Kolding: A Design Experience
November 22, 2010 by caralee
Kolding: A Design Experience
By Danielle Testa
MA Fashion & Environment
London College of Fashion
Starting from Day 1 I was overly impressed with the program and how it was being run. The school, Kolding School of Design, was an amazing host and took care of us beyond what was deserved. We had breakfast every morning, tea and coffee mid-morning, amazing home-cooked meals every lunch, and a snack mid-afternoon. While it was amazing to never have to think about food, it also made it easy to focus on the task at hand.
The goal of the camp was to increase usage of public transportation in Kolding, Denmark by improving the transportation system. The first two days were ran by a man named Cordy who works for Ideo, a company out of San Francisco (but he is based in Munich). He used those days to teach us some of the ways Ideo works and to get us into the brainstorming and thinking-outside-the-box mentality. We spent most of the first day thinking about how people feel about public transit, educating each other on our local public transit systems, and comparing those systems – good and bad. On day two we really started idea generation by brainstorming as many ideas as we could think of no matter how crazy they were and then picking each persons favorite ideas. Once we narrowed down the topic that we were all most interested in we went out and began field research through interviews, experiences, and observations. This lead us to many other ideas and ways to approach the ‘problem’ we had decided to address. The rest of the two weeks, until we got to the creation of our final product, was a series of expanding and contracting our ideas to make them more and more specific and useful.
My team consisted of me, Tim from Ohio, and Victoria from Denmark. We came up with a product called the BusKit. The issue we had decided to address was people who take their cars rather than public transit, but why?
Or starting statement was “How can we create an opportunity for non-users to utilize public transportation in a way that is as convenient and easy as taking their car?”
We started with the idea to create a shuttle bus type system that would run through neighborhoods and bring people to major bus/train stops close by or drop them at the neighborhood school, business, or church. After doing some initial research though we realized there was a reoccurring theme that people would go to the grocery store several times a week and it was just too complicated to take groceries on the bus. With this, we decided to transition or focus to storage availability on the buses. When we got on the bus we noticed all this vertical space and space under the seats that wasn’t being utilized and then the people had several bags crammed onto their laps; not very comfortable. So, we looked at permanent storage that could be similar to storage above the seats on airplanes or more storage in the front of the bus where there is already a single shelf, but we kept thinking about how this still presents the issue of carrying the groceries (or other belongings) to the bus stop and from the bus stop home. This is when we created the BusKit. It is a take on a basket that is already available in grocery stores throughout Denmark that through minor alterations could be taken from the grocery store, to the bus, slide under the seat and locked in place, and then out of the bus and home with you. For the final day we had a animated presentation to show how it works, a prototype, and posters stating key information.
I think the best part of the camp itself was having so many different people from different design and cultural backgrounds there that made you look at things from a different way but also allowed you to create things you couldn’t on your own. I mean, we had fashion designers working with industrial designers, interaction designers, interior designers, architects, and more.
On the last day Cordy was back along with a Director from Denmark’s transportation department, press, and other experts to view what we had created and offer feedback. There had also been sessions where we worked with business people during week one and these people were also back to see how our projects had grown and changed. Although there had been rumors throughout the week that they would pick “the best,” this never happened. Whether they planned to or not I don’t know, but in the end there was so much variety that I don’t think it was possible to compare the work.