One Week In

In summary: awesome.

This place is amazing. Sure Umeå’s near the arctic circle and has no sunlight in winter, but we’ve got students from 29 countries and I’ve never been anywhere with such a buzz in the air. Such a cheerful, motivated and talented bunch of students and teachers, we finally got cracking into a short project today. Right now we’re doing a get-to-know-everyone exercise building human powered “walking” machines from cardboard… Inspired from the following incredible work by Theo Jansen, and Ben Hopson, who has invented a field of design called “Kinetic Design”, and is over here advising us through the exercise.

So that’s due this Friday, working with people from all of the courses here.

Here’s a quick glimpse of UID (the Umeå Institute of Design) itself:

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Here’s our shared studio of Advanced Product Design 1 & 2 and Transport Design 1 & 2 (it stretches around the corner). Some of my APD1 classmates in the photo.

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The view out the windows is over Umeå river, sort of unfortunately we’ve got a 7 story design museum being built right in front of us, as the campus is being turned into a full fledged “art campus”. Below is the new architecture school, starting this year. Absolutely everyone bikes here, it’s awesome. That’s maybe half the bikes of mostly the UID building.

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Back inside we’ve got the atrium, where it’s pretty much compulsory to take fika breaks throughout the day, both staff and students. Fika roughly translates to sitting down and chatting over a coffee.

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Next is the corridor leading to our studio, with the epic work of last year’s class on the wall. Nick’s is in there top-right, plenty to live up to on those posters!

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And last but certainly not least, the enormous 5 axis router, complete with a tiny car model. Can’t wait to use the beast and also see what the transport guys create with it. It’s big enough to cut full size cars!

And here’s the city:

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Having just left a sunburnt stay in Paris, finding an ice sculpture on arrival wasn’t promising. Apparently it’s unseasonally bad weather and an early Autumn, but today we finally had a morning of sunlight before the cold and rain showers arrived. Most days are about 10°C, and it’s beanie and gloves weather at night.

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The city centre. The main street is pedestrian and bike only.

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The Swedish burger chain advertises it’s carbon footprint for everything. These burgers are special low-carbon options. Here considering the environment isn’t some sort of afterthought or feel-good option, it’s just day to day life. A pretty cool perspective to have.

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Looking into the city centre. For 75 000 people, the city just disappears in the trees from some angles.

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The cycleway I take into uni every day.

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The Swedish way of arriving for opening of the new Umeå train station.

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The Swedish Queen (in pink) and King (behind the pedestal), and some awesome dude having a blast holding up the sign (far right).

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I think this is the Umeå Symphony Orchestra. But more importantly they’re playing Star Wars, and a few songs later they play one of the Bond themes. Sounds so cool with a full orchestra cranking!

So that’s it so far. This walking-machine project is no doubt going to have a hilarious ending (it’s a race), then we really get going into a clay-based form project for the next 4 weeks. We’re designing a tap with a focus on semantics according to the rumors.

Cheers and hope that’s interesting! From now on it’ll be more about the work we’re doing.

1 comment:

  1. Stilts, thanks for the insight - you'd be right in your element with that many 2 wheeled vehicles! Looking forward to seeing your progress as you go. xJute