Unit 7


1/2/17 Choosing the themes

I started unit7 by looking into myself, trying to figure out what "I" like and interested in. One of the things I love to do is to walk around the city on a nice warm day, enjoying the atmosphere. Back in South Korea, I used to walk around the city and spend the day at wherever my steps take me. I often went to the Han river park (which is like the Hyde park but with a huge river) and enjoyed the park's greenery in the middle of the city.

However, I haven't had much chance to walk around in London; firstly because of the weather, and secondly because of the dull and narrow streets. Therefore, I have decided my big theme as "streets", and to design a product that goes up on the streets. I am planning on going out to various streets in London, research what the real problem is, and what I could design to solve the problem. 

Another theme I have in my mind is a "comforting furniture". I love being comfortable mentally and physically. I am thinking of designing a furniture that gives me a feeling of hugging. However this is just my second choice and I want to focus on the first theme. 

9/2/18 Primary Research @Saatchi Gallery & @Gallery Miro

I decided to do some research on installation arts.

Two days ago, I visited the Saatchi gallery because I've heard some great reviews about the gallery. I was able to find a few unique modern paintings and installation artworks. One of the most interesting pieces were the twisted form of installation work, which was covered in the feathers of a crow. It was pitch black and had a very strong impression. Another inspiring installation was this table looking object with small trees stuck on it. I thought of incorporating real natural elements to a design, making the streets more green. 

I also visited Gallery Miro, which was very near from where I live. However I could only find the series of lighting from the gallery. All the lightings were shaped in a certain order with layers of plastic.


Mind Map


13/2/18 Organizing Ideas

Now I have done quite a lot of primary research as I walked around the city and explored different area's streets. While doing the primary research, I kept on thinking of how important street is in our community. People spend a lot of time on the streets as a means of spatial relocation. Every day, people are confronted with different surroundings and sceneries that construct a certain street such as street shops and street trees. However, I faced quite a few problems on the streets while researching. I have organized of some of the problems, similarities and differences found in different streets of London. 

1) The streets are so narrow and dull. I could barely find trees and benches on the streets.

2) I could find a lot of litter bins. I could find various different models of litter bins. The older design does not have a lid and newer design has a small hole for throwing away trash. Another surprising fact I found was that I barely found any trash thrown away on the streets besides butts. There was a small litter bins just for gums and butts! However, the trash can itself was very dirty.

3)The red telephone box. One of the most popular things that represent London but no one actually use it. Also, it smells horrible inside. Maybe I could design more functional telephone box that actually has an objective?

4)Londoners like to spend time outside, on the streets. For example, I saw office workers come out to the streets in lunch time and enjoy beer out at a pub. I thought of designing a street furniture that would make the street itself a place for socializing.

5)I was able to find a lot of bicycle racks since bicycle one of the most popularized transportion in London. There were bicycle racks of newer designs, and ones with older designs.

I think creativity and vibrance are the factors really needed in the streets to make people’s day more lively and cheerful. I want to design a series of products that will make the streets of London more spirited. I could design a totally new product for a street, or re-design a common element on the streets such as a trash can. I want to focus on making the street more visually and functionally organized with creative factors, therefore achieving visually aesthetic streets.

20/2/18 idea development

There are many ways to incorporate nature into a design. These are few ways I have thought of.

1) Using REAL PLANTS in a design.

2) Using PATTERNS found in nature in a design.

3)Using TEXTURE found in nature. 

4)Using industrial materials and fake it to look like real plants. 

Again, it's really challenging to make a choice because I want the outcome to be perfect. 

26/2/18 Class Workshop

Today we did this workshop where we share our themes with other students and share opinions. I actually got some useful suggestions regarding the research. One of the students recommended me to research about the public designs of Scandinavian community because people there have high satisfaction for the government and  the community. Other student told me that the streets in Switzerland always have a line of trees behind the streets, which was very interesting.


7/3/18 Deciding the Design

I thought it was about time to decided on what I want to make, and develop the design of the specific object .I decided to make a biophilic design of a bench. Biophilic design is a sustainable design strategy that incorporates reconnecting people with the natural environment, which is also what I want and wish from the urban area I live in. I got this initial idea from Jaime Hayon's vase and the installation piece I saw from the Saatchi gallery, and designed modern but nature friendly bench.

I wanted to make an object that would brighten up the whole atmosphere of the street, as well as satisfy the users' visual and physical needs. I decided to incorporate real plant into the design, because I want the users to experience a realistic feeling of sitting at a forest. However I am planning on doing more research and developing the design in more sustainable way. 

8/3/18 Making Miniature Model

I started on making miniature model today. I intentionally made the shape in more of an organic form because I wanted the outcome to look nature-friendly as possible. At first I put the holes and layers on the bench just because I was inspired by Jaime Hayon's vase. After making it in a miniature model, I realized the holes are actually important and efficient in the design to hold the plants straight around the chairs and to avoid from the bench to look messy and bushy. 


I used transparent acrylic sheets to make the miniature model. As I was making, I thought of using wasted materials for making the real model later. I wonder if there is any transparent material that is sustainable besides glass. Glass would be too heavy and fragile. 

I cut each layers in certain organic shapes and made overlapping holes on the layers. For the bottom container, there will be real soil and plants for the real model, so that flowers and baby trees could grow through the holes. 



13/3/18 Progress tutorial

During the assessment, Tom told me that he likes how plants grow up through small holes which reminds him of the plants growing through small surfaces. I haven't thought of an image of plants growing through small gaps until he said it, and I really loved the idea of it. I tried to research for the picture of small cracked gaps on streets, and find common patterns that could be found from the cracks. As I was researching, I found this series of paintings named Yarla Jukurrpa. It comes from an area to the east of Yuendumu called Cockatoo Creek. ‘Yarla’ (bush potato) are fibrous tubers that grow beneath a low spreading plant, found by looking for cracks in the ground. The spiral and crooked patterns are so interestingly shaped, and the colorful combinations of colors really intrigued me. Reflecting the patterns from the paintings and the pictures I have found, I think I could make the design more interesting and playful rather than just a few holes on the sheet.

19/3/18 WHO workshop


19/3/18 HATS workshop




Today we had a lecture about the exhibition and just the unit 7 in general. I also had a talk with Kathleen, and she said I should simplify the design a bit. I totally agree with her because I have so many ideas going on in my mind that it is quite overwhelming and challenging to choose a final design. She said I should keep the materials down to two types and simplify either the plants or the structure of the design. I thought of using flowers and different types of plants to the design, but decided to keep it simple and use moss, grass, and simple and short plants instead. 

24/3/18 Sustainable Material


There are three types of most commonly used eco-friendly materials for outdoor furniture.

  • Hard-wearing, durable woods like western red cedar, northern white cedar, and teak that are FSC-certified and come from sustainably managed forests.
  • Recycled plastic, or high density polyethylene (HDPE). Recycled plastic furniture is durable, water resistant, and low maintenance, and unlike wood furniture, it won't rot, splinter or crack and doesn't require staining, sealing or painting, and is basically impervious to all types of weather.
  • Stainless steel, particularly if it includes a higher percentage of recycled content.

I'm interested in using recycled plastic(HDPE) because it is something that I've never seen and heard of. I looked up the pictures online, and was attracted to playful colors it has.

28/3/18 WHERE workshop

(worksheet on sketchbook)

Now that I have decided on a final design, and started to think of the users and the place it would be used at. Then I instantly thought of the Granary square, the area around CSM King's Cross. The granary square and the Pancras square is relatively newly built, and decorated with natural elements. Since the final design has both modern and natural factors mixed together, I think modern square area decorated with natural elements would be a perfect place for the bench to be at. 

9,10/4/18 Making day

At first I was worried that there's not much time for making since I started making after Easter, but thankfully I was able to finish everything by today. Just in case of running out of time, I prepared specific sizes and shapes for the final design so I just had to cut the boards in a certain shape. The final outcome looked better than I expected because the green, blue, and yellow colors from recycled plastic sheets blended really well with natural materials. Tomorrow, I will have to get real plants to place them in the middle of the board.


In the beginning of the project, I intended to make a street furniture that would change the whole atmosphere of the streets of London, simply due to it's aesthetically pleasing and unique design. However the final design came out to be a bench, which is not only visually attractive, but also sustainable many ways.

The initial design was a bench which had three layers of boards with holes on them. Plants would sprout from the bottom layer through the holes of the upper layers and grow in between the seats of the top layer. I did not notice anything until I was done with making the initial miniature model, but realised afterwards that the plants growing through the holes have an image of plants growing through small cracks on ground. I thought of few meanings behind the image of plants growing through hardships, such as the perseverance and power of nature. I researched on the patterns of ground cracks and was inspired by the series of paintings named "Yarla Jukurrpa", expressing of natural patterns, lines, and colours of ground cracks. The organic shapes in the paintings really helped me to develop the design to next step, progressed into much simpler and practical design.

With the final design ready, I started to think of the materials. I have always been interested in sustainable design, which naturally led me to concentrate on the sustainability of the product. I tried to focus on designing an outwardly engaging product by using sustainable and natural elements, that sometimes have a risk of looking tacky and old fashioned. Trying to search for a sustainable material that still has modern and unique aspect to it, I found the perfect match which was a recycled HDPE plastic. HDPE plastic is a shortened word for High-Density Polyethylene, a plastic polymer with flexible properties which make it ideal for a wide range of applications. However it was pretty challenging to get the material in hands but I got in touch with the workshop that specifically focuses on making recycled HDPE plastic sheets, called the Happenstance workshop in New Cross, London. I visited the Happenstance workshop and asked for the procedure of making and few more questions I wanted to know about the material. Jordan, the man who works at the workshop, told me that about 30 milk bottles are used per plastic sheet. Thinking of how people throw away milk bottles in a couple of days, reused HDPE is incredibly sustainable in a way it could last for years and years when it is re-created into new design objects. I asked for specific colours using the lids of milk and bleach bottles. I will be using the recycled plastic as the seating boards of the bench, cut in specific organic shapes. The organic shapes of the seating boards will create the pattern of ground crack in the middle of the board, which I plan to put artificial grass in between the seats.  

After the Easter break, I will have to do the making which should not take long. I just have to cut the recycled plastic sheets and wooden board into certain shapes and attach them together. 

5/2/17 Primary Research

Over the weekend, I explored around London and took some pictures of the streets. As I was walking, there were few objects that were easily found on the streets: litter bins, traffic lights, bollards, bicycle racks, and red telephone boxes. Litter bins were the most unappealing and filthy looking object, so I instantly thought of designing a "good looking" public litter bins. Also, bollards looked kind of unnecessary and dull in design. I thought I could re-design the bollards in more practical and creative way. However, these are all just very vague ideas. 

Some of the interesting elements I found on the streets were the bicycle racks and small gum/butts litter bins. I could find various different designs of bicycle racks around the city, in which some had relatively newer design and some had older designs. Newer designs of bicycle racks obviously looked more organized, and functioned in electrical method. 

The problem I am facing is the fact that my theme is too broad. I want to design something on the streets, that will somehow solve a certain problem on the streets. For now, I am thinking of researching for some installation artworks from various exhibitions. 

10/2/18 Primary Research @Tate Modern

Today I visited the Tate Modern. I tried to find some interesting shapes and forms because I want to test with experimental shapes and materials for this project. The most inspiring work was the series of robot shaped objects. When I saw those "robots", I instantly thought of designing a trash can that is shaped like a robot. Each part of the robot can be a bin for different types of recycling trash; For example, the robot's head for plastic and arms for paper. I think this could entertain pedestrians of all age.

I think I will make either a litter bin or a bench; but I want either to brighten up the streets and make people cheerful.

16/2/18 Research at the library

I have done some research at the library today. I looked up for the books that are related to public design and urban design. I was overwhelmed of how broad my theme is and couldn't figure out which part of the problem I should tackle with.

One thing I have noticed in common was that our cities/communities lack in greenery. Especially in London, it's so hard to find trees on the streets if it's not a park. I personally feel relaxed and happy when I see nature, and think we humans naturally turn toward the elements of nature. Incorporating natural elements to my design is one of the ideas I have in mind. However, there are so many ways to do that from using a nature friendly materials to using organic shapes. I should keep on doing research and somehow organize countless ideas in my mind.

 Another inspiration I got is using the property of light. I really think colors can change the whole atmosphere of a certain environment. If I use light, specifically the property of shadows and reflection, I think I could make a huge difference in the street with less consuming area. For example, I could use different colors of stained glass which will make a beautiful shadows on the ground under sunlight.

23/2/18 Idea Development

As I developed the idea of incorporating nature into my design, sustainability came up to my mind. I think sustainable designs will automatically bring the elements of nature into a design. I think there is two ways of practicing sustainability in a design; 1)Using sustainable materials that will last for a long time and could be recycled 2)Using waste/already recycled materials.

I went to the library and did more research on designs made with recycled materials. I found this really interesting book named Re:Purposed by Matthew McLendon. It was a book about artworks made up of recycled waste materials. My favorites were artworks by El Anatsui and Stuart Haygarth. El Anatsui's works were made of bottle caps and Stuart's by plastic waste debris. Their artworks were so beautiful that no one would guess they're made of waste materials. This book really inspired me to experiment with waste materials, such as water bottles. 

However, I think I should decided on the design itself before choosing a material. 

26/2/18 3d 3words

My theme is called the "Spirited Street" so I chose Lively, Bright, and Organized as the three words for the workshop we had today. The words Lively and Bright are quite similar in a way they express positiveness. Therefore I used bright and colorful colors to express the words. 

After this workshop, I was kind of inspired to use bright colors in my design. One of the ideas I have thought was using colorful glasses that will make colorful shadows on the streets. 

<Lively>                                                        <Bright>

IMG_7727.jpg IMG_7723.jpg



27/2/18 Research Workshop

IMG_7541.jpg IMG_7540.jpg

8/3/18 Class Workshop



I am keep developing the design reflecting the idea of plants growing through cracks. Also, I think I should make the design more simpler since I have so many ideas in my mind that it's getting hard to choose a final design. However I really like the crooked pattern of the cracks on streets, so that is something I'm sure about the design. I made a paper model with simpler design, with gaps in between the seats. I'm thinking of putting grass or moss inside the winding gap, and a few simple plants growing up in between. 

IMG_7818.jpg IMG_7823 (1).jpg


20/3/18 MAKE IT IN A DAY workshop

We did a workshop today called "Make it in a day", and made a rough paper model of the final design in 1:1 size. I haven't completely decided the final design yet, but I made a rough model of the latest design I came up with. Making a rough model really helped me to visualize an approximate size of the model, and to catch unexpected problems I didn't see through sketches. The problem I noticed was the size of the bottom layer under the pillars. I intended to plant grass and small flowers inside the bottom layer, and make the model with a transparent material to show the natural colors of soil and grass. I made the oval shaped bottom and top layer in a same size but I realized it made the whole image too bulky. I should re-design the bottom layer and develop the design a bit more. 

On the other hand, I'm satisfied with the design of an upper layer and the shape and size of the seats. (The seats are the ones cut out from oil paper) I cut out the seats in more of an organic shape to express the nature-friendly design. Also the seats create winding gap in between, which expresses the crooked cracks on streets. I am thinking of planting grass or moss in between the seats, creating a natural pattern in the design. 




23/3/18 final design

I have a final design now, and have to start making throughout Easter break and after the break. Honestly, I just need to cut out the seating boards with the cutting machine at the workshop, and cut the leg part from wooden sticks so it shouldn't take long to make the outcome. The problem now is a material. I want to use some kind of a sustainable material for the seating boards, such as reused plastic or wood. However I'm worried the whole design would look a bit rustic with too much nature themes going on. I want something that looks quite modern but still has sustainable aspects to it. Also, I will need to get some artificial grass and moss which will be placed in between the seating boards and also the vase underneath the legs. 

26/3/18 Visit to Happenstance Workshop


I tried to search for the workshops that make plastic from waste plastic, and found out about the company called "Precious Plastic". It is a global community of people who are interested in reusing plastic and solving pollution problem. People around the world build machines that create plastic from waste, and sell those to the community. One of the workshops I found in London is called the "Happenstance Workshop" in New Cross. I made a reservation to visit the workshop and today I got to visit and look around the workshop. The workshop was smaller than I thought but had all the machines needed to make reused plastics. I thought I was pretty familiar with the material due to the research I've done before visiting the workshop, but I was able to get so many interesting information that I couldn't think of. Jordan, the man who works at the workshop, told me that about 30 milk bottles are used per plastic sheet, which comes out to be approximately 530 x 380mm and about 1kg. Thinking about how we use up and throw away the milk bottles in couple of days, reused plastic is incredibly sustainable in a way it could last for years and years when it is re-created into new design objects. Jordan told me that the base color comes from the body of milk bottles and the colors such as blue and green come from the lids of milk bottles. 

4/4/18 received plastic sheets

IMG_8117.jpg IMG_8120.jpg


12/4/18 Photoshoot day

Jessica Lee 1 .jpg.1

Jessica Lee 2.jpg.1


As the title of my project <Spirited Streets> implies, my primary aim for the project was to create a visually pleasing street furniture that would make the streets in London more lively and creative. Thinking back of my initial intention of designing a product that just focuses on the aesthetics, my final outcome has progressed a lot in many ways as it kept the fundamental goal. 

The final design focuses on sustainability of the physical elements and the thoughtful meaning behind the designing procedure. The most successful aspect of my project has to be sustainability of it. The more I researched for relevant artworks and developed my ideas, the more I could not give up on including the beauty of natural elements into the design. I added plants from the very first sketch, which later was developed into a biophlic design, focusing on the inherent human inclination to affiliate with nature. Keeping the sustainable and natural theme, I used recycled HDPE plastic as a seating boards of the bench. Over 40 wasted milk bottles were reused and re-created into my bench design, which is incredibly sustainable and eco-friendly. Also, the bright mix of colours which was created by using the lids of milk and bleach bottles, make the whole outcome look more modern and playful. 

Due to the long duration of the project, I was able to revise my ideas in many different forms, which at last left me with a design with very thoughtful meaning behind. The final design contains an implicit meaning of the nature's perseverance and power to grow through hardships, expressed as a pattern of ground cracks placed in between the seating boards.  

On the other hand, the long term project was rather challenging in unexpected way because it overwhelmed me with overflowing ideas and sketches that I had a hard time choosing a final design. Therefore, I could not start making before Easter break, which left me with only three days of making after the break. Thankfully, the final design required very simple making procedures and I was able to make a final model in two days. 
Even though I made miniature and paper models before making the real one, I still find a part I wish to develop on; the legs of the bench came out to be a bit taller than I expected, and I wish to shorten the legs if I have a chance to remake the model. Other than that, everything stayed on track of my initial intention. However if I could take the concept further away, I would broaden out the limitations I set in the beginning and re-create the design into another type of furniture, such as a table or an indoor chair. 
Overall, I am highly satisfied with the design of the final product and it's different approaches and meanings behind.