In Situ: The Cheshire Inn
Deck of cards | fall 2018
The purpose of this project was to consider one of the roles that designers fill is that of an observer, interpreter, and, ultimately, translator; bringing observed experience into visual form for others to engage with. I were tasked with conducting various forms of research to uncover something unknown about the site, discover a unique way to spend time there, reveal a less known interpretation, or a new and more abstracted read of your site, all with the aim of capturing an experience to share with my audience.
When the constraint that it had to be a site we had never been to before was announced, as a St. Louis native I thought "oh gosh I've been everywhere, what am I going to pick?" Then I remembered how people always ask me for inn and hotel recommendations for their parents when they visit and I have to answer "I don't know, I've never stayed in a hotel here, I'm from here." That is what lead me to the Cheshire Inn.
The first weekend after location selection, I teamed up with Katie Bumatay to go and visit our sites. During my visit I took a lot of pictures of the textures and colors of the inn. While there were a few distinctly British items like the flag and pictures of the Queen, most of the British image was conveyed through lighting, color, and texture. This gave the inn a transformative vibe rather than a touristy one. You felt like you were in the British countryside, rather than a gift shop.
I considered three different forms. A mobile, a deck of cards, and a rubiks cube. The Cheshire had a lot of different parts (the rooms, the lobby, the restaurants, the Starbucks, the exterior) that were all working together to convey this theme of the hotel. I chose the deck of cards because it had the traditional tone of the inn and I was not just applying images to form, but rather crafting an experience.
Once I decided on a deck of cards for the form, I struggled with getting the icons to be a consistent visual language and convey something additional about the inn and the experience and not just "British."
I loved that I was able to bring my interest in collage into this project as well as the images of the stain glass windows. It was difficult to convey the windows in a card icon, so the back of the card was the perfect opportunity.
I went to Michaels and bought a lot of different wooden box options. I was considering either painting it gold or covering it in leather. The gold paint wound up looking cheap so I went with the leather. The box wound up being two lids attached together with the hinges from another box. In another life I would open a leather tooling shop. I discovered my love for this skill during this project. I went through a lot of trial and error with the leather box and crafting this experience was my favorite part of the project. I wound up attaching the leather with glue and painting with brown paint. I redid the box for final critique so that it was cleaner and all around better.
Full process book