For Milan Design Week 2012, Dominic Wilcox made an improvised project which grew, developed and changed over the course of six days. The project started with the public being asked to donate sticks of all shapes and sizes such as brooms, chopsticks and tree branches.
The idea Dominic came to Milan with, was to build a bridge of sticks between two chairs – but – “I changed my mind and wanted to build on one chair with only the legs of the chair touching the ground. I wanted to see how far I could push the strength of the tape and balance of the chair
Dominic then taped the sticks onto a single chair, gradually building a large structure of connected sticks held up in the air.
After finding a spotlight to cast a shadow of the structure onto the wall the shadow was traced using the same red tape used to join the sticks. As the stick structure grew it would require constant adjustments with additional objects to counter-balance any leaning of the sticks.
Dominic aimed to see how large he could make the structure, without it collapsing. It was a continual process of making decisions on what shape or direction the project should go.
Between your thoughts and mine .. Concept Explanation by Dominic Wilcox
During this year’s Milan design week I will be spending 6 days at the Making Together event in Ventura Lambrate.
The theme of the event is participation and collaboration and I was asked to come up with an idea of what I could make there.
My project is titled ‘Between your thoughts and mine’ and attempts to symbolise the connection between two people sharing their knowledge and ideas.
It is inspired by the knowledge that our mind holds all the things we’ve ever seen and experienced, and ideas come about by linking these apparently unconnected things together.
My plan is to attempt to build a tree like network of sticks and stick shaped, everyday objects, attached to two chairs using duct tape. The public (that’s you my friend) are invited to bring sticks that can be added to the structure including brushes, walking sticks, a flute, a tennis racket in fact anything that has a stick shape is welcome.
This completely improvised method of making has an unpredictable outcome, it will start by me attaching a stick to a chair leg with some tape and then continuing to build upwards, connecting stick to stick. My aim is to try to connect the stick networks of two chairs together to create a bridged ‘conversation’ between them. The only parts touching the floor are the chair legs.
I asked the organisers to find two chairs and some sticks to get started and then ask the public to bring their own sticky things to add to it. I have no idea what this will turn out like in reality but something will happen. If you are in Milan pop in and say hello (and bring a sticky thing).
It was to be an improvised creation where I would decide how it would grow while I was making it.
It’s quite exciting to start from nothing and not be sure what is going to happen, particularly when in front of an expectant on looking audience.
The chair and some sticks were waiting for me when I arrived with my tape. I started attaching the sticks to the chair. I placed a spotlight I found at the exhibition and pointed it onto the white wall to create shadows. I decided to draw the shadow onto the wall with the same tape.
On the third day I was told that the chair had toppled over in the night and so I strengthened with more tape. I added a chair on one side to try to balance out the weight.
Sometimes I would come into the room and some members of the public were attaching stick to the ‘tree’. This wasn’t part of my plan but I was tempted to see what they did.
Collaboration with the public can be interesting but it is important that they understand the rules and restrictions of what needs to be done. I ended up having to remove the 5 or 6 additions as they weren’t strongly taped or in the best positions for a good structure.
I decided to continue with just me adding things but the public bringing the sticks throughout the day.
The shadow moved continuously due to the weight of new sticks being added, but I just drew over the new shadows.
At the end the stick structure was moved to a new room leaving the shadow drawing as a permanent piece.
About Dominic Wilcox
Dominic Wilcox is a British designer who creates unique and innovative objects, drawings and installations.
After studying a degree in Visual Communication at Edinburgh College of Art, followed by a period of time living in Japan, Wilcox later undertook an MA at the Royal College of Art on the renowned Design Product course led by Ron Arad.
Since 2002 Wilcox has worked on his own projects as well as major art and design commissions for organisations such as Nike, Vipp and Esquire.
In 2009 he started a Webby award nominated ideas site called Variations on normal, where he puts his sketchbook ideas and observations.
His work has been exhibited and published extensively worldwide.
About Making It Together
The Making Together Project focused on the hot topic : The Relationship between design and participation.
New tools, approaches, processes and ways of sharing creativity in design : Do they exist ? What are the intuitions when a project is moved b the digital culture with its set of new keywords such as connection. community, and crowd-sourcing? What happens if the X user is invited to collaborate in the design and making of a project ?
Being both experimental workshops and mind factories, the Labs of Making Together aim to actively engage the audience in order to share the “design experience” directly.
Actually, no matter if we have realized it or not, it has already changed them.
We live in the era of hyper-connection: an era in which the degrees of separation between individuals tend to zero, and each person “contains multitudes” of lifestyles and identities. That’s not (only) a matter of new technologies.
The Web is everywhere; it co-evolves together with the world, and is changing everything.
Starting from what (apparently) is out of the Web itself: the mindset. The brains of the people.
And thus, everything that follows: from creativity to consumptions, from the workstyle in our companies to the macro-economic scenarios (Weconomy: the economy of “us”).
The honor (and, at the same time, the burden) to shape this trend laysin the hands of designers and “makers”.
But Making Together is not only about collaborative design.
First of all, it’s a chance to reflect, “through the looking glass” of design, on the idea of collaboration itself, in all its forms.
Experiencing it with all five senses, real-time and on-site.
Experiencing this idea, and bringing it back to where it’s needed: starting from business. And think about it: the word “making” is as important as the word “together”.
To make: a simple verb, very humble, maybe too general. “Making”: that’s it.
But, once again, it can change everything. Because in today’s fragmented, accelerated and contradictory reality, the act of “making” – i.e. craftsmanship, substantiality and care for details – is a revolutionary (better: wevolutionary) act.
From garages to meeting rooms, there’s a need for building something tangible, whatever it may be: an innovative product just like a co-developed vision for a company.
What really matters is what this idea can represent for the people who live and work in a company, each and every day:
a new sense to share