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MA Art & Design Practice Furniture Design 2012 PAOLA BROTTO



Brief Description and Indicative Content During the final Study period, students work exclusively on the realisation and resolution of their Personal Projects, building on and refining ideas and research approaches developed in stages 1 (AD701) and 2 (AD704), including the VMC MA Thesis (AD705), culminating in an exhibition of work and a viva voce. This body of work represents the culmination of individual conceptual, theoretical and practical work. They will engage with issues in their practice, such as sustainability, globalisation, social imperatives, changing demographics, political and economic contexts and their applications to design solutions and artists’ work. Students will develop professional networks in order to achieve their research outcomes. They will liaise with professional bodies, gallery curators, funding organisations and with industry personnel, manufacturers, retailers and distributors, as relevant. Professional standards of presentation, communication and exhibition skills are an important aspect of the learning outcomes. The intention of the module is to enable students to operate effectively as research practitioners in order to further their careers in professional art and design practices, or more formal PhD research. Intended Learning Outcomes On successful completion of the module you will be able to: 1. Demonstrate a systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of your academic discipline, field of study, or area of professional practice. 2. Show a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to your own research or advanced scholarship. 3. Combine originality and innovation in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used for the creative interpretation of knowledge in the discipline. 4. Deploy conceptual understanding, in order to evaluate and evolve methodologies, and individual research inquiries. 5. Communicate professionally by means of exhibition, presentation, viva, or other means.


My name is Paola Brotto, I’m Italian and since January I have been studying an MA in Furniture Design at Bucks New University. This course gave me the possibility to explore different aspects of the design process, learning to lead a project in a more inquisitive and reflective way. This booklet contains my final products, and it summarizes what I have been working on this year. I am an extremely curious person and in my projects I always try to translate the inspiration I take looking around into communicative design interventions.


HOW CAN WE EMPHASISE POSITIVE MESSAGES RATHER THAN JUST “DO NOT DO”? This project has been part of the research for my MA Thesis, titled “Turning drab spaces into living places; How to experience in different ways the city and its shared spaces”. Overwhelmed by the bleakness of cities, we often ignore the places we cross in our everyday routine. But the quality of life also depends on everything that surrounds us, and on the way we take care of it. The aim of these signs is to give meaning to the spaces of our cities: a square, a park, an alley become alive only because of their power to generate emotions, to trigger an emotional involvement in those who frequent them. Positive signage can remind us to slow our usual hectic pace and win back enjoyable areas that can become special places to us. With the sponsorship of High Wycombe’s council, these pedestrian signs are ready to be used in the town centre.


As part of my MA project I investigated urban furniture as well as art strategies in public spaces; Artistic activity should be carried out in the everyday space of the street, rather than in the conventional art spaces of the galleries, for a more open and fun-loving culture. The Before I Die wall is an example of art project I researched, which was originally created on an abandoned house by the artist Candy Chang in New Orleans. People were invited to share their hopes and dreams in public, transforming a neglected space into a constructive one. After hundreds of requests, Before I Die has become a global public art project created in over 10 languages and in over 20 countries. The project is about remembering what is important to you and creating public spaces that better reflect what matters to us as a community and as individuals. Thanks to the local administration, I obtained permission to bring the Before I Die project to High Wycombe.


Part of the time during my research has been spent observing how people use public furniture in the town centre of High Wycombe. When talking to someone we love, eye and physical contact are extremely important. This is the reason why I gave my bench the shape of a love seat, allowing people to sit one in front of the other for a closer and intimate feeling. Moving on from the repetition of banal furniture we often come across in public spaces, I analysed the features of some constructive elements in the town centre, and focused my attention to the design of some local cast iron grids. This is now the main decoration of the bench, which becomes special and distinctive not only for the particular pattern but also for the relationship created between this piece of furniture and the town. Coloured gems make precious this prototype and cast shadows of dramatic impact.


This coat hanger has been made aside from my academic project, but it has been equally important for my personal development. Made from laser cut perspex, the horns of this deer’s head become useful hooks where it is possible to hang different things, from clothes to jewellery and keys. From the same design I also developed a pendant that gives a touch of elegance to any clothes.


This clock was the first object I made during my MA course in occasion of the Vitra exhibition in March 2012. The introductory project was about designing something to inspire people to buy less stuff and inspiring manufacturers to think twice about what they produce. Taking inspiration from the well known Ball clock of George Nelson, I designed a similar clock using discarded caps of famous brand’s products. Every day we throw away these little designed objects that required time and energy to be produced. By finding them another purpose as shown by these ingenious clocks, they could have a longer life.

All these things have been made with imagination, patience and love. I hope you like them.








Personal project 3  
Personal project 3