In the last post, Heng Tong and I came up with sketches on what we envisioned our installations to be. Upon the sketches, we went on to visualize our concepts in 3D. We also looked into the choice of materials we would want to adopt for our project, memory foam.
We were very inspired by the sofa designed by Ross Lovegrove as we find that it very much fits into the approach that our project is heading towards.
This installation allows students to congregate through the ambiguous form within the installation. The spaces inside will be made up of memory foam which would be infused with our base smell.
Concept (b) – membrane
We envisioned our next concept to be placed near a flat wall at Tan Chin Tuan Lecture Theatre. We find that it would be the most feasible location as it is a walkway that is being utilised the most, and it is also near an open space, hence allowing our base smell to diffuse into the surrounding.
The membrane concept is derived from a concept in the previous post on allowing people to interact with our installation intuitively (playground tic-tac-toe) concept. Through this concept, people will touch the installation while walking past it as it has different textures and contours.
The form is inspired from incorporating the three keywords that we have into the design; Dispersive, Porosity, Flow.
After the previous session with Ker Siang, we have set our minds on the direction we are heading towards, which was to collect smell through interaction instead of collecting a specific smell and then amplifying it through our installation.
We finally moved on to ideating and doing some sketches on how we can implement our ideas through forms. We had an important factor in mind that could make or break our installation, which was how we can invite people to approach and interact with our installations. Another factor was how people actually touch, we went on to observe people around us when they use their sense of touch on things.
Together with these observations, we moved on to sketching out different ideas.
We thought of the tic-tac-toe game which children play with at the playground where they spin cylinders to either X or O to play a game. Through this interaction, we felt that it was a ‘sure-way’ to invite people to actually spin them if it was an installation, and through these interactions, smells would be collected and overtime, a unique smell would be collected.
Working on this idea of spinning a unit on an axis, we developed this to be a wall installation where people could interact with the installation as they walk, which makes it an interaction where they do not need to stop and spend time interacting with it.
Another feature which we chanced upon was when people interact with the installation, these units are constantly changing and when light shines upon the installation, it would cast different shadows at anytime.
However, there are still factors to consider about this idea. 1) Size and shapes of units. 2) How does technology play a part? Or does it even need technology so that it does not complicate the installation?
Another idea was conceived when we watched the movie mentioned earlier, Mystery of the Sense. We came across these scene where particles were reaching the smell receptor. We were very inspired by the form and it relates back to our very initial idea of working with smell.
The idea behind this was, for us human to smell these particles, it has to reach the smell receptor and then information would go directly to the brain. Through this installation, we are making NTU students the catalysts of this product, which means they are the ‘particles’ in that sense, to the giant smell receptor. Through interacting with the installation, smell would be collected overtime and would then create a unique smell.
The structure could be made with a strong material, and sponges can make up the insides of it where people can interact with it.
The last idea was inspired by a cloud. We call it smell cloud. Through the form of a cloud, we can interpret it as something that is always present yet often neglected, just like the presence of smell. A possible way of implementing this could make use of the first 2 ideas, which is to use the spinning action to interact with the smell cloud, or to use a structure and have sponges filled in it to allow interaction to occur.
We have talked about the story behind our concept and what we would like to achieve in the end product for our project, we then went on to look at forms which suggests/ invites different modes of interaction with the artwork.
Previously Ker Siang suggested us to look at how air freshener bottles/ containers were designed, in such a way where it suggest olfactory element within the product.
Upon looking at them, we found that they do have a similar design language as to suggest olfactory element in the product.
One would be the organic form which resembles a flower(?) that they take on so as to convey the message of ‘fresh’ and nice smelling scents. This led us to ponder over the nature aspect of the brief, if we could introduce forms from certain plants/ flowers as an inspiration for the project.
Another design element some air fresheners have are holes as part of their design. This would easily communicate the idea that a product can give off a certain smell. Another practical reason for the holes is that without holes, particles would not be able to be dispersed into the air. We took this design element into our form consideration as we felt that without holes, there would not be exchange of particles and smell would not be effectively given off.
The last element of our observation is the colour selection. Air fresheners tend to utilize bright colours in their packaging as well as their actual olfactory product. We would say that the bright colours used are the colours that can be seen on plants and flowers, again suggesting the ‘fresh’ and nice smelling scents from nature.
Moving on, we went to look at how we can encourage people to approach the installation and interact with it.
Having Verner Panton’s work, Visiona 2, we want to steer the form of our installation to be ambiguous, yet functional at the same time. Having said that, our installation will not dictate any functions, instead we will let the users who interact with our installation dictate its function.
In order to allow the installation to ‘look’ ambiguous, we looked at structures which were made up of patterns. We thought that structural aesthetics will be able to maintain the installation’s ambiguity, and at the same time have space for people to interact with/ in it.
Above images are what we envision the structure of our installation could be. These structures give space for us to incorporate our smell absorbent materials in them, due to maintenance and sustainability considerations.
We also looked at how we would want to encourage people to touch and interact with out installations. As sponges can come in different shapes and sizes (we will look into suppliers or factories if they provide custom-made services), having them to be part of the installation would stand out from the under utilized space. With irregular shapes, people would want to touch and have the tactile experience. We are also looking into how we can mask our smell-absorbents underneath a thin piece of material, so that it can give a different tactile experience and at the same time absorbing smell.
In the last week, we were encouraged to try collecting smells with the use of materials, hence we carried out the experiment shortly after. We used the ‘magic sponge’ that was used for the very first class exercise.
We went around school to ‘plant’ sponges and see if they do actually collect smell.
Objective: Collect various smells around NTU campus through sponge. Duration: 12 Feb 1800hrs – 14 Feb 1000hrs (approx. 40hrs) Material: ‘Magic’ Sponge Weather: Humid, Sunny, sans-rain
Locations: 1) ADM Smoking Area 2) ADM Water Fountain 3) ADM Verdant Turfed Roof aka rooftop 4) Canteen 2 Bus Stop 5) Sheltered Walkway, Opposite Blk 35F 6) Binjai Hall, Umbrella Shelter 7) Graduates’ Hall Bus stop 8) Fire Assembly Area, opposite Graduates’ Hall 9) Lamp Post along running track 10) North Spine Bus Stop 11) North Spine Fast Food Area 12) N.S3 Locker Area
Images of the locations where sponges were placed at:
*Click on images to view larger
In that short 40-hour-span, sponges did collect different smells from the various locations they were placed in NTU. Different parts of the campus do have a distinct difference in smell. Even though some of the sponges collected distinct scents, we were not able to specify the specific scent.
Considerations: 1) Sponges could be wet prior to placement at various locations for possible better absorption of smell. 2) Duration of experiment can be prolonged further, for weather testing.
Possible site exploration:
1) ADM Verdant Turfed Roof under-utilized area, can be considered as an area for congregation, but may disrupt clean greenery feature of ADM.
In the previous week we made two models; one with a fragrant scent and one with a foul smelling scent.
Diving more into the topic of ‘smell’, we went on to do more research.
‘Olfactory filaments that allows a cognitive response to the brain.’
Through our research and observations, we found that smell is an accompanying agent with other senses, and we human acclimatize to smell quickly due to sensory adaptation. Despite being one of the five main senses, smell tends to become a subset of the other senses.
Smell is also subjective, a pleasant scent might not be pleasant to others and vice versa. For example, to us, the foul smell which the Rafflesia gives off, is actually a pleasant smell to attract flies and beetles to pollinate.
We can use smell to identify a certain place or memory, like a prominent perfume scent when we step into A&F, an apparel label, or the smell of machinery when we are in the workshop.
As such, our aim is
To amplify scent as a defining element to a given space.
The first concept was derived from a sunflower, morphing it into a seat which can be shared by the public.
By amplifying the a stalk of the pistils from a bougainvillea flower, this concept is a shelter where people can seek shade or avoid the rain. Similar to the first concept, this concept also gives off an inviting smell to attract people to approach this product.
The last concept, is an idea that was conceived by thinking in another perspective which is to create a smell, instead of a product which gives off a specific smell. This way, the product can possibly be a seat, where a possible material such as a carbon filter sponge which absorbs smell. This would then give the product a unique smell over time, which no other material can give.
– Ideas tend to sway towards a more literal approach
-Concept 3 could be a direction worth diving into
– Possible to look at other materials or methods which can provide ‘smell’
– Smell is a difficult topic to approach due to its subjectivity, yet could be an interesting project to work on
– Look into materials which has natural fragrance or scent, avoid using man-made scents (air-freshener)
– Take into consideration the location where the product can be placed in NTU and how it can benefit the users who interacts with it.
– Have a story which gives the product its value and identity