Reflection from last presentation (Presentation 3):
From the previous presentation, our idea revolves around the notion of the name “Nan yang” where we derived the concept of a fluid structure to represent the southern sea which inspired the name.
In this presentation, we hope to retain the concept of a public and private space represented in a fluid form inspired by the name “Nan yang” so that we preserve significant historic value of the school’s origin.
We decided to remove side elements that proved to be less significant, such as the Kampong structure and the bulky appearance of the form due to its vertical erected structure.
Also after we broke down the components of the Kampong architectures, we sort of lost both the traditional meaning along with the familiar structure of the original form.
Two potential concepts that we have agreed on developing would be the concept of a lighter fluid form vs a heavier fluid form along with the explorations on shared and personal space.
Concept 1 (Lighter form)
Stripping the bulk to the essence of a fluid structure for a lighter appearance, we have subtracted the physical mass of the fluid form into curvilinear planes.
The curvilinear planes are design to fold, intersect/ wedge and weave into each other in such a way to represent the seamless transition from private to public space in a continuous water flow.
Concept 2 (Heavier form)
For this concept, instead of referring to the fluid structure in a linear plane, we decided to create a more volumetric structure that reflects the interaction between a falling water droplet and the ground.
The heavier mass is represented by the surface closest to the ground. To balance the mass, a circular void floats above it.
Toyo Ito’s architecture using fluid and continuous form
Placing an installation in context of Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
Proceeding with our presentation from last week, we realised a need to formulate a concept that ties in with the context where we plan to place our installation in order to create an installation piece that embodies substantial meaning to allow us to later develop on its construction. For our installation, we would like to look into the roots of Nanyang and incorporate its history in the installation to remind students of the initial beginnings of the University.
Our context is Nanyang Technological University (Chinese: 南洋理工大学), a University we are currently studying in at Singapore. Looking into the name of the school, we extracted the keywords, Nanyang (Chinese: 南洋; pinyin: nán yáng), and did a deeper research into its essential meaning. According to oxford dictionary, “南洋”in literal meaning, is known as “Southern Ocean” located at the warmer geographical location of Southeast Asia.
Breaking “南洋” into its individual characters, we derive a couple of adjectives: 南 which means south and 洋 which means vast and extensive.
We would like to refer to the keywords: vast, extensive and ocean/sea/water/fluid as our inspiration for the design of our installation.
As NTU is a University in Singapore, we would like to incorporate some elements from Singapore’s traditional landscape as a memory to share with international students who are unfamiliar of Singapore’s traditional landscape. Kampong is a type of traditional housing in 19th century Singapore’s landscape.
We plan to subtract parts of Kampong architecture and incorporate the parts into the form of our installation design.
On top of the new inspiration for our conceptual installation piece, we would like to retain our initial research into the tension of personal and shared spaces in NTU which we did in previous presentations.
As a recap, we derived the tension of personal vs public spaces from the adjectives: hidden vs noticeable which we picked out from George Perec’s extract in week 1 which we found relatable to students in NTU – Students in NTU are constantly affected by the tension between private and shared spaces in the open environment of NTU.
Also, referencing “Crater Lake” by 24 degrees Studio, we would like to create a space that serves as a meeting place to encourage social interaction among students within and around it.
In addition, these are some suggested links we looked into for the explorations of the tension between interior and exterior spaces:
With our inspiration and references in mind, we wish to create an interactive space within the public space of NTU that provides both values of privacy and social interactivity on top of its significance as a space that reminds students of the school’s heritage.
Construction of Installation (Still in progress)
We have broken down the construction of our installation into three parts: Form, Material and sustainability, and Function and Interactivity.
Our installation takes on a dynamic and extensive form translated from the fluidity of water and symbolic attributes of the Chinese character 洋.
We developed two Designs base on our concept:
Design 2 does not have protruding surfaces that serves the seating function. Instead, it is described by repeated revolving modular panels that are positioned in the same dynamic flow like form 1. The modular panels are inspired by the many vertical wooden pillars that were used to support Kampong houses.
Material and sustainability
For Design 1, our choice of material would be concrete. Concrete is hard, durable and stable, providing a sense of security to its users, serving itself well as a wall that provides privacy to its users.
For Design 2, our choice of material would be a Southeast Asian wood, such as Kapur and Meranti that are often used in the infrastructure of Singapore’s landscape.
Function and Interactivity
Design 2 serves as screens/ walls/ pillars that provides different levels of visibility at different angles and interaction.
The mechanical revolving action of the screens is a possible function that we would like to include into the installation piece.
To summarise, we hope to create an installation that encompasses both private and shared spaces to serve as a common area where students of NTU can seek recuperation/ betterment/ a hide out from the stress and heat of life and provide them with an opportunity to meet and interact with one another within and around the interactive space.
From page 123 of the reading “The Beautiful And The Nice” by philosopher, Vilém Flusser,
Every scientist is also an artist and a politician, every politician is also a scientist and an artist, and every artist is also a scientist and a politician.
I mean like…really? Are scientist, artist and politician all alike? This absolute statement seems to convince us into believing that artist have the power to do what scientists and politicians can do in the world we live today, which is obviously not true. If we read into the context of where this quote lies, we will see more than what we have already seen. Artist have the power to create like politician and scientist does. This ability to create differs as to what we propose to create. What do we as artist propose to create then? We propose to create a unique experience with beauty that appeals to human.
In short: every human communication is an aesthetic one, as it always transmits a model for concrete experience, and in this sense, we are all artists.
Week 3 Presentation
From Week 2, we decided to broaden on the idea of hidden vs noticeable from our Week 1 ideation. Our in-class presentation for week 3 can be visited in this link.
To elaborate on what we have presented on week 3, we have selected a few slides to talk about.
We start off creating a mood board from research on artists, designers and architects who experiment and explore different ways of incorporating materials and forms to convey their ideas and propose an experience. One example would be an uncanny way of using concrete to describe the form of a pillow. Another would be Kengo Kuma’s Chokkura Plaza which was constructed out of preserved stones from its original building.
Next we shared our conceptual direction which is the relationship between Personal and Shared space which we developed from Hidden vs Noticeable.
A mood board is not sufficient to give us an insight into what kind of installation we want to make, so we looked into a few existing installation that deals with the tension of personal and public space in the historical context of a real environment. “Crater Lake” by 24 degrees studio ties in most closely with our initial explorations into human and the act of sitting.
We further developed our concept of “sitting” along with an experience of a private space in a public space with a cocoon concept.
After our presentation, constructive feedbacks were given to us. We decided to return to our initial point of juxtaposing what is hidden and noticeable in a space – creating a space that provides students privacy and a meeting place for social interaction at the same time using sustainable materials that speaks a narrative that is unique to NTU and the students’ life.
There are some other ideas we had yet to explore:
Rejecting our initial direction
We realised that we need an independent direction/ a significant characteristic of our installation that would allow it to stand on its own without a strong dependency on a function to bring out its true value. Function should not be the initial focus of our project. It should not spur our reason to create. Neither should we be focusing on how the object works nor how the form is designed to bring out the most effective utilitarian value. Our idea needs something more significant than a utilitarian value, a material representation and a beautiful form. It needs a reason, a story to tell, a narrative, a unique experience, a memory to speak on its own.
The interactive part of our installation should be anchored by an existing memory which we would look into for next week (week 4).
After our discussion, we picked out a few opposite adjectives from the reading to produce a sketch model for the proposal of an installation in NTU.
The opposite adjectives are: organisation vs chaos, mundane vs abnormal, cause vs effect, hidden vs noticeable.
We did some research work on existing designs and art works to inspire us in the making of our sketch model. We came to the decision of making different iterations of swings to convey the opposite adjectives and to introduce to our audience new ways of seeing the existing objects in an uncanny way. The concept of playfulness and fun came from the thought of making an installation that would bring our audience back to childhood carefree times admist the stressful environment of the University. We re-use “the swing” to evoke a sense of childhood familiarity that all of us have experienced before and re-designed “the swing” by adding more elements to make the familiar unfamiliar and provoke people to question the normalities of “the swing”. “The swing” that is normal to people becomes abnormal as people do not know how to use the iterated versions of “the swing” which they have originally gotten use to.
We made our sketch models out of cardboard, cotton thread and chopsticks. Our initial trial with nylon fishing thread was too stiff and produce a swing that looks stiff.
During our class discussion, we question the swing that has been brought out of what was thought to be normal and we question the act of sitting. Were we suppose to sit? If we were to sit, in what position will we want to sit? What do we want to sit on?
Sitting on the swing is an interaction that comes with a cause and effect – a push and pull that results in our forward and backward movement that repeats in a continuous linear loop.
With our addition through elongation and seperation, we question: What will happen if we lengthen the seat of the swing? Will our audience be able to use it as we planned for them to do so? Will they be willing to share a seat with strangers? What will happen if we seperate a seat in half along the horizontal axis? Will our audience know which half to sit on? Will our audience be able to swing on it?
Another suggestion made in class was to subtract the swing, such that the swing is removed and what is left is just its holding support. This questions: Will people still see the swing as a swing? Will people be able to formulate that what has been left behind use to be a part of the swing?
The swing is an animated object when a human interact with it. It becomes an inanimate object if there is no human interaction towards it. In order to draw attention to our audience, we hope that producing various uncanny versions of the swing would appeal to the thoughtful minds of our audiences and make them want to interact with the swings.
For the later part of the class, we made different sculptures with 10cm x 10cm cardboards, describing different types of nature, namely: Rain (1), Angry Wind (2) and Pinocchio flys out of the whale’s spout (3).
The trip to Harvey Norman was eye opening. I got to notice various trends of household products which I never did before since I don’t frequently change my furniture. TMI: Did I mention that my 20 years old bed frame collapsed a week ago? Well, my dad fixed that up for me so I never need to buy any new furniture…maybe in 20 more years to come.
Two similar products which I saw at Harvey Norman were Dyson Cool Fan and Philips Phone Mira M5501.
Interestingly, white seems to be a new trend colour. My first impression of white was that it makes a great contrast with dirt. That means, if I want to keep my furniture looking clean, I will need to keep up with the cleaning too. As a lazy person, white does not seem like a good choice as it magnify dirty marks found on it and the pure colour may lose its shine to become dull overtime. Now wait a minute, it’s white and not bright orange or soft turquoise?
When did white become a colour?
Seemingly plain and nude without any expression of colour, white can be considered to be the freshest colour with no influence from any forms of expressions. It is said to be a timeless colour. Cool white is said to be the most illuminated colour of blues and greens while warm white the most illuminated colour of yellows and reds.
Quite noticeably, the shape that has been repeated in both designs are circle and race-track oval.
The round shapes of circle and oval suggest gentleness and gracefulness. The play with positive and negative space emphasise greatly on fluidity. Overall, the two products exude a visual sense of elegance and sleek appeal.
While the Dyson cool fan is a matt black or white and matt metallic silver or iron blue, the Philip phone mira is a mix between matt black interior and polish white exterior.
While the matt metallic shine of the Dyson cool fan emphasise on the coolness of its function as a fan, the polish white Philip phone gives it a porcelain appearance that emphasises its pristine condition.
One is a bladeless fan, another is a cordless phone.
Both the Dyson cool fan and the Philip Phone mira are similar in their approach towards innovation – simplicity without compromising on the best results.
On aspects of safety, the external rotating blade has been replaced with an internal impeller. An aligned loop allows air to enter and be propelled out on the other side by the internal impeller with less turbulence. In addition, a hemholtz cavity has been inbuilt to capture and dissipate motor noise.
To learn more about the function of Dyson Cool Fan go here.
On aspects of convenience, cordless phone allows communicators to be away from the telephone base and still continue communication. In addition, the intelligently designed concealed sockets and an internal cable guide hides all cable from sight for a clutter free environment.
To learn more about the function of Philip phone Mira go here.
To conclude, the trip to Harvey Norman allowed me to compare different designs and understand the kind of design that appeals to me more. Furniture stores are definitely a good place to learn about the new trend setter and what aspects of timeless design.
Aesthetics or Form = Function + Human Factors + Emotion
While the form of a product gives it its characteristics, what exactly defines the form of a product?
Under a lecture by my professor, Peer, I learnt that there are three traits affecting the definition of the form of a product.
In terms of industrial design,
What does function mean?
Function is to work or operate in a proper or particular way.
What does human factors mean and what is the relation between human factors and ergonomics?
Human factors focuses on system usability and designing system interfaces to optimize the users’ ability to accomplish their tasks error-free in a reasonable time and, therefore, to accept the system as a useful tool. The discipline is rooted in understanding how people use tools, products, and systems to accomplish desired tasks, and it seeks to eliminate or, at least, manage the human errors that sometimes do occur.
Ergonomics is the study of human performance and its application to the design of technological systems. The goal of this activity is to enhance productivity, safety, convenience and quality of life. Example topics include models and theories of human performance, design and analytical methodology, human-computer interface issues, environmental and work design, and physical and mental workload assessment. Human factors engineering requires input from disciplines ranging from psychology and environmental medicine to statistics.
What does emotion mean?
Design is not necessarily functional and does not necessarily include considerations on human factors. Design is based merely on the senses that the designer intend to stimulate in the user to evoke certain emotion(s). According to Don Norman’s book on Emotional design, it involves the concept on how aesthetically pleasing objects appear to the user to be more effective, by virtue of their sensual appeal. This can be due to the affinity the user feels for an object that appeals to them; due to the formation of an emotional connection with the object.
Now as we have a better understanding of the terms, I would like to share a few products to elaborate on the traits defining their individual forms.
Human Factors as a predominant trait
Even when it’s full, it appears slim and feels comfortable because of its elegant, form-fitting design brought about by the polygonal pattern that enables good grip of the bag to the torso and an adjustable (and comfortable) padded shoulder strap that provides customization depending on a man’s proportions.
Its compact and convenient size makes it wearable for all occasion – while driving, riding a bike, attending a meeting or dining out.
Designers have tested various body positions for the bag to function in a way that gadgets in it are easily accessible and that the bag doesn’t move around the body in uncontrolled directions.
Objects tested have been carefully arranged according to weight, so that one part of the bag would not outweigh another.
The bag is additionally fixed by using a buckle that attaches to the pants, belt or back pocket for more active movements such as cycling.
Baggizmo is made of quality and innovative materials that provide special protection against mechanical or heat damage. It is an abrasion resistant, breathable and waterproof textile. The material is made of hard wearing fabric with good protective properties and a high level of stability. It is pleasant to the touch and can cope with heavy demands and has an attractive appearance. Special mesh structures ensure ventilation combined with good protection.
All the compartments have internal cushioning and are also lined with this innovative material that provide special protection against mechanical or heat damage.
Comfort and carrying convenience have been determined by the choice of the material that clings to the body, but still allows the circulation of air between the bag and the body.
Special attention has been given to the thickness of the straps in order to achieve greater comfort. The width of the straps was defined with respect to the width of the average man’s shoulders.
The space in Baggizmo is rationally organized – the direction and the size of the compartments depend on the size of its corresponding device – which are: a tablet, two smartphones, keys, wallet, power stick, pencil and a pad of paper, etc.
The bag was designed to allow easy access to the gadgets following the natural angle of entry of a hand reaching inside for objects.
In between the compartments there are specially tailored (hidden) passages which allow the charging of a tablet with a power stick or connecting a phone with headphones. A pocket for headphones is placed on the padded shoulder strap. It helps avoid tangled cables while you have your headphones as close as you need – as you sit, walk or drive.
main pocket with compartments for a tablet and two smartphones
nylon webbing and buckle
pocket for power stick or glasses or pocket camera
reverse of the bag with strap for the bike hook shackle
large hidden compartment for a pen, a pad of paper and more
pocket for headphones on the padded shoulder strap
looks good in combination with a range of styles – business, sporty, casual or formal.
Limitations on emotions
I am not being feminist here, but the bag was intended to appeal to men more than woman. It would be better if there is a bag like that that appeals to women because I need serious help with the handling of my gadgets too.
For more information on Baggizmo, go here or there.
Function as a predominant trait
The function of this manual juicer can be observed in the video below. The manual juicer possess the function of juicing various high-fibre fruit and vegetables that may contain seeds or roots.
The manual juicer has been designed in a way that there are no steel blades or sharp edges that will require extra precaution for safety during usage and cleaning up.
There is not much attractiveness to the design other than it appearing like a hard plastic screw. Its green colour emphasizes on its eco-friendly property.
For more information on Konstar Manual Juicer, go here.
Emotion as a predominant trait
Pandora Rose can be used to represent a token of love in different occasions and different ways. Diamonds and shades of gold are precious materials used to construct many kinds of jewellery like Pandora. The rareness and numerous sourcing technique and refining technique of the material adds value to the material and makes them precious. The preciousness of the material is usually used to represent an exquisite gift for a wearer by a giver as a token of love that is treasured between them.
A necklace to be worn around the neck, a bracelet to be worn around the wrist, a ring to be worn around the fingers and a earring to be worn along the ears. Each accessory may carry symbolic meaning of wealth, identity and myths.
Each charm of a Pandora bracelet can be customise by choice, making each piece of jewellery unique to an individual.
Small and durable object that can be hung on a human body without obstructing human activities whilst retaining its inherent quality for a long period of time.
This man is handsome indeed but I was first attracted to the organic and fluid forms of his furniture designs.
Fluid Forms integrating positive and negative spaces
There are so many things I like about Marc Newson’s works. Let’s cut to the chase, isn’t his furniture designs simply brilliant? Take for example the Orgone Stretch Lounge, a companion piece to the Event Horizon Table and the Orgone Chair.
At first glance, I wondered why was the interior of the furniture hollowed. I begin reading more about the set of works on the designer’s website to realise that it was a fluid form that he was trying to achieve through the integration of positive and negative spaces in the presentation of his work.
“Subconsciously, I think I started leaving holes and spaces because it seemed such a shame to cover up some very high-quality manufacturing and finishing. Both the interior and the exterior of the work merge together creating a fluid and utile object with a liminal space that draws the outer surface inside and vice versa: there is an interstice where the interior voids become the exterior legs. I do like the idea of creating negative space within forms.”
While Marc Newson explained that the voids were evidences of high-quality process work, some may say that it wasn’t even necessary to make an effort to show off the interior of the furniture.
Personally, I felt that Marc made a very decent and intellectual approach to exclude the close ends of the organic tubes and leave the pieces hollow. The apparent voids adds a graceful and effortless appearance to the end product.
The form was mentioned to be what Marc was aiming to achieve when he made the Lockheed Lounge in 1988, which was five years back before he had the knowledge and resources to make the Orgone Stretch Lounge, 1993.
He manage to fabricate the form with help from Aston Martin restoration firm near London, where the coachbuilders there were highly skilled at welding, wheeling, and forming, and worked almost exclusively in aluminium.
Another of Marc’s work that I really like is Bucky for its detachable and replaceable function.
Invited by Hervé Chandès to create an installation at the Fondation Cartier in Paris, Marc designed a self-supporting geodesic dome titled ‘Bucky’, measuring about 6.5 meters in diameter. The dome was constructed from individual triangular chair-like units, each one in a different colour (blue, yellow, red, green and pink).
“I called it Bucky after the newly-discovered carbon molecule, the Buckminsterfullerene, which in turn got is name from the way the arrangements of atoms resembled the structures of Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes.”
The hexagonal structure of the Buckminsterfullerene can also be found in many other innovations like our modern football and goal net which we are familiar with.
P.s. Did I mention that Marc Newson Edition of 60 chairs (unnumbered) started its exhibit the same year I was born?
Lastly, I am completely absorbed into the world of fractals looking at Marc’s fractal inspired jewellery design, Julia Necklace.
“One thing that I’d always been fascinated by, like a lot of people, was fractal geometry, because it really underlined my fascination with scale. I like the way certain objects can transcend scale. It’s one thing to try and mimic fractals in two dimensions, but you risk losing the character, which is infinite and utterly irregular. There’s an underlying order but it’s all slightly unexpected, and that’s what gives it its character.”
The endless repetition of fractals are a part of nature that intrigue me as much as it did to Marc. Marc has made use of biomimicry in the representation of the Julia Necklace to exhibit the intricacies and complexities of the design. Although the Julia Necklace appears two dimensional upfront, Marc has deliberately designed the jewellery piece to be asymmetrical (heavier on the left than the right with reference to the image of Julia Necklace, 2009), giving the necklace a sense of unpredictability (appearing different from various perspectives), thus its three-dimensional quality.
To conclude, I really enjoyed reading up on Marc Newson, one of the most influential industrial designer in his time. This Sydney-born multi-disciplinary designer has indeed captivated me and make me want to learn more about what it takes to become an industrial designer.
Before I realise it, this post has become much much longer than my previous post on Naoto Fukasawa (whom I thought I best identified with). I am not going to deny they are both great industrial designers. It’s hard for me to choose, but it is quite clear whom I have grown more interest in. Lets continue to read up on similar industrial designers for our learning.
“Theworst prison would be a closed heart” Pope John Paul II
Papilio Shell, Contemporary chair designed for a garden originated from a shell designed to enhance comfort. I am attracted to its simple yet versatile form resembling a protective helmet like that of an armadillo, a crab or a snail.
I enjoy designs which reminds me of nature. Something about nature inspired work or biomimicry makes a design appear very grounded, rooted in our hearts and mind. Nature is everywhere surrounding us and us surrounding them. In fact I have designed a fashion wearable known as The Armoured Little One, in a module last semester (Technology Art in Fashion),which is inspired by an armadillo shell meant for defense and protection.
The Contemporary Garden chair expresses a straightforward function – comfort, tranquility and freedom. Its curvaceous sides gently hugs our back and waist. Its broad top stretches across our neck allowing us to lean along its edge with ease. The bottom forms an upward curve, ready to embrace one anytime. It tapers slightly to a narrow flat base, which gives it its stable and humble appearance.
You may find out more about the Japanese Designer here. Before I dive in too deep into Fukasawa, I would like to take some time to read up on other designers. Stay tune to more post!
Ewer with parrot is a 15th century stoneware originating from Vietnam.
The stoneware has delicate line works painted in blue-and-white, perhaps a style inspired by the Chinese blue-and-white porcelain.
It possesses an elongated spout that reaches right beneath the rim of its head. The roundness of the rim resonates with the roundness of its belly that is situated at a height about one-third from its base. The position of the belly nearer to the base exudes a sense of stability and strikes a balance with the long vertical body of the ewer.
The spout and the handle appear as two parallel curvilinear rods. Both rods appear to have consistent thickness. While the spout is attach to the ewer’s neck with reinforcement provided by an interconnection using a small piece of s-like clay, the handle splits into a fork at its end and rests tangent to the opposite side of the neck.
At the belly, a patch shaped with four connected arches, resembling a four-petal flower, has been left unglazed unlike the other parts of the stoneware that were glazed in white. The matt surface of the unglazed portion stands out from the fairly glossy glazed surface. The unglazed portion has been treated through methods of piercing and engraving to depict an image of a parrot perching on a branch whilst being circled by foliage. The pierced gaps suggest that the ewer may have served the purpose as a decorative object instead of its preconceived function as a storage jug.
Visit more artefacts at Singapore’s Asian Civilisation Museum today!