A Kinetic Beast Finalisation Part 1

After a tedious process of taming the beasts, we finally understood how our designated animals interact, individually and together. Minjee and I came together with our final project-  

The Purifier.

Do check out Minjee’s OSS for part 2 on our explorations, challenges, and future projections. https://oss.adm.ntu.edu.sg/minjee001/croc-plover-behind-the-scenes/

The link redirects to our PDF to summarise the entire project:


final submission

Product Brief:  Our kinetic installation named The Purifier, is an amalgam of the quiet aggression of a crocodile and the perky routines of a plover bird.

It is a moving platform constructed with a Japanese “deer fountain”  pivot that directs hot water down a scaly acrylic board brushed with thermo-chromatic paint. 

The pivot represents the plover bird‘s plucky energy of pecking incessantly at the crocodiles‘ teeth. The slanted scale mimics the body of a crocodile,  slowly and gently floating on water while being cleaned up by the plover bird. It hides its sharp teeth within its scale exoskeleton.

Meanwhile, both animals share an affinity with warm temperature, where the plover bird uses the heated water to lay eggs and the crocodile uses its back scales to source out heat. We chose to represent this common trait with colours that changes according to temperature. And hot water is a concept that is  physically and aesthetically charged with energy.

The process of starting this installation starts from funnelling hot water down onto the peak of the pivot, which the water accumulates weight against the balance point and eventually pours out. The hot water brings the “plover bird” down to the “crocodile” and trails down the slope. The hot water seeps down the acrylic, turning the acrylic from dark green to yellow as it moves along protruding edges, slithering like a crocodile.

The hot water sliding off the acrylic propels the installation away.


                         添 水                          

movement of pivot
colour changing to heat

ocean purifier

After much consideration, we realised that there was one obvious function that this installation could be broken down into- Cleaning. 

The very fundamental relationship between the crocodile and the plover bird stems from the plover bird eating flesh off the crocodile who just lies in the water stale and awaiting for a chance to pound. This could not point further than an ocean purifier.

The Ocean Purifier is a futuristic device that is self functioning, afloat the ocean.It moves around the ocean without manual control, filtering the ocean clean of pollution. Dirtied water spirals down the polygonal funnel, splitting into the magnetic pivot filters, picking up metal scraps. The water then moves down into the jagged base,  where bigger chunks of junk are retained. Technology is advanced and the jagged base releases a non-toxic chemical that purifies the water. It changes colour the moment water touches it, becoming visually stunning whilst in a concept that is often seen “dirty”

To accentuate this idea and installation, many explorations were done and those can be found on Minjee’s OSS. The process of making this installation functional was tedious and that will be explained below.

Plover’s Pivot

Minjee started out with a great abstract representation of the plover bird that funnels water as it moves along a pivot, much like a water wheel. We later found out that this was a concept commonly known as a “deer fountain” or sōzu which is commonly used to frighten crop pests away. We took a while to understand and harness the concept of balance, our attempts are shown below. 


more failed attempts
successful attempt

We realised that this entire structure is based on balance and weight. The pivot is a beam lined with an off-centred balance thats heavier behind. This creates a default position of perking upwards like a bird shown in the sozu shown below. The water’s weight when accumulating on the beam pushes it downwards and releases the water. We realised the reason why our model did not work efficiently was because it lacked space below the beam. This meant that the beam lacked space for the pivot to rotate down and move up, losing ability to gain momentum. We picked up on it and adjusted the model’s height accordingly.

perspective view

Crocodiles Scales

The crocodiles’ scales were less restrained with technicality, since it is just mainly acrylic shards with thermo chromatic paint. The crocodiles’ scales thus changes colour according to the heat. Our initial model was abstracted scales that rises with water, which we eventually turned into a flat plane where water floated on, which is further abstracted into protruding spikes. The spikes allow the water to flow around in a slithering pattern, instead of one smooth flow.

initial colours- dark green
heated colour- yellow

On the day of presentation, the scales turned yellow 1 minute into standing outside. This immediacy and adjustment to heat is representative of this dynamic ability of the crocodile.

perspective view

The shards are placed at an angle that allows the water to flow in a slithering position. They are also placed at an angle such that the water can flow over.

Initially the thermo-chromatic paint was lined over the plover bird instead of the crocodile. It was meant to have the bird change colour when the hot water funnels down. Instead, we decided that the water flowing over the crocodile’s back would be more visually engaging.

We realised that the thermo-chromatic paint (which is actually heat-sensitive nail polish) turns transparent when heated. We had an issue earlier on as we realised that the black paint turns white, which is coincidentally the colour of the plover bird model.

plover changing colours


To further elaborate on the movement of the animals within this installation:

The crocodiles’ movement is represented as the slithering motions of the trailing water hot water, leaving a line of yellow amongst the dark green acrylic. It is also represented in the floating motion of how a crocodile hunts, snout above the water. More subtly is the representation of having teeth underneath the acrylic board, which will be discussed further in part 2.

The plover bird’s movement is the pecking action of picking out meat from the crocodiles teeth, just a routine action of falling up and down.


A crocodile prototype

In the eyes of a crocodile

With the information we have from our research process, we attempt to create a model that moves in the eyes of the kinetic beast, much like Theo Jansen’s Strandbeests.

Breaking down the movements of a crocodile, I summarised it into two main movements: the slithering pattern inherent in its streamline body as well as the concurrent movement of opposite front leg and hind leg.

Refer to the diagram from the previous research process.

Slithering starts with floating in the middle of the water, then paddling
Concurrent movement of opposite legs





The first prototype attempts to investigate the slithering pattern inherent in a crocodile’s streamline body. This movement is only allowed with the flexibility of the pivotal mechanisms of the spine. Hence, I tried to apply it to the model by building it into two sections.

Isometric drawing of model



Explaining the process of the machine, I used a wind-up mechanism to create movement. The rubber band is tied to the turnable rig that extends into the wheel. The rubber band is tied tightly onto the rig as well. Hence, when the rubber band is turned by the rig, it converts the kinetic energy of the spin into potential energy stored in the elastic band, shown in the diagram above. When released, the prototype mimics a wind up toy or pull back motor, and moves forward with the rubber band’s potential energy released as kinetic energy. The movement forward is enhanced with the paddles inserted into the wheel of the prototype. The loose spine connecting the two sections help to create the slithering movement of a crocodile.


Test drive

The prototype did not work well as the foam was too light. This made the prototype float above the water, resulting in a weaker albeit moving motor. The prototype only moved a short distance and did not slither as much as I envisioned. I added wood panels to the bottom in later adjustments.

top view
side view



I realised that the current equipment I have set up for the wind up mechanism is too weak, despite trying out different rubber bands of different elasticity. I tried latex rubber band, generic red rubber bands and hair band as well. Hence, I decided to change up into something else, and maybe work on the second movement- concurrent movement of opposite front leg and hind leg.

With the set-up above, I utilised gears to create different directions of movement. With the central gear acting as the main source of movement, it creates different direction between the top left leg- hind right leg and the top right leg-hind left leg. This concurrent movement of gears mimics how a real crocodile moves. This set-up would be useful if its morphed with the first prototype’s streamline shape, using either elastic band or wind energy to power the motor.

1st attempt
2nd attempt


In the end, I was sick and didn’t attend class. However, Minjee did update me on the feedbacks given by Cheryl. Hence, we listed the characteristics down and planned how our final work would encompass, which are: Bobbing up and down the water like a crocodile, pecking of the plover bird and changing of colours with the temperature.  Do take a look at Minjee’s OSS for the understanding of her plover bird prototype, in comparison for the mutualism relationship it shares with a crocodile.

A Kokopelli’s Sound Shaper part 2- Finalisation

After the first review, we had a lot more interesting ideas given by Cheryl as well as the class. We know that there were a few changes necessary to make the final work even better, as listed below:

  • Remove the “kaze” shell that covers the inner mechanics of the final product

  • Tighten the mechanics and ensure that parts and pieces do not fall out of place

  • Install a “pin ball” mechanics to amplify the sound that runs through the final product.

First review

We thought it was interesting to have a pin ball machine installed on the back of the final product as through this way we could control how long the sound can be shaped into. However, it would be a hard task as the design is structured to serve a specific function, which is to mimic a Japanese fan-like wings. In attempts to creating a  pin ball machine at the back, we would have to structure the space properly to ensure maximum efficiency.



Pinball Machine Brainstorm

We added wooden panels into the design as we intended to create a stronger percussion/acoustic sound when the marble is dropped into the system. It emulates a pinball machine, with each panel placed slanted at an angle to facilitate the marble falling into funnel catchment area.

First Design
Wooden Stoppers

Apart from the usual wooden flanks to direct the pin ball down, we inserted small wooden poles into the system, this is to create a longer soundscape as the marble has to move through the wooden poles to reach the catchment area, shown above.

wooden planks

The placement of the wooden planks are also interesting as we had to place it at angles where the marble can flow down smoothly and making sharp and strong sounds, without being stopped at any point.

final pin ball layout
experiment with planks

We experimented with bamboo poles by heating it, allowing the fibres to be softened enough to bend. This bend allows the marble to roll and create an undulating sound of movement, however, it didn’t work out. We also tried to use the curved bamboo pole to hold down the pipe that serves as a tubing for the marble, but that didn’t work very well in terms of enabling dexterity.

Softening the hose

We also used the heat gun to make the hose more malleable, creating the tubing that directs the marble into the pin ball system.


Hole in tube

We used heat gun to soften the hose, which allows us to easily cut through it to create a hole that allows the marble to fall out of. This hole becomes the input that directs the marble downwards, through the pinball machine.


These wooden poles or planks act as redirection method common in most pinball machine. They not only elongate the sound of the final product, but also allow us to create a composition of mix and matches of sound. For example, the sound of the marble hitting the poles or the sound of the marble rolling down the wooden plank at an angle.

catchment area

We created a catchment area through the shape of a funnel that is detachable. We called it the cartridge. This cartridge allows us to insert it into the base of the product when catching the marbles. However, when we are restarting the pin ball system, we can take it out to transfer the marbles to the other cartridges.


The final composition of the pinball machine as shown above.

The Cicada’s wings


spreading of the cicada wings

The video above shows the demonstration, as well as final presentation of the cicada wings. The clip highlights the sound achieved with the final product.


perspective drawing of the product with kokopelli
joel as the secret cicada
spreading the wings
perspective drawing draft

Range of movement and sound lexicon


sound lexicon

Learning Points

Although the presentation wasn’t fantastic in terms of the execution, where the marbles did not come out of the system efficiently, we understood that there were errors in the choice of material. This choice of material could have been more sustainable and dexterous, such as wooden panels pointed out by Cheryl after our post-mortem check.

Wood would have been an easier material to create a sturdier structure in terms of holding everything together. The acrylic board and styrofoam of our product did not hold together due to prolonged wear and tear. It was functional in terms of its intended mechanism so that is good.

A crocodile king and his dentist

A description of a crocodile and plover bird’s perspective, senses and movements.

Billabong King Crocodile-  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfcUXdWIyaA

The King looks for lunch (03:58)

The Billabong King Crocodile is a massive creature, scaring the little crocodiles in the river with his status as the alpha crocodile. He stares into the murky water, waiting for the right time to ambush the tinier crocodile. The Kings eyes, ears and nose are built on the top of his skull, allowing him to see, hear and smell even though he is completely submerged. His acute sense of smell allows him to smell food distances away even when the water is too murky to see anything. He stays afloat in the middle of the river, motionless like a statue. Swift but quick, he sneaks up the little crocodile with food and slams hard into the little crocodile, forcing it to release the food.He relies on his acute sense of judgement, a force imbedded into him by nature, judging whether a particular situation is necessary for him to react or not.

The Billabong King is graceful in the water, swerving from left to right like a snake slithering on land. Its tiny arms gently raised afloat in the water, not touching the ground at all. With one push, it propels forward like a jet of water, ambushing the little crocodile. It grabs onto the duck with its jaws, locked shut. It unlocks its jaws and allows the duck to be swallowed whole, it munches and munches, finally swallowing the last of the visible feathers. Satisfied with its recent meal, it slowly seeps back into the river bed, descending down with grace.

The Egyptian Dentist Mr Plover (2:10)

The Plover bird- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LT2TCARZmE

Mr Plover the Dentist came flying over, even though Mr Plover normally only helps African Crocodiles, deciding to comfort the King after hearing his sad life.He flew over the vast sky, but flying against the wind current was too difficult with his tiny little body. He went down a few metres to the gentle wind, gliding over the forest with breeze. The rustling of the tree could be heard as Mr Plover flew through tree branches with ease. He saw the King

Mr Plover sits on the King’s opened mouth, picking out food for himself, while cleaning the King’s mouth at the same time. The King was due for an infection. This was mutualism as both the King and Mr Plover benefitted. This is a symbiotic relationship.All Mr Plover could see was the darkness that began from deep within the Kings throat, pinkish hue that brightens out into the gummy flesh. Each and every peck chirping onto each tooth- and the King had many teeth. Mr Plover held onto his footing by grabbing on one big tooth for support. The roof of the King’s mouth became a shelter for Mr Plova to hide from the sun, pecking away while the King laid absolutely still, in case he got hungry again.

The King has a throne fight (8:08)

The King swims around the river with his eyes above the surface, patrolling his territory. He swerves from left to right, gently, just so to focus on the environment for enemies or potential mates. His movements start from his snout, jiggling in a wave-like motion to his tail, in an undulating S-shape. The moment he spots a foe, he slips back into the water like a shadow disappearing upon touching light. He reappears in front of the enemy, staring into each other, motioning in circle to test out each other’s patience. No one blinks.The king raises his scaly body that is covered with hardened scale to intimidate the enemy, only to receive an equal response. He uses his massive tail to slam the challenger, swerving a whole 360 degrees. The enemy gets pushes back a whole metre. The king wins. He follows and pursuits the challenger, with his head above the water and nothing else but ripple following his movement, similar to a jet-ski propelling overthe water. The loser swims away in a desperate plea.

The King finds a Queen(10:49)

The King travels a great distance to find the rumbling sound made by his potential Queen. The King blows bubble out of his snout to increase his libido, enticing the Queen. Bubbles made it adequate. The Queen raises her snout, allowing the King to come and make royal babies with her. (Censored)

The Queen finds a home on land(13:37)

It is a pity that the Billabong King Crocodile is destined to live a life of solitude. He leaves the Queen to fend for herself and  the Queen went off finding a home for the children and her. She paddles across the river with her eyes above the water level, this time with less grace and agility. The Queen steps out of the water and  onto the land to set up her home, fiercely protecting the nest she built. She waddles alternately with her front left leg-hind right leg, and from right leg—hind left leg. Pop and 80 eggs came out. It was too dark to see anything.

The King misses her (15:50)

Its the morning after she left. The King cannot move as it was too warm. He just laid there motionless on the ground. The nearby wallaby came out to play while the king was motionless on the ground, where he was slow and weak. The King goes into the water, lurking in a distance, staring at the every movement of the wallaby. The strategy of the King is clear now, looking from a far, proceeding over by lurking within the water, hardly a ripple, and then jumping out with his jaws open at 12 meters per second. Breakfast. He swerves from left to right with the wallaby in his jaws, again in an elastic S-shape, tearing the wallaby into pieces.

(24:15)  The King cannot move on a hot day. He depended the vessels on his scaly back to be heated up by the sun. This meant that he couldn’t move for a long while. He just laid there by the riverbed, with his jaws ajar, staring into the distance for preys or predator. He opened his mouth to cool down and  could then thin clearly from the heat.

The Young Prince (28:30)

A few months past and the hatchlings broke out of the shell. The little prince has to withstand the. cruel world and try to survive. The only difference between the Prince and the King is that the Prince can only hunt for food on land. He is an adaptable hunter by blood. He waddles across the muddy field, chasing after mudskippers and crabs, who are much easier and less mobile targets, albeit satisfying. He pops his head forward to eat the mudskipper, and promptly plod back into the water.

A fertility deity (updated)

1. Frog hearing versus human hearing

2. Chosen human body part and its movements

3. Two sound and sound fabric analysis

4. Kokopelli's "first fabric" incorporated with

   human movement and sound

5. Sound lexicon

Researching on how frogs and humans hear, I realised that there is a great deal of similarities on how both auditory system function. Represented by the diagrams below, it is apparent that frogs do not have outside ears to direct the sound waves into the inner noggin, in comparison to the humans who have outside ears that act as funnels. However, both humans and frogs have central ears, inner ears and ear drums that carry out the hearing capabilities.

In scientific terms, humans have the outer ears, which is the pinna that acts as a funnel that tunnels the sound wave into the external auditory meatus (central ear), which then creates the sound in the tympanic membrane or ear drums. In comparison to the frogs, this organ is absent and auditorial function happens without it.

Anatomy of Frog ears



Assigned body parts: eyes and arms

Researched eye movements:

Smooth pursuit movements are slow tracking movements of the eyes designed to keep a moving stimulus on the focus. Such movements are under voluntary control in the sense that the observer can choose whether or not to track a moving stimulus.

Saccades are rapid, ballistic movements of the eyes that abruptly change the point of fixation. They range in amplitude from the small movements made while reading, for example, to the much larger movements made while gazing around a room. Saccades can be elicited voluntarily, but occur reflexively whenever the eyes are open, even when fixated on a target.

Vestibulo-ocular movements stabilize the eyes relative to the external world, thus compensating for head movements. These reflex responses prevent visual images from “slipping” on the surface of the retina as head position varies. The action of vestibulo-ocular movements can be appreciated by fixating an object and moving the head from side to side; the eyes automatically compensate for the head movement by moving the same distance but in the opposite direction, thus keeping the image of the object at more or less the same place on the retina.

  • Vergence movements align the focus of each eye with targets located at different distances from the observer. Unlike other types of eye movements in which the two eyes move in the same direction.

research: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK10991/

Researched arm movements:
Action of the Shoulder What the Action Looks Like (Try It Yourself!) Primary Muscles
Shoulder abduction Lift your arms out to the side Deltoid: all fibers and supraspinatus
Shoulder adduction Lower your arms to your side Pectoralis major and latissimus dorsi
Shoulder flexion Lift your arms in front of you Pectoralis major, and anterior fibers of the deltoid
Shoulder extension Return (lower) your arms from shoulder flexion or lift your arms behind you Latissimus dorsi, teres major (“little lat”)
Internal shoulder rotation From the anatomical position, rotate your arm so that the elbow faces forward.
This action at the shoulder can occur when your arm is in different positions (flexion, abduction, etc.).
Latissimus dorsi and pectoralis major
External shoulder rotation From a position of internal shoulder rotation, rotate your arm so that the elbow faces backward. Also, anatomical position requires the shoulders to be in external rotation.
This action at the shoulder can occur when your arm is in different positions (flexion, abduction, etc.).
Infraspinatus and teres minor
Horizontal abduction For the start postion, lift your arms in front of you. The action occurs as you then move your arms out to the side. Latissimus dorsi and posterior fibers of deltoid
Horizontal adduction From the starting position, lift your arms out to the side. The actions occurs as you then move your arms in front of you Pectoralis major and anterior fibers of deltoid





research: https://www.acefitness.org/fitness-certifications/resource-center/exam-preparation-blog/3535/muscles-that-move-the-arm


Kokopelli, the spirit of music, has arrived in the emptied out City of Voids est. 2017. Everywhere Koko went, accompanied magical melody that turned sound into organic matter. The dormant citizens of the city laid in awe as the sound they feared and loved transformed into beautiful sculptures, blossoming around the city
sound of projector shutter
sound of handicap lift

Sound fabric

The sound of the shutter is a positive reference while the handicap lift is a negative reference.

The shutter sound is beautiful to many people as it symbolised artistic creation. It is not a sudden screech with staccato rhythm. The sound ascends the moment the shutter clicks, and descends once the photograph is shot. The rhythm is also not a full linear melody, with voids in between each shutter, displaying melodious positive and negative space.  This ascending and descending rhythm as well as negative spaces can be seen in the sound-wave.

The lift sound is horrendous as it is heavy and confusing. It has a deep sound that is very muffled, as if a monster roaring out continuously. It has a solid punch with each vibration visualised as a curve shaking on its own. The vibration and solid composition can be seen in the sound-wave.

With the presence of Koko, the film projector and lift merged into an organic form that could be physically touched by the citizens. It was otherworldly.


sketch diagram
origami sketch tutorial
the otherworldly amalgamation
the sound of shutter and lift echoed
closeup of “lift”
the citizens were in awe, and Koko explained the amalgamation.



The “shutter” is represented with the white paper, while the “lift” is represented with the brown paper.

The shutter can be seen as a composition that is positive, that ascends and descends in rhythm (but is likeable due to its symbolic value of artistic creation), depicted by the sharp edges of the tips. It is a sharp sound that has sequential negative voids amidst each shutter clicks, shown in the negative space on the paper.

Negative void between each shutter click


Reference to body part and movement

Researched eye movements:

The eye allows light to enter since it is translucent. It has lids that open and close, becoming a barrier at times, but sometimes clear as day. This motion of barrier is sometimes slow, sometimes fast, frequent and even random. The micro-movement extends to how the pupil dilates and contract, something we can feel but not see. There could be controlled and uncontrolled actions, how an eye blink to wash away dust, and how an eye blink because it senses an imminent threat of fight or flight.

The radial composition references to the way the eyes function, with a circular system that funnels light into the iris that allows the eyes to work. There is a strong sense of direction into the center that brings out that idea. The sound of shutter also reminds me of the blinking of eyelids. The central twirl of paper reminds me of the decentralised veins of the iris. The eye is also a translucent organ that uses light to function, hence, the design is filled with holes to allow light to pass though. The design below looks like an otherworldly door of sorts, with many opening that utilises light. It accentuates the subtlety of how light interacts with the eye, creating micro-movement of blinking or dilating. The central twirls depicts the micro-movement of the complex rigidity of the pupil, dilating and contracting.


Combination of “lift’ and “shutter”
Closeup of “lift” mass and depth

The composition of the lift is as explained, muffled and the vibration of the sound can almost be physically felt. It is also a strong sound with deep base. Hence, I made it into a twirling ball of curved paper that is intertwining. The action of shining a light onto the curves gives off a strong and dark mass onto the base that heightens the sense of depth, like the lift’s sound, shown above. This was because the light creates a strong contrast of shadows below the twirls.

side shot
top down
strong light


    chosen lexicon: muse, porosity, kokopelli.

Muse: I find the word “muse” relatable to my sound fabric as the concept and structure of my sound fabric originates from the ideation of the shutter. I found it inspiring especially with the meaning behind the shutter of a camera, symbolic of artistic creation.

Porosity: The word “porosity” is relatable especially because of the majority usage of holes and negative space. I used holes in this sound fabric to create the staccato rhythm in the sound fabric.

Kokopelli: The word “Kokopelli” relates to my sound fabric as I wanted the final product to be geometric and mystical in nature, in tune with my perspective of Kokopelli as an entity. The slightly curved geometry of the stars seems mystical, especially with the curved and overlapping negative space in between. The geometry is half-artificial and half-terrestrial.

A chocolate fossil (updated)


As we revisited the narrative of Pandora’s box, we combined the usage of modules from the last assignment with our new found knowledge of various design themes. The new Pandora’s box becomes an ice tray that encases our carefully designed modules, creating our individual ice moulds.

By the blessings of Pandora, I was given the theme of “Inscription, Intersection and Array”. Inscription, becomes the concavity of the surface, a micro-perspective of inscribed carvings focused onto a small module. Intersection happens when two axis crosses one another, especially when one crosses into the surface area. Array is a pattern occurring along a curved axis, easily arranged as a modular pattern.

We explored with clay due to its malleability, creating the first drafts shown below.

First Module
First Module

The first module pays homage to the themes of inscription and array only. It resembles a melted Toblerone in a sunny day bent at an angle. The ridges are concavities that can be inscriptions if placed at a wider angle or numbers. The array is presented by the protruding ridges slanted along the curved base. The theme of intersection was deliberately missed out as I found the module to be awkwardly structured if inserted with another form.

First Module
Second Module

Unfortunately, the second module did not survive the trip home and it scattered into millions of tiny pieces. The above drawing depicts the various drawings of the second module. It is a thin arch with tiny cylindrical pointing out at three different points. It fulfils the themes of array and inscription, very similar to the first module.


Third Module
Third Module

The Third module features an arrangement of rectilinear forms placed parallel to one another, curving at the tip. There is a thicker block intersecting through the four panels. I found visual favour in this module as it was arranged parallel to one another, symmetrical when placed at the front, as if four gigantic walls penetrated by a huge pillar. It also extends perfectly into the themes of intersection, inscription and array.

Exploration of materials and forms

Using blue foam, I experimented with different forms that the rectilinear forms could possibly evolve into, for visual purposes as well as how well it fits into the themes of inscription, intersection and array. I found that a curved form is more suitable for the theme of array as it is more organic and curvilinear.

First trial of modules

I made my first round of modules using clay as I found clay to be more suitable to create the curved form than blue foam, since blue foam is more time-consuming in achieving a organic form.

However, problems surfaced as I realised that such a complex form would not be ideal for the context of an ice tray. In a theoretical situation, the area of intersection between the pillar to the curved form would interrupt the ice tray’s ability to mould into the design that I envision.

Hence, it was back to the drawing board.

Working Sketch
Orthogonal Sketches
isometric drawing of three modules

I read up on how the silicon would be used to make the ice tray. Hence, I decided to go for a peaking conical shape in exchange for the rectilinear walls, this would allow the final ice cube to be taken out quite easily. There is still a strong theme of intersection, inscription and array. With an in depth exploration of forms, I realised  that there is a resemblance of the form to a spinal structure, and this led to my decision to make the modules resemble a Nautilus spiral or a fossil spine, adding on a narrative to the ice tray.

Artist Impression
Making the Modules
Clay modules
Different Arrangement
Piling the modules

Using clay, I made the modules that would eventually be used for the moulding of the silicon ice tray. The arrangement of the clay modules were a difficult process to finalise as one of the reasons why I chose not to make the modules out of mould was to achieve different length amongst the modules, creating an organic quality in comparison to something man-made and tessellating.

Randomised arrangement
Different Arrangements
Lights shaping the curves
Lights shaping the curves
Lights shaping the curves
Making the Silicon Tray
Upright position
Silicon mixture

As mentioned above, there would be a need to design a structure that would be easily taken out when the silicon solidifies, making the ice tray serve its purpose. Hence, I arranged the clay modules upright by shaving the bottom, allowing it to stand within the tray.

I decided to curve the silicon casing for two reasons: One, to reduce the wastage of silicon as it was a precious resource. And two, to create a more organic form compared to a rectangular tray, fitting with the theme of my narrative.


Final Product

Removing the silicon mould
Removing the ice

It was a difficult process removing the ice as my module was curvilinear in nature, thus it broke easily. It took a few attempts of freezing the ice to have a module that was not broken, attempts are shown below.

First attempt
5th attempt

However, picking up the final product did not feel right as the ice was translucent and did not express the aesthetic quality that I had yearned for since the idea of nautilus fossils dawned on me. This led me on to the idea of using molten chocolate to form the cast within the silicon. This was a justifiable action as the final product is, I believe, quite similar to real fossils in terms of appearance. It was also an interesting throwback to Gaia’s Ikebana plus Pandora’s box.

Final Final Product

Difference in visual quality between ice and chocolate
Crushed cookies to give a patch of earthy tones
Final Layout