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Image by Edgar Castrejon

THE GARDEN WALL

PROJECT DETAILS

THE PROBLEM

G Street Plaza located right in the heart of Davis Downtown has been empty for years resulting in decreased foot traffic and less of a place for people to visit. The City of Davis tasked us with the design challenge to use a human-centered approach and propose a new way to reimagine the space.

Project Details

PROJECT DURATION

DESIGN ROLE

January 2018 - March 2018

Human-centered approach to problem solving, ethnography, ideation, project framing, rapid prototypes, visual communication, and experiential learning.

THE GOAL

To create an environment that embodies a sense of peace and secureness in the hustle and bustle of downtown.

Research

RESEARCH

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Liza

Plant Lover

Age: 45

Hometown: Denmark

Occupation: Teacher

PERSONA

We first met Liza sitting in front of Peet’s coffee with her adorable dog, sipping her coffee and enjoying the sun. She mentioned that she used to live in Denmark and loves the outdoors which made her nostalgic of her home environment.

"My favorite place to hang out in Davis is actually where I can have privacy but also be able to observe people. For example, sitting on top of Natsoulas Gallery overlooking Davis makes me feel so at peace!"

We realized that among the many people that were interviewed, a good majority of them felt the same way as Liza, which is to have a place that feels quiet & serene, but also secure and safe.

prototypes

PROTOTYPES

INITIAL SKETCHES/ IDEAS

Sketched some different concepts that believed would be a good fit for Liza. We came up with some things that embodied and resembled privacy.

  • sharing wall

  • terrarium wall

  • privacy waterfall wall

 

PROTOTYPE 1 | PRIVACY WALL

Experimented with distance and close contact.

PROTOTYPE 2 | WATERFALL

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Many interviewees mentioned that the sound of water or the sight of water always makes places feel and sound more relaxed. 

Took some time to prototype and simulate the experience we wanted the user to have. At first, we thought that water would be a good distraction from the busyness of downtown but after testing it on different people, it wasn't the sight of water that was calming, it was more of the sound of it. Our team got a lot of feedback about how greenery was actually more refreshing to look at than water. 

final

FINAL DESIGN

After hearing the feedback about the greenery, came up with the concept of "The Garden Wall". Instead of having the sight of water, we simulated a "wall with green leaves" (more so like a garden) and played waterfall sounds in the background. We tested this at the prime location on G Street Plaza and this is some of the feedback we got:

“It sounds like hot springs or a bath"

“I feel at peace and centered”​

“I definitely feel like having water would be peaceful and cool during the summers in Davis"​

“I feel like I’m in biblical gardens right now without a care in the world because everyone is alright"​

"When I close my eyes, I feel very calm and relaxed” 

“Having a plant wall with water would be a great idea for the city of Davis”

GARDEN WALL CITY BLUEPRINT

For next steps, we created an overview of what the Garden Wall would essentially look like in the G Street plaza. Features of the redesign will include:

  • 3 feet thick plant wall

  • wooden benches set into it for privacy 

  • hidden speakers playing water sounds (most likely located under the benches)

  • a new pathway through the plaza

  • plants and trees

  • bathroom

  • better bike parking area 

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