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ADS12: Sight/Seeing

Divya Patel

With an overarching interest in contemporary social culture and how it challenges traditional systems within architecture, my work this year looks as the hyper-feminine world of beauty. Centring on the intersection between beauty ideals and the architectural conditions that facilitate the over-production of beauty in our increasingly visual culture. 

Alongside this I am part of the critical design collective +44 formed with several other designers at the RCA.  


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Degree Details

School of Architecture

ADS12: Sight/Seeing

The premise behind Fake Deep beauty is to unpack contemporary homogenous beauty ideals. Ideals are fleeting trends and are reactive to the seasons and to sociocultural attitudes. They are more dominant in the digital age and it is vital to our contemporary visual and virtual culture to construct a sense of self through an individual’s online presence.

The beauty industry is one of the most lucrative in the world, it is evident that beauty is not just unnecessary inconvenience it in fact defines value. With such an emphasis on the surface, the project aims to unmask the black box of beauty trends, by defining a micro-seasonal reality and through fashion, theories of proportionality and geography to create a building that explains the spatial organisational systems that unravel the secrets behind the beautiful image.

The project manifests as a building that looks at the existing programmatic functions in the industry at varying scales, and how they globally contribute to the production of beauty. And how from design to distribution, image production plays a vital role at every scale. The building localises the spatial organisational components and like the actual beauty industry reacts to the changing seasons, from the product of beauty at the personal scale all the way up to industrial scale.

It does this by re-defining the reality of the seasons we are currently operating under and how beauty trends and ideals should react to them. With the increasingly accelerated seasons, and the constant production and reproduction of beauty, the current model of beauty-production is unsustainable and over demanding. By localising and decentralising this well-oiled machine, we can begin to understand its harmful nature and visualise what parts of the model must change, and why we need to reimagine it.

It is time we forget about concepts of narrowing beauty ideals and mimicking nature’s seasonality, to create a more inclusive beauty that is both ecologically and ethically responsible.

‘#getreadywithme’ Beauty Tutorial — The project explained harnessing the political dimension of the YouTube make-up tutorial.

Seasonal Plan — The building localises the spatial organisational components and like the actual beauty industry reacts to the increasingly accelerated season patterns.

‘The Miami’ — 'The Miami’: a make-up kit that allows consumers to recreate the ‘Miami’ face according to hyperlocalised conventions of beauty.

Seasonal Clock — The beauty industry is directly contributing to the future of climate uncertainty, which in the long run will feel the effects of. This is immediately visible through our changing understanding of the natural seasons. A phenomena known as “season creep” is occurring which is distorting the seasons, no longer do we have a gradual quarterly climate we are beginning to witness freak 2/3 week seasons. The project responds to this, by redefining the reality of the seasons we will live in. The new seasons, that fake deep defines, are at 2-week intervals to reflect the reality that beauty will soon be operating under.

‘The Miami’ — The cosmetic industry perpetuates this narrow ideal of what is acceptable. It is the belief that we will be beautiful and empowered if women use products in a certain way, and alter our appearance to ultimately hold up beauty ideals by allowing us all to conform to them. It is a highly lucrative industry valued at over half a trillion US dollars. The personal relationship to the beauty industry at the domestic scale via online platforms, allows people to construct both a sense of self and a source of income through the way they look. It is both a fragile and highly profitable space that structures daily practise.

w1.s7 building plan — An example of the plan during one season, how temporary and permanent structures work together and react to changing landscapes to create different rooms and zones.

Make-Up Roof — The roof forms an artificial landscape above the ground and is filled with different density of trusses that house a series of lighting, sound techniques, that manipulate the temporary objects on the ground plane to allow for the constant production and distribution of beauty ideals.

Influencer Theatre — A temporary space that is created as a result to cater specific personal “productions of beauty” for online transmission. A space where “influencers” can film content but also where people can watch and learn from them.

The Runway — A temporary space where the seasons trends are showcased. By centralising the processes of beauty, and making trends react to the unique climate of a specific region the building could be replicated in different locations.


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