I worked at Argyle Design for 6 months as a Project Assistant. This was one of my absolute favorite positions!
Argyle is a architecture and design firm specializing in cultural, science, and children’s museums. While I was there I worked on anything and everything from project management to physical prototyping to research and design work. About half the time I was working alone, half of the time I was working alongside the architects and designers at the firm. I worked on projects for the Clay Center of the Arts & Sciences and Children’s Discovery Museum on the Saskatchewan.
The bulk of my time at Argyle was spent prototyping activities, researching & sourcing materials, and building scale models of buildings and exhibits.
One of my main jobs at Argyle was to prototype different activities for various museum contexts. I’d be given a list of constraints (materials, space, age-range, etc) and asked to propose a list of activities for different exhibits or interactive stations. I built weird instruments, laid out train-tables, play-tested digital games, found the coolest ways to play with color in UV rooms, and a ton of other science-themed activities.
One project I worked on was prototyping play-mats. I was primarily testing and copy editing mats, but did design a few from start to finish. Guests would find a series of play-mats and containers of manipulatives (like stones, sticks, pegs, etc) to engage with. Each play-mat needed to be clearly labeled, have simple instructions, and be solvable. My job was to test out each of the activities, make a list of possible solutions, copy-edit the text for errors and simplicity, and to make suggestions for the diagrams.
Researching & Sourcing Materials
After most client meetings I would be tasked with researching the feasibility and costs of the proposals and requests to present to the design team. In addition to that, I’d make cost sheets and recommendations for purchases. One time I got to order hundreds of farm stuffed animals, and I have to say that was one of the best things I’ve done at work to this day!
Building Architectural Scale Models
At Argyle I learned how to make at-scale architectural models from drawings to better understand large rooms and open spaces the architects were building. I also prototyped different lighting scenarios for spaces using an Arduino, various LEDs, and Processing.