Visual Architects

Sorry I've been so quiet lately. I have been very busy working away, I have spend the past 12 weeks completing a Product Design internship with event decor company Visual Architects. They are a lighting, and installation service based in Stockport who work with Club Promoters, Festivals, Corporate Clients and Private Parties to provide individual venue customisation for a whole host of of occasions. 

During my 12 weeks with them I worked closed with the design and management team on a variety of amazing, bespoke projects. 

One of the first things I designed when arriving at Visual Architects was a large gingerbread house. This piece was to be used as a photo opportunity at a whimsical, winter wonderland party hosted by Mason Collective. Designing this Santa's grotto was a new challenge for me as I had never had to design something on such a large scale before. Not only did I have to create the design, but I also had to create the the large scale files to be cut on the CNC router which would be later pieced together and decorated.

Another design I created was this luxurious stage surround. This piece was inspired by theGreat Gatsby and needed to match a stage backdrop which had been designed previously by someone else. I took inspiration from Art Deco patterns and strong geometric shapes. When creating this piece I had to bare in mind the size of the raw materials used, ensuring as little waste as possible was created. In addition, I needed to make sure the final piece had the strength not to bend and break during transportation and installation, so all the detailed pattern required support.

The final and most challenging thing I designed was an elaborate Alice and Wonderland themed stage design, for club night Illuminaughty. I was asked to create a large baroque style frame which would surround the stage. In the centre there would be an LED screen and a matching DJ booth. As you can see from the numerous sketches the design went through several stages with various shapes and DJ booth ideas. Finally, it was decided a waterfall would cascade from the DJ in a pond to create the illusion on a mystical forest. The frame had a 3D edging (which sat on top of an LED light strip) and cut out elements (which had lights behind) to create depth. The fame was 4 m high and 6 m and had to be cut out of several pieces and assembled on site.

The main difficulty I faced was splitting the design up to be cut out of over 12 6ft sheets which would later be pieced together.  Also, when finalising the design I had to consider where the frame had enough support to be suspended on stage by scaffolding. Once cut out, all the frame elements were sprayed in various tones of gold and the details were covered in gold leaf. The overall look was an impressive ornate fame which created a central focal point in a psychedelic and enchanted woodland wonderland.  

(Club night pictures taken from Illuminaughty's Facebook page )

I had a great 3 month working at Visual Architects. Some of the projects were challenging, but I had a great time learning new design techniques. The experience helped me really improve my CAD skills and rethink the scale in  which I create my work. 

#DesignForMSK at the Manchester Science Festival

If you missed the #DesignForMSK exhibition last year you're in luck! The work from the project will be on re-display this October as part of Manchester Science Festival.

A Grand Exposition

The Design for MSK project was funded by the NHS and aims to raise awareness of Musculoskeletal conditions through patient-led product design. Myself and a number of Product Design students from Manchester School of Art, as well as researchers from the University of Manchester, worked alongside sufferers of Musculoskeletal conditions aged 16-25 in the Manchester area. With their input we designed a selection of new products which we hoped could improve daily life for them and others. The new products and concept pieces were exhibited last December at the Manchester Art Gallery.

Harriet Whittaker Designer

This year, as part of the Manchester Science festival, our work will be re-displayed along side some new pieces created by local artists responding to the theme of the project. โ€˜A Grand Expositionโ€™ will take place at Talbot Mill from Friday 27th โ€“ Sunday 29th October. The historic location will be transformed into a creative art/science event and exhibition space.


For more details on the event please visit the #DesignForMSK twitter or the Manchester Science Festival or  A Grand Exposition websites.