Friday, 14 February 2014

Second Visit to 3M Buckley Innovation Centre

As a course, we visited the 3M Buckley Innovation Centre for the first time. Even though I had already looked around the accessible parts of the building, this visit allowed us to view more of the room and the 'Innovation Avenue' on the ground floor.

As a group, we considered the questions on the Commission Checklist we created with professional practice lectuer, Lee Corner.

First, there was a presentation by the client herself, Liz Towns-Andrews. On the initial screen I noticed typography collage in purple, grey and blue tones which could hint at the colour scheme of the building/ company. The room where we sat (one of the commissioned rooms) was very spacious and light with bare walls. It would be ideal for a few large scaled artworks or several smaller artworks.

Once the presentation had begun, I picked on some main points presented by the client: 

  • State of the art innovative work- present image of concept of 3M
  • Different from any other enterprise centre that works with other businesses, partnership
  • Recognised internationally
  • 'Establishing in an 'ecosystem' to promote business growth, open innovation
  • Access to supply chain networks- markets, finance, technologies and skills
  • Networking exhibition space
  • Workshops/ labs
  • Meeting rooms
  • 'Open innovation principle'- getting knowledge from different companies
  • Innovation Avenue- dedicated equipment, complimentary to University- dedicated for business use; flexible access arrangement; presenting businesses with new technology; metrology- surface metrology
As soon as the main presentation was over, we were allowed to ask several questions. Here are some notes I picked up on based on Liz Towns-Andrews personal interests:


  • Passionate- art, engineering, science
  • Can use any media
  • Crystallography
  • Fractals
  • Getting knowledge out of minds and into businesses
  • Cloud computing- moving forward
  • Social networking
  • Fluid dynamics
  • 3D printing
  • Artist in residence-connection
  • Biomimetics
  • Art will not be permanent, perhaps a year
  • Smaller pieces in meeting rooms, multiple pieces- triptych
  • 20-30 works will be selected for commission
  • Open to animation/ video- 3D TV could be used
  • Sherat- pointillism
  • Green technology
  • Thought-stimulating pieces

After the client expressed her own interests, I was glad to know that she was intersted in biomimicry, a topic I had initially been working on beforehand. All of the information Liz provided was very helpful and it was made clear that the brief is quite open. After the talk, we were then taken on a tour of the building including some of the state of the art facilities used in 'innovation avenue'.


Photography taken on the tour around the Innovation Centre:























As I had already visited the building, it was very interesting to see what was behind the doors and discover all of the activities which go on inside. Although the main focus of the company seemed to be science based, I was sure that I wanted to avoid this route even though I had already chosen biomimicry as a starting point.

Overall, I found the talk helpful and will take aspects of the experience and apply them to my working commission to meet the needs of the client's brief.