Meet the Savannah College of Art and Design team: Interactive Kitchen / Cafe Collaboration Space category winners with their ‘MØDE’ submission.
To celebrate their win, we asked the SCAD team more about their work and the competition:
WDM: Since the pandemic what have you been up to / what are you working on?
Allison: Since the pandemic I have been working on expanding my design experience. I began working as a freelance designer and worked on small renovations and outdoor patio layouts. I then went home to Maryland to work with residential clients at a small local business. I also had the opportunity to commute to Washington DC where I learned from designers and architects at a Boutique Architecture firm. Aside from growing my industry experience I have enjoyed weekends with my family on the Chesapeake Bay.
Rachel: Since the pandemic, I have decided to travel home to Arizona where I have been spending time with my family and participating in local community activism. Some of my down time has been spent learning Japanese and dreaming of the days when we can safely travel again. I have also started research for my upcoming capstone project which will focus on finding creative ways to replace our prison industrial complex with a thoughtfully designed system that encourages rehabilitation and reducing recidivism while implementing sustainable design choices.
Eleanor: Currently, I am in my senior year as an Interior Design major and Preservation Design minor! When classes let out in March, I returned home to Richmond, Virginia to be with family for quarantine. Spring classes resumed at the end of March and continued until May. While challenging, I found communication between my classmates stayed strong. Virtual learning is something I am still adjusting to yet am finding positives to it every day! I have begun research on my senior capstone project, which will be starting with our fall quarter next week.
Elsa: Since the pandemic I have returned home to Littleton, Colorado to spend time with my family. I started off in quarantine during spring quarter classes, which were certainly not what I was anticipating; my spring quarter was supposed to take part in Lacoste, France as part of an abroad program and was abruptly changed due to the pandemic. That being said, over the course of the following months I threw myself into researching different types of design-oriented Master’s programs across the world. Looking into a postgraduate degree has really given me solace and hope towards the ever-changing future.
WDM: What did you enjoy most about the competition process?
Allison: I enjoyed throughout this process working virtually with three talented fellow design students and friends. It was rewarding once we over came technical difficulties to see what we created be recognized for its purpose and beauty.
Rachel: There are a few things I really enjoyed about the competition process, including collaborating with fellow SCAD students. Each of us had such different, important ideas of how we could create a safe and interesting collaboration space and it was exciting to find ways to combine our ideas into such an incredible design. I also really enjoyed the fact that we were focusing on positive ideas we can introduce to our community during a time of such stress and instability. Lastly, I am really looking forward to seeing the other winning projects and being inspired by their creative solutions.
Eleanor: With the competition, I enjoyed collaborating with my group members to form ideas on how a safe and productive workspace can be created. From the start our main priorities were cleanliness, sustainability, and efficiency. I found the process to be enjoyable as it was the first time thinking about positive outcomes and designs from our current situation. Also, it was wonderful to connect with Rachel, Allison, and Elsa to be able to work together again!
Elsa: What I enjoyed most about this project was the challenge to rethink what defines a workspace so quickly after learning about it. We were only a few months past our studio course focused on workplace design before we had to completely upend it. Eleanor, Allison, Rachel, and I truly clicked during this process and were able to bounce ideas quickly and effectively, allowing this process of creating an entirely new environment to lead us down an unexpected path.
WDM: It’s been a little while since you submitted, how have your ideas evolved since you submitted them?
Allison: My ideas have overall remained the same. Our main focus aside from creating a healthy environment was to design sustainably. Since the start of the pandemic I feel sustainable practices have been pushed aside or forgotten. Single use products are all of a sudden the norm. I wish more took the time to consider ways to disinfect or recycle items such as masks or gloves instead of throwing them in the trash. As the pandemic has progressed reusable masks have become more prevalent but I believe we can all do better.
Rachel: My ideas surrounding the project have not changed drastically. I think we did a good job of addressing personal hygiene, social distancing, active air flow, use of technology, and sustainability which are all the things that are still proving the be important today. One of the things our team talked about was how this free-standing design could possibly be retrofitted into an existing space as a more practical solution for those who don’t have the space or resources to build our free-standing MØDE structure and I have been thinking a lot about what that would look like. I think an existing space within an office building could borrow some of the main ideas like sculptural wash stations at the entry and exit, multi-level seating facing the same direction (towards a screen), thoughtfully selected furniture that allows for personal space and storage of cleaning supplies, and either natural or mechanical cross ventilation to reduce the spread of COVID-19 via respiratory droplets.
Eleanor: Looking back on our design, I would say the ideas have stayed the same. The focus remains on hygiene, sustainability, and adaptability. While maybe not every workplace could implement this structure, the basics of our design can be installed anywhere. For example, having wash stations bookending any conference room or collaboration space is important. Our design creates moments for workers to reflect before entering a new space and then at their exit. Other aspects include our seating arrangements, material selection, and equal access to technology. These can all be translated to any space.
Elsa: Since submitting, I’m thinking even more about the details of existing in a space like this post-pandemic. At the time of submission, I was barely leaving the house and entering any public spaces, so my idea of how to function in a workspace was a bit more conceptual. I’m now focused on clever details to allow an easier transition from pre-pandemic to post-pandemic life.
Check out their full submission:
After installing MØDE, users will have a comfortable, safe, semi-enclosed outdoor space where they can meet with others in person and connect with people around the world. Instead of traveling down the hall to the conference room to collaborate, users will now take a short stroll outside to the free-standing structure which provides an opportunity for regular movement and contact with the natural environment.
At the structure, you are greeted with an open hall featuring sculptural wash stations designed to make hand-washing an enjoyable ritual instead of a chore by creating visually interesting fixtures that extend from the ceiling in a convenient location both at the entry and exit of our collaborative structure. After passing through the wash stations, users are guided by the wayfinding elements including graphic floor patterns and lighting to either the ground level seating or up the steps to one of two platforms suspended in the space. The stairway between the washing stations and the platforms is one of the places where one can admire the beauty of the passive evaporative cooling system composed of ceramic pipes draped in greenery which creates a sort of atrium pass-through between the entry hall and main space of the structure.
Once users arrive at their desired platform they are able to sit in one of the seats provided which each feature a personal table top and a small pocket, perfect for storing cleaning products. Each seat faces the large screens on the opposite wall which will feature video of both participants physically located in the structure, and participants calling in from around the world – reducing face-to-face contact while allowing everyone to see each other. The main structure includes Acoufelt acoustical panels to allow for superior acoustics and features operable windows on both walls to allow for active cross-ventilation which reduces the spread of COVID-19 through respiratory droplets.
After users have completed their collaboration, they will continue moving through the space on the one-way paths toward the exit wing where they will complete another round of hand washing before exiting the structure. MØDE is a carbon neutral structure including rainwater collection to provide water for both the passive evaporative cooling and the hand-washing, integrated greenery to reduce water runoff and naturally moderate the structures temperature, and solar panels with battery packs to provide the energy for lighting and technology.
Click on an image to see it full size.
Comments from the jury:
I love the integration of the positive psychological aspects of nature along with the true sustainable strategies that are being proposed here in the integration with the outdoors is awesome.
You’ve got me thinking hard about pushing the limits on what workspace really looks like and feels like and that is really admirable.