urbanter

Student blog of the Stanford University Urban Studies Department

A Cube Takes Shape

Back from Durban, I have embarked on my final week (already!) with GRIND in Johannesburg. The focus of my week has been physical work on the community cube. The cube has been built and designed; it now needs to be activated. The past week has been spent working on community cube logos and themes, painting the cube, and populating the cube with features including artwork, designs, and the “Faces of Community” interview exhibit. I will close my time with a public presentation about the cube.

The Cube’s Theme

Working collaboratively with community members, I found the best community cube logo would be much like the GRIND Studio’s multi-colored logo, showcasing the structure as an energizing, welcoming space. Therefore, the logo uses GRIND colors and includes a multi-colored, bright design theme. I worked with and sought out support from local graphic designers, community members, and artists to finalize the logo. Special thanks go to my friend Andile, local resident Chesta Al Gawdly, and a professional graphic designer named Jared who works with IHEARTIDEAS. I also received logo feedback from GRIND Director Alice Cabaret.  Ultimately, I came up with the following logo and theme for the Cube:

The cube's logo and theme.

The cube’s logo and theme.

CommunityCubeLogoBox

The cube’s logo and theme.

Painting the Cube

Given the cube’s unique logo and theme, I went to work painting it with help from GRIND residents and community members. Each side of the cube is a different solid color, matching the logo colors. The cube’s top is blue, and three of the sides are yellow, green, and red, just like the logo. The cube’s fourth side is a chalkboard, which allows residents and community members to write thoughts and ideas.

GRIND residents and community members paint the cube collaboratively.

GRIND residents and community members paint the cube collaboratively.

The cube’s bright colors activate the exterior and bring to life the theme.

The cube’s bright colors activate the exterior and bring to life the theme.

Activating the Cube

Now that the cube has been painted, I am working to activate the cube. The first step is the exterior “Faces of Community exhibit”: strings and burlap fabric serve as the background to feature colorful interview testimonials from community members. The burlap background is designed to be permanent while interview testimonials rotate frequently. It is important to note that all cube materials have been purchased within the Maboneng and Jeppestown neighborhood by independently-run businesses. Future projects for the cube include a hand-drawn local map, art exhibition space, and a space for posting community events and job opportunities.

Community members work on activating the cube.

Community members work on activating the cube.

The cube includes burlap material used as a background for interview testimonials and artwork.   All materials are sourced from the Jeppestown and Maboneng neighborhoods.

The cube includes burlap material used as a background for interview testimonials and artwork. All materials are sourced from the Jeppestown and Maboneng neighborhoods.

Presenting the Cube:

As I end my time with GRIND, I will use this Thursday evening as a time for a public activation and presentation about the cube. From 7:00 – 8:30 pm at the GRIND studio, I will present the cube and my iterative design process. The event is open to the public and I am hoping to attract a diverse audience to the event. The cube itself will not be at the GRIND studio but illuminated on the sidewalk below: the cube is meant to be on “street-level” in a sufficiently public space. More information about the event can be found here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/857885194224741/.

If you find yourself in the Johannesburg area, please attend!

 

One last reflective blog piece about my experiences will follow next week.

 

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