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ASSEMBLY OF YOUTH

A commission by Google Creative Lab ‘Assembly of Youth’, was a temporary, sculptural installation at the hall of the UN Assembly in New York.

THE PROJECT

Google Creative Lab commissioned the studio to create ‘Assembly of Youth’, a temporary, sculptural installation at the hall of the UN Assembly in New York.

The installation comprises of 47 free-standing figurative wooden sculptures, each containing an individual LED screen and a speaker, arranged in a semi-circle surrounding a central unit to create an immersive yet simple environment in which the data can be absorbed.

 

The installation aggregates data generated by UNICEF’s platform UReport, a free, SMS- based system that enables young people to speak out on what’s happening in communities across their country, and work together with other community leaders and policymakers for positive change, bolstered with additional data sources from Google.

HIGH LEVEL TIMELINE

Concept to build 4 months 

MAKE OF THE TEAM

Design and specification    UVA Team

Installation subcontractors 

KEY GOAL

Create an installation to convey the voices of children

MY ROLE

I was collectively involved in both UX and physical design decisions made on the installation.

 At UVA we didn't have a UX designer, we were a mixed team of multidisciplinary creatives spanning all kinds of art and design, architects, lighting designers, sound designers, creative technologists, developers, makers, photographers.

We all collectively were part of the UX decisions made, more often than not that was focused around how can we make the viewer feel, how can we give them an experience they won't forget. Below I have documented the process from idea to reality and some of the UX thoughts around the decisions made.

UNDERSTANDING THE USER

The users for this project would be anyone visiting the UN Headquarters. 

This is more about a shared human experience rather than targeting a specific type of user. It was about creating an experience that pulls on the feelings that unite us as people.

The goal 

Was to give children a platform to speak. Each form represents a child and gives the user the opportunity to hear the voices of 47 children at one time. 

INSPIRATION

SPACE AND IMPACT

We took into consideration using different shapes and how they would affect the viewer.

The shape of the units makes a huge difference, with the circle creating a feeling of unity. It also means that when the viewer approaches they will always be looking at the backs of the figures signifying a centralised singular focus. Once the viewer enters the centre of the ring they themselves become the focus.

All the screens and all the many answers to the question directed at the viewer, even without the information on the screens they are taken on an emotional journey from an outsider, member to the leader or in this case person who has the power to change children's lives.

HOW DOES THE SPACE EFFECT THE VIEWERS EXPERIENCE?

GIVING THE VOICES A PHSYSICAL FORM

The goal was to give the children a platform to speak we wanted to show a unified voice but individuality at the same time.

We had the constraint of the screen its self but pushed as far as we could to be creative within those parameters. I made a series of machetes using blue foam, after consideration and discussion with the team who would be manufacturing the pieces we build upon some of the more simplified forms. We ended up with a set amount of shapes that were combined in different ways so that no two finished forms are the same.

TITLE OF THE CALLOUT BLOCK

LESSONS LEARNED

Finding the balance between creative vision within constraints.

This project went very smoothly, largely due to defined constraints and clear communication. Everything we built at UVA was largely a prototype in the sense we had never done it before, therefore could only do our best to estimate challenges. I'm my experience building new things rarely goes exactly to plan the first time.
This project was unusually smooth sailing, this was due to very clear constraints being defined early on, we knew that we would use screens of a certain size and we worked with a very very good fabricator.
We kept the client in the loop and whilst we pushed hard on the fabricator for the most challenging outcome we also listened to their suggestions and all parties met needed compromises.
Communication and managing expectations are key. 

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