Gaia’s Ikebana – Research


ike, meaning ‘alive’ or ‘arrange’ and bana meaning ‘flower.’ (Fresh, FTD. 2017. )

A traditional arts from japan that is practiced for more than 600 years. It originated from the Buddhist ritual of offering flowers the spirits of the dead. By the middle of the fifteenth century, with the emergence of the first classical styles, ikebana achieved the status of an art form independent of its religious origins, though it continued to retain strong symbolic and philosophical overtones.” (“Ikebana International”. 2017)

As time passed, ikebana became a major part of traditional festivals, and ikebana exhibitions were held periodically. Rules were prescribed, and materials had to be combined in specific ways. In these early forms, a tall upright (indication of faith, to the heavens) central stem had to be accompanied by two shorter stems; the three stems represented heaven (shin), man (soe), and earth (tai). (“Ikebana International”. 2017)

Strives to create a harmony of linear construction, rhythm, and color. (“Flower Arranging | Godai Katsunaga”. 2017)

Minimalism, shape and line, form, humanity, aesthetics, and balance. (Fresh, FTD. 2017. )


Principles of Rikka arrangements

Example of Rikka arrangement

Rikka symbolized the mythical Mt.Meru of Buddhism and reflects the magnificence of nature in its display. (“Flower Arranging | Godai Katsunaga”. 2017)

  • mountain peak (ryō)
  • waterfall ()
  • hill (qaku)
  • valley behind the mountain (bi)
  • town (shi)
  • in (“shade”)
  •  (“sun”)

Moribana Style

I find that the dominant, sub-dominant and sub-ordinate is very obvious in this style.

Taken from Fresh, FTD. 2017.
Taken from Fresh, FTD. 2017.
Example of Moribana Upright Style
Example of Moribana Slanting Style Taken from

D – Branch

SD – flower stems and baby breath

SO – White Flowers

I like the Ikebana’s composition like the above ; with a branch hanging precariously to the side. It seems to defy gravity – standing with no support at all.The different direction in which they are pointing that creates a much more interesting arrangement. Also the curvy branch is in contrast to the stiffer and rigid flower stems to the left.



March – May | 5 – 20 degrees Celsius | Cherry blossom blooming

The mood board is made of images that I took from my Japan trip in Spring of 2016. (How lucky I was to picked the Spring season.)  The tones during spring are very cool. The earthy pastel shades reflecting the soft and mild weather.

Sketch of final sculpture
  • Branch is brown obviously… (shin)
  • Flat cylinder to be blue (soe); a reflection of the sky (water body, although the pond wasn’t blue at all…) and to match the colour scheme. Planning to make it out of man made material e.g. my leftover metal netting from Project Pandora or some leftover paper from FYP two years ago. Probably the blue paper because of the scene (Park) I am trying to set. Paper is man made but still natural – also related to trees.
  • Green cone to represent the grass and bushes. (tai) Thinking of using a fruit or something related to the earth. But if I use a fruit (green apple) it will probably become a sphere? Then the sculpture will become more like the sketch on the right.
  • Pink for the SOs as the flowers. I am thinking of using mint for the cool temperature and weather. But are there any pink mints???
  • (I did the upright style in the end; the slanting style is quite difficult and I wanted to have the shin soe tai represented distinctly)


“Flower Arranging | Godai Katsunaga”. 2017. Godaikatsunaga.Com.

Fresh, FTD. 2017. “The Art Of Ikebana Flower Arranging”. FTD.Com.

“Ikebana International”. 2017. Ikebanahq.Org.

Dominant, Sub-dominant & Sub-ordinate Part 2

Composition 1

Front and right
Left and back



I planned out the dimensions to avoid making similar volumes. The circumference of the sphere is around 1/3 of the base of the cone. The height of the cone is 1/3 < x< 1/2 to the diameter of the cylinder.

Sketch Analysis


Composition 2

Top, Left and right respectively


The diameter of the cylinder is 1/3 < x< 1/2 to the sphere. The diameter of the sphere is 1/3 < x< 1/2 to the cone and the heights are all also 1/3 < x< 1/2.

Although the proportions were approved, I can’t help feeling that the cylinder and cone are fighting for dominance. Perhaps I should lengthen the cylinder more.

Sketch analysis

Other sketches:

Pandora: Final


Definition – energy, enthusiasm, or liveliness.

Synonyms – sparkle, relish, eagerness.

My intepretation – A fancy word for magic. With a touch of wonder.

Front, Side, Back and Top view respectively
2D Analysis

The idea was to raise curiosity and wonder in the viewer. Levitating the marble piece on a flimsy looking wire mesh seemed to be an impossible feat. I imagine the viewer to be amaze and curious to find out how the structure could stand on its own.

When viewed from the side the Zing happens as they will realize it is being held by a piece wedge between the wire mesh and the marble. Even with the magic unveiled it still is unbelievable because of the lightness of the dominant and sub-ordinate being porous and transparent respectively.

Possible Applications:

Creeping Plant Pot
Clock Tower

Pandora: Final (Not)

With the use of actual materials, the Zing becomes much more distinct.

Front view

In the front view, the sub-ordinate is missing. Only the Dominant and sub-dominant could be seen so it seems that the sub-dominant is floating (at an angle). But how? Strange…

Side view 1
Side view 2

Even from the side view you can hardly tell what is actually going on. You see the sub-ordinate peeking out from the back but it does not answer your question of how the sub-dominant is floating.

Back view
Top view

The sub-ordinate can only be seen clearly from the top and back view. This is the ZING part where you go “oooooohhh~” and be amaze that a mere wire-frame can support such a ‘heavy stone’.

(If I have time, I will try to fix the tilted ‘marble’ block. Because now the entire structure is very loosely attached. Looks like it will fall over any minute.)

Pandora – 3D Sketch Model Part 2

Process Model 3:

This is an improved version of process model 2. Following the comments from the previous session, I changed the dimensions of the Sub-dominant from a tall cuboid to a thin rectangle. I also tried to make it 1/3 the size of the Dominant; the ideal size. But turns out an exact 1/3 is not as aesthetic as I expected. A 1/3>x<1/2 would be more appealing. 


Both the Sub-dominant and Sub-ordinate are placed at the 1/3 of the Dominant. The Sub-dominant being close the the bottom also creates some tension.


Having the Sub-dominant and Sub-ordinate jut out the side of the Dominant allows them to be visible from the back. A sneak peek of the Sub-dominant and Sub-ordinate raises curiosity and wonder. (the Zing factor)


Then when you view it from the side, you realize how the whole thing is being connected and how the Sub-dominant is being held up.

2D Analysis of Process Model 3

Process model 4 (Chosen):

In this iteration, I was going for the same concept as the previous model (process model 3) – aiming to raise curiosity and wonder from a certain view. This time from the front.


A tiny gap between the Dominant and Sub-dominant is intended. The suspension of the Sub-dominant makes the viewer wonder “How?”.


Seeing the Sub-ordinate peeking out from the side; you think “Oh! What’s this?!”. It makes you want to find out more.


Then when you turn to another angle you get your answer. The Dominant and Sub-dominant is connected by the Sub-ordinate.

2D Analysis of Process Model 4


I decided to use materials of different weight to display the Zing effect.

For Dominant
For Sub-ordinate
For Sub-dominant





The Dominant will be a volume made of frames versus the Sub-dominant made of solid opaque material; makes one question “How?”. Then the Sub-ordinate will be made transparent to make the Sub-dominant seem as if it is really floating.

Pandora – 3D Sketch Model

My word: Zing

The google definition is energy, enthusiasm, or liveliness. But according to the answers of others that I asked on the meaning of Zing, it is a fancy word for magic and wonder.

Model 1:

Front View
Side View
Top View

Model 2:

Front View
Back View
Bottom View
Top View
Side View

In Model 1 and 2, I was still unsure as to how to translate the meaning of Zing into an arrangement of rectilinear volumes. Thus, only trying out arrangements that defined the dominant, sub-dominant and sub-ordinate.

Dominant, Sub-dominant & Sub-ordinate

Pencil Holder

The red and green complementary colors play a role in the aesthetics of the object. The red part is the ‘flower’ and the green part is the ‘leaf’. The ‘flower’ is the Dominant (D). The ‘leaf’ is the Sub-dominant (SD) and the triangular cut out in the ‘leaf’ is the Sub-ordinate (SO).

2D Sketch Analysis

Four holes can be seen drilled into the ‘flower’ for inserting pencils. Due to their plurality, the four holes are considered to be another SD.

The ‘flower’ is obviously symmetrical. But because of the triangular cut out in the ‘leaf’, the object become asymmetrical.

There are many other details to an object that makes it interesting:

  • X, Y, Z axis
  • mass and voids
  • color
  • symmetry
  • texture
  • finishes
  • opacity
  • proportion
  • Rule of Third – It gives ‘breathing space’ and dynamic to the object, resulting it to be more aesthetically appealing. The ideal proportion should be: SO 1/3 of SD and SD 1/3 of D.