City of voids – Final city “魂市“


CONCEPT - Unseen city

With our organic and meditative quality of our sound, we would imagine our city to be a closed society of people living a life of reclusive and simple life. The concept of our city is for it to be unseen and hidden, only to be noticed when you stare hard enough.



One of our inspirations was the Chichu Art Museum in Naoshima island, that features famous works of Monet and James Turrell. The architecture of the private art museum was designed and curated by Japanese architecture Tadao Ando, where the entire building was structured to be viewed and experienced like an art piece.

The art museum was incredibly beautiful, where the art works housed in an architectural piece of art created a whole new experience for me. No photos were allowed in the museum which made the experience more meaningful. 
Horizontal cavity in ADM carpark

The museum made use of natural light and angular forms to create different appearances at different times of the day. Thus, we decided to use a deep, angular cavity in the car park, that receives natural light to house our city. The presence of rocky terrain and white, angled surfaces suited our concept of a quiet and calm city.

“Open Sky” James Turrell (2004)

Initially, we wanted to create a hanging box constructed with white walls so that the viewer can “stick their heads in” to view the workings of the city. The white box could blend in with white wall surfaces and stay hidden. A square hole will be cut on the surface, inspired by James Turrell “Open sky”, where light can be reflected on the surfaces and move with the different times of day. However, we could not find any suitable place to hang our box and it did not fit the requirement of a plug in city.


For our modular unit, we decided to create a cuboid voids of vary sizes. Each unit compose the overall structure of our city, where the inhabitants are bound by the implied space.


Inspiration – Antony Gormley’s “Second Body” exhibition

Antony Gormley’s human sculptures is composed of modular cuboid structures, using arrangement and various sizes to imply form and create voids in his playful assemblage. Inspired by his use of modular units, our city will be constructed using the voids bounded by four surface of materials, such that what is seen is different from different angles.



 Constructing modular units  Prototype of arrangement


For our hub, we wanted to arranged the modular units to form an upward spiral, which will be hung in space. I was in charge of arranging the hub, varying the voids form between the units and creating the main void contained within the spiral.



For the habitat, we used modular units of similar shape to create an inverted city, that was supposed to be growing out of the ceiling surface. Nicholas and Zhen Yu made modular units out of art card and Nicholas did the arrangement.


Our highway of our structure is the smoke from incense, stemming from a “prayer circle” where inhabitants meditate on the gravel ground. We used wooden sticks to create a circle on the ground, surrounding an amphitheatre like hole. Zhen Yu made the wooden sticks for our fence. To add a sensory experience, we used jinkoh incense to create a meditative smell.


We decided to hang our city using a white foam board to blend in with the white wall.

Adjusting the angle of hanging elements due to angled ceiling
I used a raised height to angle the elements
Using of duct tape to attach the city
Installing the city
Bad day to wear heels

FINAL – “魂市“

Smoke spirits inhabit the city, hidden away for civilisation. You can’t see them in the day but at night they come out to play.

Incense burning – smoke rises

And we are done!

City of Voids – Final Mood box process


Sound A

For our final mood box, we decided to go with sound A. The quality of the sound is organic and meditative, inspiring our theme of serenity for our final mood box.


While listening to our sound, the sound of the wooden sticks reminded me of a bamboo water feature, especially those found in traditional Japanese gardens. Known as shishi-odoshi (“deer-scarer”), the bamboo mechanism uses the weight of falling water to create a “tak” sound to scare animals away.


The sound of the falling beads of the rain stick resembles the sound of shifting pebbles as people walk upon them. Thus, we adapted two features of the Japanese garden, the water bamboo feature and the rock gravel ground.


To represent the components of our sound visually:
Wood sticks – water bamboo mechanism
Falling beads of rain stick – water/ rain or sound of rocks
Triangle – sphere or spiral

Various ideas:


Proposed Idea 1:

A possible idea I proposed – creating a twisted plane of acrylic sticks to resemble the water sound of the rain stick
How the water bamboo mechanism will be incorporated
Top view

Taking the twisted plane of wool felt from my mood box, a possible idea was to create a twisted plane of clear acrylic sticks for the sub-ordinate.  We decided against this as we wanted the sub-ordinate to be more subtle to highlight the dominant structure.

Idea 2: Assemblage of materials to form voids
I found some references for inspiration on representing the water or rock interpretation of the sound of the rain stick.

Hanging rocks installation by Jaehyo Lee

Chair made out of acrylic sticks by Junpei Tamaki
> Using acrylic sticks vertically to create form of water and voids

We voted against this idea as it was too messy as we wanted to keep it minimal.


Materials and colours – We wanted to use a organic colour scheme for our final mood box, thus deciding on using white and mainly wood. Black was added as a contrast.

Frame – We decided to adapt the the use of wooden frame from Nicholas’ mood box as we are suspending our elements to suggest how sound occupies an empty vacuum.

Dominant – A pathway of three wooden carriages to represent the three beats of the wooden sticks
Sub-dominant – A twisted plane of white beads surrounding the dominant feature
Sub-ordinate – An upward spiral

Auditory and experiential component – Falling marble
We designed the dominant and sub-ordinate feature to interact with a falling marble to recreate our sound (tak-tak-tak-ding).


Initially, we were going to hang our elements with a cross made up of two wooden sticks but it did not give us much space to hang our elements. We decided to use a wire mesh to hang our elements, so I came up with a design of sandwiching the edges of the wire mesh with two wood sticks to hold the mesh. Glue gun was used to fill the space between the wooden sticks.

Initial design for the frame;         Securing the wire mesh

Zhen Yu cutting wood for the frame – Wood cutting expert!
Nicholas drilled holes through the wood

 Constructing the wooden frame for wire mesh
Fixing the cylindrical wood sticks into the drilled holes 

We decided on a diagonally linear pathway of wooden carriages, made by Zhen Yu and Nicholas, for the marble to fall upon. Initially, we wanted to hang the wooden carriages individually, but the pivotal swinging made it hard for the marble to fall on it. Thus, Nicholas made a wire structure to hold the wooden parts together.

Nicholas testing the trajectory with prototypes; Zhen Yu constructing a wooden carriage

Nicholas and his wire mechanism; testing the space within the frame


We decided on using white cloth beads and white wires to create a twisted plane that represented the sound of falling beads and should not take the focus off the dominant component. I beaded and constructed a spiral to be intertwined around the dominant feature.

Stringing the beads; Twisting the wire to create a spiral


For the sub-ordinate, we wanted to create a flat surface made out of metallic tubes but the sound created was too insignificant. Thus, Zhen Yu and I decided to made a upward spiral of hard wire to create a louder sound and catch the marble at the same time. The spiral was spray-painted black to contrast with the lighter colours of our mood box.

Initial sub-ordinate; Prototype design to catch marble


We suspended the elements using nylon string from the wire mesh frame.





Our final mood box represents our organic sound through visual and auditory means, where the key component of our sound is recreated with the dropping of the marble. The colours, materials and minimal design used suit the overall calmness and serenity of falling water we tried to convey.

City of Voids – sound analysis and sketch models

Instruments: Wood sticks, Rain stick and Triangle

Quality of sounds
Wood sticks – short and loud
Rain stick – sounds of falling water, length of sound depends on action and speed
Triangle – long and resounding


Dominant sound: Wood sticks
Sub-dominant sound: Rain stick
Sub-ordinate sound: Triangle

The rhythm of four and a half beats is constructed with a background sound of the falling water sounds of the rain stick. One cycle includes three beats of the rain stick loosely hitting each other follow by one and a half beats of the triangle.

White – one cycle
Yellow – Dominant
Red – Sub-dominant
Green – Sub-ordinate


Wood stick (dominant) – Gold wire > to stand out
Rain sound (sub-dominant)- White wool felt > subtle in the background
Triangle (sub-ordinate) – Red felt ball > Circular to capture resonance

I twisted the sheet of wool felt to create voids in space.

Final Model

top view

Comments (class):

  • The sub-ordinate is a resounding sound, the sphere is too solid and small.
    Edit: could replace the sphere ball with a material, perhaps wire or thread, of a large volume.


Dominant sound: Rain stick
Sub-dominant sound: Triangle
Sub-ordinate sound: Wood stick against table

One cycle is eight beat, with the rain stick being used like a shaker as the dominant beat of “dom chak chak”. The triangle is played after the three beats and at the end of the eighth beat, the sound of wood stick scrapped across table follows the triangle sound immediately.

White – one cycle
Red – Dominant
Yellow – Sub-dominant
Green – Sub-ordinate


As the composition involves individual beats with only slight overlap at the end of the cycle, I decided to create a space composing of individual, thin units.

Rain shaker (dominant) – Thin strips of hard plastic
Triangle (sub-dominant)- Red felt ball
Wood stick (sub-ordinate) – String

I placed the thin strips diagonally, seemingly to interact. 

The sub-dominant is elevated from the side. I used string to capture the rough sound from the wood stick scrapping the table top.


Comments (class):

– The dominant units are too literal, liken the rain sticks.
Edit: Replace with wire or overarching metal sheet with curves following the rhythm.

City of Voids – Research


‘Modular’ means employing or involving a module or modules as the basis of design or construction.

Modular design, or “modularity in design”, is a design approach that subdivides a system into smaller parts called modules or skids, that can be independently created and then used in different systems.

The modules can be added, are interchangeable and removable, are used to create compositions, like lego blocks.


Cells – building block of matter



Anthropologie is a fashion brand whose window displays are filled with huge compositions of different materials, mainly paper and recyclable materials.

Antony Gormley is a fine artist who create human sculptures of various sizes and installations. His human figures are composed of various units of a certain material, using metal blocks or strips. His installations studies the relationship between space and human figures through voids.
Quantum Cloud
Sleeping field, 1993
Domain Field


The design of any system composed of separate components that can be connected together. In modular architecture, you can replace or add any one component (module) without affecting the rest of the system.

Vincent Callebaut Designs Modular Plug-and-Play Housing For Haiti
Italy coastal towns,c_limit/cefalu-sicily-GettyImages-538342835.jpg
“pixelated” luxury condo building in Queens


Mnemosyne’s Scent – Scent Model


2D planes: Straight axis, bent axis, curve axis, complex axis
3D planes: Curve plane, folded plane, twisted plane


Mnenomic: a system such as a pattern of letters, ideas 
or associations which assists in remembering something

Good scent – Argan Oil

Bad scent – The smell of the dentist



Memories of:
– Argan Oil: Reminds me of body oil massage, a moment of relaxation during my trip to Bangkok. Bought a bottle to use weekly.
– Dentist: Connection to pain and fear. Memory of me avoiding the dentist.

Similarities in experience:
– I am lying down in both the body massage and at the dentist, a position of comfort, but experience a difference in emotions due to the smell.
– I would like to capture the similarity of the comfort of lying down in the sculpture and the contrast between smells and feelings.


Chihuly-inspired Faux Glass sculpture – permanent markers to draw on clear plastic cups











abstract metal sculpture


Initial model – I used light blue plastic and a clear plastic base, but i changed it to a white plastic strip.

Final Model

White component – represents the clean smell of the dentist
Clear plastic and gold rim – Represents the smoothness of Argan oil

Colour – White vs. Clear and gold
Texture –  the white component has a more textured and twisted surface while the clear part has a smooth and flowing surface. The bumpy surface of the white component represents the squirmy feeling I get while I am in a dentist’s chair, while the smoothness of the clear part represents the calmness of the argan oil scent
Structure – The white part curves outward while the planes of the clear plastic component curves inward.


Close up

The white part is wedged into the clear base.


Next: Mnemosyne’s Scent Final Project (Group)

Mnemosyne’s scent – Planar construction


2D planes: Straight axis, bent axis, curve axis, complex axis
3D planes: Curve plane, folded plane, twisted plane


Origami art by Paul Jackson

Use of curve and folded planes


Three intersecting planes

Front view
Top View
Side view
Back side
Side view

Blue – Dominant
Yellow – Sub-dominant
Red – Sub-ordinate

Direction of curves:


– The height of the sub-dominant should vary from the height of the sub-ordinate.
– Sub-ordinate should face upwards instead of downwards.

Edited model:

Front view

Edits: Change in texture of the sub-dominant, sub-ordinate becomes thinner and is build upwards.

Side view
Side view
Top view
Back view

Blue – Dominant
Yellow – Sub-dominant
Red – Sub-ordinate

Direction of planes:


coming soon

Gaia’s Ikebana – Process and Final


2 sketch models composed of a sphere, cone and cylinder. I played with the contrast between the diagonal axis of the cylinder in both sketch models and the smaller sphere and cone components.








morimono ikebana

‘Morimono’ is the ikebana arrangement composed of fruits and vegetables.

I am more interested in the arrangement of spherical and tubular objects such as fruits and vegetables compared to the traditional medium of ikebana. Inspired by the vibrant colours and the use of a few elements to bring out the quality of the fruit or vegetable.


Our task was to create a composition of 5 elements with one branch, a cone, sphere and cylinder each and “something else”. My picked theme was the season AUTUMN. 


Going with the idea of seasonal produce and to tie in with the theme of ikebana, I sourced for autumn-harvested fruits and vegetables in Japan. I filtered out fruits and vegetables with warm colours (red, orange, yellow and brown) to fit in better with the theme of autumn.

Fruits – Persimmons, Kabocha (pumpkin), Pears, Chestnuts
Vegetables – Mushrooms

Initial ideas: A morimono composition using autumn produce

Comments given – diagonals should be considered more, should not dive straight into ikebana arrangement


An autumn activity after the harvesting of persimmons in Japan is drying them. Persimmons are left out in autumn temperatures to dry to preserve and store through winter. The hanging action of the persimmon served to be the main inspiration for my ikebana compositions.

The individual hung persimmon serve as study of diagonals between the cyliner, cone and sphere equivalent of the fruit.


I decided to capture the act of drying of autumn fruits in one composition, contrasting the fresh and dried fruit. The local supermarket didn’t sell fresh and dried Japanese persimmons, so I went with other autumn fruits that were in season – figs and nectarine (In the US). I bought some dried Chinese herbs that contain dried figs and dates.

For the branches, I picked out branches that are darker in colour to fit the autumn theme.


I used a wire mesh to create a netted cylinder to hold the branch diagonally. The fresh and dried are hung beside each other on the branch to create contrast between the act of gravity and the diagonal branch.

The act of hanging is established using string, similar to the ones used in persimmon drying. I chose to keep the composition simple and minimal to focus on the shape and action of the fruits.

Sphere – Fresh fig
Cone – Dried fig
Cylinder – wire mesh
Something else – string


Sketch Analysis:
Dominant – Branch
Sub-dominant – wire mesh and fresh fid
Sub-ordinate – string and dried fig

COMPOSITION 2 – nectarines & dates

I used the dried date to represent the dried version of the nectarine as they were similar in colour and relative size.

I played with the act of hanging of dried date with the fallen nectarine on the bottom. The diagonals of the branch and stick are interacting on one plane, while the lines of the string are on other intersecting planes.

Sphere – Nectarine
Cone – dried date
Cylinder – wooden stick
Something else – String

Sketch analysis:
Dominant – Branch
Sub-Dominant – stick and nectarinee
Sub-ordinate – string and dried date


Comments – Composition 1: change the angle of wire mesh as it is along the same plane as the branch


Composition 2: 


Pandora’s box – Modifications & Process (Part 2)


The sub-ordinate was made to pierced through the sub-dominant of the model, however, this made the model gain stability and lose the feeling of tension. Thus, I modified the model for the sub-ordinate to be horizontal and wedged by the side of the dominant and cradled by the sub-dominant.


Materials used for final:

The sub-ordinate should be made thinner and made of a strong material to support the sub-dominant. I intend for the sub-dominant to be made of a heavy material (preferably stone or cement) in contrast with a hollow and lighter dominant, to intensify the tension. The dominant will be made using acrylic or wood.

Testing the effect of brass:

Brass was ideal to hold the sub-dominant and dominant.

Using plaster for sub-dominant:

I decided to use plaster for the sub-dominant as I wanted something  heavy (initially, either stone or cement). As plaster is quick-drying, I chose to use it instead.

Mold for plaster casting
Attaching the sub-ordinate onto the mould for cradling
Pour plaster mix into mould
Dry overnight
Test model

The plaster was too heavy to be supported by the bass strip and hollow acrylic cuboid. Thus, for the final model, soft clay will be used to create the illusion of weight with similar texture to plaster.

Acrylic box for dominant:

I tried using blue acrylic for the dominant (an aquarium). The finishing was not good as a glue gun was used. Acrylic glue will be used for the final.


Pandora’s box – Model 1


I defined tension  as evoking a sense of uncertainty and insecurity, that acts to create suspense. Using the act of pulling by gravity, I gingerly balanced the sub-dominant component to slightly levitate above the ground, to create instability. The connecting sub-ordinate was asked to be as thin in width as possible to create the illusion of hanging and balance upon a thin surface, amplifying the tension of the floating component versus the rootedness of the dominant component.

Front & Back view

Side views

Top view
Bottom view


 Red- Dominant, Blue – Sub-dominant, Yellow – Sub-ordinate


To compose a more complex structure, I used piercing by extending the sub-ordinate through the sub-dominant component. The subordinate is also wedged into the dominant surface.

Problem: By extending the sub-ordinate, it gives more stability to the structure but contradicts the theme of tension. Previously, the sub-dominant structure was hanging upon a point, creating more tension.