a collective of open-minded thinkers and makers
7 month study | research + film
Drie is a collective of open-minded thinkers and makers. We explored & documented design and architecture in the context of Northern Europe.
In 2015, I was lucky enough to be one of twelve senior students selected to take part in the third Dutch Design field school. The team is made up of students varrying across multiple disciplines. This fieldschool runs annually, alternating between Dutch Design and Italian Design.
01. Pre-field Study
Beginning in January of 2015, the team went through a 14 week intensive research course about the Netherlands and Northern Europe. This study ranged from Dutch history, geography and culture to specific designers and architects that we would later have the opportunity to interview. With this research we began to get a grasp of how design is integrated into the culture and the influential designers that put it on the map.
02. In-field Experience
Once in field, we travelled to 5 European countries and 2 North American cities interviewing 21 different designers, architects and digital strategists. Through these interviews we hoped to get a glimpse into the mindset of some of the world’s most influential creatives and see what their opinion design is. Alongside these interviews, the team created a collection of cultural films centred around different cities and countries.
I was fortunate enough to lead and co-lead three of our interviews and get the opportunity to sit face to face and pick the brain of my idols. To understand the process and philosophy of each designer we carefully crafted a set of questions that we would use to guide each interview and gain as much insight as possible.
In one of my favourite interview with Ronan Bouroullec, one of the two Bouroullec brothers, we talked about how empathy and modesty in the world of design can help you approach work with a certain sense of innocence.
“As a designer, sometimes it’s ok to be an idiot.” - Rowan Bouroullec
Within the team of twelve each member brought a unique aspect and was assigned a specific role; my role was to shoot context footage. Previous to the field school I had minimal camera experience but being put in this role forced me to adapt and learn quickly. I was able to express myself and bring a different point of view to each film. Before each interview started I was able to go wander and search for interesting and inspiring objects and spaces. Being in the role of the context camera, you need to be aware of each interview and what is talked about. This is very important in order for the team to stitch together these interviews with interesting and relevant footage.
City Specific Video Studies
In each city that we visited we each had the task to create a short film that expressed something unique about our time there. We spent days exploring and observing behaviours in public spaces and try to peel the layers back at which tourists view a city. Our goal was to get to know each city as a local and express that through film.
One of my personal goals with the cultural films was to combine different mediums in order to tell an interesting story. In Brussels I was lucky enough to be partners with someone who shared the love of motion and animation. We discovered that Brussels had a deep history surrounding comics and art so we decided to capture it through our own lens.
Looking back at the beginning of this field school, I was so focussed on what the end product was going to be and how that was going to be the only thing I had to show from my experiences. Boy was I wrong. The final website only captures a fraction of what I learned and gained while studying in Europe. I truly grew as a person and as a designer learning how I could fit into and contribute to a team made up of people I have never met. My design process will forever be changed by the information that I gained through the interviews that we conducted over the two months.