Reflecting on my theme, I decided to divide these symbols that we perceive daily into three categories: shapes, lights and materials.
Initially I wanted to go into only one of these categories, but after talking to Maiko I understood that I could actually carry on with all three and that I didn’t have to limit myself yet.
The world of symbols can be universal and local. At the beginning I was interested in a language that could speak to the whole world but going around the streets of London I realized that instead I want to carry on my research on the shapes, materials and lights of the city in which I am living in order to be able to “touch with hand” what surrounds me.
This was an important decision to delimit the field of my research and I am happy to have made this choice now.
So I decided to start analyzing the object that probably fascinates me the most when I walk through the streets of London: the barriers for pedestrians.
Walking around I have seen various types and materials, many with the same function and others with different characteristics, some for temporary work and others instead for interventions of a few hours.
Their shape intrigues me, fascinates me and the colors, bright to be seen by all, have a graphic sign that attracts my attention (as it should be).
So I started to ask myself some questions about this object.
In what materials do we find them?
Are they all hollow and can they be filled with water?
How much does it cost to produce them?
Is their shape designed not to fall even with the wind?
How many different barriers are there?
How many different types of bases are there?
Which of these are compatible with metal grids (extension)?
What are the laws that oblige their use in the streets?
How much does it cost to rent or buy them?
To all these questions I started trying to find an answer. I found all (or almost all) the different models that London companies rent and sell and I always notice new ones in the streets.
I started to take notes on the joints that make them up, as you join the modules and their different colors (mainly blue, red, orange, green but all always with a strip reflector white and red).
I drew one on my sketchbook, probably the one I liked the most. Actually I didn’t take references from photos, I tried to remember how it was the shape that attracted me the most: blue with the metal grid on top and a black base that widens at the bottom.
A few days later we had the introduction to the metal laboratory and in the last 30 minutes we were free to experiment with the new techniques that Daniel had shown us (welds and curvatures of metals). It was easy to do it and I was quite happy with my result; I used the two different types of welding that he had shown us and I also tried to give it a better finish on the junctions.
Back home happy with my new piece of metal I started to analyze it and, placed on the sketchbook I started to draw the lower part (the barrier itself). Also this time I didn’t look at images of the barriers that I met and I realize only now that it is actually not the same as any of the many but has mixed elements.
The next step in my head was to think about what this object could be on the scale in which I made it. I started to write inside the rectangles in the grid all the possible uses (possible and absurd). As light, statue, drying rack, heating element, necklace holder, magnetic (key holder or tool holder), vase for climbing plant, making it of another material, delimiting an area, harp, neon tubes, elastic, mosaic of colored glass, grater, module for various functions…
At that point, it was obvious to have to do the lower part to be added to the metal grid.
On Tuesday I went to the wood workshop where I had set myself the goal of making that shape by the end of the afternoon because I wanted a model to play with it but I didn’t want to spend too much time on it.
Returning to the lab was nice though a bit frustrating too. I was in a new laboratory, I had to rebuild where I could find all the tools I needed and above all I felt rusty. The last time I was in a laboratory at the university I was responsible for it and I felt at home, but now I was at someone else’s home.
This feeling lasted for a short time or at least it was done away with because the atmosphere is very welcoming and Neil (if you write like that) is very kind and helpful.
I decided to make the form I had designed that didn’t refer to any of the many types of barriers. After drawing the shape on one side of the rectangle that I cut, I cut it and obtained the silhouette. Then I made the big holes in the lower part and then in the lower one. Once finished I started sanding and at that point I remembered how important it is to be the most precise possbile in all the operations that are performed because if not then sanding becomes hell.
Time is over at 5 p.m.
I came out in my intent, the form was ready, rough but ready.
The next day, arrived at 10 in the studio I decided that the best way to start the day was to paint it and give it that graphics that characterizes it so much. and so it was.
This object that I reproduced in scale I did not do thinking to adapt it to another function but instead almost as if to honor its shape.