The phrase that I got from the Pandora’s box was “the golden rule”, or probably better known as the golden ratio.

It was hard for me to illustrate that since I had no idea about it before, so I conducted a research and tried to make something based on my interpretation.  In mathematics, two quantities are in the golden ratio if their ratio is the same as the ratio of their sum to the larger of the two quantities. So basically the fraction of the length of object A compared to object B should be similar to the fraction of the length of object B compared to object C – the golden rule is all about fractions.

Taken from


Based on that interpretation, I have made a few models. I tried to use all similarly-looking boxes in a model, so I can emphasize the comparison of the fractions more easily.


Model 1

[Red – dominant, blue – subdominant, yellow – subordinate, green line – principle axis]

I used all the slender, lean-looking boxes for this model.The sizes of the boxes were quite good in my opinion, since I can tell the different roles clearly.

The application of golden rule here is that the ratio between A to B is roughly the same compared to the ratio between B to C (refer to the picture), which is roughly 0.55.

However, the fraction is too great since now the length of B is more than half of C. Ideally B should be around one-third to half of C. Similar idea needs to be applied to A as well in regards to B.

At first, I feel that the positioning is okay since I can see all three boxes from every different angles. However, the placement is actually a mess; I completely disregard the rule of thirds . Ideally, the subdominant should be shifted a little bit more to the right and up so it is placed at the intersection of the imaginary grids. As for the subordinate, I should either move it to the left more or to the right.



Model 2

[Red – dominant, blue – subdominant, yellow – subordinate, green line – principle axis]

For this one, I used the slightly bulkier types of boxes. The roles of the boxes are quite clear although the subdominant and subordinate can be made smaller.

I used a slightly different calculation for this one. Instead of comparing the same length (i.e. longest axis for all), I compared the longer side of the dominant box to the shorter side of the subdominant box. Basically, instead of comparing B with D (see the picture above), I compared A with B instead. In this model, A and B roughly have the same length, and C and D also roughly have the same length.

However, due to that calculation, the non-dominant boxes become too big, so that comparison cannot work.

Again, I ignored the rule of thirds in the placement; they are almost there, but not quite. The subdominant box needs to be shifted up a little and the subordinate needs to be shifted left or right – preferably left, so it would be “protruding” out and easier to see from other angles.



Final Model

For the final model, I based it off the first model since the proportions for the second one don’t work well.

I was excited to make the final model with the actual materials because of the idea I had.

My idea is to make a puzzle box. To put it simply, in order to open the dominant box, the whole entity needs to be disassembled first (the non-dominant boxes have to be taken out first).

Material used: wood (covered with black paper and black marker), semi-transparent paper, wood (covered with bronze paper)


From one side, the subordinate box is hidden. The idea is that since the subordinate box acts as the “key” to unlocking the whole thing, I feel like it will give a more mysterious effect if the key isn’t immediately spotted.

The subdominant is semi-transparent to balance the opacity of the wooden boxes.

At first I wasn’t sure I could make an actual, working puzzle box (although technically, this one can’t work too…) so I was thinking of just using plain solid wood box as the dominant, then I would just wedge the other two boxes in. However by chance I found the required materials, so I just needed to do some sawing and covering-up (they still took me hours and they still don’t come out perfect. Sorry for bad crafting skills).

The so-called mechanism is just attaching things to the boxes. For the subdominant box not to be able to come out, I put a piece of wood as stopper. For the subordinate box to act like the key, I attach a hook to lock it with the subdominant box.

This is roughly how it works.

When the dominant box is opened, you can see reflective paper at the bottom of the box. I thought it was a great idea because the exterior of the box is all black (which gives a mysterious feeling), and reflective paper is somehow contrasting the all-black idea.


It’s not very obvious, but it’s reflective paper. Ignore the bad crafting skills.


It’s like human life! Life is mysterious and full of “puzzles” (pun intended) to solve. When you solve those “puzzles”, you can learn more about yourself… you can do some “self-reflection” (again, pun intended)!


Real-Life Application (besides a punny puzzle box): accessory box and fitting room.



In hindsight, I really enjoyed the process of doing this project (although it stressed me out as well). I learned a lot more about design, about how to keep things visually interesting and eye-catching. Instead of playing around with size and mass, the use of different materials or colors can also shift people’s attention.

I also learned that planning is an important part in designing in order not to waste time and material, although even when you finish designing something, that doesn’t mean you can’t make amendments to it. (Like my idea at first; I just made the basic parts first. I added the holes in the SD and the hook in the SO afterwards.)

I do realize that my crafting skill is very lacking, so I hope in the next assignments I can improve on that. Nevertheless, it had been a fun ride.



Hope (noun): a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen.


Materials: ink on paper, powder


For me, hope is more like a glimpse of light in the darkness. It is telling you to not give in to your troubles, to the darkness inside you. From that, I had the idea to make the paper pitch black and add a strike of white.

At first I tried white paint mixed with water, but since there was too much water, it didn’t work out very well. It puddled instead. Then I tried using powder, which was quite difficult since it wouldn’t stick as I wanted to to the paper, but it turned out quite well in the end. I wished the corner could be brighter, though. I tried to add more powder, but they wouldn’t stick; and I didn’t want to use other materials like paint or correction fluid because I didn’t want to make it seem as if there were different “ideas” for hope. I tried putting some correction fluid on paper and spraying powder around it, and they looked like two separate entities.

I chose to position the white part at the bottom corner since I was inspired by the Greek mythology, Pandora’s box. In the myth, when the box (actually it was a jar called pithos and not literally a box) was opened, evils came out, and hope remained inside. My idea is that hope was “left” at the bottom of the box inside the darkness, all alone, yet still glimmering.




Longing (noun): a yearning desire.


Materials: tissue paper, glue


I had a difficult time trying to portray longing. For me, longing is the feeling of wanting something and reaching out to it. After researching more, I found out that unlike desire, when someone longs for something, he or she doesn’t necessarily do anything actively to achieve their wants.

Another difference is that longing might be a want for something that cannot be achieved. Going by the second definition, I put nothing at the end of the “tentacles” reaching out, because people might long for something that might not even exist in the first place, or something they already have.

I chose tissue paper due to its transparency. By putting it against gray paper, the tissue can be barely seen. The same thing goes for longing; not everyone knows what other people are longing for, or even what they themselves are longing for. I actually tried using transparent keyboard protector, but after I cut them into pieces, their shapes looked very controlled and that wasn’t what I was going for, so I just discarded the idea.




Frustration (noun): the feeling of being upset or annoyed as a result of being unable to change or achieve something.


Materials: pencil lead, glue


I chose to make up-and-down, zig-zag lines to represent frustration. In my opinion, frustration is when you are trying hard to find a solution to a problem that bothers you, and trying to stay calm at the same time; hence the line looks calm and normal at first. However the lines gradually get messier since you keep trying to stay calm but you can’t. In the end, when you can’t hold back anymore, all the lines just meshed up, disturbing your thoughts.

At the end part, the change from three lines to one huge line might seem very rushed; but I want to show the “snap”, the sudden trigger that makes someone lost calmness all at once.

At first I tried making this using ink and plastic knife, and it actually turned out very well. However I wanted to experiment with materials, and I felt that pencil lead was a good choice since it was easy to break and could form lines. They weren’t easy to manipulate as the glue kept sticking to my fingers, so I spent quite some time on it, but I’m pretty satisfied with how it turned out – although I feel like I could still improve it.




Surprise (noun): an unexpected or astonishing event, fact, etc.


Materials: ink on paper, straw


Surprise wasn’t easy for me to portray either. For me, surprise is when something doesn’t go according to your plan or against your expectations.

I was just trying out things for fun when I made this; I mixed ink with some water, sucked them using a straw, and dropped the mixture from a height. They created a nice splatter effect, and I liked it, although they weren’t so special. When I was about to carry it back to the table (I did it on the floor to reach greater heights) (it wasn’t intended to be a pun), I tilted it and hence, they flowed sideways.

After that, I actually made another one where the spillage flowed downwards, but the splatter effect wasn’t as nice, and I felt that the first one was more “surprising”, simply because it is unexpected for the ink to spill sideways – against the gravity.

I wanted to make the paper all black and create a white splatter in the middle at first. However, I thought that would be very similar to my “Hope” piece, so I dropped the idea.




Anxiety (noun): a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.


Materials: ink on paper, water bottle cap


I am a very anxious person, so anxiety is actually one of the easiest emotions for me to portray. Anxiety, to me, is the presence of “but”s in your mind. It is when you overthink a problem so much that a simple 1+1 question can lead you to think of quadratic formula, driving you away from the answer.

At first I tried using the other type of bottle cap (the one with teeth), but they didn’t come out nicely. So I used the water bottle cap and it actually gave me the anxiety idea. I dipped the side part of the cap in ink and rolled it with the help of my hand. It is interesting to see how the lines don’t go straight although they can reach the end of the paper quickly if they just go straight. Moreover, the ideas of the lines intercepting each other also represent how overthinking a problem leads to another.

The circles were actually an accident; the bottle cap stumbled sideways as I rolled them. At first I was anxious about it (yes, I said anxious on purpose) but then I decided to let it be, because the circles represent distractions well. When you worry about something, you got distracted from the original problem; you don’t know what started your racing thoughts anymore. You just know that you are worried, and that now you’re worried about something you’re not even thinking about in the first place.

After my first time making “Anxiety”, I actually considered making it more 3D by using other materials; but then I thought that the “flatness” of the piece could represent “inactivity”. When you spend too much time worrying, you spend less time working on the problem.




Isolation (noun): the process or fact of isolating or being isolated.


Materials: pepper, glue


The idea for this actually came from a song – Starlight by Muse. It’s one of my favorite songs.

This is the idea that I worked the longest with. At first, I just made a black circle in the middle of nothing, but I didn’t like how it turned out. So I tried making some black circles on paper, but they didn’t capture the idea very well also since it cannot be seen whether the circles are touching or not.

For me, isolation is a situation when someone is completely alone. It’s not exactly a feeling of loneliness because when you’re lonely, you’re reaching out for other people; but when you’re isolated, you’re just alone. It’s more like an observation.

Since I related this more to human interaction, I wanted to use something like grains or seeds to represent humans, and separated one grain or seed from the others. Since I didn’t want to buy anything (I was scared I would waste them since I don’t cook in hall anyway), I took packets of pepper from… McDonalds. I took a few handfuls of them and went home as if nothing happened.

The pepper stuck pretty well to the paper, although if you touch it, some will definitely come off. However if you shake it, little to no grains will come off, so it was enough. I thought it would be hard separating a grain of pepper and making it obvious enough to see, but it was not as difficult. In order to emphasize the “isolation” of the grain, I made a larger empty space around it.


I learned a lot of things from this project; that research is always a good idea, that expressing emotions is difficult, and that different people can portray the same emotion differently. Above all, I had a lot of fun.