We just celebrated our tenth anniversary and to celebrate this we have been pursuing some self-initiated projects. The most important of these projects is a meta-analysis of all of our research projects to date. This analysis comprises 18 research or research led design projects and includes over 800 interviews with students and staff, hundreds of cultural probes and maps, over 80 workshops and countless days on site. Our team have taken the data from each of these projects, analysed and cross-referenced it which has allowed us to discern certain design principles. We will spare you the detail but one of, if not the most prominent principle is the concept of identity.
In our 21st-century global culture, this should not be surprising as almost every aspect of our daily lives is influenced by the identities or brands we associate with and the most successful spaces we know of always expressing something about that place and the people that inhabit it.
There are a myriad of ways in which identity can be expressed. For example, The landscaping of the exterior environment and approach, the architecture, the technology, services and activities on offer, the selection of interior fittings and last but certainly not least interior artwork.
The picture above shows the exterior of our studio. The big N in the top left of the facade is for Nomad and is bold, confident and assertive – this perhaps says more about how we would like to be rather than are perceived. The actual unit is on the South Side of Glasgow and comprises three large Victorian shop units knocked together originally designed by famous Glasgow architect Greek Thomson. (or at least a good copy by one of his pupils) The window featuring John Cleese engaged in his Ministry of Funny Walks persona perhaps reveals more about who we are. We enjoy our work; we love our studio and like to have fun there. We don’t always take ourselves too seriously, and we want people to enjoy the experience of working with us. We also like to surprise people and even be a little subversive and most of all we like to be seen. Our Funny Walks window has become something of a local icon and is even a Pokestop – if fact, a year ago or so our window was smashed, and we had to replace the graphic. We offered our blog readers a choice between three options for the replacement including the crew of the original Star Trek Enterprise, but there was an overwhelming response in favour of keeping Mr Cleese.
We want to know what you think the identity of DMU is and what you believe that we could do to help express this. As with our other posts, you can comment here, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org or feed into the ‘identity’ poll when it is uploaded in a couple of weeks.