Designer on the Inside

A short while ago, Nikki and I made a visit to Walt Lovelace at “The Beachhouse” in Port of Spain, Trinidad. He was so welcoming to our endeavors in Trinidad and willingly showed us some of his work. From music videos (including 3 Canal) to documentary films, he has a very skilled eye and intentional style. I really appreciated what he had to say regarding his creative experiences and advice for us. However, my artistic eye for color was very enticed by the space itself. Every room was a different color and the curtains complimentary to the walls. The cabinets were also interesting accents to each room and only enhanced the creative vibe I felt in the place. It was so playful and inspiring! Then, while waiting for our transportation to arrive I noticed and indulged in the large stack of interior design magazines on the desk. And the wheels began to turn uncontrollably.

There is something special about the influence of interior space on the human psychological state. Living spaces, working spaces, and play areas each have their own aura and people are both directly and indirectly impacted by this atmosphere. I don’t know much about architectural design, but I’ve always been interested in the interior design and decoration process. This includes spending entire Saturdays watching HGTV just for fun. Before attending Trinity College, I really wanted to study Interior Design, but given the circumstances I am a studio arts and theatre dance double major… for now.

So recently I had a chat with Sean Leonard, an architect. He and his firm design for commercial and domestic purposes, including Alice Yard and stage design for the 3 Canal concert. He explained that Alice Yard is supposed to be changed as needed, that it’s not about seating people where he wants them, but letting the community mold the space into what it needed next. For example, the graffiti was from a past exhibition but one wall was preserved to showcase the moment. Sean believes it is important to let Alice Yard develop itself, but that he is only there to facilitate the changes as they come. Brilliant! So I offered my services to help at Alice Yard or on any project which needed a hands-on volunteer. (Back home, I am known for changing the furniture arrangements in my room once a month, but I also spent all of last summer painting dorm rooms on campus) Sometimes an artist just needs to get her hands dirty.
Then I thought about doing my own design project at Trinity’s Program House. It’s a really great space where we have classes together two days a week but could use a little love in the design department and an upgrade. The Program Directors love the idea and are looking into a budget for me. They have noted what needs to stay in place and showed me several beautiful student photographs which need wall placement. My task will have to concern resources, deciding which space(s) to do, and creating proposals on what I want to do with the space. So I’ve been reading Gaston Bachelard’s “The Poetics of Space” to grasp the idea of design and spending a lot of time in the building to observe how people move in the space. I may interview the other students to get opinions on improvements and want to meet with Charmaine, the interior designer from Sean’s firm, to get a foundation in design thought process. I like Sean Leonard’s notion that a space should develop itself and the designer should facilitate it -so I look forward to studying every nook and cranny of the building and will soon decide what move to make next. This could be a great final project- but I make no promises yet. One day at a time.


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