all this adds to the excitement of the fair! The best bit was meeting designers whom I admired. It was great to get Maarten Baas on the front cover of the magazine (even using my amateur portrait!) as the covers of MW are typically reserved for Hollywood celebs.

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Open Source Design and Remedies Down on the Farm.

This piece was written for the catalogue of a brilliant exhibition organised by the Institute de Cultura de Barcelona, designed by Emili Padros and Ana Mir in 2003. The exhibition focused on ingenuity in design and engineering. Part of it dealt with local, organic and free-range problem solving, which was one of my great interests. It was a chance to get in touch with Mike Donovan of Practical Farm Ideas to discuss how communities can empower themselves and others to accelerate problem-solving. There is some mention of the internet, but bear in mind that this is 2003; Instructables was still over two years away (launched August 2005) and the most up-to-date ‘lifestyle’ example I had was Make magazine. I am pleased to say that at the time of writing this intro (March, 2019), Practical Farm Ideas is still going, and still produces 4 issues a year, but most sharing takes place online, allowing this culture of innovation to really mushroom.

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Thinking Thief — Designing out Misuse, Abuse and ‘Criminal’ Aesthetics

With Prof. Lorraine Gammen, a paper for the journal Ingenia, published February 2003. Documents a series of projects undertaken with MA students in collaboration with the Design Against Crime research centre at Central Saint Martins.

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