The first project of the third and final year, and it was appropriately named ‘The Real World.’ The third year were split into groups and briefed by Elmwood, via Skype. We were also told that the winning group would have the opportunity of a work placement with Elmwood, London.
For this project, each group was assigned mentors who are part of the design community in Cardiff. We were then named after the company. We were fortunate enough to work with Think Ark, who are a social design group who have been initiated by weekly meetings which take place in various locations around Cardiff. This way of working was helpful as it made us, as a group, relaxed in the meetings as it felt like a social occasion. We met up quite regularly with the mentors and had one specific person who we could contact to arrange meetings or for us to join in with their meetings.
The brief was to design an arriving and departing experience for the passengers of the Cardiff Airport. The brief was entitled ‘Take a Walk on the Welsh Side.’ The idea was to create an overall welcoming Welsh experience.
Our group decided to go down the route that two halves make a whole and that there is a traditional side to Wales as well as a modern side. We had four areas of Cardiff Airport to cover, Corridors, Baggage Reclaim, Passport Control and the Arrivals Hall. As a group, we decided that as the passengers stepped off the plane, they would be dehydrated from the flight and therefore would appreciate a freshly made Welsh cake and a bottle of Welsh water. One side of the corridors will be similar to that of a traditional cottage and the other will be contemporary with the use of natural materials. The corridors lead into Passport Control, which we felt should make use of Welsh building materials and boast of a large image of the Welsh countryside. As a team, we allowed ourselves to go wild with the Baggage Reclaim area, as we felt that everyone has a sigh of relief once they have journeyed through the security checks. We decided that the conveyor belt would depict a river weaving through the area while the flooring would illustrate a luscious green meadow. We wanted to immerse the passenger into the Welsh countryside! The Arrivals Hall would then continue with this idea with a market place for the locals to be able to buy their essentials before going home, so they don’t have to make a secondary trip to a supermarket and making their final leg of their journey home. The smell of fresh bread and milk is also a welcoming smell, which would emanate from this hall, and draw people towards the exit of the airport.
At the end of the project, each group was asked to present to Elmwood, each groups’ mentors, classmates and tutors. This was a good experience and I didn’t feel as daunted about presenting in front of a large group of people.
Unfortunately, our group didn’t achieve the work placement in London, which would have been an amazing experience. However, this project made me realise that there are always a lot of hurdles when working with a group. However, it improved my organizational skills and encouraged me to be more actively motivational to others. The feedback for this project was very encouraging. The term ‘herding cats’ was used and I felt a renewed sense of enthusiasm for this project.