In spring 2019, some Interior Design students and lecturers were invited by the Hochschule fur Technik Stuttgart to work within them on a joint project, as part of a week long study tour.

Mollie Beresford, one of the students who took part in the project, explains what happened.

Our brief was named ‘Castles in the Air’ and the idea was to produce a space or object out of synthetic film that could be joined and inflated. The material was similar to that used for crisp packets so one side was reflective and the other semi-transparent.

In our design responses, we had to consider things such as the air-entry point; how the two-dimensional net would translate into three-dimension; and how to produce an airtight form.

We presented our ideas in front of the Edinburgh and Stuttgart students and then voted on our five favourite ideas to determine which would be made. 
 

The students in the xxx
Image: Andreas Kretzer
The students and their tutors in the Hochschule fur Technik Stuttgart

""Working in a group naturally leads to lots of ideas on how to do things and, while this is largely positive, it is important to ensure that everyone has a chance to voice their opinion and then collectively reach decisions.""

Mollie Beresford, 1st Year BA (Hons) Interior Design

Our team’s design was named ‘A Star is Born’. We made the outer net of a star shape and then made an internal dome. By joining the two together, we were able to achieve an airtight wall which could be inflated, providing an internal, cave-like space.

There were some fantastic other structures created by the other groups, such as ‘Balloon Dog’ (an oversized balloon animal) and ‘cocoon’ (a beetle-like form with an internal cavity). 

Definitely one of the biggest lessons we learned was that of stamina. As a group we all commented on how this was the first time we’d ever concentrated so intensely on a project for a sustained period.

The time limit of one day allowed little time for rest and meant that we had to fully engage with the project and work as a team to ensure the utmost efficiency.

All of the creations had to be designed to be inflatable
Image: Andreas Kretzer
All of the creations had to be designed to be inflatable
For many of the students, this was the first time they'd worked on a collective design project
Image: Andreas Kretzer
For many of the students, this was the first time they'd worked on a collective design project

Another important lesson was that of the importance of management and mediation. Working in a group naturally leads to lots of ideas on how to do things and, while this is largely positive, it is important to ensure that everyone has a chance to voice their opinion and then collectively reach decisions.

Being a first year, this was the first time I had worked on a collective design project and so the experience was fantastic; I felt like it replicated a professional environment, where one collaborates with others to ensure the success of a project. 

Working at another art college was a great experience. I found it interesting how in Germany, Interior Design has a more scientific/ technical approach, rather than the art/ design setting that we have in Edinburgh. Perhaps this is reflective of Stuttgart and its more industrial setting. 

Stuttgart itself was a really interesting city and its importance as a design hub cannot be disputed.

Being able to experience first-hand some of the work of renowned architects such as Scotland’s own James Stirling and the legendary Le Corbusier was very special.

The Mercedes Benz Museum and the Vitra Design Museum were definite highlights of the trip. I especially loved the visit to the Stadtbibliothek - the clean, white interiors, so refreshing and unlike the traditional library aesthetic that is so familiar to us.

Whilst we were extremely busy appreciating the design of the city, we did also find the time to try a Currywurst (surprisingly good) and the odd German beer (no better than Tenants).

The Festival of Creative Learning is a year-long festival focusing on creative learning and innovation at the University of Edinburgh, culminating in a curated programme of events every February.


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