Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Guangdong ritual of washing dishes in tea.

When I first arrived in China I thought it was quite bizarre that I was shown how to wash my dishes before eating. This is something I would have never come accross, coming from the UK where standards of eating out are high. It seemed such a strange thing to me, and one of many things I have grown used to in my time working in China.

To me what I saw before me was a packaged bowl, plate, etc in some plastic wrap.

This process involves:
Opening the plastic wrap
Pouring tea into the ceramic mug
Pouring the tea into the bowl
Wetting chopsticks with tea in bowl using your spoon
Pouring this tea across your plate into a communal bowl.

I thought it was a little odd, but just accepted it as one of those things that was so incredibly different about china. I was told 'Nobody trusts the packaged equipment'

This really made me think. Why do no locals trust a process that is created especially to increase hygiene levels? The restaurants are outsourcing their washing up to other companies - and surely - this cannot be for economic reasons, I have been told that it encourages people to eat in restaurants with 'clean' dishes

The plates, when dirty are transported to a facility where they are washed on an industrial scale and supplied back to the restaurants in a plastic packaging.
Many of these bowls and plates have signs of being used, chips or scratches.

But knowing this it really made me think 'Why do people just not trust this process' That was before I found bits of food in my cup or in my bowl. After experiencing this, of course I ensure to wash my bowl correctly.

I recently went on a business trip to the province of Zhejiang. After halfway through the washing process whilst having lunch, I asked the locals for a bowl. They bought me out a small bowl. A little confused by this I asked about why they didn't have a large bowl and embarrassingly found out that they do not wash their bowls and didn't understand why I was doing it.

So why is it only Guangdong province? Are the locals here more cautious? Or is there reason behind?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

HEY! That’s MY Idea! - How other peoples ideas should influence your work

We are always told at school not to copy our classmate’s work, not to write the same thing, but to create our own ideas. A rule that I completely agree with, but what about that time you sneaked a peak at your friends answer in a maths test to realize it was wrong and that actually from what you had seen you could work out the correct way of solving it. Or how about that time that you saw something and thought of a way to make that idea even better or even more effective.

Creative minds need feeding. We need to be surrounded by things around us that provoke thought, stir interest, make us question things. Designers keep up to date with design news not just because it interests them but because it opens their mind to new options and possibilities.

Being aware of existing and modern products gives designers the ability to think and evolve ideas to be bigger and better. Learning off existing products is the way we can build effectiveness of products, increase usability, boost reliability.

Take for example mobile phones, probably the most quickly evolving product on the market. Companies will evaluate competitors models and consider what works well on theirs, to work out a way that theirs can have this same function but BETTER.

When I brainstorm for design ideas I brainstorm not just by sitting there and thinking ‘hmmm what could I do’ but by browsing the internet, looking out the window, walking down the street. As a very visual person my way of brainstorming is by looking at things and distorting and changing them in my mind.

For example one time I was stuck for a product idea and I looked at my phone to check the time. Checking the time gave me way more than I was expecting. The circular forms and waves of my phone screensaver just set me off. I found myself with a pen and pencil transforming this 2D bubble effect into this crazy 3D product idea.

But why is it so frowned upon to take product ideas and to develop them further? There are so many times I see a product and think ‘ooh it could be made like this for a different market’ or ‘oooh this could be changed to make it easier or more comfortable to use’  Products should be developed and continuously worked on by new people to give them more effective uses. A design should never be classified as ‘finished’ in my opinion but something that should be seen as an ongoing development by society as a whole – Consumer demand should push for better designs and designers should be embracing this.

People should be influencing each other by bouncing to and fro with ideas.  We know this all too well in our design team when we bounce off each others creative ideas when brainstorming

We are always inspired by what we see around us. Drawing together our professional experience in design and our interesting chinese surroundings we always have a fresh take on things.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Mindsparkz moves office!


Packing up the old Mindsparkz Den

We Have moved!

Mindsparkz have packed up and moved to a better office! From an office block by the sea we have packed our boxes and moved further into the heart of Zhuhai for a large open plan office space about 7 times bigger than our old office 

Old Office space to new Office space

Having packed up all our pantone guides, shifted our mindsparkz designed desks and moved our favourite coffee mugs we are finally settled in our new gigantic office.

Having a larger space means more room for brainstorming, groupwork and sketching. We finally have more room to arrange our numerous amounts of colored pencils and sketchpads

The process of moving all our office furniture, our computers and all our samples was difficult. With the help of some mover men who were able to balance  our massive desks on their backs and do the heavy lifting we were moved in and settled with the internet up and running in several hours. (Dont worry - we packed up our little fishes too for the new office)

We now have the luxury of having meeting rooms, more storerooms, a kitchen, and two outdoor patio areas. Soon we will have offices and a large design area where we can really get our ideas going.

When summer comes round our open plan office will be looking great with the open patio areas
We now even have our own western toilet!
Our new space 

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