I am inspired by my colleagues and students. Each year we take a group of graduates from architecture, graphics, media and writing. It’s like setting up a design office with every skill you could possibly need. The capacity of 30 or so minds working together constantly amazes me. The group dynamic has its own creative momentum, which carries everyone forward, producing novel design concepts. I never know quite what direction groups will take so there is an element of adventure that plays out over the two years of the course.
We’re working on narrative environments – spaces that tell stories. Sometimes the students get the opportunity to build an installation in public space.
In 2006, we worked with the Philharmonia and London’s Southbank Centre to design Play Orchestra, recreating an empty orchestra pit in front of the Royal Festival Hall. Each seat represented a different instrument. Passers-by could sit down and trigger sound, experiencing a classical piece from a player’s perspective. As more people sat down, the composition was progressively revealed. I was particularly taken by the way the space became a gathering place for people to commune with the music and each other.
The successes of the course have inspired a group of graduates and staff, including myself, to set up a research-led enterprise, Like People Do, to co-create compelling experiences that encourage people to interact.