The Thames Tidal Tea Shop

A shop on the tidal bank of the Thames that trades tea for a story

The Thames Tidal Tea Shop

A shop on the tidal bank of the Thames that trades tea for a story

Description

In an ever-changing word, mobility, adaptability and ingenuity are key. In this varying environment can commerce still reside in the large scale, permanent structures they use currently? This report details the research, design, experimentation, considerations and response to a brief set by Goldsmiths University of London. The brief was to design a mobile “street” shop that could make or lose money, offer a service, or offer goods that are immaterial and the shop can’t do something that has been done before. Michael Mogensen and I teamed up to perform this task.

We decided to research the question of mobile societies, initially looking global, in order to determine if we could apply what we learned locally.

This project was focused not on the question, “why would we live in a tidal society?” but on “how would we live in a tidal society?”. A tidal society is one where mobility is essential because it is constantly in flux. This forces design thinking into an acute, extreme scenario that could create an interesting amount of research. This could, in turn, be extrapolated into other situations. The design of temporary objects and interactions could be reapplied to respond to issues surrounding disasters, war and refugees. Currently, solutions are only immediate and unsustainable whereas the possible solutions detailed in the report and beyond could be inherently mobile, temporary and create a localised social infrastructure. One possibility would be for example to redesign the concept of a care package and provide materials, guides and supplies instead of just supplies. An analogy of this is the old proverb “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime”.

The full report can be found here

Ethnography

Design and Prototyping

Testing in the Field