Above: Proposal For A Mural by Nottingham university course award winning student Jack Chuang from Taiwan (and Shanghai!) 1.Best Final Year Individual Project on the BEng Product Design and Manufacture course 2019. 2. Head of Department Award, for being in the the top 10% of students in Mechanical, Material and Manufacturing Engineering this year.
To me the way graduate Jack Chuang has worked in design seems to be by dreaming the very best possibilities of design into reality and working, very, very, hard: here’s some of his work over the three years of his degree:
When I looked at Jack’s work on his website (Jack Taiwan) I could see the creative, cross disciplinary thinking that’s so hopeful and exciting. I could see that while he’s making, he’s also thinking about the scale and reflecting on the human, what it is to be human. The mural that I’ve used in the featured image I think, is his brand.
The idea of ‘dreaming things into being’ is in some way at the heart of all culture: from aboriginal, to formosan, to british , irish, chinese, pakistan, india -dreaming is at the heart of human integrity, the way we imagine, evolve, grow, understand and change. Jack’s work is exciting and inspiring because in his work and movement across disciplines you can see the collaborative working, you can see the dream across culture and time, a kind of futurism that takes us back into the vitality of the person, the body, the scale that we need to bring to things to solve the big problems of better and fit for purpose supply chains, better relationships across class, gender, ethnicities and age, new ways of looking at old problems.
It’s all about the environment we bring with us, the environment we cultivate and our receptiveness to the possibilities in ourselves and other people.
Kate Dundas, who trained at Glasgow School of Art in Product Design, won the RSA Student Design Award in 2002: Less Crime Through Community Ownership for her work in beginning to introduce a wider socially inclusive constituency into solving crime. With her prize money she travelled to Arcosanti where she realised that putting architecture and ecology together was possible and Melliodora, a project grown out of ideas of small is beautiful where life is valued on the basis of a natural equillibrium. These travels influenced Kate’s practice when she got back to England: working on community masterplanning projects like the Bradford Mirror Pool.
Kate went on to study Masters degrees in Landscape Architecture and Urban Design and now works to integrate those ideas into her strategic role as Team Leader of City Plans for the City of Melbourne in Australia.
When we think about brilliance in education, consider how many european, home and international students like Jack are sharing their inspiration in a way that is creating a cultural shift, helping us rethink ideas of public space and shared use of the cities. This work affects our ability to admit we may have got things wrong in the past to begin a process of retrofitting the city: libraries, green space, trees, planters, sculpture, seating: a way of thinking about the smart city as a place where we can all breathe together.
Jack’s projects and thinking as a newly qualified designer are outstanding in the same way. In his work you can feel the energy, the desire to think, reflect, try, try again to find out how the human scale can be reinterpreted with new technologies.
How can you build joy into your life?
How do we make city, country (and between the two) accessible for everyone in a community, places where you can cycle, walk, skateboard, skate, run, create beautiful streets, pavements, shop signs so we can participate as pedestrians at every age and stage of life?
Kate Dundas has three tests of her projects, that they bring a sense of community, equity and joy. When we think of the problems to be solved by design we also need to understand how to design for the movement networks of everyone at every age and stage of life in a community: frailties and aspirations as well as the strengths of people. In a way we need to learn how how to design a space for everyone: infrastructure and climate can create illness as well as health.
The combined value of surfing, skateboarding and cycling to the UK economy is about 11 billion a year. Jack’s design (his Trip Buddy Surf Trim Camper) is really onto something that comes out of collaborative thinking: the forces that create plenty and profit are the same that create misunderstanding, need and want. What if you could take the ideals of the surf, the skateboard, the cyclist into the way we understand our daily, weekly, monthly life journeys?
Good luck Jack in everything you’re doing and will do!