Flowing; From Art School: Degree, Design, Delight

By Jo Phillips

Every year around June the best young creative minds sprawl around sleeplessly, caffeine pulsing through their veins: anything to fend off sleep for a few more hours. Work needs to be finished, walls need to be painted, artist statements need to be written. It’s the final exhibition of work – the culmination of their entire university career. These events are always packed, buzzing with opportunity and prospects.

We’ve highlighted some of our favourite students this year from Ravensbourne and the London College of Communication.

LCC (London College of Communication)

London College of Communication graduates from design management, graphic design, illustration, interaction and spatial design courses are set to take the next steps in their creative careers as they prepare to exhibit their final work in LCC Degree Shows 2017: Design School.

The six cohorts include students from BA (Hons) Design Management and Cultures, BA (Hons) Graphic and Media Design, BA (Hons) Illustration and Visual Media, BA (Hons) Interaction Design Arts, BA (Hons) Spatial Design and Contextual and Theoretical Studies.

June 16 – 22.

Tommaso Cesaro 

BA (Hons) Interaction Design Arts


‘Grape Stomping’ was a haptic project commissioned by Côte du Rhône, revolving around the culture of wine tasting. The brief; Think Red, required us to enhance the sensory experience of wine tasting for the public visiting the exhibition at Central St. Martins spanning two weeks. Through this installation, we invited visitors to experience the historical tradition of winemaking on a sensory level, with a digital twist. To make their own simulated red wine, 4000 handmade silicone grapes were placed in two wine barrels, and visitors were invited to step inside while a glowing red visual feedback triggers through the increased pressure of their stomping.


What is in your opinion the best part of your project?

In my opinion, the best aspect of the project is the way that the public reacts to the experience. I enjoy seeing the amusement people have when they try it. The nature of interactive exhibitions twists the way people approach the works, mostly we find that they lose their inhibitions surrounding formal behavior in static gallery spaces. Also, the experience lets the visitors try grape stomping which they might not get a chance to in their lives.

How did this idea come to your mind?

My collaborator, Alexandra Sokolova and I approached the brief wanting to create an experience related to the culture of winemaking. Myself being Italian, I was conscious of the lost tradition of grape stomping, and we wanted to provide visitors with a similar haptic experience. We decided to put our own slant on it and adapt the sensation of grape stomping with a simulation that utilized our interactive skillset.

Have you ever done real wine stomping? If so, do you think it is close to your sensorial and digital experience?

I haven’t tried grape stomping personally, which is why I felt it important to try to make an experience for others who haven’t tried it either. We researched into the feeling of grape stomping and tried to recreate this through materials. Through trial and error, and an iterative process we found the best material to imitate the real thing. Throughout the project being installed, several visitors gave us positive feedback. We even had several people who had been grape stomping themselves, and despite the absence of liquids, they affirmed the fact that the sensation was uncannily similar.

What do you think is the most important aspect of the Degree Show?

To me, it is the opportunity of exposing my work and getting the chance to engage with visitors directly. It offers the chance to display my project to the kind of audiences that experienced artists get to exhibit to, where my work is a point of focus. The Degree Show also gives me the chance to think about future career possibilities, while bringing a closure to my time on my degree.  





Izzy Smithson

BA (Hons) Illustration and Visual Media


Based on the idea of journeying, Izzy’s project explores the sensory and abstract side of travelling. Mark making and vivid colours are used heavily to explore ideas of synaesthesia, as well as a way of documenting the journeys she was walking – with an aim of hoping the viewer can feel surrounded by the work, as though they are in the locations she walked.





What is in your opinion the best part of your art?

I believe that process plays a very big part in my art, as the techniques, mark making and colour allow the visual outcomes to be exciting. As the creator, i find it hard to pick out one element of my art that i think is best, however i feel that colour and form are integral to how my art works.

Which of your journeys in particular gave you the inspiration?

During my studies at the London College of Communication, I have commuted between Surrey and Elephant and Castle and this split existence has formed concepts around conflicting landscapes. My printmaking practice has relied on drawing on experiences within both environments and documenting relationships between the mundane and the dynamic, the expansive and the labyrinthine and suburban monotones with metropolitan technicolor.

Do you think that a piece of art should be a means to perceive and feel rather than to understand as many believe?

I don’t think that all art has to be understood, I really enjoy when viewers can create their own narratives based on their personal experience. However, I understand the importance of context and concepts within certain artworks.

What do you think is the most important aspect of the Degree Show?

A really important part of the degree show is to be able to display your hard work and get responses from viewers about what they think. As well as this, being able to collaborate with other artists is a privilege and allows work from different disciplines to interact.


Useful links:

@LCCLondon #lccdegreeshows



That world-class institute for digital media and design, Ravensbourne’s degree show is approaching. The college is widely regarded both nationally and internationally as a centre for excellence, with its students winning many industry awards. It also has an almost unrivalled track record of graduate employment, with more than 90% of students going directly into graduate employment. On show will be work in Architecture, Design, Fashion, Content, Media and Foundation courses.

The show runs from 21st – 23rd June and is free and open to the public.

Here’s our close-up on two students to give you an idea.


Jed Maiden

BA (Hons) Architecture, 3rd year

Jed’s project – the Ark Preservation Project – focused on reusing industrial gas towers in Bethnal Green to make them into adaptable music spaces. In rejecting their use for luxury flats, Jed hopes that the site can become something the community can make use of, with a commercial and social side, an indoor and outdoor stage and a local park.

Jed Maiden work 4_opt (1)


axo ren_opt


What is the most important element in finding inspiration for your work?

In terms of inspiration, it came directly from my dissertation findings which explored the question of the relevance of the town square in the 21st century. Something that was initially the foundation of democracy which now people overlook, being more politically active on their phones then out protesting. The relationship between aesthetics and culture were explored coming to the finding that people need something of cultural/symbolic significance to relate to in order for a public space to become successful. Before it was the church now it could be (in terms of my project) the Bethnal green disused gas tower, relatable to a melting pot of culture like Hackney preserving industrial heritage and marketing the tower as a new Icon for a community.

Formally I took inspiration from various architectural movements that happened in hackney such as Brutalism, High Tec and local industrial vernacular exploring juxtaposition of these themes in order to relate/represent the diverse demographic of hackney. Architects behind the theoretical inspiration of the project were Bernard Tschumi and Peter Eisenman.

There seems to be a social agenda in your work. Will you continue in this vein?

There is very much a social adgender in my work as it started off trying to create a counter point to over commercialised performance spaces such as the O2, but still remaining commercially viable. My solution was to create an adaptable large performance space able to be separated into several smaller spaces suitable for local bands encouraging local involvement in a hope to allow visitors and locals to interact in a hope to celebrate culture. Our University dose encourage us to have a social side however its a principle for me to include.

How has your University fostered your creativity?

My university has provided me with the freedom to pursue my interests in my own way, giving me access to a good variety of software and prototyping facilities. I’ve had very supportive tutors that have given me many opportunities (like this).




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