Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Skate Break: Stay Creative, Always Design

By Ryan Northcutt

I want to take a minute to take a break from architecture. This post will be more about design and business. Both of those topics alone are what architecture really is when it comes to the main key points of how architecture is today, but today it’s going to be about a hobby that I partake in outside of school. Most of my time goes to architecture, eating, and sleep. But I do spend my little free time I have working on skateboards. I have done a lot of research on the topic of skateboarding, mostly the history of it, and I would say I have a good understanding of why skateboarding is the way it is. Skateboarding is something that I am also passionate about, and I have been for almost all of my life.
            After bearing through a couple years of architecture school, I learned skills that others don’t learn. A lot of them are design skills, and the rest are craftsmanship. Prior to architecture school I had a bit of experience designing and crafting long board skateboards. It was something my dad taught me. But what I had begun to appreciate was the nature of wood. There are many features of wood that are just plain beautiful. I use wood in most of my designs because I find it so wonderful and appealing. So since those first encounters of crafting with wood and learning a design process, I have taken that into a different application.
            With much of my research, skateboards made in the early 1960’s and early 1970’s are made of solid wood. Most of which were DIY skateboards. But with all the products out in the world today, I thought to myself, why not recreate those first skateboards that really got the scene going. I used my design process I learned from architecture school to design skateboard shapes that are historically contextual, but elegant and beautiful. After a few pushes this became something more than just a few experiment skateboards. It is now a business, not a thriving one, but it’s an infant skateboard business that someday may be somewhat success, that’s if the cards are played right.
            It is not my intention to just talk about skateboarding the whole time. I have used this skateboard crafting hobby to fuel my design in architecture school. When we, as students, go through school, we spend much of our time designing and thinking extremely hard about one singular thing. After a while we get designers block and are on pause for longer than we have time for. It’s very unfortunate. But there is a way around that. First it’s taking a break from architecture. But second it’s still thinking about design. This second rule is the most important due to the fact that as soon as we turn our creative thinking off, it is hard to get back into the groove. So what I am saying is that I use this skateboard crafting hobby to keep my brain going, I transfer from one line of design to the next. It’s a process that I have found successful in helping me with studio design work, and also designing my hobby.

            So to say the least, take a break, but keep thinking about design. Be Creative.

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