Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Architecture is advertising...[BD Online]

“It is perhaps inevitable that luxury brands should invest in architecture design as their primary source of outdoor advertising.”

From Learning from Louis Vuitton by Taro Igarashi in Louis Vuitton: Art, Fashion and Architecture

All architecture has a narrative that defines it. The source of that narrative is always different whether it’s an individual’s personal statement or an organisation’s values. In this sense architecture becomes advertising. Not only is architecture a billboard but a billboard you can walk into: an immersive experience.

No matter who created the narrative it is always the visitor who defines it. Upon entering an architectural space, the visitor engages in a dialogue with it. The building or space communicates with all the senses. The encounter for each individual is unique and has the potential to leave an impression that, if meaningful, will stay subconsciously for some time. It is through the creation of a unique and memorable space that we engage the use of narrative to convey a message. Architecture and interior design represent a powerful tool.

The unforgettable immersive nature of interiors is demonstrated with NY 11-18-02-10, an installation created by London studio Campaign for the luxury brand Dunhill in a New York warehouse for the city’s Fashion Week last year. The installation bridges different interior genres – retail, event and advertising – to transport the visitor into an ethereal interpretation of Bourdon House, the home of Alfred Dunhill in London, offering an opportunity to experience the atmosphere of this extraordinary Georgian house.

             Campaign’s design for Dunhill

As a temporary installation, it only physically existed for two weeks, however due to the memorable experience it created has continued to deliver a message, via magazines, books and online, where the project has been discussed in over 200 blogs and articles to create a lasting memory of the space.

Considering this from a high street retail store’s point of view, interior design represents a valuable medium to deliver a brand story. ‘Architecture is advertising’ is the idea that will transform our high streets into a series of immersive billboards and brand lounges, where the premium of space will be too valuable to cram full with piles of products and instead evolve into alluring, interactive environments - imagine an advert that you can smell, touch and walk around. Brand advertising is not about what we are told but what we experience and how we connect physically and emotionally.

Friday, 27 May 2011

flat and lonely...

we are lonely and we do like flat.

we tweet, we facebook, we stare at our phones even when we are out with friends, not to mention we do all that when we are alone with ourselves or alone but among all other people (e.g. travelling on tube or buses).

1. if our 3D physical world where we are in is exciting enough, why would we stare at our 2D phone-screens? apparently the world we are in is not exciting enough, so we prefer looking at the flat screens and get more exciting information from them.
2. even we are with friends, we are still lonely because we are not satisfied to share happiness just with the friends that are right beside us, but we want to share with all other friends we have, even they are on the other side of the world. [and the fact is: even our friends are right there beside us, we will still tweet each other at the same moment...]

respond to point 1, the spaces of shopping are already supposed to be one of the most exciting parts of the physical world...but for it to be more exciting, it is inevitable that the "screen technologies" do their job and friends on the other end of the virtual world give us a company.

_just a little thought

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Who owns the consumer? ...by Archinect

At the Retail Technology Conference, which happened April 13-15, retailers were coping with a new phenomenom regarding shopping habits— how smartphone-enriched shoppers are treating bricks-and-mortar retailers like galleries and museums. Macy's CEO, Terry Lundgren, says that traditional stores have to be as interesting as the online experience in the age of wireless.

This interaction of consumer with retail store, mobile phone and wireless internet is referred to as "omni-channel." But, all is not necessarily lost. Brian Kilcourse, of RSR Research, says that 95% of all retail purchases are still fulfilled through the store. Given the fast growth of "omni-channel" shoppers, there are more consumers who are increasingly knowledgeable about both price and information.

Perhaps, the most interesting and most relevant architectural tidbit is this, "retailers need to be able to understand and see into the consumer’s pathway to purchase, and this cannot be done only after a transaction has been made but should also aim to identify pre-demand signals," Joe Skorupa writes paraphrasing Kilcourse.

The rest of the article evolves into a more sinister tone and demonstrates how retailers can "own the consumer" by tracking and guiding the consumer through a collaborative approach involving marketing and information technology. It fails to acknowledge that the shopping experience is not guided by an information architect but by a "bricks-and-mortar" architect. And even for architects who don't dabble in zeros-and-ones, the idea of a consumer who can fly the coop virtually when he or she becomes urged, frustrated or disenfranchised by their current experience will be a very daunting task to manage within the constraints of reality.

Oracle surveyed 1,054 shoppers and found that the number who used mobiles devices while shopping grew by 27% in a single year. Of those, only 29% made a purchase on a mobile device. If the growing number of shoppers continues to become omni-channel shoppers, should the basis of retail design change course?

But, how does one create a store— a real physical place with very real overhead costs— that's designed to not necessarily sell products?

_déjà vu

_thesis printed. i realised something - what i have done for it is way more than what i show...a lot of research are not used. argh... after thesis, i think my first idea strikes back. if they were not spatial...i just have to make them spatial then.


Tuesday, 19 April 2011

_aesthetics test

_in this test, i'm trying to test out the overall look of the film...this is in fact one of the elements i picked from the previous drawing. my intention is to interpret the existing consumer goods in a new way, spatially in particular. the overall feel resulted is more simple and clean (maybe a good thing as a base) - flashing images shall be overlaid on top in appropriate parts of the film.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

...without colour...

although this drawing is not valid anymore due to the vigorous shift of the project...it looks cooler without colour...

i'm building up the spaces/scenes at the moment according to the main thread of the project - "juxtaposition of spaces" - not sure how much i can utilise what i had done before...let's see...

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Monday, 4 April 2011


Shopping is not just about the exchange of commodities, but about experience.
This experience I would like to focus on is the kind that is related to sociability.
Social experience increases the interaction between people and communities. (including physical connectivity and virtual communication - hence, this social experience is not limited to time and space.)

In my thesis, I am going to analyse Selfridges on how they work on this "shopping experience" which they are always promoting, particularly focus on how that related to sociability.
It will be a photo analysis in which I will take photos from different part of the store.
I would also like to divide it into 2 sections: hardware + software (in which, hardware includes the spatial arrangement of commodities, direction signs on floor and ceiling, window display, escalator, etc. and software includes the (intangible) service that Selfridges' sales provide in different counters, around escalator, around entrance and how that leads to the usage of social network on mobile phone at that time.)

What I have found from the site analysis -
Hardware: 1. Most goods are displayed below eye-level, this allows people in the store to be able to see other happenings in other parts of the store 2. The visual experience of the store is really mostly about the display of goods. 3. Display of goods is colourful and like a fantasy.
-> Design: The entire landscape is composed of consumer objects. Colourful, dreamy and fantasy will be the atmosphere. And using the depth of camera (or other means), other activities will be shown at the background while the main action happens in the foreground.
Software: 1. In different parts of the store, customers are welcomed to try out different products, e.g. tasting corner for new food product, manicure product, games console, music in hmv, etc.
-> Design: This service of trying something new satisfies customers' appetitte for novelty and in a way favours the mode of collaborative consumption - since in this mode, people get to try out more products with a fixed amount of money, in the condition that they do not own the products, they just consume them in a fixed period of time. To put that into design strategy, people occupy and use the object from the landscape in a fixed period of time, throughout the timeline, that object transforms / changes to other usage by other people.

Originally, I would like to know if there is any new direction / plan that Selfridges is planning right now for the future which is targeted to improve shopping experience in the Oxford Street Store, particularly about social experience, like any kind of measures which is designed to increase social interaction. However, I got their reply from email saying that they couldn't disclose such information. I am planning to include those technologies existed in shopping industry in other places but Selfridges in the "Selfridges Case Study: Future" section, so as to supply the possibility of having those in Selfridges and have those technologies in my film.

N.B. I have taken out the "living/home" bits from the project at the moment (as I think that might be a distraction). I hope there is enough meat for the project.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Project Evolution


28/01/11 Crit
Continued with my last film, which is about the experience of shopping, I did some study around this area. I found a quote by Tim Jackson, an economics commissioner, which is quite interesting. "Human beings have something of an appetite for novelty. We love new stuffs - new ideas, new adventures, new experiences." I think it's also because of that we have "hyper-consumption" in the 20th century. We shop, we buy and we possess more than we need to. Thus, from my research, I think, stepping into the 21st century, "ownership society" is going to be replaced by "collaborative consumption", an idea suggested by Rachel Botsman, in which sharing, bartering, renting are reinvented through social network technologies. And by that, consumption becomes more sustainable, consumer goods are fully and efficiently utilized by everyone.
In 1909, when Gordon Selfridges brought in Selfridges, he promoted that shopping wasn't just about buying and selling - an exchange of commodity, it is about an experience. He revolutionized the way people shopped. Having this spirit in Selfridges, I chose it to design and propose a new mode of living and consumption.
I am going to design Selfridges in 2020. To put that in words, my project is "The SELF-designed Apartment". It is like a Selfridges serviced apartment with the Selfridges Club. In short, people will go in and live inside Selfridges. While they are living in there, Selfridges, as a department store with different departments, provides all the resources which they need. For example, they can either go to the womenswear/menswear department for "borrowing" everyday clothing and accessories or order that online with the help of virtual changing and fitting space. The Selfridges Club provides the cookery classes, gym facilities, etc. all based on its existing departments.
The benefits of this proposal are we perceive our spaces differently in this mode. Living, shopping and club activities are all in one space, strengthening social interaction between one another. And as we don't possess so much physical personal belongings, it is easier to change our place of living, (especially applicable to travelling nomads either for business or leisure), satisfying our novelty, and at the same time, economical and environmental sustainable. Living space will also be more spatial because of that. In addition, no chores or cleaning required saves time for club activities and more social interaction.
The film is expressed moving through an abstract landscape. This landscape is composed of different consumer objects. Taking the analogy of everything is provided from the consumers' cloud landscape, spaces are interpreted through the shift in perception and movement of the camera/characters.
The film is set up to be on a Sunday - beginning from the character getting out of her bed and enjoying herself with the company of her friend in this cloud landscape with various advanced technologies. The film ends when she ends the day to sleep. The voice-over plays a juxtaposition of different languages to show the juxtaposition of both places and time.


Design Intention/Objective
As Selfridges is promoted as for everyone, without class classification - having the collaborative consumption services provided helps fulfilling this motive.

Design Ideas
To me, experience of shopping comes mainly from consumer goods.
[-> That's why my landscape is built up by the spatial arrangement of different consumer goods one can find in Selfridges.]
Be explicit about the object you choose in your drawings - the sense of value of them.
It's a psychogeographical landscape.
It's a manipulatable places.
Living in a cloud of collaborative culture.
[->implication: we share the same things - our ownership of that things comes from our self-customization / personalisation of those objects. That means with the same object - it can be perceived differently depends on how each individual (camera) views it - aka. the same space could be defined differently with different usages of it.]
Shopping is about making choices - to find what you like.
"We consume the 'software' / 'service' of an object / consumer good, we don't need to own the 'hardware' as it is more beneficial to share with others." <- be explicit about this on architecture/spatial design. {is that = where you physically are is not important. The experience / the immediate environment or objects that around you are more important.} I, as an architect, just like any other architect nowadays, design how different objects are spatially arranged together, expressing the relationship between different objects that create different experience.

Design Proposal
Selfridges is not only a place where buying and selling occur. It will also function as a "library" where collaborative consumption (the new mode of consumption in the 21st century) is encouraged - just like its spirit of having revolutionary ideas in shopping and shopping experience should not be hindered by class.
With collaborative consumption, people uses less money to "borrow" than to "buy" the service (software) provided by the consumer objects, hence people with less money is now also capable to enjoy the service that was used to be privileged to the richer people. The only difference is that they do not own the object, as they also do not have the need to.
You don't need to live in Selfridges, but you can still borrow any stuffs from them as long as you pay a small amount of membership fee. Selfridges also forms alliances with other department store around the world, in such case, travelling around different places for different life experience and social interaction are very much encouraged. [Thus, the sociability of shopping is brought to a new level - that it promotes also a new life-style. ]

How does that affect the spatial design?
The idea of home becomes contextual. Home = immediate surrounding


Sociability in Shopping (Selfridges)
- engaging with other people / community / social interactions / physical or virtual connection between people / collaborative consumption

Things to Do
Photo Analysis of Selfridges - about sociability of the current store
How the construction of the store (fittings / fabrication / psychological qualities / material / etc) helps the sociability of the "shopping" experience?

Collaborative Consumption will increase sociability.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Monday, 28 February 2011

just glass. that's it.

_i think many ideas communicate from this video are what i have been thinking of too...will that really be the future?

Post-Crit 22/02/11

_feedback & self-evaluation:
. design the space.
. what are you designing?
[i am designing a space which describes the hybrid environment that we are constantly living in. It isn't literally showing a reality, but uses a combination of multiple un-realities, which make up our reality, to express the statement - everything is blurred and mixed-up, especially in future to come (with more advanced technology), perception depends on relativity.]
. more effort to be put into designing spaces and i can't be stuck anymore!

_went to "Shrinking Cities - A critical reflection with lesons from Detroit" by Grahame Shane
some bits of it are quite interesting.
. a slide from Shrinking Cities .

Friday, 18 February 2011

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Mies's power

_ Mies's Collages _

currently digesting and learning from it.


_i was introducing this Japanese film "Confessions" to Katharina and she heard it as "con-fashion" :P
[probably because we talked about projects/Selfridges earlier]
Con-Fashion = With-Fashion
perhaps that could be the name of my film...lol

!! SPACEs, i need you now. please come to me.
thank you for your cooporation.

Saturday, 12 February 2011


The Dialectics of Seeing - Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project
p.39 "The covered shopping arcades of the 19th century were Benjamin's central image because they were the precise material replica of the internal consciousness, or rather, the unconsciousness of the dreaming collective. All of the errors of the bourgeois consciousness could be found there (commodity fetishism, reification, the world as "inwardness"), as well as (in fashion, prostitution, gambling) all of its utopian dreams. Moreover, the arcades were the first international style of modern architecture, hence part of the lived experience of a worldwide, metropolitan generation."
p.81 "Paris, a 'looking-glass city', dazzled the crowd, but at the same time deceived it. The City of Light, it erased night's darkness - first with gas lanterns, then with electricity, then neon lights - in the space of a century. The City of Mirrors - in which the crowd itself became a spectacle - it reflected the image of people as consumers rather than producers, keeping the class relations of production virtually invisible on the looking glass' other side. Benjamin described the spectacle of Paris as a 'phantasmagoria' - a magic-lantern show of optical illusions, rapidly changing size and blending into one another."
p.81 "Marx had used the term 'phantasmagoria' to refer to the deceptive appearances of commodities as 'fetishes' in the marketplace."
p.81-82 "For Benjamin, whose point of departure was a philosophy of historical experience rather than an economic analysis of capital, the key to the new urban phantasmagoria was not so much the commodity-in-the-market as the commodity-on-display, where exchange value no less than use value lost practical meaning, and purely representational value came to the fore."

Panoramas were a common attraction in the arcades, providing sweeping views that unrolled before the spectators, giving them the illusion of moving through the world at an accelerated rate. (p.82)

_if i could map out all my spaces in one big drawing like the panorama.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

my map*

_this is a map which contains all the scenes in the film.
(i can't believe that this map actually took me a lot longer than i expected to make.)

Saturday, 5 February 2011

i found Le Bon Marché!

First heard that name from Simon, I have been keeping it in mind when I do my reading. Now I, finally, came across it. It is the one of the first emporiums with goods arranged into different departments emerged in the 1850s in Paris. "Although a department store named after the Bon Marché was erected in Brixton in the mid-1870s, it was not until the 1880s and 1890s that such purpose-built department store buildings became the norm in London and even then few matched the splendour and theatricality of those in Paris." (Tara Draper-Stumm & Derek Kendall, London's Shops - the world's emporium, (London: English Heritage, 2002)

Friday, 4 February 2011

_excited libarians

_I went to the Reference Library the other day to look for some books about the history of Selfridges. One of the libarians asked me what I was doing with Selfridges...and I told her about my research area. She was so excited and told me that Selfridges is her favourite store in London. I went on asking her what did she think about Harrods and other shopping places. She told me that Harrods is incomparable and Selfridges makes her feel that she is living in a wonderful world. I could see that she really likes Selfridges from her eyes. :) Unfortunately, I felt bad to continue the chat with her as we were in the library and she was on duty. Otherwise, it is great to listen to others how they think about things. While I was there reading the book I wanted, another helpful libarian even came to me and showed me another book about the company's history. I felt so pleased that they were that helpful - or maybe talking about Selfridges is really exciting. :P

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

_my first try...

entering a short-film competition.

[1977] "Scale is the New Geography." made us wonder.
[2010] "Speed is the New Time." makes us think.
As a tribute to "Powers of Ten", "Powers of twenty 10" adopts a similar approach to express another dimension - "time". Living in a fast-paced city in the 21st century, we often forget to leave ourselves some time to think.
The sequence of the film takes the metaphor of rewinding our lives. By looking back, we recognise we might have changed from pursuing simple and straight-forward happiness when we were small to pursuing something we do not even know if that is what we actually want as we grow older.

_honestly, after i watched quite a few of other entries (especially those high-rated ones), i still rank mine better. XD (everyone knows i don't brag and i always appreciate humbleness.) well...i know mine is not a perfect one, but i think the idea tights with the theme - it is a simple yet could be very deep-in-meaning approach. i am not saying other entries are not interesting, but for many of them, sorry for my stupidity, i have no clue how they are relating to the theme. but anyway, rating is always about how many friends you have and could rate for you (because some even couldn't register an account there). at least, i tried and i have done my best in my tight schedule (hopefully my design & thesis are coming together soon).

_p.s. all in all, any of your support is still very much appreciated. thanks in advance, my dear, if you rate for me. :) <3

Thursday, 20 January 2011


The concept of the personal self, and how this is influenced by emerging technologies, are a subject of research in fields such as psychology and sociology.

Online identity and the concept of the mask -
Dorian Wiszniewski and Richard Coyne in their contribution to the book Building Virtual Communities explore online identity, with emphasis on the concept of "masking" identity. They point out that whenever an individual interacts in a social sphere they portray a mask of their identity. This is no different online and in fact becomes even more pronounced due to the decisions an online contributor must make concerning his or her online profile. He or she must answer specific questions about age, gender, address, username and so forth. Furthermore, as a person publishes to the web he or she adds more and more to his or her mask in the style of writing, vocabulary and topics. Though the chapter is very philosophical in nature, it spurs the thinking that online identity is a complex business and still in the process of being understood.

First of all, does the mask truly hide identity? The kind of mask one chooses reveals at least something of the subject behind the mask. One might call this the "metaphor" of the mask. The online mask does not reveal the actual identity of a person. It, however, does reveal an example of what lies behind the mask. For instance, if a person chooses to act like a rock star on line, this metaphor reveals an interest in rock music. Even if a person chooses to hide behind a totally false identity, this says something about the fear and lack of self-esteem behind the false mask.

Second, are masks necessary for online interaction? Because of many emotional and psychological dynamics, people can be reluctant to interact online. By evoking a mask of identity a person can create a safety net. One of the great fears of online identity is having one's identity stolen or abused. This fear keeps people from sharing who they are. Some are so fearful of identity theft or abuse that they will not even reveal information already known about them in public listings. By making the mask available, people can interact with some degree of confidence without fear.

Third, do masks help with education? Wiszniewski and Coyne state "Education can be seen as the change process by which identity is realized, how one finds one's place. Education implicates the transformation of identity. Education, among other things, is a process of building up a sense of identity, generalized as a process of edification." By students interacting in an online community they must reveal something about themselves and have others respond to this contribution. In this manner, the mask is constantly being formulated in dialogue with others and thereby students will gain a richer and deeper sense of who they are. There will be a process of edification that will help students come to understand their strengths and weaknesses.

Social software encompasses a range of software systems that allow users to interact and share data. This computer-mediated communication has become very popular with social sites like MySpace, Facebook and Bebo, media sites like Flickr and YouTube as well as commercial sites like Amazon.com and eBay. Many of these applications share characteristics like open APIs, service-oriented design and the ability to upload data and media.

This is a list of notable social software: selected examples of social software products and services that facilitate a variety of forms of social human contact.

Blogs, Clipping, Instant Messaging, Internet Forums, Internet Relay Chat, e-Learning, Multiplayer Online Games, Media (Photos/Videos/Songs) Sharing, Media Cataloging, Online Dating, Social Bookmarking, Social Cataloging, Social Citations, Social Evolutionary Computation, Social Networks, Social Search, Virtual Worlds, Wikis, etc.