Work Experience: ‘Part of the furniture’

Pembrokeshire Live Project- Week 1

Our first experience in the school couldn’t have gone better. We are working with children in years 4 and 5.

We started with a presentation introducing ourselves, and asked the question, what is Interior Design? No one knew what it was, however when broken down they gathered an understanding of what we do. Throughout the presentation they were engaged and took part, they were more engaged with the more playful images such as, Carsten Holler, ‘Upside down mushroom room’ and Ernesto Neto ‘Walking in Venus blue Canvas’ they were shouting out different ideas of what it could be and what they wanted, such as an amazing bedroom or a big room full of slime. When asked if they would like to go to school in a place like this, they all said yes, however it would be very hard to work in. They continued to bring up images from the presentation throughout the day, and they said that certain images such as Elenora’s ‘Bee Hive’, helped to inspire their designs later in the day.

Next, we moved onto a task in which they were all given a 1:50 scale figure, and lots of different materials. With these they had to create a space for this figure to be in. Created was a wide range of spaces, using all materials in the classroom, including paper and card that we provided and everyday objects they had to hand such as sharpeners and pencils. The outcomes were incredibly creative and showed a wide range of skill and diversity, they all seemed very engaged in this task. Everyone then put their designs onto a long sheet of paper and drew the shadow that they believed they’re model would create.

Then after break time, they’re models had transformed, as we made the room dark and used smaller lights to create real shadows and completely change the mood and atmosphere of the individual models, we also used coloured sheets to once again change how it felt. We looked at each model individually, and explored with the class what it could possibly be and different weird and wonderful scenarios the figures were in. Going through each model one by one took too long and towards the end the class became despondent. However, we didn’t feel it was right only picking some models to look at and wanted every child to feel that their design was important.

Purple made the space feel “exciting”, “magical”, “Makes me feel like I want to dance.”

Red made the spaces “scarier”, “awesome”, “cool”

Yellow and green made the spaces “happier”

“The shadows made it scary and spookier”

Everyone engaged in parts of this task, they all recognised that the models had changed mood and that there was a different atmosphere in the environment and to each individual space.

We then created five questions which they answered through drawings their hands and writing the answer within the fingers.

  1. Favourite part of school?

  2. Favourite part of the classroom?

  3. Best place you’ve ever been?

  4. Best place you’ve been in school?

  5. Best lesson?

  6. Best part of today?

This was an interesting task as it allows us to gather information about the space but also get to know the children more as well, we feel this is important as it is their space and it is important that they feel comfortable and enjoy this space.

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We all felt that the first week was very successful, and although starting day feeling anxious, we left feeling confident and with a pile of ideas for next week. We also have a much clearer idea of what we are aiming to achieve overall in this task. Next week we are working with less support around us, however we still feel confident in what we are doing.

The main thing that I gained from today was a clearer idea of what the brief is, as I have felt unsure about what the school wanted the final outcome to be. Being in the school and getting to know the space has reassured me of the doubts that I’ve had. Although having worked with children before and I felt confident about controlling the class I feel that it showed that I wasn’t very strong at this. There were a lot of people there and I didn’t feel confident enough to take charge or have a main role in talking to the students, but I can work on this in the coming weeks. The challenge now will be continuing this task to achieve and produce a final outcome within this tight budget.

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