Today in my blog, I am going to mention three different materials that I use as part of my creative work and also explore their material properties.


Concrete is a composite building material resulting from the curing of a mixture of cement, water and sand. Concrete has a neutral colour, which is the most popular colour range in the interior design of office buildings. My opinion is that the grey colour is serious, moderate, insensitive, cold and quiet. It often depicts fog, boredom and the dirt of the big cities, but it also means industrial and “modern” and it definitely represents concrete very well. The concrete express strength. I will use Tate Modern as an example, the building looks enormous and very strong as if nothing or nobody can destroy it. This material is one of my favourite materials when it comes to surface texture. The surface texture of the concrete in Tate Modern is so smooth that in some places the material looks shiny. In addition, I have been working with concrete before and I noticed that after something is built out of concrete, there is usually a strange odour that disappears after a while.


My second example of a material is aluminium. There are varieties of pressed aluminium sheets but I  I have done a project using a plain shiny sheet and I was surprised by the final outcome. It is easy to work with it because of its thickness, softness and lightness, you can bend it and you can achieve the shape that you want to create. Unlike concrete, the aluminium sheets do not have any smell.


My final example of materials is clay, which is a natural mineral, composed mainly of small-scale milled aluminium silicates. I would describe the clay as a thick and soft material that has a distinctive smell and which you can mould when it is wet and afterwards is dried and baked to make bricks, pottery, and ceramics. It is easy to work with and you can turn the smooth surface texture into beautiful patterns.


Have you ever wondered how many materials have you touched every day? When you brush your teeth, do you ever stop and wonder what material your toothbrush is made of?

My task is to consider how many varied materials I touch daily on my way to university.

Thinking of exactly the first material that I touch when I wake up, this is my desk lamp. To turn on the lamp, I have to slide the lamp switch, however, why do I have to bend myself off the bed every morning?!  Why has the designer not created the light switch higher? The lamp switch is at the bottom of the lamp, which I find really annoying… Personally, I think that it will be much better and easier for me if the light switch is higher. ( Please see image (1)  below )

  (1) the lamp switch (slide)

I always wonder why the door handle has to be rotated in another direction, not in the same as in my country ( Bulgaria) and then I also realise that, in the UK, people drive on the right side of the road.There are a lot of differences in how individual countries do things, of course. However, the direction of the door handle is not a big problem for me. Sometimes to be a tall person is really annoying. The actual problem with the bathroom door in my flat is that the door handle is placed really low. I prefer it to be higher and maybe not as a ball but as a t-bar handle. (Please see image (2) below)

(2) Bathroom Door (low position of a door handle)

Every day I am using a public transport: a train and a bus. Usually, I get on the train/bus, try to find a space to sit, listen to music and get off the train/bus on my destination, which in my case is Vauxhall Station. I do not usually consider what fabric has been used for the creation of the seats and what material has been used for the floor. But this week, that was my task.
Regarding the public transport, there are metal poles and railings are usually designed to protect you from falling. I can see that there are almost everywhere in the buses and the trains but I noticed that sometimes when I catch the metal pole/ railing, I can feel that my hand is sliding. For that reason, I think that if there is a rubber or a similar material over the metal, the handles will protect you better. (Please see image (3)  below)

(3) Public transport (metal poles/railings)

Considering the seats, I personally think that they are comfortable, except the softness. I think that the whole seat design will be much better and even more comfortable if the seats are made by softer fabric, or added like a sponge between the fabric and the actual seat. (Please see image (4) below)

(4) Interior of a train (seat)



Last week, we had a lecture by a guest named Francesca Perona, who is a London-based designer whose practice spans across textiles, design research, product innovation and interactive installations.

I definitely found the lecture really helpful and inspiring!  Francesca was really descriptive about her past projects as she gave us a lot of examples that she has done in the past few years. I definitely was surprised by her experience! She travelled to so many places, exploring different materials, talking to different specialists (as every designer should do),   for example in the field of making ceramics.

Ceramics for the Anthropocene 2017

One of her projects that really got me interested was related with clay. I have been working once with this material, but I have never asked myself where does it come from and are there really ‘ clay or ceramic specialists’? She described very well her visit to Italy, related to finding more information about clay ceramics.  I could say that Francesca definitely gathered a lot of experience by doing this trip!  Because of her enthusiasm, she started developing her new project. The process was long! She talked to different specialists in making ceramics, exploring clay and making a variety of experiments. She told us about the difficulties she has been through and the time she has taken to complete this project and I definitely could say that she is very patient!

Another part that I liked about the lecture was that Francesca seemed really passionate inventing a new design. She shared with us her interests in the field of designing.

Crafting Human Perception 2012

Another project that really impressed me was related to sound, vision and touch.  She took part in an exhibition and her exhibited object was made out of fabrics, including sound. She combined both fabric and electrical parts. The project was called ‘Crafting Human Perception’ (https://vimeo.com/54328722) and it is an interactive textile wearable soft sculpture that explores new ways of extending the natural bandwidth of human perception. The artwork rethinks the traditional relationship between bodies and handcrafted textile surfaces, enhancing common functionalities through sensors and electronic augmentation. 

The main reason that I liked this project is that she is trying to engage the audience with the object. Unfortunately, not many artists do that.
I have been to many exhibitions so far, however, I rarely have seen an exhibited object that I could touch or play with it. Most of them express ‘ DO NOT TOUCH ME’.  For that reason, I think that Franchesca’ s work is really successful!

In my opinion, I gathered a lot of information and inspiration from this lecture. It inspired me about my future projects. It made me think about different possibilities combining varied materials.
I can say that Francesca Perona is a big inspiration and proves what a designer should be!




Year published: 2017
Page Title: Design with Materials
Website name: Francescaperona.com
URL: http://www.francescaperona.com/
Access date: 12 Nov 2017


Sky Garden (RESEARCHING OFFLINE) (session 3)

Today I will be writing about one of my favourite places in London, which is Sky Garden!
Sky Garden is at address 20 Fenchurch Street. That is in the heart of the City. Behind the dragons and a stone’s throw from the Tower and Tower Bridge. On the north bank of the Thames – directly opposite Shard. About this skyscraper I often tell my friends – it’s a legendary building that melts hearts. Due to the shape of the Walkie Talkie building, the sun’s rays concentrated on one of the parking spaces and literally burned through the plastic parts of the machines.

When you get up, it’s impressive. On the 35-37 floors, you will find space the size of a football field. From all sides and from above – glass, so everything is flooded with light. I was there on a sunny morning, so it was especially light.


The place looks pretty futuristic, but at the same time, it’s quite human. I have read many articles regarding this place and I noticed that people compare the space to an airport. The part that looks to the north, for example, is a bit empty. There can be a feeling of the airport. I hope this is temporary and they will design it better.

I do not understand much in planning and designing gardens, but what’s in the ( sustainable ) Sky Garden is ok. This, of course, is not Kensington Roof Garden, but there for 80 years everything has been growing and developing. Palms, ferns and other green plants that slightly balance the sterility of modern architecture.

When I first came in, the glare on the windows again dashed me. The view is excellent, but as in Shard (a skyscraper on the other side of the Thames and another viewing platform of the city) – it’s very difficult to shoot.

Thinking, there might be a lot more impressive places with interior gardens, but for now, this place remains my favourite.