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Do YOU Know the Markets Area?

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

My video prototype project portraying the essence of the Markets Area

Have a watch here:

Do YOU Know Your Markets?

JC-Red apple consequence.

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Red apples have played a part in life down through the ages. Im sure it was a red Cox’s pippen that  Eve gave to Adam and look at the consequences, fish crawling out of the sea and turning into humans. Of course that still begs the question where did Adam and Eve come from but i dont have all the answers.

Sleeping beauty took a bite and fell asleep for a thousand years (Time depends on who your talking to or who’s telling telling the story ) and was only woken by a kiss from a handsome prince or was it a frog who turned into a handsome prince. This begs the question, what had the frog/handsome prince eaten. The other question i would ask is ‘Would the ugly frog know it’s a frog or does it see itself as a prince. Is it aware that it is ugly or presume it is a handsome prince. I suppose what i am getting at is, do we change or is it the frog. Suppose by a princess eating a red apple, the whole world changed  and we see things differantly, except the princess of course. As i said, i dont have all the answers, just the questions. A good question, just like a  red apple will lead to good outcomes but you must find your own answers, red apples and good questions enable this.

The reason i’m exploring this, is to look at the consequense of biting one of these apple to-day and falling asleep for a thousand years. Would the world wide web still exist and if it did, how much information would be on it. How long would your beard be, could the pretty princess have a beard, if she did, would the frog kiss her?

Would you wake up in the same bed and have bed sores. If you had bed sores would you be able to sleep for a thousand years. It may seem that these questions are uninportant but if you have bed sores your priorities change.

Just imagine what the bed would be worth or would it have deteriorated. The antique’s road show may still be around, depending on the price of fuel or will their transport be driven by red apples, well! you never know? Mind you, it would be rational to call it the ‘antique road show’, if it’s still travelling.

What is it about red apples as opposed to green or yellow apples, could it be allure or to be more precise, ‘Lure’.

Life would be better if we asked more questions and ate more red apples?

Dublin-a City defined by it’s ‘Lure’

JC-A plea for help or a warning?

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

On church street bridge-on the path.

Out Loud : Final day

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Niall & Edel

With their project, Niall and Edel were hoping to encourage people to stop, look around them and appreciate the many exciting things happening in the Market’s area.

They had two prototypes they were looking to test:

a) A suggestion box for the area
b) Cardboard arrows pointing to places of interest

They found that the suggestion box attracted a lot of attention but had difficulty convincing people to stop and engage.

The cardboard arrows, which they felt should be left unattended for the purposes of the test, had all but disappeared when they returned to collect them later on that day.

Although they found it challenging, Niall and Edel gained most from street conversations and in retrospect felt this was something that could be considered if they were to go ahead with a second iteration.


Joa first came to Ireland in 2004. Her initial impressions left her curious about why Irish people weren’t engaged with their public spaces more. She originally approached Out Loud with an ambition to make cubed street furniture. However, as she engage more with the process, her methodology changed. On the final day, Joa tested a Hedge school that would enable people to share information with the local residents.

Joa was surprised to learn that people were respectful of her hedge school idea once they understood it as a positive intervention. Not only that, she discovered that here project had an effect on the atmosphere in the area and people stopped to talk about things they wouldn’t normally have shared.

While these two prototypes were being tested, Ken, Siobhan and Stephanie were working in the background. Ken took advantage of Joa’s prototype to talk to residents about how they could make better use of their energy, while Siobhan and Stephanie spoke to passers by about graduate plug.

Over all, Out Loud has been an exciting adventure. During the course of the 6 months, mistakes were made and from it, new things were learned and developed. I would like to take this opportunity on the blog to thank everybody who gave it their support, enthusiasm and commitment.

Merci Bien

First Attempts…

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

The prototype process eventually grew into a plan. We knocked on doors in the area to invite everyone to a co-design workshop in the Macro Centre. People were to come and bring along their favourite plant. Then we’d help them to design a piece of public furniture or object based around the plant which would then be fabricated by the council’s joinery department and installed near the designer’s house for a week, to see if it worked in situ.  Then, when it was removed, it might leave a kind of vacuum which people might want to fill with their own interventions.

But no-one showed up.

So what went wrong? Perhaps it was something to do with mixed feelings people had about the Macro. Maybe it was too big a step to expect people to go out of their way to go to a workshop. We may have overestimated how active people wanted to be.  Maybe there just wasn’t enough notice, groundwork, buy-in and build-up.

So I tried to bring the mountain to Mohammed.  I called round door to door again, armed with modeling materials and a sketchbook, to try and run the process in a quick, one-on-one way.  While this was more successful (anything is more successful than running a workshop where no-one turns up), the furniture design aspect was beside the point. The revealing (and disheartening thing) is how little anyone wants to make any sort of addition to the area that can be in any way abused by any one else.  Some people don’t want a bench, because homeless people might sleep on it. Others don’t want flower planters because people might throw cans into them and attract flies.  They don’t want a sandbox because sand would be kicked around. They don’t want window boxes because kids will tear up the flowers. They don’t want bird boxes because the council told them to stop feeding the pigeons from their balconies and that prohibition is presumed to extend to other birds.

What people do want is to have railings installed around their front doors so that they can wall off their own little piece of turf and keep everyone else out.

Everyone wants to be listened to. Many want to be consulted. A few want to see how things work, but not very many at all want to be actively involved in their area and the few who do seem to be constantly blocked.

Back to the drawing board.

Prototyping the prototype

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

In this week’s episode of Out Loud: the team had their first stab at prototyping their ideas. Using some basic materials lying around the studio, the team got stuck in. This week, we were joined by Jan Martinus-Stalmans, a product designer who ran his own service design consultancy in Antwerp for two years before moving to Dublin to pursue his primary passion – sailing. It was a welcome visit and added a very welcome voice to the room. So this week we focused mainly on prototyping the prototype. Figuring out what materials are needed to build them.

3 questions to prototype with

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

At Out Loud — the midweek shuffle – we’ve been moving in leaps and bounds. This evening’s meeting was the team’s last chance to develop their ideas before moving into the prototyping stage. To get through this final session, we began working with 3 new questions.

1. Do you know what your project is about?
2. Do you know where your project is going to take place? (within the markets area)
3. Do you know what your prototype will be?

Out Louders were given 10 minutes to think about these questions. Once they had written them out, they were asked to stand up and, within a very tight time frame, present them to the team, who responded with feedback. I’m going to use Niall here as an example, who’s project is focused on promoting engagement:

1. Do you know what your project is about?
My project is about engaging/encouraging people to imagine the markets area in new ways. Highlighting parts of the market that are unused.

2. Do you know where your project is going to take place? (within the markets area)
This will depend on what the prototype is. Hoping for an area that is active.

3. Do you know what your prototype will be?
No ideas for prototypes as of yet.

Honest answers there from Niall. As a next step, Out Louders were given a further 10 minutes to develop prototypes. After the ten minute time frame, each team member was invited to feedback to the team who offered more feedback. Using this process, presenting and feedback, has helped to broaden the scope of the projects and enrich the relationships they have with each other. Next week, we will get down to making the prototypes.

One cool link we found on the value of prototypes, features Devorah Klein from IDEO. Great insights here.


Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

It is always hard to analysis learning when you are in the middle of the process. I have tried this during Designing Dublin, ‘Love the City’ and find it very difficult, design thinking is differant. Nevertheless, there are some identifable outcome for me.

I know now that i can work outside my comfort zone in an environment that is alien to me. I feel i can take on challanges and work in areas where the answers are less than obvious. There is a challange in this process to design questions to facilitate others to answer, rather than us/me, supplying the answer. I feel this is real empowerment.

In designing these questions we ask, ask, ask and then we question, question, question. When we reach a conclusion, have an answer, we then question the conclusion, time and time again.

I have also learned to challange my fears by using them to my advantage, to challange myself. My fears ask me questions that are not asked of me elswhere and this enriches me substantially, as i am driven to find the answers. My fears have become my best friend.

I also feel i am much better at listening to what people mean as opposed to what they say. The sub text!

I have also learned how people love their city but feel distant from planners and decision makers.

We have had some inspirational speaker including Jean Byrne, Paul and Kristian, Mark O’Halloran, Maser the graffiti artist, amongst others.

There is also the unexpected popping up on a daily basis, most of us are used to this happening occasionally but not daily, yet it happens here and is dealth with effectively. This particular area is very similiar to working in DCC, which is not as distant from ‘Love The city’ as we might think. On a daily basis i will deal with the unexpected, unknown and follow paths that are not as defined as we might expect. There are also problems that crop up, with no obvious outcome, where  myself and other s in DCC will be tasked with finding solutions. The differance here is that no problem is allowed to stand in the way and this would be differant in the public (And private) sector. Obstactles are seen as challanges by all in ‘Love the City’ rather than by the few in the public sector.

The Tool Box; Often we see a tool box as something full of metal or wooden tool, physical tools to enable us to carry out a task. There are other tools and in another sense, a differant type of tool box.

We need to look at ourselves as a tool-box and the skills we have developed as the tools. Our growth as re-stocking, maybe new or improved tools.

In this process, the new or improved tools i acquired are; An ability to identify a problem-Investigate it-Generate ideas and design a process to hhelpor enable the solving of this problem. These are powerful tools and while i would have had some skills in this area, i now have a much higher spec tool-kit.

Jean Byrne quoted a piece of advice-Know what you know and be confident with what you know. This is very powerful. Im not so sure i fully know what i knw but i am sure i know a lot more than i did this time last year. what i am sure about is that i am confident about what i know even if i can fully identify it at the moment.

This will entail some reflexion on my part over the next few months.

The benifit of collective positivity is very obvious in this process and how it is able to climb over adversity. I would love to see a new Ireland, a new economy, based on this principle, it is very entrapenureal in that money is not as important as the challange. Obstactles are overcome by the resources of creativity.

The Designing Dublin process ‘Love The City’ is differant to other learning inititives in that it challanges your thinking in a way that no other process could or would. To be fair, it also challanges the tutors alongside us as we grow together.

The next step is to take this learning and use it to create or work in a business environment.

I agree with Jean, its about Showing, Learning and then us teaching, this is what Vanessa has done, so its up to us/me to carry this out by passing it on. At the same time remembering that a good teacher is always learning.

JC-Up the Dubs

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Dublin GAA follower in Cook Street, Dublin

Movable Trees

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

Luis, our in-house documentary maker, showed me this cool project in his home town of Lisbon. The trees are contained in movable pods. Each pod has a seat area to sit and a perch area for your lunch, bag, whatever. The colourful pods can be wheeled around so that if there are a group of people that want to get together for lunch or have a chat they can be accommodated simply by forming a cluster of pods. I’d imagine these tree pods make watching the sun set over the sea even more enjoyable.