Throughout the two study groups my understanding of constellation has developed and I have enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. I found that my two study groups have informed my discipline differently. Smells Like Teen Spirit has taught me not just about street style, its about how material, culture and meanings can allow you to express ideologies through your work. I now realise that I am looking at things in a different way. In the first 8 weeks it altered the way I saw things and I now approach my work differently. I look at different elements and unpick them trying to understand how an audience will view my work and whether I can communicate my meaning through visual and typographical detail. The way that the subcultures express these meanings suggests how different subcultures have shown their beliefs and ideas visually in the way that they dress. This has shown me how you can make a political or cultural view powerful visually in a piece of deign work and the strong messages that you can communicate to a viewer. Re-signification occurs in all of the sub-cultures we have looked at throughout this study group, this shows how they all borrow things from the past and change the function of it or by exaggerating an object. Materials, forms and functions can provide meanings that can be communicated through design to make a statement in my work. I can relate this to my practice by looking at traditional designers and breaking their rules of ‘good taste’ and fusing together different sources to create a new meaning in design work. I have more confidence in challenging visual material cultures and being able to question traditions, stereotypes and mainstream notions of beauty and taste.

I found Neo-furterism very interesting and enjoyed this study group as Nick made it very interesting. When looking at the futurist manifesto the language used had been written in a similar way to some manifesto’s that we have studied in my subject area. The manifesto’s are very one sided and communicate a strong argument. This has taught me how powerful language and communication can be to persuade an audience. Within the study group we looked at people such as Marinetti who believed that we should not look to the past for inspiration and everything should be designed for the future. To some extent I agree with this as I think designing for the future can help innovative ideas as technology is always improving. However, I think that like my first study group, the way that they draw inspiration from the past to develop new ideas is important. As everything has been designed, I think that we un-intentionally draw inspiration from the past and everything around us. To some extent I think Sant’Elia’s view that decoration must be abolished depending on the context could be true. Within graphic design when it comes to web designing for example, decoration can be confusing and misleading therefore does not work well. As a website needs to show clear hierarchy and help the user on their journey through the website. Although I believe that within the Art & Design industry, decoration can create visually aesthetic outcomes and can communicate messages through visual decoration.

Whilst I enjoyed the Neo-Futurist study group I wanted to write my essay on Smells Like Teen Spirit as I really enjoyed how the subcultures drew inspiration from the past and bought this into their street style. I like how punk encourages women to speak out and express this through their subculture; they do this through their fashion, music, designs etc. I felt that this is an interesting topic to look at when it comes to my discipline as it shows that you can communicate ideas and beliefs in a number of different ways. I have found the constellation side of this first year a challenge as I really struggle with writing. I found that by using Cath’s columns it really helped with structuring my essay. I also found the column analysis helpful when applying theory to my essay so I was able to find theoretical studies to back up my points. In both study groups the academic readings that we were given I found difficult to understand and take in the content. To overcome this I made sure that I read the readings before the study group so when we were depicting the text I was able to understand the information more easily.

I think that constellation has helped me within my discipline by researching existing artists work to inform my designs. I have begun to research a wider range of practices, not just from Graphic Design which is beginning to push boundaries within my subject area. By constellation helping me to improve on this from the start of the year I found that when I reached field, this benefited me as I was already beginning to explore trans-disciplinary techniques. I also feel that my reflective writing within my blog has improved as I have become more confident at being critical within my own work. I have found that the study groups were a lot more helpful to inform my practice as they were engaging and each week provided interesting points which I could take away and apply. Although I did find some of the key notes interesting, some weeks I found that it was more difficult to apply the weekly topic to my subject area. Before I started at CSAD I would only do the research for the project that I had to. Now that I have been in an exciting environment since September, and around creative people sharing similar interests, I enjoy going away and researching other artists and designers for inspiration. As I progress onto Level 5 next year I want to expand my theoretical readings as I think that this will improve my writing. I would also like to explore different study groups to expand my knowledge of constellation as a whole and widen my influences.


Man Town Human

Over view of Neo-Futrist Architecture 

  • Marinetti wrote the first futurist manifesto, he wad the first starting point of artists producing manifestos. He wanted to turn away from being influenced by the past and we should be designing only for the present day.
  • Sant’Elia was an architect who supported the futurist manifesto and he then went onto creating his own futurist manifesto on architecture which was idealistic and theoretical. There was no concept of environmental or sustainability within these futurist designs.
  • Le Corbusier created a manifesto which he said very similar things to Marinetti and Sant’ Elia concepts. He believed that the way in which we live in a modern world should come across in our designs but in contrast to Sant’Elia, he understood that he was designing for people. He visioned beautiful sky scrappers using glass and concrete, although as cities began to build these this wasn’t the case, cities became ugly concrete jungles. We looked at Archigram and constructivism in Russia which was a very short movement.
  • We looked at post-modernism and how science would give us all the answer, although this isn’t always correct.
  • Vito Debarries neo-futurist manifesto is quite superficial, he looks at technology and ethical values come to form a vision. He paints a picture of an idealistic world although he gives no solutions.
  • Bio-mimicry is how we can learn from nature and how it can influence the way in which we design for both form and function within all area’s of art and design.
  • Buildings have the power to create emotions for people whether it makes them feel positive or scared.


Is a manifesto which was produced around 2013 which offers a different perspective. A manifesto towards a new humanism in architecture. This is predominantly linked towards urban architecture. Humanism can mean two different things, one is how it is focused on human beings and the other is based upon atheism and how how it focuses on human beings rather than a god. The Man Town Human artists who wrote the manifesto have a strong view on how they are concerned that people are too worried about the planet rather than the humans themselves. The argument is that there are millions of people starving around the world and we have the technology to genetically modify food although environmentalists are worried about the crops and nature. This reinforces the argument on whether humans or the planet are more important.

Planning The City

Today’s study group was on planning the city where we looked at different architects theorists such as; Christopher Benninger, Will Alsop and Ebenezer Howard etc. Howard wanted to create a society without a violent revolution. This could not always work as cars dominate; when we design we design for motor vehicles. I found this session didn’t relate to my practice as well as the others as it was heavily related to buildings. Although from this study group I have began to think about how graphic communication can be designed for the society which we live in.


Oscar Niermeyer was a Brazilian architect. He was the person responsible for building Brasilia Congress Nacional, Palacio da Alvorada Exterior and Cathedral & the bell town etc. He was also keen on designing furniture which is similar to Cabousier.

Biomimicry – the limitation of natural biological designs or process in engineering or invention.

Biomorphic architecture is the design of building which resembles large natural organism.

Things Which Nature Did First

  • The invention of the wheel – “nature never invented the wheel” this is not strictly true. By looking at the flagellated bacteria and the way that it moves has a similar mechanism in which it rotates which is translated into a wheel.
  • A Lattice Girder – this is the section of the wing bone of a bird. Which has got to be rigid, strong and light which are all components of the architectural design.
  • The screw thread – Weevil has a hard shell but its legs are vulnerable. When it is threatened by a predator it has an ability to tuck its legs under the shell. It is able to do this because of the structure of its leg which has a rotating spiral ridge which is the same to the screw thread surface.

Things Which we Have Invented By Looking At Nature

  • Greater Burdock Plant – This inspires velcro which was created by a man from Switzerland. He notices that the plant was all over his dog. This influenced the way that velcro is able to be fastened.
  • Gecko – The fibres in there hands allow them to react with the surfaces which gives it the ability to stick to things. We have done to same by using nano technology for humans to be able to walk up buildings.
  • Namibian Fog Basking Beetle – the moisture of the air condenses on the body of the beetle and drops down it’s body so the beetle is able to drink the water. This is being done in architecture to have sloping buildings to catch water.
  • Shark – Looking at shark skin helps to control bacterial infections whiteout using drugs because of the texture of their skin. Sharks seem to have far fewer bacteria growing on them in comparison to other fish.
  • Termite mound – the structure that they build ventilates air into their mound. The Eastgate Centre has designed a building inspired by the termite mound to help regulate heat.
  • Humpback Whale – The edge of a fin has a bobble shape on the edge as it creates a more efficient way to cut through the water. The blade of a wind turbine has taken this idea as it is a more efficient method.

Cabousier’s claimed that the bat which was an attempt at an airplane doesn’t work as our ideas should be functional and should be designed through science not nature. Although he was only partly right, he was ignoring the fact that we could make things inspired by nature as well as science.

Silk is significantly stronger than steel. Very fine fibres when used together create very strong materials. We may be creating a similar material by the structure of the fibres but there is no comparison between the way the it is made. For example we need oil for fibres which we drill in the ground for and uses lots of energy and waster, whereas a spider just needs flies.

Sustainability and Environmentalism

Confession of a covering environmentalist by Paul Kings north blog post – sustainability is all about people and environmentalist is all about the environment. When we talk about sustainable buildings, sustainable materials is all about the people. Are the people more important or the planet?

James Lovelock: environmentalism has become a religion: Gaia theory is the concept of the planet as a single organism.

Here are a few events that have happened in the Environmental Timeline

  • 1798 – Thomas Robert Malthus publishes An Essay on the Principle of Population – he was worried about the population growing and growing, the lack of ability to grow more food etc for the amount of people on the earth. People should take responsibility for population growth, simplistic approach to modifying population.
  • 1931 – Grey Owl publishes “The Men from the last Frontier” was a Canadian environmentalist. Was from a first nature family (Canadian native Americans) became the first celebrity environmentalist. After he died the true story of Grey Owl emerged. He was from Brighton and left his family as the police were trying to get him for burning down a factory. He was very influential within conservation.
  • 1956 – Peak Oil first predicted is the state of the demand for oil is matched with our ability to produce that oil. The idea that it won’t last forever, it will run out.
  • 1962 – Rachel Carson published “Silent Spring”. She was a scientist which was essentially an attack on pesticide to aid crop production. An idea that when spring came there would be no birds singing because they would have eaten insects which have been contaminated by pesticides.
  • 1971 – Greenpeace founded in Vancouver, Canada 
  • 1972 – The Blue Marble Photograph was a photography taken by Apollo 17 which was the last moon shot. The photo was hugely influential, its was as if for the first time people had seen earth. and thought that it looked like a blue marble. The power of an image to change peoples view points and public opinion.
  • 1974 – CFC’s are first hypothesised to cause ozone thinning
  • 1984 – Bhopal disaster in Madhya Pradesh caused birth defects and is still being caused today, many people were killed
  • 1986 – Chernobyl the worlds worst explosion in the world, relatively recently the effects of the radiation has become less important. Change peoples perception of nuclear power.
  • 1994 – The first genetically modified crop released to the market this idea of mixing together things to create an organism ‘Frankenstein food’. Th argument is highly complex.

Gro Harlem Bruntland –  quote in the neo-futerism manifesto although it was altered to refer to cities.

What feature would you expect to find in a sustainable city?

  1. Energy – reducing carbon emissions and ensuring security of supply
  2. Making building more comftable, safer and cheaper to run
  3. Making streets fit for people
  4. Rethinking water
  5. Planning for shortage or excess water
  6. Moderating the heat island
  7. Making green spaces for work people and wildlife

How sustainable is your university? Cardiff Met is number 4 on the chart of sustainability in universities.

What is sustainable development and how can we make it happen?

  • Fostering peace
  • Fighting against global warming
  • Reducing North/South inequalities and fighting against poverty
  • Fighting against the marginalisation of women and girls
  • Sustainable development means having a different vision of the world

These are all about people not the environment which reinforced the idea of sustainability being about people.

Instead of of consuming things, treat everything as sacred.

consumed by consumerism.jpg
Erik Almas

Postmodernism Architecture

“Neo-Furturism is the cross-pollination of art, cutting edge technologies and ethical values combined to create a pervasively high quality of life”

The Neo-Futurist Manifesto which was published to correspond with the Sant’Elia manifesto which was written by Vito Dibari who would refer to himself as a future. He designed the 02 Pram, 03 Suitcase, Ferrari bike, IR armchair, and a set for vinegar and oil, these are all concept deigns.

Postmodernism – an age that is no longer known as the modernism. It is characterised as a decline of ‘master narrative’ this is being referred to religion as it is known to make sense to the world suggested be Jean Francois Lyotard. Linked to that is the idea of relativism which is the idea of rejection to any rules. The third thing that can been related to postmodernism is Cynisism or incredulity which is an attitude of the mind, the lack of faith towards lots of thing for example, religion, politicians, scientists etc. Jacques Deridda suggests that the deconstruction defines postmodernism. The death of the author is when as soon as something is published it now belongs the the public which is a theory that Ronald Barthes believes.

Ethic and Morals – One way in which you often see them describe; Morals is what is right and wrong and become a more personal subject, Ethics are principles of right conduct and what effect society as a whole.



Cutting edge technologies


Ethical Values


Pervasively higher quality of life



City centres all across the UK took on the modern movement of ‘ugly’ concrete buildings ruined by the British weather, graffiti etc. which inspired Archigram. The Archigram group was a collaboration of architects and designers which created the Archigram magazine. They were practicing architects and graphic communicators who created 9 covers which weren’t published regularly but they were constantly trying to think outside the box and challenge the tradition ideology of architecture. This was a way of graphically communicating the journey of modern architecture the the Archigram magazine. They had an idea of a flexible city in contrast to concrete buildings. The Archigram group decided they would hold a conference called ‘idea’. They wanted top architects from all over the world to attend which took place in folkestone. It turned out to be a disaster because it was high jacked by architect students. After two years of archigram they felt themselves being attacked by a target audience that they felt that they were representing. This reinforced Oscar Wilds idea that ‘It is only the modern that ever becomes old-fashioned.’ Archigram were all about celebrating the new throw away system which embraced fashion.

Archigram can be seen in some graphic design showing the visually graphic shape and movements of building. I think that it is definitely important to think outside the box as this creates innovative pieces of work. A city is the combination of buildings, traffic, design and most importantly people. I think that people are the main aspect of a city as this brings a city alive. Architecture is a design and construction of a building usually interacting with people.