São Paulo- CISARTE
20 / 03 / 2018
The ideation process began with building small scale models of possible designs along with computer drawings and renderings that were shared digitally with our Mackenzie partners. The small scale models were made by laser cutting plywood and testing materials such as fabric, newspaper, and beads. Our intentions for the design was not only to act as a wall partition but to also add color and to alleviate some of the loud sound that comes through the space in Cisarte off of the highway. We tested layering material and playing with negative space to incorporate as much sound mitigation as possible. After much consideration, we decided on using Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) and wood as our materials because they were the best combination of materials to suit our needs and were also easily accessible in São Paulo. Once our materials were finalized we focused on the main structure and its dimensions. Our idea was to build a large standing wood frame with several dowel rods staggered throughout where EVA would weave through. The weaving technique was meant to add dimensionality which would further provide sound absorption. While we could not find the EVA material to prototype with, we were able to make the wooden frame as a test to showcase our idea and begin thinking about dimensions.
In order to understand the types of wall dividers that would work best in the space we collaborated with our partners from Mackenzie University who visited Cisarte first-hand and had a better understanding of the physical space. We researched pre-existing wall partitions and materials that were not only sustainable but could be easily found and purchased in São Paulo. The beginning process of this project involved online research of ways to build portable and customizable space dividers. The materials we focused our research on were: reclaimed wood, fabric, foam (EVA), newspaper, ceramic tiles, and wooden crates. In order to ensure a collaborative outcome, we used Facebook, Messenger and Google Docs to share our findings with the Mackenzie students and to incorporate their ideas and feedback in our initial ideations.
When we arrived to work at Cisarte on the first day we were given our material restrictions and dimensions allotted in the budget for our project. This determined how many partition walls we were able to make and the size of them. For this reason, we decided to change our design dimensions and instead of creating one large structure, we divided each partition in a series of three panels, hinged together to allow the wall to fold for customization. We also decided that it would be interesting to cut the EVA strips into various thicknesses to create a more interesting pattern when weaved through the dowels.
Through this collaborative project, our group learned the importance of social impact, communication, and practical design. Although it may seem like our project was minor on the grand scheme of social impact, it implemented design in a way none of us had experienced before. Our project, in combination with each group from the course, created a space that will be a home and used by people who appreciate and need a space to retreat to from the streets. We learned the importance of considering community and the people in it while designing. This project provided an interesting collaboration because it consisted of the Ohio State Students designing remotely with the input of Mackenzie students who have seen the space and community issues first-hand. It was a new experience to collaborate with students who did not speak English as their first language. The language barrier made communication more important than ever to ensure that everyone’s voices were being heard and that everyone was on the same page. In the beginning of the semester, our group started out with big ideas that were unrealistic given the project timeline and material restrictions. Through the course of the semester we learned how to integrate these big ideas into practical solutions that achieved the goal of the project and benefited the space in Cisarte.