POD: The Great Outdoors

Another few weeks, a finished project to conclude on.

The Great Outdoors. A three week project where the briefing states as follow…’Design a space at the back of CSAD (Cardiff School of Art and Design (including new furniture design) that provides a quiet area for reflection, and a connecting back with nature‘.

I shall review this project through weeks.


The first week began with a rather productive set of days, from Monday to Thursday, I began to research which included both questionnaires, user groups and also secondary research on Biophilia. This project briefing is aimed towards a ‘one off’ production for CSAD, meaning I have the opportunity to be less forgiving when it comes to manufacturing and materials.

The current state of the environment:

The outside of CSAD


Following a conversation with fellow designers, I came to the idea of having pods for students to climb inside of, to escape their studies or just their minds for a short while. The idea consists of personal experience with work deadlines as a student of design, wanting to relax through the use of natural sounds such as rain, wind, thunder. The first question poised..’What if pods were designed to amplify the sounds of nature?’…followed by ‘What if pods were designed to be formed by nature?’.

This second question really intrigued me, I began to wonder the possibilities for this avenue. Could a narrative be formed to go along with a set of pods, a narrative detailing the relationship with humankind and nature.

Nature in this scenario being the untouched by humankind.

My thinking for this concept began to form a grounded foundation with the help of research from students of the university and research from academics discussing biophilia.

‘with this shift, the need for our designs to (re)connect people to an experience of nature becomes ever more important, for our health and well-being Biophilic design is not a luxury, it’s a necessity’ (Browning, 2014, p. 52)

The successful application of Biophilic design should also result in a wide spectrum of physical, mental and behavioural benefits. Physical outcomes include enhanced physical fitness, lower blood pressure, increased comfort and satisfaction, fewer illness symptoms, and improved health. Mental benefits range from increased satisfaction and motivation, less stress and anxiety, to improved problem solving and creativity. Positive behavioural changes include better coping and mastery skills, enhanced attention and concentration, improved social interaction, and less hostility and aggression.’ (Kellert & Calabrese, 2015, p. 8)  


This project quickly turned into a way of embodying the relationship between nature and humankind, whilst also creating a pod which was useful for students of the university to escape themselves at times of high stress.



I began the ideation stage during the end of the first week, this because of high confidence in the projects ideology and message. I wanted to design the pods in such as way that you could see the subtle hint to a variety of forms within nature.

Rough sketches in the background.


Which Direction?

With a rather successful series of ideation sessions, I came to a cross roads. The question now was ‘Which form do I progress with?‘…now thanks to further communication with fellow peers, I realized that it was best for the project and ideology to include the rule of three, just as I have done for the ‘Shellters’ project. The rule of three being three themes of the project, different in response and reasoning but always linked to the core of the ideology.


This choice of material is entirely deliberate. It is hoped that through constant exposure to the environment, the material will become weathered and an aesthetic gradually reveals itself creating a unique spectacle.

Welsh Slate

Encased in Welsh Slate, one pod is designed to gradually fade away over the years till it finally reveals the ‘enslaved’ pod. This design is a metaphor for how mankind has enslaved nature, this raindrop form is ‘enslaved’ by a perfect cube of slate. It is now up to nature to release itself from the chain, whether it takes years or decades, nature will eventually break free. Nature always breaks free.

Railroad Ties

Similar to the Welsh Slate, one pod is ‘enslaved‘ by a cube of used Railroad Ties, a subtle hint to the Welsh history of coal mining deep within the valleys, a connection to coal mining that is still visible today as the River Taff runs directly outside the CSAD Building. The two pods encased within these perfect cubes may not seem beautiful immediately, but as time goes by, years or decades, the beauty will begin to show itself as nature attempts to free the pod from its chains.


The Outcomes

Towards the end of the third week, the project began to wrap up. To go along with this project and the other three, the plan is for a booklet to accompany the outcome for the exhibition. I believe this to be the best of summarizing the three week project without having A2 boards and exploded views.

To conclude, the outcomes are as follows

The Copper Pod:


The Railroad Tie Pod:


The Welsh Slate Pod:



I am very happy with the outcome of this project, I believe I worked efficiently with my time and responded well to the briefing to produce an interesting outcome. The following project that I am undertaking is titled ‘Big Data’. I plan to move closer to the subject surrounding the ‘Shellters’ project. Litter.




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