Design Thinking | A Collective Oasis
When it comes to design thinking, most designers might understand it as something that is pure and often a simple representation or translation of an idea. Design is obviously very broad and can be interpreted in all kinds of ways across various disciplines. However, when it comes to fashion and architecture, these two are very similar - almost identical - in terms of design approach, philosophy, and execution.
When a designer design a dress or a building, the process and the creation of it is exactly the same. The hardest part for both is not the fabrication or building of it, but rather, it is the realization of a physical entity from an idea. This is the true form of design thinking.
Recently, our team was given the task of creating a space that has to be "fashionable" and functional here in Vietnam for an upcoming popular fashion designer from Australia. We really had to think about making something that is quite unique but at the same time, quite obvious. After analyzing the ideas from the client and the concept of what is truly the essence of this space, we turned to the idea of creating an oasis.
Ad defined by dictionary.com, an Oasis is something serving as a refuge, relief, or pleasant change from what is usual, annoying, difficult, etc.: This is exactly what we envisioned and wanted to replicate.
The biggest challenge for this project was to make the space much bigger than it appears. Situated on a 150 square meter footprint, our goal is to make it feel like it was three or four times its size from the inside. In addition, we had to make it so flexible that it can be replicated anywhere from Europe to the south pacific. Given the variations of styles and cultures, there are not many common grounds to design a space that can capture all the essence of European opulence with a tropical retreat approach.
Nevertheless, this was a challenge worth exploring. Our first design thinking approach was to visualize the space in words and our minds before we even start designing. Therefore, we came up with this narrative:
Our collective oasis is created to ease the eyes, invigorate the mind, and soothe the souls. Similar to any great couturier, our building reveals itself as soon as the curtain is "dropped". In our case, once you've entered through the steel veil, our building announces itself as an element of surprise with a splash of awe. The sights and the subtle sounds of conversations, nature, and people's movement invigorate the urgent need to explore every single corner of this space.
From there, we started to create objects and components within the space that represented this idea. A trick we often use is creating an avatar of the user and walk that user through the space and dissect every feelings and visuals that the person sees. This simple talk-through will have a big impact on the look and feel of the space.
In summary, our design thinking approach to every project is simple:
Come up with some key terms/words.
Create an avatar for the space.
Do a talk-through of the avatar.
Create a narrative that describes the avatar's physical and emotional experiences.
Visualize what the avatar sees and feels at every corner of the space.
For more information, please visit our website to learn more about our design!