Robin Howie

New work: Plants not Pollution

We’ve been super busy this year at Fieldwork Facility… and we are just starting to see a flurry of projects go live. Here’s the first look at a project for Hammersmith & Fulham Borough Council who asked us to paint the Hammersmith Flyover in support of a project that has improved the space and the air quality under the flyover.


Planters have been introduced by Merristem Design along with an Ivy barricade that reduces the impact of harmful emissions entering the pedestrian space.

For our contribution we asked; how might we celebrate plants and their positive impact on place and pollution? Our approach was to green the brutalist bridge and our designs took inspiration from Hammersmith’s notable past residents William Morris and typographer Edward Johnston (designer of the eponymous typeface for TfL).

Peter Berber expertly painted the murals with a crew of four other painters for five days (they would appreciate not painting any more leaves again in the near future).
The project has been really well received, during the install one chap walked up to and simply said ‘thankyou’ and carried on strolling. An odd encounter but one that reminds me that designing in the public realm is special.
A little unintentional on our part but #PlantsNotPollution is showing initial signs of having a life of its own on instagram and even inspiring this poem!
And perhaps the best bit for us? well clearly we want to work more and more in the public realm and its a real pleasure to be invited to paint another section of the flyover with a different concept. Watch this rather large concrete space.
Robin Howie

Fieldnotes: Week 443

Hello and Happy New Year. Here is the first edition of Fieldnotes in 2019!


This is some serious play. Conduct your own orchestra via your browser. Play here:


One of my favourite charities needs your support. Skateistan is an NGO with the mission of empowering children and youth through skateboarding and education. Skateistan operates in Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa.

The True Size

Maps can be beguiling — especially maps that reveal truths. The True Size is a interactive map that reveals the true size of countries using the Mercator projection.

It is hard to represent our spherical world on flat piece of paper. Cartographers use something called a “projection” to morph the globe into 2D map. The most popular of these is the Mercator projection.

Every map projection introduces distortion, and each has its own set of problems. One of the most common criticisms of the Mercator map is that it exaggerates the size of countries nearer the poles (US, Russia, Europe), while downplaying the size of those near the equator (the African Continent). On the Mercator projection Greenland appears to be roughly the same size as Africa. In reality, Greenland is 0.8 million sq. miles and Africa is 11.6 million sq. miles, nearly 14 and a half times larger.

Sip of Hope

Sip of Hope is the world’s first coffee shop where 100% of proceeds supports proactive suicide prevention and mental health education.

What if he falls?

This is a short behind-the-scenes of Free Solo (a documentary following Alex Honnold, as he prepares to climb Yosemite’s 3,200-foot El Capitan wall — without a rope). I haven’t seen Free Solo yet but the BTS offers some interesting analogies for putting together teams on high-risk projects.

Luminist Garden

Semi-conductor reminded us of Folktek’s electroacoustic musical oddities —like the beautifully titled ‘Luminist GardenandResonant Gardenwhich create unusually ethereal relationships between interaction and sound.

Robin Howie

Fieldnotes: Weeks 434–439

We are pretty busy in the studio at the moment developing several projects.

We’re continuing our work with Sjú which is a Swiss startup with an amazing proposition around personalised skincare. So far the brand has soft launched in the UK and we are working really closely with the team on several streams of work… everything from making films, photo shoots, research projects and social media campaigns.

Originally we were brought in to develop the brand strategy as well as shape the startup's storytelling, tone of voice and art-direction… our relationship has grown from there. We’re really enjoying the journey of working with Sjú and at some point in the new year I will share a broader case study. In the meantime here’s a couple of images from some of our work so far.

Another project that is carrying into the new year is Project Flow. Flow is essentially Fieldwork Facility’s contribution to an air quality project underneath the Hammersmith Flyover. We’re progressing towards a March/April install. This week we were expecting a decision on which route to push forwards… in a lovely turn the client surprised us by extending the project and picking two concepts for different sections of the flyover. Here’s a snap of the original site:

A couple of weeks ago IDEO invited me to give a talk about Fieldwork Facility’s work in the public realm… the event was titled ‘Change of (S)pace’. I was presented alongside Anthony from Assemble who talked about the collectives lovely series of projects around the Granby community. Lighting designers Jack Wates and Satu Streatfield (Publica) both gave great talks too. I really enjoyed this talk — hopefully there will be more speaking in the new year.

Friday links…

Here’s a few of the things that have been inspiring us in the studio over the past few weeks:

Emoji tracker

This is real-time emoji use on Twitter. It’s like watching a lightning storm of emotion unfold in your browser. I’m not kidding… the website literally comes with an epilepsy warning.

It’s Twitter account occasionally reads like a long-running beef between emoji’s trying to hit the number one spot.

Die with me app

Bonkers. I love it. It’s a chat app that you can only use when you have less than 5% battery. Their strapline is ‘Die together in a chatroom on your way to offline peace.’ Catchy.

Blade Runner sleep music

Maybe on the way to ‘offline peace’ you’ll take a little sojourn into ‘Blade Runner meditative ambience’.

Yes, that actually is a thing and so far four videos have racked up over 600,000 views from people seeking a beautiful sleep dystopia. You can pick between old or new Blade Runner and with or without city sounds. Niche.

Lubaina Himid at The Guardian

Lubaina Himid’s won the Turner prize last year with artwork accusing the Guardian of racial bias. In an interesting move the paper invited her in for a residency. Here is Lubaina presenting her findings to the editorial team.

iSpy AI

How to recognize fake AI-generated images. Kyle McDonald gives a quick introduction over here.

Traditional block printing in Jaipur:

What a beautiful process…

And then finally let's wrap up with this….

Blue Note album covers

We have some space in the pipeline emerging in January/February, if you’d like to discuss an unusual design challenge please do get in touch.

See you next week.