Weight/Mass: 3D

Something that interests me 3 dimensionally

John Delinger Spectacle box

So what interested me immensely was my John Delinger spectacle box. Why you might ask? For it is just a normal spectacle box. Well this sat on a table beside my normal spectacle box which was transparent as shown below.

Normal transparent spectacle box

And I started thinking why the John Delinger spectacle box looks so much more regal than the normal one and this made me start to notice the smaller design details that made it so. Firstly, I was reminded that John Delinger spectacles took inspiration form gentleman thieves so it would only be natural for their spectacle box to also fit this theme, that is they (at least to me) look like treasure boxes that almost invite you to open them. Firstly, and most notably is that the box itself is black all around, a very regal colour, at the same time mysterious. The box itself has no indication of it being a spectacle box and only a small embossed logo at the top of the box. Making you wonder, what is inside.


Top View, with small embossed logo

The black colouring and the matt leather finish also made the spectacle box look expensive.

Spectacle box top view




Side View




The front of the spectacle box (where you would open)is also slightly thicker than the back (the part where the hinges are situated) hence this to me subtly invites you to open up the box.

Spectacle box Side View


While the normal spectacle box is small and can fit in one hand, designed in a compact manner and for travel, this spectacle box is is bulkier, fits in two hands and hence I would say the designers created it with not ravel in mind, but display. It was meant to sit on a table and capture the attention of anyone who walks in.


Other design aspects you would notice is that it is only symmetrical from the front view, but from the side view it is not. The hinges I would say play with the half- half rule as it is situated midway through the length of the box and the empty space without the hinges are about half the length of the hinges.

Back View
Spectacle box back view

Strangely enough, the hinges themselves are not situated midway through the height of the box. It is slightly higher than the midpoint line and slightly lower than the 2/3rds line hence it plays neither with the half half rule nor the 1/3rds rule. Thus one design improvement I would make would be to shift the hinges slightly higher till it reaches the 2/3rd line to give an overall better aesthetic appeal.




Front View
3D Sketch 1 Front View

As the word I had to try to express using my 3D model was Weight/Mass, I tried to make a part of the model as as “heavy” as possible, in a sense, try to give it the illusion of weight. Here initially I used the top box as it was black and black to me was a heavy colour hence the top box I used this box as the one on top as it seemed the “heaviest”. However, there were other elements besides the colour that I feel expressed this notion of weight. First of all was that I used horizontal planes for the base and the top, this makes it feel as if both horizontal planes are being pressed together, giving the illusion of a force acting upon the middle sub-ordinate portion hence, the illusion of weight. Next would be placing the sub-ordinate right below the dominant portion. This I feel accentuates the presence of dominant box and hence in a way increases its weight within the entirety of the sculpture.

Side View

Also, finally to make this model look aesthetically pleasing, I played with the 50-50 ratio that is, the sub-ordinate “linking” box was positioned exactly midway for both dominant and sub-dominant box.

3D Sketch 1 Side View







Top View

So how can I improve on this?

I can maybe try to find and use a bigger box for the dominant part of the sculpture to really exaggerate the top part of the box being “heavy”.

3D Sketch 1 Top View


1st Sketch Model update

Here, I have replaced the S.O with toothpicks using the Gestalt Principle.

Side View

We still See the S.O as a whole despite being broken up and here, the concept of levitation is more apparent. Maybe, if used for the final model, I can try making the S.O out of acrylic dowels to push the idea of levitation further.

However, the problem of being unable to see the S.O and S.D from the top view and the S.O from the bottom view still remains.


Side View

For the first model I tried to express weight by making something seem “Heavy”so for the second model, I tried the converse that is try to make something look weightless. To do this I tried to make the dominant box seem like it was floating, and I did this by playing with vertical lines. The arrangement of the boxes gave the illusion of ascension and hence made the dominant box seem lighter. One problem with this arrangement however, was that the sub-dominant box was too small to support the dominant box and hence this made the design not make sense. However, I realised  when attached to a wall, the illusion of weightlessness still played well as shown below. Also, from this angle, it looks pretty much like a lamp doesn’t it

Side view, attached to a wall

Also to make this model aesthetically pleasing, I played with the rule of thirds. The sub-ordinate box was about 1/3 the size of the dominant box and the subordinate box was attached exactly at 1/3rd points of both dominant and sub-dominant boxes.

So how can I improve on this?

Maybe I can have a bigger box to replace the sub-dominant box (and hence making that part the new dominant one) to make it support the rest of the structure and also omit the need for a wall to make the message come through.

2D analysis Top View

Form the top it becomes apparent that the sizes are pretty similar and you aren’t able to really distinguish the  D, S.D and S.O.

Front View

Also, from the front view, you are unable to see the S.D or the S.O. Thus the sculpture become less interesting as 1 axis is removed.






Hence, although this sculpture conveys the idea of of “anti-weight” or levitation well, it is not a dynamic sculpture due to there being similar sizes. To improve this, I could have used a much smaller S.O and an S.D with a smaller breath. Also, I could have skewed the arrangement such that the sculpture not flushed.

3rd 3D Sketch

3rd 3D Sketch,
Side View

For my 3rd sketch I thought about how a cantilever can give something a sense of mass/ weight if something is hanging at its end. This is because the it feels like a force is acting upon the cantilever, in this case the subordinate small box is putting a clockwise force upon the structure and the dominant box is counteracting this motion and supporting the structure.

In this sketch, I cheated by using colour of the box, or in this case, the lack of colour. I used to a transparent box as the dominant box to draw attention away from the dominant box and onto the cantilever and draw the viewer’s gaze towards the subordinate box hanging from the end of the cantilever. Hence focusing on the “mass” hanging at the end of the cantilever.

Front View

To make the structure look more aesthetically appealing, I played once again with the rule of thirds. The sub-dominant box it attached at the 1/3rd line from the top of the dominant box and the subordinate box is attached at the 1/3rd line from the free end of the sub-dominant box.


2D Sketch Front View




Things to Improve on:

As you can see, from certain angles , the S.O and the S.D look like a cluster of similar masses and from other angles, the S.O can’t be seen at all and thus makes the sculpture look not as dynamic is it could be. To do that maybe I can use a an S.O that is bigger, but skew it such that it will not be blocked by the S.D and still can be seen from the top view.

Top View
3rd Sketch Top View








Update !

3rd 3D sculpture part 2

Here I used a different box to serve as the S.O. One that has a longer breath. Then, I took it a step further by skewing the S.O to make the sculpture more dynamic.

3rd 3D sculpture part 2 skewed Close Up

Now, the corners of the S.O can be seen when the sculpture is viewed from the top view and the principal axis still remains relatively the same.

Side View
Front View

To make this sculpture look better, the S.O has to be cut in half breadth wise so that it would be more obvious as an S.O and also so that from the front view it will not look as similar to the S.D.

4th 3D sketch

4th 3D Sketch Front View

For my 4th 3D Sketch, I decided to make something that was the opposite of my first sketch. So instead of trying to make something look like it had a lot of mass, I made something look weightless by playing with vertical lines.

Bottom View

The upwards direction, the white colour of the Dominant box and the stilt legs all give the impression that the top box is very weightless. Looking a this sketch, it reminded me of shinto prayer shrines. Where you would write your prayers on a slip of paper and insert it through the tiny hole in the box. In this scenario I thought it would be very apt to make the box look weightless as it would simulate bringing your prayers up to heaven.

Side View
Front View
Side View

However, from the top view, the sculpture becomes less interesting.

Top View

Things to improve on:

Firstly, maybe I can try to make the sketch more interesting by making it asymmetrical. This way, all 3 elements will be seen when the sculpture is viewed from all angles. Also, I could play with different joining techniques such as wedging. This way, from the top view, the sculpture won’t look flushed.







Front View, also… it looks like a horse doesn’t it?

Working from the initial sketch, here I decided to make it asymmetrical by shifting the S.D and the S.O Elements. I have also decided to wedge the S.D into the D.

Front View

Also, as you can see I have also played around with the rule of thirds. Personally, I think this has solved most of the problems that the innitial sketch had.

Side View
Back View
Side View
Top View

Even from the top view, you can now see all 3 elements. However, the D now becomes the S.D and vice versa.













Front View

For the final model, I decided to combine my 1st sketch model which played with the Idea of weight through the colour black, and my 4th sketch model which played with the idea of levitation.

And thus, my final model plays with the contrasting ideas of trying to make something that looks heavy levitate.

Front View

I also played with the rules of thirds where I can to make it look as aesthetically pleasing as possible.

Close Up













I tried to apply the gestalt principle. By breaking up the S.O, into dowels and using negative space to imply the box, I was hoping to put forward the levitation effect as best as possible.

I also made the model asymmetrical so that all elements can be seen from the top and bottom.

Top View
Bottom View










Although all elements can be seen from all angles, from the top and bottom view, the D becomes the S.D and vice versa.

Bottom View

But for the most part, the roles of all 3 elements do not change.

Side View
Side View Sketch















Front View

Small Scale: 

After seeing how my 4th sketch reminded me of the shinto shrine for wishes. I thought about how this would change if I made the dominant box where you would put the wishes black instead. And thus I thought it can become a hate box. Instead of putting your wishes inside, you pen down and put in slips of paper containing all the negative thoughts that you harbor. But as you put these hateful messages inside, you will see your own reflection ( that is why the dominant box is made out of reflective black acrylic). This induces the individual to reflect every time he sees himself. As the hateful thoughts stack and the box get full. The individual can pull out the middle Sub-dominant box to pour the hateful messages out. He will then see a scroll that appears with the words “Do you see yourself as you pen down your Hate? Never fear for there will always be Hope.” Hence it is a hate box that compels the individual to catharsis. In every sense, this hate box is an individual’s Pandora’s box.

Big Scale Application:

Imaginary Condo

This model can be used for the shape of a condo. The bottom stilts would be where the carpark is situated. The middle sub-dominant box would be the swimming pool and the top where the sit is would be where the pent house suite is situated.

Application from another angle:

From the side view, the model looks like it can be a futuristic gun, with the S.O being the gun handle, the D being the gun barrel and the S.D being an aiming device.

Side View application


This project has really thought me the meaning of what truly is a Pandora’s box. At first, I thought the project would be easy as on the surface it is simply manipulating 3 boxes of different sizes to create a sculpture. But, I soon realised that to create a dynamic stucture, there are many different design considerations to juggle all at the same time to the point where shifting or changing even one element in the slightest bit would open a can of worms an thus the name.

However, this project was definitely as enjoyable as it was challenging and if it is one it has thought me is to have my eyes open and consider every small detail and rule when designing a 3D structure.


Big application pictures for manipulation taken from :

Building: https://thumbs.dreamstime.com/z/toren-condo-building-new-york-city-19710773.jpg

Pool: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/bb/1f/d5/bb1fd51f43a32fd7e23b05ebf7f507a8.jpg

Side Application pictures for manipulation taken from:

Gun handle: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/00/2d/bf/002dbfaa122a76e5e0933ff5b04d5618.jpg

Futuristic texture for gun handle: http://orig11.deviantart.net/dec2/f/2012/185/9/2/tileable_futuristic_grid_by_ndugger-d55yz5h.png

Thank you for your time and have a nice day !

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