The Bakerloos
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Atelier Astula

Atelier Astula is our shortlisted proposal for the RIBA Journal Room in a Room Competition produced in collaboration with Flick Barbur.


astula, astulae, f.: splinter, shaving, chip

How can you know you are designing the right thing? Especially, when there are no two designers the same and everyone manages the process of design in different ways – on reflection of who they are as much as what project they are doing. However, research has shown that there are striking similarities and shared approaches among individuals who set out to achieve new outcomes. The ability to share and incorporate the visibility of your process before reaching a solution is increasingly celebrated as a part equally important to the final stage of designing things right.

In this proposal we showcase how the revamped Double Diamond Design Model, a method of mapping the design process, can provide a spatial breakdown and help give more detail on the key activities in each of its four stages;discover, define, develop, and deliver. It poses the question of how far design processes can be formalised into frameworks and working environments. As a result the design depicts a series of spatial conditions that interconnect within a thick wall to allow a designer to work through a project whilst being amongst a collection of diverging and converging materials, research and ideas simultaneously.

The wall maps the different modes of thinking that designers use. The first section of the space marks the start of a designer’s project when they don’t know what it could be. This begins with an initial idea or inspiration, often sourced from a discovery phase in which user needs are identified. It can be deployedaway from the room to undertake primary research or used to conduct interviews. The second section of the space represents the definition stage, in which interpretation and alignment of objectives is achieved. Many ideas don’t make it past the pit of ideas, but remain there for times to come when they can be retrieved and recalled upon to aid new project briefs. The third section marks a period of development where design-led solutions are developed, iterated and tested at scale in the open workspace framework. This leads into the final section of the space, the stage, where the designer presents a finalised version of what they do know and what the project should be to their audience.