Researcher & Physical Product Designer
User Research, Physical Prototyping
Located in central east Toronto, Thorncliffe Park is densly populated neighborhood, home of a wide range of cultures and newcomers to Canada. Our team worked with with the Thorncliffe Park Action Group (TAG), a dynamic collective responsible for the cultural café, as active participants of the Thorncliffe Community Market to design a series of market stands to be used during the event.
We quickly realized of the importance getting users involved during the decision making stages after we brought our assumptions to them and noticed that we had it all wrong. A few sessions later, we were able to recollect relevant aspects that allowed us understand which elements to prioritize and which were unnecessary. Features that we thought were very important, such as creating a shading canopy, were quickly discarded by the TAG group.
Although the meetings with the users was very informative we decided that we could not do them all. We decided narrow down our priorities and focus on what was more important for the users and what budget would allow us to accomplish:
We decided to create an L shaped stand that would allow for storage capacity, could be interlocked when stored and be versatile enough for different configurations in the park.
The design we ended up building was made out of wood and was meant to serve as a structural skeleton, with the intension of. The design had a minimal presence, giving us the opportunity to hand the structures over to the users at this point.
The users made the structures their own. Through the use of colorful fabrics — a very familiar and comfortable elements for them — they were able to transform, personalize and associate themselves to product.
All images displayed in this project are property of ERA Architects Inc.