Interior Environmental Design

Mickey Fenton

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Skateboarding - since its inception as ‘Sidewalk Surfing’ - has intrinsically focused on moving through and manipulating space differently. Throughout its lifespan it has continued to reassess how the built environment is laid out, what it’s made from, what is its designated function and how it can be redefined. This project explores how skateboarding can bring a new social dynamic to spaces that are otherwise forgotten or overlooked; focusing on the exterior space of the V&A Dundee: an area that functions more as a passing place around the £80m museum than somewhere to congregate. By engaging with the V&A Dundee through a creative partnership and hosting co-design sessions with both skaters/non-skaters, I have designed and produced a series of skateboard-friendly street furniture, shelters and interventions that encourage an alternative use of the waterfront and focuses on the 1:1 physical engagement between user and environment. Primarily working with sheet timber and steel, this series is designed to be temporary, modular and easily stored within the museum. The visual language is inspired by that of the museum - particularly by examining the invisible geometry, hidden shapes and broken lines within the site and its architectural drawings and by responding to the pre-existing urban topography of the site. This resulted in objects and furniture that can be reconfigured across the site to help unlock new ways of moving through, engaging with and enjoying the Waterfront

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1- A Different Way of Seeing, a New Way of Using: mixed digital media hero image. Hand drawings, 3D renderings and digital collage.

2- Barriers & Facilitators: spatial diagram exploring the different methods of moving throughout the site and that which facilitates or blocks this movement.

3- Site Analysis: hand drawing, digital photo and collage investigating the sites topography.

4&5 – Architectural interventions designed to enhance the function of the bench as well as its visual language. Practical prototypes from sheet timber and steel.

6- Assessing the Approach: spatial diagram exploring the different ways skateboarders can use the bench, compared to passing pedestrians, as well as the considerations needed for each approach.

7- Co-Design: with this being a user-led project set within the public realm it was essential to engage with the local community, across a range of experience levels, on what should be designed. This took place both through live skate sessions as well as a co-design workshop within V&A Dundee.

8- Sketching in 3D: this project has encompassed a range of methods and media but creating sketch models, objects and prototypes has been a key factor in this project. From small card models to 1:2 scale welded prototypes, making has been integral to the project.

9- Modularity and Adaptability: to allow sessions at the V&A to happen the furniture and obstacles had to be transported to and from the space each time, and due to this there was a need for modular and adaptable structures. With hollow section mild steel and sheet timber a bench can be broken up and arranged into different sequences for a variety of functions, and with the addition of more steel, timber and brackets the bench can become a variety of shelters.

10- WIP: Full scale bench in progress. Please continue to follow my social media and website to see the process and completion of these benches, as well as (hopefully) the reignition and of the skate sessions after lockdown.

Thesis Magazine:


Prize Winner - Wooosh Award for Outstanding Floor Work

The winner of The Wooosh Award for Outstanding Floor Work is granted a solo floor-based exhibition at Wooosh Gallery

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