Kirsty Gaunt (she/her)
I’m Kirsty, an Interior Design student from Gloucestershire, England. Since moving to Glasgow to study I have developed my process and style through a range of different typologies. I have a real passion for using my creative flare to achieve spaces that have a positive impact on the people who inhabit them. I believe concepts that stem from emotional connections make more exciting and authentic designs.
My personal project uses a holistic and non-judgemental lens to discuss the subject of substance addiction. This is an issue which is particularly prevalent in Glasgow and I wanted to use my skills to suggest and alternative to the current situation. Throughout my time at GSA I have enjoyed exploring materiality and have used my personal project to focus in on biophilic design. This design approach can have a significant impact on individual wellbeing and so was an important factor to consider when designing for people who have been affected by substance addiction.
This page shows some highlights from this project, however, you can view the full portfolio, research and process by following the links below.
In 2018, 1187 people died from drug related causes in Scotland. That is higher than any other European country.1 The UK’s current approach to drug policy clearly isn’t working. My personal project aims to take a more proactive and holistic approach to substance addiction to change the way we deal with this issue and help prevent further unnecessary deaths from drugs.
The research chapter in my process journal shows detailed analysis of theories as well as existing examples. All the evidence points towards compassionate care instead of criminalising people who suffer with addiction. Demonising these people just places blame on the individual rather
than the circumstances that led to the reliance on substances. Addiction is a multifaceted subject, however, research has shown it is extremely closely linked to mental health and is often triggered by trauma and vulnerability. Therefore, we should be doing more to help these people instead of criminalising them.
Drug consumption rooms (DCR) are not a new idea. In fact, the first DCR opened in Berne, Switzerland in 1986.2 Their successful results has meant this model is being adopted throughout the world. By providing supervision and clean equipment a DCR is able to significantly reduce overdose deaths and blood borne virus transmissions. In some cases it is even 30% more likely to refer visitors to start recovery programmes.3 This not only benefits people suffering with addiction but also the wider community. If there is a DCR it means less street use, less drug litter, fewer drug related deaths and fewer ambulance calls.
It’s about time we changed how people who suffer with addiction are treated.
My concept is to create a space which can provide non-judgemental care in a safe environment. I want people to feel secure and valued when they enter this facility. Hence, the idea is to create an integrated DCR which not only helps people who are currently using but also supports people who are in recovery. I will provide space for individuals to gain advice
and guidance on a range of issues including employment, housing and childcare. Furthermore, I want to incorporate spaces to learn, relax and reflect to promote wellbeing and a positive relationship with mental health. My concept encourages people to build a community and support one another.
The design of the space is extremely important, as a well designed building shows that people do care and want to help. Contact with nature has proven to be a significant factor in improving wellbeing and thorough research on this, informed my decision to use biophilia as the main focus of my design. The building will become the physical manifestation of the welcoming approach I am taking. By creating a caring atmosphere it reinforces meaningful connections within the building, therefore, helping to reduce the likelihood of relapse. Everything in my design will be centred around providing compassionate care to this specific group of vulnerable people.
To view my full work follow the link to my Ceangal Portfolio.
To view my process follow the links to my various journals.
Core Material Palette
Unfortunately, this type of holistic approach is still not sanctioned within the UK. Current government policy means everyday people are forced to consume drugs in dangerous situations meaning they are at risk of various diseases as well as potential fatalities.
To find out more, or to get involved, follow the links below.
1. National Records Scotland (2019). Drug-related deaths in Scotland in 2018. [online], Available at: https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/files//statistics/drug-related-deaths/2018/drug-related-deaths-18-pub.pdf [Accessed 4 Aug. 2019].
2. Schatz, E. and Nougier, M. (2012). Drug Consumption Rooms Evidence and Practice. [online] International Drug Policy Consortium. Available at: http://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/17898/1/IDPC-Briefing-Paper_Drug-consumption-rooms.pdf [Accessed 1 Nov. 2020].
3. Wood, E., Tyndall, M.W., Zhang, R., Montaner, J.S.G. and Kerr, T. (2007). Rate of detoxification service use and its impact among a cohort of supervised injecting facility users. Addiction, [online] 102(6), pp.916–919. Available at: http://www.communityinsite.ca/Wood_ADDICTION_TREATMENT.pdf [Accessed 1 Oct. 2020].