Within our first week of school the Take Shape team was able to visit the Children’s Museum and tour the facilities of the MAKESHOP. Unfortunately, on this visit, we were unable to meet with our client but did get in touch with a few of the MAKESHOP staff members to briefly gather their opinions and outlook on the MAKESHOP. The overall look and feel of the MAKESHOP was instantly recognizable between the raw metal-based support systems, an homage to Pittsburgh’s steel history perhaps, along with the wood grain showing through on the slightly stained wooden components. It seemed that all of the structural objects took on this basic materialized look which contrasted well against the objects intended for children to interact with which garnered bright, vibrant color palettes to entice the interactive nature the MAKESHOP wishes to encompass.
As typical grad students in a fun setting our inner children were soon exposed as we began to tinker, toy and play with the variety of maker stations throughout the space. The loom was a hit in learning how to weave thread, the homemade xylophone of PVC pipe and string was a good accompanying piece and, of course, the Digital Dream lab project from the spring with it’s interactive surface table riddled with inviting, colorful, blocks. Even with our attention span (a little bit longer than that of a child) it was obvious that the MAKESHOP lends its hand to easily bouncing around the room, touching, feeling, manipulating and playing with their numerous materials, tools and exhibits. We knew that when a child walks up to our exhibit they will quickly experiment and instantly decide whether we have designed an experience worthwhile of grasping their attention.