Sunday, 5 December 2010

Case Study: Carla Imbimbo, Post-Graduate Student Project, MA Interior Design, Birmingham Institute of Art & Design 2009

Carla Imbimbo's ExHIBIT
created for MA Interior Design, Post Graduate Student Project

Carla Imbimbo completed her MA Interior Design last year from the Birmingham Institute of Art & Design having also taken her BA Interior Design there. 

Together with fellow post graduates from the MA Interior and Product Design course - Rita Semedo and Thomas Slack, they have recently formed a new business, Cubed³ based at the Custard Factory.  They moved into their new Studio within the past week where they are fortunate to already be involved in some exciting projects.

Carla’s post graduate student project, entitled, ‘ExHIBIT’ was a graphic and print installation – an idea taken, says Carla, “ from her thesis on ‘negative spaces’ – the idea of exploring the spaces between buildings and turning empty spaces into creative solutions.”
Paradise Circus floor plan, Proposed Location for ExHIBIT

In developing this idea Carla looked at the empty space in Paradise Forum in Birmingham with the aim of turning it into a positive space for Arts and the Creative Leisure sector. 

This was an empty transitional space through the Central Library of Birmingham, linking Chamberlain and Centenary Squares. 

However this transitional space was nonetheless attracting 12m footfall annually with close proximity to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, ICC, Town Hall, Brindley Place, Mailbox, New Street and Snow Hill Stations.

The Leisure sector is substantial within Birmingham, representing the arts, culture and creative sectors.  8000 people are employed in Birmingham’s Art sector and 70% of these people are based locally; within this, designers account for £67m turnover annually.
Carla’s idea was to create ‘ExHIBIT’ as an exhibition space erected within the currently empty transitional space to exhibit graphic, print and design inspirations for commission and order either for personal or business purposes.

Carla looked at other businesses with similar models or approaches, such as ‘Created in Birmingham’ showcasing 329 local artists and selling £40k worth during its brief 3 month lifespan.

Carla also examined other artists internationally - such as Swedish artist Hanna Werner; the Green Void installation by LAVA Architects in Australia, installed in the Customs House Atrium in Sydney, as well as Electroland a project of luminous LED tiles, installed by designers Damon Seeley and Cameron McNall. 

Detail EXHIBIT installation -
retail space and display

Through these Carla was able to learn lessons from their experiences as well as profiling the likely target market for her ExHIBIT graphic and print retail space.

Young designers, artists and design students were seen as the target market aged 23-32 years old taking inspiration from other designers and purchasing individual one-off items that could not be found anywhere else.

Her ExHIBIT retail space was to be erected within the structure housing the current Library of Birmingham, designed by John Madin Design Group in the Brutalist style using concrete, glass and steel with the last Culture Minister having ruled out a listing and with demolition due to commence in 2013.

Carla wanted to create the ExHIBIT retail space to last until the proposed demolition enabling graphic artists and designers to display digital images on the floor of new and existing graphic designers and talent as an interactive walk through, with the option to buy work on the top floor of the designed ExHIBIT area.

Inspiration for ExHIBIT came from the walk patterns
of visitors walking through Paradise Forum

“In creating ‘ExHIBIT’ I wanted to get away from a traditional approach to gallery space – white walls with work on display.  The inspiration for the exhibition space came from the site itself and the walk patterns of the existing users.
“By simplifying, connecting and overlapping these patterns and I was able to use these to create the steel coated structures that formed the walls of the elevated display and retail area above the digital display area. 

"To understand the conceptual element of any design you need to appreciate the balance between the idea for the design and the need to make it functional.

“Models of these ideas have been built – full size mock ups – 1800 x 11mm.  The project covers the final zoning and how people would interact with the displays and the products.  Technical details include floor structure, ExHIBIT pins to explain ground floor displays and any interior furnishings required.”

EXHIBIT installation showing
ground floor digital interactive display area
upper retail displays

EXHIBIT installation - retail space display

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