Parametricism for Creative Ageing: flexible co-design activities intended for People with Dementia in Care Homes.
Delivered as a kit-of-parts, bodies, and snap together offering dozens of combinations.
Possibility of including colour and texture samples in the case so that once the shape is made, users can discuss material choices too - might be a bit much though.
Case is made to be explored, though each part has a place, and resembles a tea tray/ crockery set.
Prototypes made from Jesmonite - allows casting and easy addition of colour, and is food safe/dishwasher safe when sealed.
Either delivered as a kit-of-parts or as a PDF to print and make at home.
Inspired primarily by the long conversation I had with care home residents about composition while diligently arranging graphic elements [fabric offcuts and shapes] through various compositions throughout a workshop until they were satisfied with their form and relationship to one another- users arrange paper/card cutouts to create the section of a plant pot or vase.
This image of the pot can be made on a light-box for increased contrast and can be overlaid with images of plant on transparency, or with real cut plants/flowers.
Acetate can be used to add colours and representation of textures.
Finished compositions are photographed and sent back to me for manufacturing. These will then be revolved into three dimensions and digitally manufactured into moulds which are then cast to reveal the final artefact.
Circular forms are layered one on top of another on a central support to make the body of a lamp, one of thousands (and thousands) of combinations.
Wiring for the lamp prototype is also housed in the central structure, with a lamp-holder on the top. This means that people can turn lamps on or off while they work.
Diagram below shows some combination possibilities of a set of 12 sizes at 5mm increments from 40-150mm
Participants' finished designs are photographed and sent back to me. Again, they will be manufactured digitally and then cast into their finished material.
I identified product categories/design opportunities informed by the Ethnographic work at Pearson Green and Artists' input from developing the In The Moment cases with artists.
What was missing?
The domesticity of Pearson Green, to me, was undermined by the lack of certain common domestic products:
Lamps. Possibly because of their potential to be damaged.
Plant Pots. Again, possibly due to the risk of disruption and breaking.
Cushions. Barring the medicalised purple ones affixed to each wingback chair, decorative cushions were missing from common areas.
What was used the most?
Cups. Tea and coffee breaks punctuated not just workshops, but each visit to Pearson Green. Everyone drank from the same short white catering cups on saucers, which lay waiting, stacked high into cupboards in each common room.
Sounds. Staff and artists alike used ambient and musical background noise to set the mood in creative workshops. This was sometimes used to scaffold conversations, to inspire them, or support them.
I've considered modes of interaction which represent areas where residents and Artists created embodies spatial interactions in workshops resonated with possible applications for generating parametric outcomes.
Screen. Despite my dislike of the screen/screen-based interactions as the default for parametric and computational design, study design in 2020/21 demands that it is considered as an option, for remote testing. This offers some disadvantages [proprioception, aesthetics of interaction, materiality] and some advantages [cheap and simple to prototype, colours can be explored, can be tested remotely]. This would be best suited to a digital/experiential product category, or a 2D category.
Flat Planes. Similar to the screen, but possibly more easy to achieve the 1:1 scale desired [informed by the success of the leaf-tracing workshop]. Sheets of card, transparencies, cut-outs [tracing] can be manipulated to represent products. These can be marked with scale markings and photographed to build the manufacturing specification/drawing. This also gives the potential to include a light-box as a background to either represent light in the product [lamps] or just increase visual contrast for visually-impaired users.
3D Facsimiles. Lego-style, parts and assembly modelling in real life. Outcomes are split into multiple components which can be reconfigured to give a spatial representation of the object to be manufactured. Downsides are that this could be confusing, and that textures and colours can't be changed easily, without vast sets of components.