A Place For Presence | Augusta Lutynski

For this project, ‘place’ describes a personally relatable space. This project began by exploring the creation of place through citizen-driven interventions in public space. In my research, place is a reaction of a moving context; it is constantly evolving within shared space. Despite this, places are often designed as permanent physical infrastructures and are not responsive to evolving spatial conditions. I realized that there is an inherent separation between citizens and public space as they tend to passively rather than actively engage with shared environments. For this reason, the aim of my project was to explore methods of active participation that would foster a sense of place that is responsive, ephemeral, and personally relatable. My research process involved interventions, workshops, and activities that created a temporary experience of place. The pieces draw from my research; synthesizing the spatial explorations I did throughout this project. The final designs express the temporalities of place in public space through personal spatial relations and actions.

Prompt 1:

The picnic blanket is iconic in its facilitation for creating a place for gathering, sitting, and ‘being’ in public space. Its intrinsic ability to create a self-determined place became a tool for me to push the context of experiencing public space to areas typically not considered. The blanket represents a physical and visual site for people to situate themselves in a range of public environments. By slowing down and being present in public areas there is potential to sense existing physical and social characteristics that are otherwise not given much thought. Placing the blanket in a public space might draw attention to qualities such as the texture of the ground, new sounds and smells, or the sight of others nearby. The more time spent in a space, the more one’s awareness and sense of connection become heightened. Bringing this blanket outside the traditional environment of a park invites individuals to slow down and take in spaces that might normally feel transient or distanced. Prompt 1 asks individuals to rest, stay, and be’ in space, encouraging deeper sensory experiences and reflections within a variety of public landscapes.  

– Woven and felted wool

Prompt 2:

Throughout my spatial explorations, markings and tracings became a key mode for expressing movement and temporary happenings within an environment. The traces of car wheels on pavement, debris lines leading to drains, textures of shoes imprinted onto surfaces, and remnants of seeds spread from a cottonwood tree are all examples of expressions of movement and change within public space. While these say something about the context and narratives within a space since they are immediate expressions of life in a shared environment and time, they are also curiously ambiguous and sometimes unknown. This walking wheel leaves a path on the ground as it moves about an environment. As this prompt interacts with the ground it could trail water from a puddle, mud from soil, or indent a pattern in sand. Walking from one place to another, a path is left on various surfaces indicating one’s temporary presence and visually expressing one’s movement through space. Prompt 2 draws attention to the materiality within an environment; the way markings in public space indicate presence and narrate the many paths of movement within that place. 

– Steel and carved elm

Prompt 3:

The sieve facilitates acts of gathering and uncovering materials within public space. The shallow bowl has the relief of various weave textures that naturally guide larger and smaller material particles to separate and sort into the indents and crevices of the sieve. Collecting and sorting is a practice of careful observation; a common activity for individuals to do in nature. One is often drawn to collect and sort materials that personally resonate with them or seem special, such as shells on a beach, rocks from a riverbed, wild flowers from a meadow, or unique sticks and leaves. These practices recognize patterns and processes within nature that produce a specific material quality within an environment. Collected objects like sea glass, leaves, or stones are a reaction of a place, a time, and the unique circumstances that made a material come to be the way it is. In the public realm, the sieve asks engagers to look closer, perhaps to uncover the contents from the bottom of a puddle or from within a sandbox. So often the material occurrences within urban space are not sought or given time; the sieve encourages the practice of finding and reflecting in urban areas. Prompt 3 aims to bring one closer, to question and narrate the unique material processes within a public space. 

– Slip-cast porcelain

Prompt 4:

This prompt came out of a long time practice of public sketching or sketching en plein air, which inspired my use of water to sketch on concrete. When sketching in public space, one is forced to respond to present conditions within a moving environment. For example, decisions must be made such as whether or not to include a biker who is only in the frame for a second or a person sitting who might get up and leave. Sketching with water on concrete removes the size limitations of a piece of paper, thus allowing a fuller embodiment of sketching. The expressions of space that are explored with these vessels allow participants to embody their environment, by gesturing and moving the body with the physicalities of public space. The vessels have various spouts and holes that spill water, leaving lines and markings as the body gestures the movement, angles, curves, and depths of space. Left behind on the ground is an interpretation of a moment that disappears as the water dries. The image left on the ground is not as relevant as the attention to public space that this activity demands. Presence is key in guiding the body to interpret and move in relation to an environment. Prompt 4 focuses on the body, using gesture as a means to embody and mark a moment within space. 

– Slip-cast porcelain

Prompt 5:

This brick press engages thoughts surrounding cycles of existence, permanence, and relevance within public space. A brick is a sturdy, functional, and long-lasting object that traditionally facilitates the building of something permanent and set. In the creation of public space, most representations of place are permanent infrastructures that do not have the capability of changing or responding to an evolving environment. By asking individuals to collect materials that are decomposing, one is prompted to think about the inanimate and animate life cycles around them. Observing the ways an environment is interconnected through constant cycles of life and death, creation and corrosion. Collecting decomposing matter within public space and pressing it into a brick form introduces temporary physical infrastructure that responds to its environment. The brick will degrade in time, and the physicality of a built place will be gone. Public space is in constant change and movement and is therefore never truly still; a place of death for one is a source of life for another. Engaging with materials and thinking about cycles of existence for leaves, beer cans, or sand all say something unique about spatial histories, and possible futures. Prompt 5 draws attention to these physical cycles and addresses the potential for the temporality of place within built space. 

– Steel

Neighbourhood Stroll

everyday spatial relations within a public landscape

Daily observations and experiences from my neighbourhood walk

For ten days I walked the same route in my neighbourhood, noting my experiences along the way. By walking the same path every day, I was able to note changes and similarities within those public spaces. The more I walked my path, the better I came to know the spaces that I moved through; I was able to expect or predict certain occurrences on my route. I came to know which areas were prone to having lots of people, where people might gather, or areas that were high in traffic. I also came to know the areas that were quiet and perhaps off people’s radar, in these spaces I mostly interacted with local people and domestic pets. The walk also presented the rhythms and schedules of my neighbours.

I would often see the same occurrences at the same time and place but on a different day. People using this neighbourhood space had picked routes and areas that they would consistently situate themselves in as I had on these walks. It made me think about the vast range of spaces people relate to based on their activities, routines, location, and needs within public space. People using public space consider their unique needs and choose places that work for them. The social and built constructs within public environments dictate the way an individual will choose to navigate and situate themselves in shared space.


Flowtopia | Helen Hai

                     

   

F        L        O        W        T        O        P        I        A.

A handheld meditation and relaxation aid for pre-bedtime that invites the user to focus his/her breathing on gentle waves of

inflation and deflation in the palm of their hand to adjust their breathing with selected rhythm to achieve a good nights rest.

Wants to Change

‘‘I sleep with my cell phone under my pillow or some-times next to my face with the ringer on...I know it’s bad, I want to change, but it’s hard, it’s like a vicious cycle” Age 28

Overthinking

“I use the app Headspace for sleep meditation, it does help me to fall asleep faster, but I found the audio instruction can be disturbing sometimes that can make me think too much.” Age25

What is your Pre-bed Routine?

More than 60 percent of adults say their sleep needs are not being fully met during the week.

Phone User

“It just became my sleeping routine to use a smartphone over an hour before bed every night, and it gets me anxious...’’ Age23

Hard to stay focused

“ Sometimes I spend a few moments to reflect on my day and prepare it for this processing of sleep, but I get distracted easily, It's hard to stay focused’’ Age33

Breathe +  Sleep'

=  Flowtopia.

We spend approximately a third of our lives sleeping. Sleep is critical to our health. Unfortunately, research indicates that more than 60% of adults’ sleep needs are not being fully met. Being personally subject to the effects of sleep deprivation, I found that, Often, the key to a restful night’s sleep is breathing consciously. The focus on inhalation and exhalation centers us in the present moment and keeps us away from distractions.  Rather than reaching for addictive medication, breathing is a much more effective and proven method to naturally induce sleep.

‘‘Holding Action’’

Holding something to sleep has been ingrained into us during childhood. Parents often introduce teddy bears or blankets to babies as a way of transitioning them into being alone at night that makes a child feel they are still safe with their parent. Therefore, by holding an object can remind us of the sensation of being soothed.

Core Value

Completing a sleep preparation with the assistance of the Flowtopia product is a change from the way people have traditionally been doing for pre-bed activities, it may produce behaviour changes. It also suggests to us how we can build a reciprocal relationship along with the technology, to navigate us to live in the era of media fragmentation.

About the Designer | Helen Hai

Helen’s work field varies from traditional product development to UX/UI design, with close attention to detail and an intuitive approach to the sensorial engagement in the digital age while designing with ethics at the core of every decision.



Re-Parity | JennyMae Lapurga

The Right to Repair, In Your Hands.

Re-Parity is a new system of repair that serves as a hub for resources and information. The app uses object recognition to allow users to scan their electronics in order to provide information and guides. Through features such as community forums and the promotion of local repair workshops, the app is heavily rooted in community engagement.

Education & Empowerment

As most of our electronics are now designed to keep users from taking them apart, there is now a gap in knowledge of how these devices were made. To gain a stronger sense of electronic literacy, users can confidently follow disassembly guide to better understand how their electronics were made. Through object recognition and cataloging or parts, users can search for information and parts with ease.

Community Engagement

Re-Parity aims to strengthen the current repair community. As a form of resilience, repair workshops have worked to empower locals to repair rather than replace. In promoting local workshops and creating forums, users can exchange knowledge and seek comfort in knowing they are not alone.

The App

In one place a user can gain access to parts needed, guides, and the help and service of others. This system of repair places the user’s needs first to allow them to repair independently.

Features

Scan to Search

By simply scanning, one can search up product information without needing to know the name of the part or product. Users can begin to understand how their device was designed and what went into it. This feature removes the mystery behind our electronics to allow for repair to become more accessible.

The community menu opens up a range of ways users can connect to one another. This is where users can stay up to date with up coming repair workshops or exchange knowledge through forum boards. Users of all skill levels can look to this page for help from others, or to update others on their own findings.

Community Outreach

Buy, Sell & Trade

Access to parts is made easy by giving users the space to sell or trade parts. Instead of having to go from store to store looking for one specific part, users can use the search feature to find what they are looking for. Users can choose to trade parts and tools with others when looking for an economical option.

Re-Parity’s growing library makes for an excellent place to start when looking to learn about electronics. Each product and part portfolio goes into depth with resources such as repair guides, places to purchase and similar products. Users can also add to the library as technology continues to progress.

Product Library

The Process

The process consisted of two phases; the initial research and iteration, and then validating and finalizing the system. Re-Parity relied on various workshops for research, especially because this system encourages community repair through workshopping. My various research methods would also be used to validate my design decisions and features included. Throughout this project I turned to my peers and professors for input and advice, but also sought professional advice from a coordinator from MetroVan Repair Cafes.

MetroVan Repair Cafes

About the Designer | JennyMae Lapurga

JennyMae is a designer who is eager to engage with emerging technologies and materials. Her work is driven by her mission for accessibility. She believes that accessibility is not about ease of use, but is about justice. Through her skills in CAD, design research and product development, she seeks to develop more solutions towards a just world.

Portfolio