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.

 
The tooled leather of the chairs inspired the box and the velour fabric was referenced with the red cloth that held the cards in the box.

The tooled leather of the chairs inspired the box and the velour fabric was referenced with the red cloth that held the cards in the box.

I brought the gold gilded mirrors into the project through the clasp on the box. I also experimented with different methods of gilding the edges of the cards.

I brought the gold gilded mirrors into the project through the clasp on the box. I also experimented with different methods of gilding the edges of the cards.

 
 

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.

 
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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."

 
Early card icon sketches

Early card icon sketches

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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.

 
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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.

 
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Full process book

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