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Ralph Kent Chalet Odanis Verney 74440 Taninges France ralphkent@hotmail.com +33 4 50 18 05 49 My UCAS application #: 05-000104-6 The Admissions Secretary School of Architecture, University of Sheffield The Arts Tower, Western Bank Sheffield S10 2TN 28 December 2004 Dear Mrs. Hall RE: BA (Hons) Degree Course in Architecture (K100) portfolio submission Thank you for inviting me to submit a selection of work for your review. Below you will find short explanations for each of the nine items I have chosen to submit, with an A4 of each piece located in this folder on the subsequent pages. I have attempted to include a broad cross-section of the work I have produced recently, ranging from technical drawings, plans and product design to painting, pastels and photography. I note from your letter that you require that the work be endorsed by the Head of school to the effect that the submission is my own work. I am a mature student who left school in 1991 and left university after my first degree in 1995. As such, the work that I have submitted to you here is work that I have done in my own time at home as a hobby, or as a corollary to the renovations of my home, and therefore there is no one who can certify my work. All I can do is give you my word that the work contained in this small portfolio is entirely of my own making, and has not been produced by anyone else but me. I trust this will be acceptable. LIMITED CHAIRS – Fast conceptual product modelling exercise Background: “Deconditioning exercise” at the start of the AA Summer School 2004 by our unit tutors, Dutch product designers Joris Laarman & Jeroen Verhoeven. Brief and description of working method: Using discarded materials we had gathered from the streets and skips in London we were to produce four model chairs to the brief of “Design a Limited Chair”. We had 30 minutes to conceptualise and construct each model, and after each, we presented our work to the group with a short explanation, before moving on to design the next. We explored the notions of archetypes, essences and the effect of proportions, and through this iteration, the concepts expressed through the models were expected to become increasingly transparent. It is important to stress that, owing to the rigid time constraints, the purpose of the exercise was not to produce beautiful, highly detailed models, but to allow clear expression of the underlying concept.

101 Fast-model #1 Title: Limited Freedoms Intended materials: Heavy marble base, with a luxurious soft velvet cushion on top, back and surround constructed in gold latticework. Concept: Attempting to highlight the dichotomies of power (royalty) and the fine line between control and being controlled. The chair (or throne) should be very luxuriously constructed, but owing to the marble base, incapable of being moved or changing direction, with limited peripheral vision and interaction with those behind and to the sides, owing to the grill. As the surround is a grill and not solid, the user remains vulnerable.

Fast-model #2

Fast-model #3

Fast-model #4

Title: The Limitations Within You

Title: LTD Chair Intended materials: The LTD chair could be fashioned from anything with a limited life span – with this model I had envisaged it either sculpted from ice or baked as bread.

Title: Smoking Chair

Intended materials: This product would actually be an accessory which could be attached to a multitude of chairs. It is a U-bent piece of very strong / thin material (so as to be scarcely noticeable when attached to the chair) with a shard of a cracked mirror suspended almost in a ghostly manner at face-level in front of the chair user. Concept: Most people would be uneasy sitting in a chair that forced them to look at a reflected image of their own face for a long period of time, therefore the limitation would be the duration of occupation.

Concept: This model was meant to be a deliberately superficial / slighty mainstream take on the “limited” concept – I imagined this to be a Philippe Starck-style product that you might find sold in shops like IKEA or Habitat. The concept is fairly obvious, I think – the chair is comprised of the arrangement of the letters “L” “T” and “D” and is constructed out a material which has a limited shelf-life.

Materials: Constructed to full size, this chair would be made out of over-sized cigarettes and matches. Concept: This model was intended to demonstrate the symbiotic “limitedness” of the chair and the user. The person using the chair would be able to smoke the chair away, thereby ensuring the limitedness of the chair, and at the same time, limiting his or her own life expectancy.

Limited chairs This was the first project set by our tutors at the Architectural Association Summer School during summer 2004. As explained on the sheet itself, it was a “de-conditioning exercise” aimed at eliminating some of our preconceptions and honing our abilities to focus on essences, archetypes and concepts.

Lessons and conclusions drawn: Don’t try to over-complicate the message or risk losing the concept by introducing too many layers to the story / The choice of materials used for the end product will have a huge bearing on the concept / Demonstrate integrity – make the model to fit the story, not vice versa.

102

Garden Tools This is an A2 pastel drawing I did of some old tools I found whilst helping to clear out a friend’s barn prior to renovation. Essentially what I find appealing about this is the fusion of the heritage of the old tools with their wood and rust with the order of the new I have imposed through the strong underlying HVA composition. As in the urban nature project at the AA Summer School, one of the elements of design that appeals to me is the concept of “flawed symmetry”, which to my mind is one of the key elements of aesthetic attraction.

103

Bath time at the hot springs at Vashisht, North India In September and October 2004, I was fortunate enough to travel around Northern India. This photo was one of my favourites from my trip – as I think it demonstrates that whilst India doesn’t have wealth in the traditional western, monetary sense, it does have huge wealth through family & close-knit friendships. I think this sentiment is well illustrated by this candid shot of one boy scrubbing the back of a friend or brother at the public hot baths during a rain shower.

104

4 Floor Plans These are four photos from my sketchbook of scale drawings I made of my farmhouse during summer 2004. I used a hard backed A4 sketch book as these were the drawings I made as I was taking measurements around the house, so I was unable to work with larger media. It is hard to reproduce the detail through a photo, but I hope that these pictures give a reasonable representation of my technical drawing capabilities. It is my intention to use these initial hand-drawn plans to make an object driven CAD model, such as those produced by REVIT, ArchiCAD or Allplan.


105

West Sussex countryside A3 Acrylic impressionist style painting of the view from my parents’ house near Petworth, West Sussex.

106

The Perils of Prefab Photo montage of digital photograph taken near La Clusaz, about 30 km from where I live in Haute-Savoie France. I am still learning how to use Photoshop, so this was an early experiment. Essentially the point of the image is to highlight how the simplicity of modern day construction methods, whilst offering benefits in terms of low-cost housing also jeopardise the future of some areas of outstanding beauty. The lego style houses represent the DIY-ed / Ready-mix concrete houses which unfortunately are becoming so abundant in the French Alps.

107

Tamsin climbing Kilimanjaro Pencil on A3 sketch of my friend Tamsin during our ascent of Kilimanjaro in January 2004. This was at around 4,500 metres.

108

Re-designing Urban Nature This project was our main assignment at the Architectural Association Summer School during July and August 2004. We were asked to design something “more naturalistic” than London’s existing parks, with the subheading of “The Parks Are Not Enough”. Our end presentation was an edited DV movie, which was well received during the final crits, by the judging panel of architects and tutors. This slide summarises the project which embraced elements of architecture and product design.

109

National Theatre, London Pencil and ink on A3. I used to live in Borough, SE London and I frequently used to walk along the South Bank. For me the NT is an interesting example of Sixties Brutalism, and when I came to draw it I was interested at the relationships between some the shapes of the building, many of which only became clear through the spider’s web of the sketching process. I also like the texture that the shuttering has left on the external concrete walls.

I hope that the Admissions Tutor will find the images that I have submitted interesting. Naturally, I would value the opportunity to meet in person, and hope that I will be able to do so during 2005. Yours sincerely


LIMITED CHAIRS – Fast conceptual product modelling exercise Background: “Deconditioning exercise” at the start of the AA Summer School 2004 by our unit tutors, Dutch product designers Joris Laarman & Jeroen Verhoeven. Brief and description of working method: Using discarded materials we had gathered from the streets and skips in London we were to produce four model chairs to the brief of “Design a Limited Chair”. We had 30 minutes to conceptualise and construct each model, and after each, we presented our work to the group with a short explanation, before moving on to design the next. We explored the notions of archetypes, essences and the effect of proportions, and through this iteration, the concepts expressed through the models were expected to become increasingly transparent. It is important to stress that, owing to the rigid time constraints, the purpose of the exercise was not to produce beautiful, highly detailed models, but to allow clear expression of the underlying concept.

Fast-model #1 Title: Limited Freedoms Intended materials: Heavy marble base, with a luxurious soft velvet cushion on top, back and surround constructed in gold latticework. Concept: Attempting to highlight the dichotomies of power (royalty) and the fine line between control and being controlled. The chair (or throne) should be very luxuriously constructed, but owing to the marble base, incapable of being moved or changing direction, with limited peripheral vision and interaction with those behind and to the sides, owing to the grill. As the surround is a grill and not solid, the user remains vulnerable.

Fast-model #2

Fast-model #3

Fast-model #4

Title: The Limitations Within You

Title: LTD Chair Intended materials: The LTD chair could be fashioned from anything with a limited life span – with this model I had envisaged it either sculpted from ice or baked as bread.

Title: Smoking Chair

Intended materials: This product would actually be an accessory which could be attached to a multitude of chairs. It is a Ubent piece of very strong / thin material (so as to be scarcely noticeable when attached to the chair) with a shard of a cracked mirror suspended almost in a ghostly manner at face-level in front of the chair user. Concept: Most people would be uneasy sitting in a chair that forced them to look at a reflected image of their own face for a long period of time, therefore the limitation would be the duration of occupation.

Concept: This model was meant to be a deliberately superficial / slighty mainstream take on the “limited” concept – I imagined this to be a Philippe Starck-style product that you might find sold in shops like IKEA or Habitat. The concept is fairly obvious, I think – the chair is comprised of the arrangement of the letters “L” “T” and “D” and is constructed out a material which has a limited shelf-life.

Materials: Constructed to full size, this chair would be made out of over-sized cigarettes and matches. Concept: This model was intended to demonstrate the symbiotic “limitedness” of the chair and the user. The person using the chair would be able to smoke the chair away, thereby ensuring the limitedness of the chair, and at the same time, limiting his or her own life expectancy.

Lessons and conclusions drawn: Don’t try to over-complicate the message or risk losing the concept by introducing too many layers to the story / The choice of materials used for the end product will have a huge bearing on the concept / Demonstrate integrity – make the model to fit the story, not vice versa.


Tester  

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