Squint/Opera speaks to students in design

Sam Twarek

Architectural structures such as eco-friendly “supertrees” and cone-shaped apartment buildings that exist only in the imagination are starting to become a reality, according to one London-based film and media production studio.

Martin Hampton and Fooch Sung, members of the Squint/Opera design studio, spoke last night about their film projects to a packed Cartwright Hall last night.

The design firm uses aspects of graphic design, architecture, photography and film to create an overview package of projects.

“It’s a very big deal that they’re here,” said Diane Davis-Sikora, assistant professor in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design. “They are an amazing film and media production company that have made films for internationally known architects and planners.”

The two will be at Kent State for two weeks to help students in Davis-Sikora’s graduate class make multimedia films about their own projects.

“The workshop is really for students to produce short films for their design projects and sight observations for mixed-use project,” she said.

To kick off the workshop, Davis-Sikora invited Hampton and Sung to speak and show their films to students in the college.

“When we started working together in 2001, we began to explore learning how to make films,” Hampton said. “The way sound and film comes together was a big part of what we wanted to achieve.”

The members of Squint/Opera used most of the lecture time to show their films.

One film, Gardens by the Bay, shows the future structures of three zones to be erected in Singapore.

Fast-paced film and graphically rendered images showed dry and wet bio-domes, recreational areas and the “supertrees” that recycle water and heat.

They both said they try to incorporate four focuses in all of the work: transformation, humanism, humor and economy.

At the end of the film showings, viewers had an opportunity to comment on the films.

“I thought it was really interesting how they animated something that might not be very interesting to some,” said Erin Shaw, a sophomore interior design major. “In one film, they took parts of an old building and recycled it into something new.”

However, the most important influence of Squint/Opera was on the graduate students in Davis-Sikora’s class. She said her goal is to have the firm help her graduate students to make more creative films.

The students will be screening their films at 6 p.m. Nov. 2 at the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative.

Contact College of the Arts and College of Architecture and Environmental Design reporter

Sam Twarek at [email protected]