LEARNING PORTFOLIO CCSF SPRING 2012 DESIGN STUDIO 1 PROFESSOR JERRY LUM
CONTENTS Iteration one Iteration two Introduction to gesture drawings and narratives Iteration three Iteration four Introduction to trace paper Iteration five Iterations six and seven Iteration eight Computer Aided Design Experiments
Successes /Intent The intention of this first iteration was to capture the qualities and elements that I was attracted to in the artifact I chose in my construction namely: the angles created on the brim and top of the hat, the form and the functionality – which I did. I achieved the proportion and distinguishable elements of my artifact in my iteration.
Challenges The use of toothpicks was a challenge since I didn’t know where to look or what to look for, nor had I known too many people. My understanding of this exercise was not accurate and I couldn’t think beyond the literal form.
ISSUES My form was too literal. There was monotony in the material used and no variation in line weight to emphasize dominance of specific elements in my construction such as a heavier brim or stronger columns.
Learning I needed to embrace the abstract and relate it to the form of my artifact. My fixation of working around the literal form of my artifact did not give me the freedom I needed to explore different forms and demonstrate an abstract idea of bare bones. I developed new techniques and methods of approaching my construction. I feel I made an accurate model just as I intended. The design needed to be more original while simultaneously relating to the Bare Bones of my artifact. I believed that my iteration must cater to that bridge between the abstract and literal form. I thought that playing with scale and texture may improve the quality of my work.
I wanted to maintain a relation with the form of the artifact yet attain an abstract look of rigidity, mystery and masculinity and also imply surfaces and define volumes while allowing the viewer to fill in the space giving them a sense of liberty to explore their imagination. Masculinity and rigidity was achieved through the jagged brim, dark color and surface texture.
My primary challenge in this iteration was constructing it. The wire would not agree with me and what I wanted it to do. The material I chose for the surface was smooth but tough to bend to suit the position. I wanted to make the viewer follow a path that the surface created but not be able to comprehend its direction and in turn hooking their sights onto the design. This was not achieved due to poor craft. The entire frame consists of a single wire which was hard to modify towards the end.
ISSUES The use of such material and my lack of skills in using it seemed to undermine the concept of my design. It did not portray the quality to provoke the viewer into imagining like I wanted it to. I did not find the use of staples appealing but could not think of any other means of keeping it together.
Learning The exploration of new materials seemed helpful. It gave me confidence to try newer designs and not confine my designs within the limits of my abilities to use other materials. This construction is made without the use of glue and is shown to be stronger than the previous iteration. So I decided to eliminate the use of glue in my constructions.
Professor Lum introduced us to a technique called ‘gesture drawings’ during week 4. This included a series of blind 3 minute drawings on newsprint sheets using charcoal sticks. The thickness of the charcoal forced us to make large, confident strokes through significantly larger hand movements. A sequence of 3 drawings, one after the other, each taking 3 minute to complete showed us how we perceive our own images – like sketching the images in our mind onto paper. The darker, more denser portions of the sketch prioritized the components or elements we intended to highlight. This drew the viewers eye towards those portions signifying their importance. We were to use this technique for presenting our further iterations but it was primarily used for exploring different forms and designs and helped open our minds to the infinite possibilities but grasp or hold on to what we find intriguing and be inspired by it. We were also shown an example of Maya Lin’s narrative on the Vietnam Memorial Wall as a guideline for our own narratives of our iteration. Narratives help us identify, connect and create a story for our construction to help the viewer understand the reasons behind aspects of our design.
My intention was to convey a sense of sharpness and inapproachability through the pointy tips of the leaf shaped plane. I wanted my iteration to portray a look of elegance, sophistication and sense of orientation. I tried to create a dynamic style in its form while at the same time maintain a bridge between the form of the initial artifact as well. The objective of my iteration was conveyed well through my narrative and gesture drawings.
Challenges I was still fixated with maintaining a similarity in form to that of my artifact which was probably resisting my will to expand and explore other forms of design. I had a hard time breaking away from that fixation. My affinity for a singular orientation in my iterations was a concern that kept creeping on to me.
Issues I used a single color throughout the model which made it hard to recognize features such as the spiral radii on the upper half or the voids in the surface, some of which are hidden below the leaf shaped surface.
Learning This iteration help me understand the concept and reasons behind creating gesture drawings and narratives. It helped me form an outline and a mental path that would be ideal for a designer to communicate the design ideas as well as for the viewer to understand why the design is what it is. My ideas were successfully communicated and this process helped me connect with myself.
I wanted to explore and express themes like radiation and life in contrast to its surroundings. I wanted to create and emphasize contrast subconsciously and superficially. I was successful in creating an accurate model since the drawing itself is quite challenging for me to mimic.
Challenges This time I explored the use of modeling clay, which took forever to harden. I used wire as a stem for the clay to sit on but the clay would simply slide off. I also found it incredibly challenging to make the tentacles stand upright while I waited for the clay to dry. I could not convey my concept without the use of a base.
Issues Components of the iteration do not relate to one another and the addition of a base undermines the worth of the construction. The use of organic ‘dead’ material to create contrast to an inorganic ‘living’ component did not work as the two parts did not speak one singular language.
Learning I explored a world of clay crafting techniques that helped me achieve my gesture drawing design. The use of a base in an iteration does not allow us to follow and understand a design from various view points. Similar elements and relating materials must be carefully selected in order to avoid seeing a distortion in your concept. I needed to work on my ability to relate different components of my model to each other in a harmonious way and create contrast in order to emphasize certain elements.
Week 6 brought about the introduction to a technique using trace paper. This technique came to me a little too early in the semester as I was still trying to find a definite form that inspired me and that I would be keen on developing. This technique involves drawing a snapshot of your latest or most inspiring iteration, documenting and analyzing its components from column lengths and diameters to implied or literal axis, symmetry in organization etc and exploring its potential or possibilities to transform. This according to me has been the most useful technique we have been exposed to since it allows us to freely try new designs over layers of trace and determine its outcome without actually needing to erase or eliminate lines and ideas. It enables us to draw a map of our ideas, concepts and intentions; lay them out in front of us on sheets of trace and proceed with developing that without fear of making errors.
This iteration was done after we were taught to use trace paper to explore possibilities. My main intention was to create complexity in various different layers in my iteration and make the discernable parts relate.
Challenges I was having a hard time reasoning my intentions. I could not find a purpose for my designs apart from the fact that I needed to create complexity. This has been my weakest iteration so far and a big step back from my previous work.
Issues The construction was not supported well through words and I hadn’t explored sufficient possibilities. The form and volume enclosed with this construction is exactly the same as that of my third iteration – from where this variation “evolved”, and there was nothing interesting about the design. The lighter components seem to be placed randomly and have no purpose or reasoning behind their existence, location and orientation.
Learning Reasoning is crucial when settling on a design. The mistake I kept making throughout the course was that I finalized on the first design that came to mind without doing further research into my concepts. I learned that exploring different possibilities within the same form or design could prove to be helpful and yield credible outcomes. I believe a good design through trace would be one which has evolved from exploring several possibilities through reasoning and significant complexity in design to capture ones attention for a relatively longer period of time.
Successes /Intent My final iteration of the two is the one with the spherical form. In this model I wanted to represent truth and journeys in life through the folded surfaces â€“ the insides being your handle on the situation and how the amount of exposure of the inner surfaces shows external dependence.
Challenges This iteration was to be constructed without the use of glue or adhesive, so my designs were to be well thought and planned. My main challenge was to finalize on a design that best represented my intention.
Issues The model I presented in class had a dominant logic to it. It seemed to be too predictable from either ends and it contained surfaces. This was not part of the exercise. There were no bare bones or framework for the surfaces to sit on and nothing that provoked the viewers
Learning I learned that creating a predictable pattern may not always be the best approach. I needed to have a variety of forms and significant order in my designs rather than randomly placed surfaces. There is no perceivable hierarchy. Conversations between discernible components can be provocative but must not challenge the overall language.
Successes /Intent My intention in this iteration was to explore the aspects of ambiguity, echo and maintain a constant language. The variation in density and imbalance in weight about an implied 45 degree axis makes the eye go back and forth between the contrasting groups. The centralized vertical axis give a sense of finalization â€“ in the sense that is shows a direction. The framework interacts and intersects with surfaces that create an implied boundary. Every dimension belongs to the Fibonacci series.
Challenges Our challenge for this iteration was to integrate surfaces into our framework. Design planning required accurate measurements for construction and carefully selected material that would hold the entire structure. I still found it hard to put words to my design.
Issues The model is developed on a single surface that does not have but implies a base. The Idea or statement it gives across is not clear and there were contradictory perspectives on the central perpendicular axis.
Learning This iteration helped me understand the process of exploration further and inspired me enough to settle on this form and concept of ambiguity while analyzing intersections of planes. I have finally found a design that inspires me enough for me to work on. I am able to absorb the concept of creating a spatial journey, a path that guides the eye through direction and variation in form, order and density and yet relate to other components of the iteration and create a setting or surrounding for them.
The use of Google sketch-up allows me to explore my designs digitally before constructing them. It allows me to modify, rotate, overlap, extrude and intersect elements and gives me an accurate image of how my iterations would look like.
Published on Mar 15, 2012