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College of Design

Friday, March 31, 2017

Journey to the North

Last week was my third travel break and my second tour organized by DIS while studying in the Scandinavia program, a fantastic partner of the College of Design. Sweden and Finland were two Nordic countries that impressed me deeply, and in this passage I will write on Sweden.

Only five and a half hours by train from Copenhagen, we arrived at the Sweden's capital city, Stockholm. Fourteen lands and islands, 54 bridges across undulating typography (which is a great difference from Denmark) constitutes the exquisite landscape of this waterside town. 

Neutral in both world wars, Sweden was lucky to escape from the bombers, and because of that Gamla Stan (Old town) of Stockholm is definitely one of the most well-preserved urban pieces in Europe. Besides, the most sight-catching urban design is the metro station along the entire blue line, where Swedish designers not only maximize the original appearance underground but also artistically using colors to make the entire space vivid.

During the trip, we visited quite a few pieces of architecture designed by Gunnar Asplund, one of the most influential founders of modern European architecture. We also visited other interesting projects in the Royal Institute of Technology, Karolinska Institute, and the Vasa Museum, which is another spot I would definitely recommend visiting. Although the time was not sufficient to explore every corner, it was great that I learned so much.

I will upload the second part of my journey soon.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Spring Break Staycation and De-stressing!

Hello again!

Spring break is now coming to an end and it's time to get back in the mindset of school and work on finishing strong! There are 8 weeks left of the semester, which means 8 weeks left of my undergrad college career (!!!). This spring break I watched from home as my Instagram and Facebook feeds were filled with a bunch of photos of oceans and beaches.

My spring break would qualify as a staycation. I stayed in Minneapolis and just worked and relaxed! After each review in class, I typically like to take some time to decompress and relax before moving into the next phase. With spring break right after the schematic design reviews, it naturally gave me an opportunity to relax!

My break was pretty uneventful. I've mostly been spending it binge watching Netflix and thinking about things like jobs after graduation and all the things I need to get done before then... which was a little stressful! I'll be looking for a new place to live, locking down a job, getting everything ready for graduation, and not to mention completing my project! There's a lot to do at this time of year; whether graduating or not, a lot of people will begin looking for internships and figuring out plans for the summer.

Carving found in the brick of an old building while out for a walk.
Relates to the concept for my project because of the crossing
diagonal lines!
I just want to remind everyone not to forget to take some time to de-stress and do something you enjoy! Some people cope with stress by exercising or spending time with friends (for me doing crafts or cleaning works best). As the year comes to a close and finals approach, make sure to schedule some time each week to do things that help you get out of school mode and give you a mental break. Chances are, taking that time will make you more productively when you get back to work and will actually be beneficial! While working on my project today, I took a break to go for a walk in some nice spring-like weather. I came across an old brick building that had names, dates, and scribbles carved into it. It was super interesting and was the subject of my latest Instagram (pictured right). It actually turned out it relates to my project pretty well too — I might have to use it somehow!

I hope everyone had a good spring break! Until next time,
Interior Design

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Self Care

Being sick is rough. Being sick for three weeks is very rough. Being sick for three weeks during your final semester of college, while you’re trying to complete your senior thesis? That’s straight up awful, and unfortunately, I now know that from experience.

I’ve been out of commission for so long that even though I’ve been healthy for this past week, I’m still not caught up with everything that I should have finished while I was busy sleeping and storing up my fluids. Because of this, I don’t really have much of an update on my senior thesis progress—which is definitely stressing me out! However, if there’s anything that I learned from being so sick, it’s that I need to work on my “self care” skills. I’ll share a few things I found that keep my mental health up, both when I’m stressing out over schoolwork and when I’m coughing my lungs out.

Podcasts are my new best friend. They’re the perfect amount of entertainment that can keep me invested without being distracting. I think it helps that there isn’t anything visual that has me switching tabs or looking at my phone while I should be sticking to Photoshop. (I also love listening to podcasts while I’m falling asleep, because they keep me from thinking about every embarrassing thing I did in seventh grade and subsequently losing sleep over my middle school stupidity.)

Now that the weather is becoming more bearable, I’ve been making a point to actually go outside more, too! Looking at a computer screen all day is great and all but man, does my head need a break sometimes. And naps are rejuvenating occasionally but most of the time they leave me groggier than I was before. Going outside has the same refreshing effect, but without the regret you feel when you wake up three hours after you promised you’d only be shutting your eyes for a few minutes.

I also like rewarding myself for accomplishing stuff. This could take on many different forms depending on what makes you happy, such as treating yourself to some chocolate when you pay your bills or making plans to go out with your friends once you finish a project. I like online shopping. It’s definitely not the best thing for my wallet, but I like knowing that in a couple days, I’ll have an adorable squishy cat lamp to reward myself for all those internships I applied for.

I hope you all are taking care of yourselves in whatever ways work best for you. Talk to you soon!


Graphic Design

Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring Break Explorations

Hey everyone!

Bougainvillea blooms with Lantana
This past week for spring break I went to Arizona. It was nice to escape the snow and enjoy warmer weather, even if it was only for a few days. While in the Phoenix area, I explored many different parts of the city. One of my favorite things I did was visit the Desert Botanical Garden. These gardens were filled with beautiful plants and landscapes. Being a warmer and drier climate than here in Minnesota, the species of plants are very different. I loved seeing the different architectural forms of the cacti and agave plants. Another one of my favorite plants that thrives in the Arizona climate is Bougainvillea, which has bright pink blooms.
I also was able to explore the canal system that goes throughout the city and surrounding area. The revitalization of the canal system allows people to walk, bike and engage right along the canal. Recently learning about the system in class, it was really intriguing to experience it in person. On my next visit to Phoenix I am interested in exploring the Frank Lloyd Wright house, Taliesin West.
On the Canal

Until next time,

Dean's Reception Deja Vu

A couple weeks ago was the College of Design Dean’s receptions, where potential CDes students can come and check out the U of M.

I remember coming to the dean’s reception back when I was a senior in high school. I was instantly drawn to the apparel studio.. I never thought that it would become my second home.
As a high school student, I was so overwhelmed looking at all the projects that I’d get to do. The thought of designing for NASA or making an entire line of clothes seemed impossible to me. I couldn’t imagine actually having the skills to do all of that, but here I am researching my senior line and designing socks for astronauts. It’s crazy how everything comes full circle. (Check out previous blog posts on apparel trips to NASA here.)

During the student session, potential students got to practice half scale draping. I was so impressed with their work. As an incoming student, I didn’t even know what draping was!

I gave some students a tour of McNeal and shared a little about my experience in the apparel program. One of the questions I got from a student that I thought was so fun was, “Do the apparel students dress up for class everyday?”  I wondered the same thing when I started college. Answer: No! We love sweat pants just as much as non-designers.


Friday, March 17, 2017

User Interface Design

Hello Designers,

This semester I've had the wonderful opportunity to work on a project in my User Interface Design class.  We have been working on an app for students to help them find student groups.  I really enjoy getting to see the design process from a different perspective.  This design process is very similar to that of Product Design, as far as ideation and prototyping goes.  Some of our ideation session is pictured to the right.

I really enjoy getting to see the different perspectives that come together in this class, because it is a class in the Computer Science department, so people come from all sort of different academic backgrounds.  In the end, we will be using some minimal programming to make our app look exactly how we would like the application to look.  To the left is an example of an initial prototype for how the interface might look. It'll be exciting to see where this class goes and how I'll be able to learn skills learned apply them to my Product Design classes!

Until next time,

I'll see all you designers at home.

All the best,

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Journey to the east

Hi, it's Andrew again.

In last blog I briefly wrote about my trip to the Baltic countries, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. I have now returned to Copenhagen after nine days and eight nights. For most young people these days, the impression of this corner of the world is usually no more than the Baltic way or the Baltic chain, which happened in 1989 when approximately 2 million population joined their hands to form a human chain spanning 675.5 kilometers(420 mi) across these three Baltic states, which were still considered at the time to be the three constituent republics of the Soviet Union. It was done in order to call more attention to this unknown corner, and indeed in the end they succeeded in attaining their own countries. 

Today, almost 30 years later, this region is still somewhat undiscovered even though its countries are developed. People forget about the beautiful uniquity of the human landscape between western Europe and Slavic world. 

Lying by the Finland Bay off the south coast of Helsinki, Estonia is growing its high-tech industry more and more. The commercial vehicle sharing network like Uber was introduced here, the earliest in the world. Also the 5G data technology will be put into work in 2018, also the earliest in the world. Latvia on the other hand is working on transforming the low-end service oriented economy to integration of markets of larger variety. Its capital, Riga, has turned itself into the largest city among the three countries. Lithuania, against the other two, seems to place more emphasis on maintaining its historical value and traditions. But when I broke my phone screen there, it was easy to have the device fixed by the technicians within a day for a very reasonable price.

Another experience I want to mention was the day when my friend and I missed the only bus in two hours from the suburbs, where the Hill of crosses is located, back to downtown Šiauliai, the fourth largest city of Lithuania. It was late and cold, and being late two hours also meant missing the last train of the day back to Vilnius. We had to try hitchhiking, and unexpectedly a very friendly Lithuanian mother stopped to help us out in no time. It's probably impossible for her to see what I am writing now, but I just would like to say thanks to this warmhearted woman.

With all these elements planted in the heart, all the architecture appeared exceptionally lovely, and here are some shots I took from my trip.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Spring Break


I feel like every time I write a post I just need to mention how fast the semester is flying by. Honestly, I'm just always amazed by how fast the weeks go. My first blog post in September feels like yesterday.

It's finally Spring Break (woohoo!), which means we are all officially halfway through the semester. I want to challenge you all to use some of this relaxation time to reflect on the first half of the semester. It's important to really analyze what you've been doing well and what you can try to improve throughout the second half of the semester. It's always important to check in with yourself to become more aware of where you're struggling, and to pat yourself on the back when acknowledging your successes. Here are a few things to thing about during your reflection:

Van Gogh Museum!
1. Are you dedicating enough time to school work?
2. Could you be more proactive with your school work?
3. Are you effectively managing time and prioritizing your responsibilities?
4. Are you being the best friend you can be?
5. Are you proud of the work you're doing on or off campus?
6. Are you valuing your wellbeing and treating your mind and body with respect?

Keep these in mind as you reflect on the past two months. One of the things I want to be better at is #6! Not only do I need to start making time for the gym again, but also finding time to go to museums and read books, because I really enjoy them. If you feel like you need some help being the best version of yourself, check out Boynton Health Service's website here, where they offer services from mental health therapy to message therapy to de-stressing and time management services. What can you do these next couple months to help you be a better student or person?

Enjoy Spring Break & kick butt once you're back,
Retail Merchandising

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Schematic Design Phase

Hello again!

Bubble Diagram
In the senior interior design studio it is now time for schematic design presentations, which means spring break is almost here!

The schematic design phase includes all the elements of space planning and really getting into the design portion of the project after completing the research portion. This phase includes analyzing the needs of each space that will be included in the design, creating an adjacency matrix, bubble diagrams, block diagrams and preliminary floor plans. It also includes very early versions of furniture and material selections, 3D views, and elevation and section views.

Schematic Sketch
This phase is a huge opportunity to show your creativity. In school we are rarely, if ever, working with budgets. With graduation soon approaching and my experience in my internship, I'm seeing that the time in school is a great opportunity to show just how creative you can be—take advantage of it! While being realistic in your designs is important, school is the only time where the cost of your design isn't a factor, so you can really go all out and show your creativity!

It's hard to believe the semester is halfway over! My project is starting to come together as we are getting into the 3D design of it and it just shows how the end of the semester is near. Happy spring break, everybody!

Until next time,
Interior Design

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Working on my senior thesis

Hey everyone!

This last semester of my senior year I have been hard at work on my thesis. Since I am a member of the Honors Program at the U, I have to complete my thesis in order to graduate with Latin honors. For your thesis, you can pick any topic you would like to research and it can take a variety of different forms, including a paper, project or exhibition.
Healing Garden at Park Nicollett Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park

With the help of my advisor and other committee members, I have been researching the use of healing gardens in the healthcare practice. To understand how often they are actually used by visitors and patients as well as how they are integrated into patient care programs, I am looking closely at three hospitals in the Twin Cities metro area. This past week I have been making multiple visits to each hospital and the gardens located at each of them and analyzing their various elements and features. It is really interesting to see the variety of gardens that each hospital has to offer and understand which elements are most successful. For my final thesis, it will most likely take the form of a paper with visual components, such as site context diagrams. These last few months I will be finishing gathering data and analysis and then compiling it all into my paper.


Monday, March 6, 2017

Journey to the east

Hi, this is Andrew.

How is everyone doing recently? Currently, my friend and I are enjoying our spring break by taking a trip to Eastern Europe by the Baltic Sea.

Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, known as Baltic countries, give tourists a merely subtle impression of eastern Europe in general. Yet, on average, these countries have about the same land area as the Netherlands or Denmark. Lithuania, united with Poland, was one the three largest powers in medieval Europe. Estonians and Latvians on the other hand never possessed their own national sovereignties prior to the 20th century. Here is the history behind in a more detailed passage.

Today, when people talk about the three countries, it is difficult to avoid mentioning the influence from the Soviet Union. Indeed, traveling in these cities, there is a clear divide between the original medieval architecture and the later Russian modern urban landscape.

Hope you enjoyed reading this passage, and I will have the topic completed after finishing the journey to the east.


Prepping for Portfolio Review

Hello Designers!

A large part of acceptance into our program is the portfolio review process, so I have found myself sifting through projects deciding what to put in my portfolio. Having been in three different design studios last semester, it's been fun to look through final projects and even mid-semester projects. One project I was looking through was my final for Design for Manufacturing. My favorite part of this project is the fact that it steered so far away from my initial intent. To the right you can see my final product, which consists of a steel base that was plasma cut and bent to the desired look. The part of the base that holds the tea candle itself was 3d printed. My initial idea, however, was to 3d print a mold that would allow me to create candles that look like the 3d printed parts above. Unfortunately, by using a couple test trials, I learned very quickly that this type of material was not ideal for melting wax and forming a solid candle. I also learned that Pinterest lies. Making candles is not an easy process, and it makes a MESS. From there on out, I decided to turn the project into something new. I hope to sometime make a silicone mold so that I can actually try to make my own designed candles. However, I think that this project is a good example of why prototyping is necessary and how easy it is for your idea to be changed.

Until next time, I'll see all you designers at home (Rapson).

All the best,

Friday, March 3, 2017

Best of Both Worlds

Hey hey hey,

It's feeling a bit like Spring, and we're almost halfway through the semester—so yeah, life is pretty good, wouldn't you say?!

As a junior, I've been going to a lot of interviews for summer internships and jobs. Throughout this process I've had the chance to really analyze my studies, why they are a good fit for me, and how the education I've received will help me in "the real world." I thought I would take this time to share with you all why I believe Retail Merchandising is truly the best of both worlds!

This program is the best of both worlds simply because I take half of my classes at the College of Design and the other half at Carlson Business School. On the business side, I get to take classes about economics, retail buying, business statistics, management, marketing, and computer literacy. On the design side, I get to take classes about retail environments, consumer behavior, the history of costumes, global industries, ethics, and even toy product design.

The retail merchandising program really challenges students to develop their analytical and strategic thinking skills in addition to their creative and abstract thinking skills. Both of these are so important in the professional world, no matter what you end up doing for a living.

This also sets me up on a path to honestly get any post-graduate education (besides med-school). It's not uncommon for students in this program to get doctorates in things like creativity, design, psychology, etc. In addition, law degrees and MBA's are very common.

I love my program here at CDes because it has helped me develop a set of well rounded skills that will help me adapt to new jobs and new roles and responsibilities in the professional world. Check out the degree program here more in depth if you want to learn more!

Thanks for reading!
Retail Merchandising