MDes Interior Design School of Design

Alex Gardner (He/Him)

As a forward-thinking designer, I am ever conscious of the importance of the incorporation of new materials and methods to future-proof my work. I am also very passionate about the knowledge we can gain from the history of design, and believe a skilful balance of honouring tradition and embracing modernity must be found to create truly successful solutions.

My projects at the GSA have focused mostly on the shared experience of domesticity, community artistic engagement, and the challenge of visually preserving heritage in sustainable ways appropriate for the modern design landscape. I have thoroughly enjoyed transferring my skills from my undergraduate degree in production design to a much deeper theoretical and ambitiously designed practice.

Semester 3: Con/Temporary, Flat-Packing Home for Rented Spaces
Semester 2 – The Glasgow Archive of the Unremarkable Home
Semester 1 – Maker & Menu

Semester 3: Con/Temporary, Flat-Packing Home for Rented Spaces

Motivated by the complex relationship between home making practices and rented spaces, this project aims to find more intelligent design solutions to temporary spaces. With a particular focus on object memory in the process of making spaces feel like ‘home’, also aiming to counteract the impact affordable ‘flat pack’ furniture has had on the role and value of domestic furnishings. Overall, intending to present more flexible solutions with change pre-emptively and more sustainably built in.

My research lead me into research covering traditional home-making practices, as well as how contemporary renter friendly hacks have affected the DIY landscape. After discovering the positive impact self-made and modular constructions can have not only on the environment but on comfort the domestic environment, I explored the potential of reintroducing more tactile home-making techniques.

Con/Temporary proposes an expansion on the IKEA flat-pack furniture we know to embrace environments of change. By rationalising measurements and stripping back more traditional DIY techniques, objects are granted a number of perks; from expanded creative potential from the increased freedom of form to increased longevity thanks to the increased repairability.

Interior with Reformed Furniture

This Interior features a number of classic IKEA pieces as well as a few objects made from reformed pieces- demonstrating the flexibility of the parts.

IKEA Best Sellers

The Best-Selling IKEA furniture, according to Architectural Digest. These pieces were then used as a base-material for the rest of the project

Flat with Reformed Furniture

Interior of a typical Glasgow flat with furniture made from a complete set of IKEA objects, but reformed and restructured into new items

The IKEA Effect

This project based a lot of its development on the IKEA Effect- the value that is gained by putting an object together- this somewhat illustrates what the process is actually like

Wooden VAXLA Furniture

I created a small collection of wooden parts to help demonstrate the flexibility that unconstrained elements of furniture could create, as opposed to being restricted by strict construction instructions

VÄXLA Furniture- modular parts

The pieces when laid out as opposed to constructed

Switch Up

The Switch UP - second half of the process

Living Room with IKEA parts highlighted

A living room with basic IKEA pieces highlighted in Green.

Reformed IKEA furnishings

The same lounge with pieces from the same source re-purposed to meet the demands of the resident.

Dining Space with matching tops

The range being sold as parts as opposed to complete pieces would introduce opportunities for easier and more meaningful replacements

LACK expanded

Diagram exploring the potential simple alterations to the LACK table formula could create.

Semester 2 – The Glasgow Archive of the Unremarkable Home

Over the past 100 or so years, for the same amount of time a Chimney has stood on Yorkhill, there have been huge developments, reconsiderations, demolitions, and constructions surrounding what a home means to the people of Glasgow . As Interior design has changed drastically alongside these new attitudes, there have been many homes that, although held dear for many are lost to the passage of time.

Chimneys are often seen as the heart of the home, and their ghosts are often the most distinct part of the shells left behind, if not the last element standing. The chimney on York Hill whilenot domestic, will also have served as a beacon of familiarity and comfort to those using it a way finder, as well as being a consistent character in the skyline views of its neighbours from their windowsills. To document and preserve the changing face of the Glasgow home, I intend to create an archival installation that playfully reinterprets elements of domestic interiors.

By playing with fireplace elements within an oversized chimney and communicating in keeping with the chimney’s own brutalist form, I hope to alter the visitors’ perceptions of the space by introducing them to many familiar elements of different homes. The space will ultimately host memories of homes past while providing viewpoints to look over the changing face of Glasgow, as well as maintaining the chimney as a warm directional beacon for those finding their way home.

Trial Clay Model

This model was used to understand the impression these embossed forms would have on the overall feeling of the chimney

Staring into the embers

Demonstration of the viewpoint from a Period Fireplace to architecture of the same era

Chimney Exterior

Mock-up of the appearance of the Chimney with staircases to ascend the structure in place

Tiling Experiment

A quick mock-up of the interior of the chimney, exploring the impact of using tenement tiles as part of the storytelling dialogue

Mid Century Level

The 1950s level of the Chimney, full of Parker-Knoll, Nathan and other mid-century household staples

Storytelling in stone

Casting forms from homes-gone-by in sustainable concrete would hopefully preserve the memory in a more permanent, tangible form

Chimney Interior- Night

The chimney becomes a beacon at night, its impressions of warm items light up to light the way.

Victorian Era Interior/Exterior

The Victorian Era interior of the chimney, displaying the concrete impression and brass detailings

Semester 1 – Maker & Menu

The SLICE project looked to explore new opportunities for a Glasgow street in flux – Sauchiehall Street.

Where the takeaways present on Sauchiehall serve an important purpose in the night-out ritual, the space they occupy goes to waste during daylight hours. I wanted to use this project to explore the potential of tandem retail units to make full use of the space over a 24 hour period, as well as exploring new ways to tackle the ever-growing problem of fast-food waste.
I proposed Maker & Menu as a collaborative fast food concept venture and community maker’s space. Focusing on re-framing the British tradition of fish and chips, a series of seasonal but simple menus, prioritising the use of local produce would be available at peak takeaway time through a street-food style service hatch.

While the kitchen would occupy the front half of the shop, the back would be incorporate a studio. where artists and makers would be invited to take up residence in tandem with the seasonal menus to re-use the waste products created by the kitchen in their work.
What the space would hopefully produce is a more excited attitude towards the creative re-use of food waste as well as a fresh perspective on how we construct our high-street fast foods.

Watercolour and digitally enhanced visual depicting the interior of the space

Interior Visual

Watercolour & Rendered Visual of the interior of Maker and Menu, during the day while the studio is active.
Watercolour visual of the interior of the space, digitally enhances

Maker's Space

Interior Visual showcasing the workshop at the rear of the shop, a paper-making artist uses food-waste in her craft.
Card model of Project interior

1:20 scale model

This model was made to demonstrate the materiality of the space, which took cues from classic Art-Deco Glaswegian Fish & Chip shops
Scale Card Model of an Interior

Model by night

Model of the space featuring a night-time backdrop
Rendered Technical Drawings

Material Finishes

Rendered Technical Drawing to indicate finishes of the Interior

Food Hatch by Night

Visual showcasing the front portion of the site, where the local produce would be sold to the passing public

Lobster Shell Terrazzo

Terrazzo developed using colours from lobster shell- proposing interior involvement from the food waste itself