Designer, Ryan Kavanagh shows us the world through his eyes.
My passion for design extends throughout my life. I draw inspiration from a wide range of sources: books, design publications, exhibitions, music, film, friends and family. I absorb as much as possible, whatever the environment and make it my business to visit exhibitions both at home and abroad.
Last year saw me journey to the cosy town of Namur in Belgium, which hosted the 7th annual innovative design festival, KiKK. Fun. Inspiring. Eye opening. These words don't even begin to express just how great it was, but they're a start.
For those familiar with OFFSET, this channelled a similar vibe, with international guest speakers taking to the stage to inform and inspire those in attendance. However, it was the KiKK Markets and installations that really captured my attention. These pieces were experimental, thought provoking and challenged the concept of design. They involved science. Real-life data. Not just pretty pictures pinned to a canvas.
The notion of creativity happening everywhere really became evident in this space. Walking in, you became instantly attracted to, engaged with and interested in learning more about these pieces.
'Implosion Chamber' is one of the installations that really set the tone for the environment I found myself wandering through. I was drawn to the low humming sound emanating from this attractive, neon cylinder. What appears to be empty, motionless and infinitesimal, is upon closer inspection an inexhaustible sea of energy.
Implosion Chamber is a new exploration of the multifold phenomenon of acoustic cavitation. High frequency sound waves propagate through the water-filled cylinder, causing naturally diffused air bubbles to implode. Absolutely crazy.
Then there was 'Quadrature' – a beautifully constructed piece that supported 52 small machines, each with a steel rod pointed towards what were called 'positions of the unknown'. My instinct was this had something to do with time – how silly of me.
Instead, this installation follows the possible whereabouts of a number of artificial satellites discovered during the 1950s mass astronomy project, 'Operation Moonwatch', by pointing at them as they revolve around the earth. Quadrature's 52 machines constantly trail their paths, serving as silent witnesses to the unknown.
However, when I think about creativity happening everywhere, it was 'Wave Interface' that really brought the sentiment to life. A kinetic sculpture consisting of 88 fluorescent tubes, mechanically animated as an undulating waterfall of light.
This was backed by a constantly changing drone, provided by a 19th-century pump organ. It is the sound waves created by these tones that set the wave in motion. Sound waves that we cannot see, touch, smell or even hear.
Through these experiences, I was provided with the opportunity to see things with my own eyes and realise their ubiquity in everyday life. Things I didn't even know existed, brought to life, in creative ways. Visual ways. And the most intriguing thing about these 'things' – they're around us all of the time.
Creativity happens everywhere.
To read Part 1 of our 'Creativity Happens Everywhere' series, click here.