As a story of my Design Research course, the Moccasin Project should be the most representative one.
It is about the rookie time.
Magheritta and I were the last few guys that decided to work as a team, but surprisingly we quickly agreed with the topic as the Flower Industry in San Francisco.
However, that brought us some problems, because both of us were new to Design Research and we didn’t have a good knowledge about flowers. We are those people choose flowers just by their appearance. And even, at that critical time, we didn’t know how many flower shops are there in San Francisco.
Then we decided to walk around and find some flower shops. Magheritta, as a normal Italian, told me that we should find some flower shops on the road, rather than search the web then pick up. Then it could be more random and more typical. We almost spent one hour on searching the first flower shop, which it fairly weird cause as normal I saw many flower shops though usually I won’t memorize them.
However, even when we finally found one flower shop, which is the Church flowers, they were too busy. Morning is always the time flower shops are occupied. That is the only thing we learned at that morning. We tried to find another flower shop and at the local-known Urban Flowers, thanks to its beautiful owner Veronica, we got plenty useful information about the flower industry in San Francisco. She shown us the tools that her father (Urban Flowers’s founder) made to carry flowers on these hilly roads in the city and kindly introduced us the place where she import flowers. My interest was raised and at the end of that day, I bought some roses and tulips to decorate my studio desk.
Two days later, we followed the address Veronica gave us. The wholesale market is actually only 3 blocks away from our home! We were misdirected by our rookie knowledge. As some twisting plots that a good story must have, we interviewed many people there and gained many new good insights. Our notebooks became full of notes. Even for that we had to get up at 5AM in the morning to see the most crowded time in the wholesale market, we felt energetic and confident. All these things lead to our ‘successful’ research presentation.
After the project, weird enough, those flower shops that disappeared during our Moccasin Project appear again! I can find that even Trade Joe’s sells flowers! And after that kind of experience, I will pay more attention to flower shops when I walk, bike around.
Nancy Ann Flowery, the photo was taken when I went to Sausalito
As I can see it, the Moccasin Project left me something like “trauma” which makes me more sensitive to flower shops now. This is what I want to say, as the last blog homework of my beloved class; Design Research is actually in our life and will never stop. What we designers can do find fun in that and enjoy it!