Jen Archer-Martin

Jen Archer-Martin

Lecturer, Ngā Pae Māhutonga Wellington School of Design

Jen Archer-Martin is a spatial designer who works collaboratively across disciplines, with a focus on design that facilitates temporary installations, events, performances and exhibitions. Prior to returning to academia she practiced in the various fields of architectural, interior, performance and event design, and brings this industry experience to her teaching and research.

An emerging researcher, her work centres around the health and wellbeing of interconnected ecologies, and is closely linked with her teaching through the consideration of the spaces and activities of learning and practicing design. Archer-Martin coordinates and teaches primarily third and fourth year spatial design studio and research-based papers, as well as cross-disciplinary papers in the areas of critical studies and creative industries.

  • Expertise

    Spatial design (residential, hospitality, retail, performance, event, exhibition); design for temporary environments; passive housing and sustainable design; spatial design theory and philosophy; comparative philosophies of design, culture and perception.

  • Research Highlights

    MakeUse, 2015
    is a multidisciplinary research project that explores 'User Modifiable Zero Waste Fashion'. Extending colleague Holly McQuillan's Zero Waste sustainable fashion research, it looks to encode a wayfinding system into the fabric patterns. These navigational cues facilitate both garment construction and post-construction modification by the user, with an aim to engage the user in extending the life cycle of the garment. Archer-Martin's contributions include the collaborative development of the system, aiding cognitive understanding of the shift from flat pattern to volumetric (spatial) form, and the facilitation of this process through the design of an upcoming exhibition and workshop/event series. Further research possibilities include the application of the system to other products and materials. Collaborators: Holly McQuillan, Greta Menzies, Emma Fox-Derwin, Jo Bailey, Karl Kane.

    The Performance Arcade, 2013-2015 (spatial designer)
    The Performance Arcade is an annual event devised and directed by Sam Trubridge, in which a series of live art works are presented to the public in shipping containers on the Wellington waterfront. Archer-Martin has been involved in the Arcade for the last three consecutive years as spatial designer of the 'arcade architecture' and hospitality spaces. Her work transforms the between-spaces of the Arcade - the places where the public gather - into event-spaces for the performances of the everyday and the act of hospitality. Collaborators: Sam Trubridge, Kate Walker, Shaun Mallinder.

    Exposure, 2012-2014 (spatial designer)
    The 2012 shift of the School of Design's graduate exhibition to the new building, Te Ara Hihiko, presented a series of curatorial and practical challenges. A new exhibition furniture system was developed to meet the dual aims of bringing coherency to the School of Design presentation and creating a multi-use system that was freestanding, lightweight and flexible. Archer-Martin's contributions over the last three years of the exhibition include exhibition design, layout, and curation, collaborative design and development of the display system, and establishing systems for the active engagement of students in the process.
    Collaborators include: Nick Kapica, Ant Pelosi, Emma Fox-Derwin, Angus Donaldson, Jennifer Whitty.

    Becoming-Interior: Toward a Nondual Philosophy of Design for Dwelling-in-the-World, 2005 (Masters thesis)
    This research explored the act of dwelling as an interrelation of self and world, through a comparative study of Eastern and Western nondual philosophies. Prompted by a critique of the conflation of architectural minimalism and Eastern aesthetics in New Zealand lifestyle magazines, it interrogated the intersection between these paradigms, informing a new approach to dwelling-design. Drawing from Martin Heidegger's notion of dwelling as an act of inhabition, it posits architecture as the instrument, and interior design as the facilitator, of a becoming-interior of the world. Considered within a nondual framework that re-examines binary oppositions of inside and outside, nature and culture, the 'nothingness' of minimalism is reconceptualised as a betweenness, with the potential to act as intermediary between inhabitant and world. The nature of this mediation as the stimulation of resonance is explored in relation to the depiction of the natural world in art, and subsequently applied to the architectural threshold. Case studies include the author's explorative installation work House Layered, 2014.

  • Qualifications

    BDes(Hons) (Massey University)
    MDes (Massey University)