It’s time to design the floorplan of the Whale, and lo and behold, our inspiration board is decked out. Gus and I (Fo’sheimer and Filles Fabrications) have decided to pursue a Moroccan inspired theme for our floorplan and decor, so we have been collecting pictures of the look we want to go for. Moroccan design is a blend of French, Arabian and African cultures to make a warm and comfortable atmosphere. So as to not to get too far ahead of ourselves with decor, however, we’re thinking about elements of this theme that we can incorporate into our floorplan such as arches, intimate lighting, and attention to detail.
Putting aside our design indulgences, we are mainly taking into account the client’s need in our floorplan for the airstream. We analyzed the client’s responses to our survey on a giant poster, and noted that almost all of the teachers wanted a work area, exterior seating, a microwave, a dinette, and couches. Other things that stood out included a coffee maker, refrigerator, music, shared resource/supplies area, and a device charging station. It sounds like the teachers want the airstream to be more of a collaborative space that they would use to work with fellow teachers, so I did some research as to how to encourage this collaboration with interior design.
Collaboration is inspired by incorporating proximity between coworkers to support interaction. By bringing together teachers from all departments, the airstream could function as an ideal “collaboration station.” An article from 99u suggests an open plan office with more common areas than typically needed, and an emphasis on seating for two or more people. There is not a lot of space to do this in an airstream, so the floorplan needs to maximize the space we have. House Beautiful recommends putting strategically placed mirrors and empty space, choosing bigger but fewer furnishings, that offer maximum functionality, using vertical space, and not filling up every inch of space. Bringing all of these principles together to maximize space and encourage collaboration, my initial floorplan idea is to have two main seating areas for three or more people each, one lounge area for two people with a coffee table, a corner for a kitchenette, and a shelf for supplies. Since the trailer won’t be moving, the work tables and shelf can freely move as needed, but the kitchenette will be solid. This concept utilizes an open floor plan.
Last Tuesday was the Green Expo at school, where a handful of local businesses came to talk to us about sustainable building and energy. Gus and I talked to the businesses that we felt could best assist us in our airstream adventure. Women Design Build, a nonprofit that assists women in construction, told us to break down the project step by step and plan for each milestone. The Austin Habitat for Humanity assured us that with hands-on practice anyone can complete a construction project, which will be helpful in the future as we venture into constructing our design. Light House Solar gave us some solar energy pointers, and a local sustainable materials vender called Treehouse taught us about the advantages of green building. Overall, I feel more confident about this project knowing that people from around the community are with us along the way.