Vincent « Designing Dublin: Learning to Learn

Archive for the ‘Vincent’ Category

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.


Site Study of the Markets Area

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

To try and grasp the inner workings of the Markets area each team member of Designing Dublin chose a different ‘layer’ within the area to study in more depth. My chosen layer was the people of the area. How did I study this layer in more depth? I went around the area and talked to anyone that would talk back, and thankfully nearly everyone I approached had a bit of time for me.

I talked to a diverse range of people from Anna and Joe who work in the Market building, Aileen, the principle of the primary school, Mr. Hughes and Mr. Sexton, two publicans of the area, Deco, the supervisor at the Christian Mission, Monica and Robert who live on Ormond Square, Joe the fruit and veg seller on Mary’s Abbey, Allen the fishing tackle guy, Siony the lady from the Philipines, Morgan and Shauna, two twelve year olds, Arran from the band the Pulse (who are very good by the way), Barry the cash and carry guy, Claire and Deirdre, the artists from Market Studios, the list goes on.

I talked to about 30 people altogether. I wanted to find out what they thought of the area, what their hopes were for the area, who they worked with, socialised with, what they didn’t like about the area, what they loved most about the area, who they didn’t like in the area, etcetera. I had a list of questions I had prepared to direct the conversation but if it went off on a tangent that I thought was interesting I let it go that way.

I learned so many things that I had no clue of prior to the site study. I learned that there is a really strong sense of community among the people that live in the area but that there is also a division between the people that live in social housing and the people that live in privately owned housing. I learned that there is a complete communication breakdown between Dublin City Council and the people living and working in the area. There is a lack of space for young people to hang out in. There is a demand for more cheap hot food outlets in the area and business owners of the area want to see more vibrancy and a change of offerings from just fruit and vegetables. Practically everyone I talked to said they were sad that the area has been so unloved for so long. Again…the list goes on. I’m hoping that the things we’ve learned from our site studies can be put to good use. It’s time the area felt that love that’s been lacking.

Designing Dublin on the Radio

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Designing Dublin recently got a radio show on Near FM. In each show we discuss what the week had in store for the Designing Dublin team. We focus on various themes such as living, moving, enterprise in a city context. It’s a sharp learning curve for most of the team members as few of us have broadcasting experience but that’s nothing new at Designing Dublin. Tune in to our show if you get a chance on 90.3 fm, Saturdays at 6pm.

Technology in an urban landscape….just some ideas

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Light Ideas!

Visual artists KMA are doing some really interesting work that I feel is very powerful. I think the ideas they are exploring could be used by Designing Dublin to stimulate and create vibrancy to areas of the city that need invigorating.

*Take a look at this lovely video of their work entitled Congregation -

Congregation from Tom Wexler on Vimeo.

LED Cobblestones in Geneva

Monday, January 24th, 2011

The ground of Place du Molard in Geneva is interesting, in that many of the cobblestones have been replaced with lights. Printed on the glass are various expressions in various languages of the world, including French, Spanish, English, Russian and even Chinese. Words like “thank you”, “goodbye”, “cheers”…etc show up randomly around the square. Pretty creative and interesting.

Firefly light installation

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

*French designers Kkristen and Vincent Moreau created a piece called Firefly at the Shanghai expo- video link

Loop.Ph Interactive Tree

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

Loop.pH have designed a unique interactive solar-powered tree, which was unveiled at the London Design Festival. The structure comes with strands of light-emitting fabric woven into a lucent web of branches.

The structure, dubbed SonUmbra, gets power from a PV-equipped canopy that harnesses solar energy during the day and stores it in onboard batteries to light the tree up after dark. As a visitor moves around the tree, he/she is greeted with an interplay of light and sound that encourages interaction.

Sonumbra de Vincy from Loop.pH on Vimeo.

Guest Speaker: Ronni Tino

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Today we had a speaker come visit us called Ronni Tino. He gave the Designing Dublin team a presentation entitled “The power that technology can have on urban spaces and people….and the seamlessness that it can provide”. It was a very interesting presentation. Ronni knows lots about technology and he’s an expert on information technology. He defined information technology as anything that can store, disseminate and process information, for example gps, wifi, bluetooth, sensors, social media etc.

His presentation illustrated how technology can play an increasingly important role in communicating information to ever more people in the world. Some projects he was involved in include ‘Green Hands’ in 2007. This was a project that involved the boy scouts of Copenehagen where they used sms technology to show the public interesting scouting knowledge within a city. Another was ‘Copenhagen Layer’ in 2010. This project involved fitting bicycle couriers with sensors that recorded environmental information in the city of Copenhagen.

Ronnie showed us this amazing advertising campaign that was launched in the Netherlands to combat inactivity by passers by who witness street violence. I was very impressed…great music too. Check it out hereVideo Link

‘The City Markets’

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

The old fruit and vegetable markets just off Capel Street hold a special place in my heart. Back when I was an art student I used to walk to the markets area from college quite regularly and wander around with no great purpose. I’d buy some fruit and have a little chit chat with the vendors. I’d sit on a kerb on Chancery Street eating an apple and people watch, taking the odd, sly photograph here and there. I’d spend hours sketching the beautiful iron work around the entrances and in the rafters of the old Victorian building. There are so many details to that Market building that must have been painstaking to create.

This is the stuff that I’d think about while walking around. I’d try and fathom the amount of time, effort and skill that must have gone into making old buildings like that, considering there were no electrical tools or modern machinery at the time. Craftmanship like that is no longer economically viable in modern buildings, which I find a pity. These days we have mass produced materials that are made to order and are fitted together like Lego Technics, often leaving them void of character. When I’m around beautiful, old buildings I often get a sense of time passing or meditation, I’m not really too sure what it is, but it’s a nice feeling that I rarely get around modern architecture.

Conversations that I would have with people working around the Markets would often include what the place was like in the past. There’s a hint of sadness attached to their stories, like things have been lost and people never got a chance to grieve properly. I feel that that hint of sadness emanates from the area.

In saying that, there is also a beautiful charm to the area, a place of character and soul. Personally, I’m glad that the place did not undergo the proposed redevelopment that was intended for it. My fear would be that the existing charm and character would have been levelled to the ground if those plans went ahead. In the past it was all too easy to demolish and rebuild. Now the country finds itself in a predicament where the easy option is no longer an option because the money has dried up. I feel that if we utilise the resources and amenities of the area to their true potential the existing charm can be maintained with minimal money spent in comparison to the massive amounts spent in places like Smithfield and Georges Dock.

If you haven’t been to the Market area recently I recommend you take a stroll around. Walk through Capel Street, stroll down the cobble stoned alley of Anglesea Row. TAake in the sights and sounds from a bench in the Green Street park or perhaps you’d prefer something more energetic like a game of handball in the free court provided just behind the court house. Have a chat with the workers, they’re friendly and open. Soak up the atmosphere in the morning and imagine what it could be like if there was bit of love shown to it. What an exciting area this could be in the city for people to go. The place is ready, it’s bubbling and waiting to boil.

The Lady on the Rock

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

If you have strolled around Dublin (especially Dublin 8) in the last few years you may have noticed a little white statue in the windows of many, many houses. It’s become quite the enigma. Nobody really knows the full story but this little video I found sheds a little light on the subject.