Olivia Clemence doesn’t take smell for granted

Behind a red door in a very old building works Olivia Alice Clemence, our BA Design graduate whose work has made it to the pages of Wired recently. She shares a small and cozy studio with two other creative people, where she was kind to invite me for hot tea (in a Michael Jackson-printed cup) and a chat, on a rainy evening – because we can’t leave all the good stories to Wired, can we?

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I had barely stepped inside and Olivia was already showing me the tools and ingredients of her craft: the distilling kit (custom-made for her) that she uses to capture scents, and her cabinet of around 60 wonderful and unusual smells bottled in small glass containers. The principle and instruments of the steam-distilling process are very old discoveries, but to untrained eyes like mine it looks as if I’m taking a peek at a bit of magic and alchemy. She allowed me to get a whiff of one of her recent works, a perfume designed for the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. “What’s in it?” I ask, unable to pin down the unusual tones hidden under the pleasant surface. She tells me: the combined smells of beer, coffee, peanuts, carpet, wood, Subway sandwiches…the essence of the Centre itself in a nutshell (or, a glass vial). Continue reading “Olivia Clemence doesn’t take smell for granted”

Design as storytelling: Blair Francey

Blair Francey is a 2012 MA Design: Critical Practice graduate at Goldsmiths; when it came to chatting to him about his work here and beyond, we had to resort to Skype, as he has already returned to his native Canada. We had quite a bit to talk about: Blair runs his own design startup, BFDesign, offering branding, print media, consultations and social media planning services. The firm has been going for 4 years and Blair told me he was very pleased with how it was going. He also had good things to say about his time at Goldsmiths, which he called an “eye-opener”, expanding his idea about what a designer is and does, and giving him the chance to be around designers from so many different backgrounds and specialties, and…well, here’s some of the actual chatting:

Q: Tell me more about your graduation project, “Public Transit Remixed”.

A: The more politicians talk about expanding the transit network here in Toronto and the province, the more I realized how little they talked about the actual experience of being on transit. It was always centered around moving people further and faster. So I wanted to approach public transit from the experiential standpoint … what does it mean to ride transit and how can it become more than just jumping on a train to get somewhere? How can it become engaging for everyone, more inclusive, easier to use … Continue reading “Design as storytelling: Blair Francey”

Eunji Kang: designer and thinker

South Korean designer Eunji Kang is one of the many 2012 MA graduates I didn’t get to talk to when I visited the presentation ceremonies in December, but I got to make up for it by chatting to her now, on a very cold January day, about her work and her experience at Goldsmiths.

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Eunji is not the kind of designer that wants to create just “pretty images”, or to make a product more marketable or saleable; instead, she is looking for projects were conceptual thinking is allowed in design practice. Coming from a background in Fine Art, she had always been interested in contemporary and conceptual art, but the start of her career found her in publishing, where she worked as a designer of book covers. Continue reading “Eunji Kang: designer and thinker”

Kirstin Toedtling: Non-ideal, super fun cities

Kirstin Toedtling graduated from the BA Design in 2012, the following is a summary of her final year project. Kirstin is now selling work here:

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This project envisions a fictional future London- it describes England’s metropolis after the flood. Instead of clinging to typical nightmare scenarios of futures I looked at the possibilities of a changing environment. A city which adapted to demographic and environmental transformations- a warmer and partly underwater future city. In this future city, Londoners climb up skyscrapers, bungee jump off buildings, go skiing on weekends, leave office blocks on waterslides or drift in Thames canals in a gondola.

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 Matt Ward