This week we’re bringing you news of an exciting new project and focus for Imagination Matters over the coming months. In the run-up to the Institute of Imagination‘s Mega Maker Lab in August, we’ll be taking the opportunity to look at the next generation of inventors and what inspires them. Here, meet the Imagination Architects.

Here at the Institute of Imagination, we’ve just launched our latest project, the Mega Maker Lab. It’s set to be our biggest yet, comprising 12,000 sq ft of experience zones exploring imagination, inspiration, challenge, experimentation and performance open for the public throughout August 2019.

To dream up and design this immersive space, iOi is working with 100 London primary school children and educational architects, MATT + FIONA.

Over two days in April our Imagination Architects, imagined, planned, tested, and played with their ideas for the Mega Maker Lab.

The idea for this design and development phase is to use the interdisciplinary nature of architecture to empower the next generation of inventors. We’ve been looking at how our Imagination Architects took on this challenge and what we can learn from their inspiring approaches to the project.

Next Generation

Our Next Generation theme challenges us to look at what the future looks like for the young people of today. Our aim is to tell the story of the issues which will be important to them and the issue that are important to them now.

How many young people can look around them and say they’ve had a say in what they see?

Matthew Springett, MATT + FIONA
With the Mega Maker Lab, we want to inspire the next generation of inventors, creators and thinkers with a project they can truly take ownership of, every step of the way.

Future Works

The timeline for the project helps our teams to think about the future and how they could get there.

Following these design and planning workshops the Imagination Architects will return to see their ideas created as part of the Mega Maker Lab in August. In this way, they will understand a bit about the process of taking a design through to a physical build and the time and work that takes.

Imagination Architects

It was wonderful to see the children looking ahead and thinking about how they would feel coming back to a space they’d imagined.

I would feel amazed…like wow. I would bring my family

Imagination Architect, Year 5

Another really interesting element in terms of the future of the project was the room for uncertainty. It’s an idea we talk about a lot on IM, and not something we see given enough time. Many of the Imagination Architects changed their ideas, or weren’t sure how they would work, but developed those ideas throughout the day. They weren’t put off by a little uncertainly. For us, it’s this space for uncertainty which fuels experimentation.

Making Realities

One of the most striking things we heard the children discuss was the joy that came with knowing their ideas, their designs and builds, could be made real. This concept served as not only motivation, but inspiration.

I would tell my parents ‘I made that’.

Imagination Architect, Year 5

The potential to actually make a difference to their environment ignited the curiosity of our Imagination Architects. Our continuing challenge is to help them find the pathways to create these realities.

Aspiring Minds

“You can do anything”, we heard over the two days. It’s an often-repeated phrase but how much do we actually do to create these environments for the next generation?

You can do anything

Guided by our six, themed zones, at the Lab sessions it was important to give the children that blank space to create and imagine. Through this, we hope to empower our Architects to achieve what they have envisioned.

Imaginative Elements

The aim of all our projects is to inspire imagination. What we loved about the workshops was the level of detail and the variety of ideas we saw.

The Imagination Architects embraced the idea of challenging and testing their designs. They not only thought about the materials but also their properties, and how their creations would actually work when scaled up.

Imagination Architects

It’s this meeting of art, design, science, digital and technology that informs the approach to the project. We wanted to inspire through a concept which would allow expression from all angles.

Thinking about this as a living project, we saw designs evolving, changing and even being abandoned in order to take a different approach. Again, it’s so important for us that the next generation of innovators knows that they can try things, ask questions and start again – prototyping.

Community Matters

Finally, one of the most inspiring elements of the workshops was the recurring theme of community among our Imagination Architects. Bringing friends and family, and having them enjoy and learn from the space was the driving force for many of the children.

They also embraced teamwork, using a range of experience and knowledge to bring their ideas to life. Showing empathy for others, our Imagination Architects thought about how their peers might feel in the space and how they could help.

My area is playing with different kinds of children and playing with people you don’t know. And when you get sad you can sit on a bench and when you sit on it a friend can come and say ‘do you want to play with me?’ …it’s important because you can play with different people and you can play with your family.

Imagination Architect, Year 5

Next Steps

We can’t wait for the next phases of the project, and for our Imagination Architects to see their ideas brought to life in building workshops in July 2019. The most exciting element for us at this stage has been seeing the desire, knowledge and enthusiasm of this next generation of creators. It’s so important that we give them the ownership to invent their futures.

Find out more about the Mega Maker Lab – tickets on sale for the experience in May.

Posted by:Sophie Sabin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *