Collecting - To bring or gather together (a number of things).
Commons - Resources belonging to or affecting the whole of a community.
Collecting Commons focuses on how the design of a physical object can be used as a way to develop social bonds within a community. Based in Clapton (North East London) the project is proposing a new role for the designer, as a community collaborator. I have developed a process of collecting material through door-to-door conversations as an invitation to local residents to engage with others in their neighbourhood.
The collected material paired with local making processes has been used to build a table that has played a central role in local events whereby contributors are invited back to become participants. All guests are equal and are gathered around an object which they have contributed towards.These meetings are enjoyable forums for conservation and have become springboards for community development in the Clapton area.
Collecting Commons is the embodiment of a project with the aim of showing how a new roll for the designer might be able to exist.
Understanding the impact of our work should be seen as paramount in the mind of the designer. In a world where we are seeing the very real impact of large scale manufacture to our planet, designing things because they have a slightly novel technical feature is not sustainable within the current system. Collecting Commons is finding a way to make the development of a physical object that has a real positive impact for the location in which it is made. This new sustainable approach to product design is focusing on developing social objects in a vernacular way.
The project does not only promote the ideas of the circular economy and local manufacture but it also aims to be an early link between these ideas and real people within a locality from the very bottom. These established academic methodologies about how a sustainable future might be possible will never come to light unless they are paired with social understanding and development; this was taken as a starting point for the Collecting Commons project.
Collecting Commons uses the process of material collection as an invitation to engage; this gets around any sort of stigma connected to community meetings or events. After receiving only positive reactions and warm welcomes from invitees the idea that communities are ready to engage is clear, they just need to feel that they are invited to do so. Through inviting a diverse mix of people to take part in community conversations, unfound links between neighbours have emerged. The project is used as a tool to promote the idea of collective well being to a locality. Working together and celebrating existing assets to make the area a better place to live for everyone.
What must be taken away from the project is that this is one example of how a new role for designers can exist. It is tailored to personal skills and an individual setting. The aim is to highlight a flexible framework for designers working within communities. This idea can be adapted case by case as a grassroots approach to system change in a larger context.
School of Design
MA Design Products, 2018
I am a designer and maker who is interested in developing vernacular design methodologies to create social bonds within communities. I believe that focusing on socially engaged grass roots projects is the key to unlocking the system change needed for a more sustainable way of living.
Within this framework I am excited by experimenting with decentralised manufacturing processes, both traditional and digital.
Above all I care about ensuring that design is a fun and enjoyable part of life.
- BA Industrial & Product Design, Brunel University, 2013
- Designer, Maps Project Office, London, 2013-2014; Designer, Barber Osgerby, London 2013-2014; Designer, Haberdashery, 2014-2017; Designer, Freelance, 2014-Present; Founding Member, Gambol Studio, 2018-Present
- DCCD, Vienna Design Week, Vienna, 2017; DCCD, MKG Hamburg, Hamburg, 2017; Of Stones and Stars, The Print House Gallery, London 2016
- James Dyson Foundation Major Project Sponsorship, 2013