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Mobiles: Moving Sculptures that express Self, Place, Space and Time It must have certain characteristics, for example, it should be portable and a user must be able to carry it around with relative effortlessness. It also has to be highly usable and functional and allow for easy connectivity and communication to it’s surroundings. A mobile is a type of kinetic sculpture constructed to take advantage of the principle of equilibrium. It consist of a number of rods, from which weighted objects or further rods hang. The objects hanging from the rods balance each other, so that the rods remain horizontal. Each rods hangs from only one string, which gives it freedom to rotate about the string.


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Instructor: Jerry Lum Fall 2011 CCSF

Presented by: Carmen Digeon






1st. Iteration 2nd. Part of the semester…………


2nd. Iteration 2nd. Part of the semester…………


Mobile and Site definition…………………………


Research and Draft Project Proposal……………


First mobile iteration……………….......................


Second mobile iteration……………………………


Third mobile iteration……………………………....


Fourth mobile iteration……………………………..


Fifth mobile iteration………………………………..


Final mobile iteration……………………………….


Final Narrative………………………………………


Final Site…………………………………………….



We started this second part of the semester with the construction of objects which design was based on our inspirations, as in the first half, our composition was simply abstract. The intention was to continue expressing ourselves through the last achievements obtained with the collages we composed, like the following ones:


October 11, 2011 First iteration (5 hours) Design intentions: Theme + Variation “Themes reflect inspirations, qualities and characteristics, and emotive expressions identified in diverse ways.� This first composition should be more motivating, it must include hierarchical aspects, and be composed of primary, secondary and tertiary elements or groups. I decided that this composition would include different types of materials in addition to the wires I started working with, in the first part of the semester, including wood. What did work: - I managed to reproduce a beautiful piece, represented by a central curvilinear focal point in rosewood, from which a number of curvilinear wire pieces in different sizes emerged, as a covering material I used old panty-hoses. What did not work: Upon presentation in class, it was considered as a piece of art but, without any close relationship to architecture. This was principally due to the disproportioned curvilinear wooden central focal piece and the numerous rounded pieces of wire, which gave the impression of a flourishing forest.


Conclusion: Producing a successful work does not necessarily mean that we have to overcharge it with matchless hues, and exaggerate disproportioned pieces of material.

October 13, 2011 Second Iteration (4 hours) This time taking into consideration the ultimate reaction of the class, I decided to go back to some basic principles of architecture: place, roof, path, openings (doorway), walls, and columns. Using aluminum and copper wires to build the structure, natural wood (from my backyard) for the columns, and a translucent material as a covering, I managed to fabricate the second iteration. What did work: I was optimistic about the results I got with this second trial in terms of the size, scale, mass, proportions, intervals between elements, and combination of materials, but‌ What did not work: The combination of aluminum and copper wire was not ideal in this case, as the brownish color was too noticeable, it, again, gave the impression of a decorative touch. The same occurred with the translucent material I used to represent the floor. The final appearance was not what I was looking for. 5

Conclusion: I learned to pay more attention to the selection of colors and materials, and that a great achievement can, at times, be achieved trying different schemes and attempting combinations never explored before.

October 18, 2011 We started working on our final project, the purpose of which was to explore, and challenge ourselves with, the construction of a mobile. “Mobile: It must have certain characteristics, for example, it should be portable and a user must be able to carry it around with relative effortlessness. It also has to be highly usable and functional and allow for easy connectivity and communication to its surroundings. A mobile is a type of kinetic sculpture constructed to take advantage of the principle of equilibrium. It consists of a number of rods, from which weighted objects or further rods hang. The objects hanging from the rods balance each other, so that the rods remain horizontal. Each rod hangs from only one string, which gives it freedom to rotate about the string.” The first step was to find a site suitable to the presentation of our work. Our design had to fully respond to the location chosen and express something unseen and unexpressed about the designer “Site: The first and most important point to take into consideration when thinking about designing and constructing is the site. Sometimes, as designers, we may be tempted to think of our project site as an inert, passive situation. We may consider it as simply a piece of ground where our building (object) will sit. We should always remember that a site is never inert, but is an ongoing collection of very active set of connections that are knotted in complex correlation.” 6

October 25, 2011 On this date we submitted our first Research and Draft Project Proposal:

RESEARCH AND DRAFT PROJECT PROPOSAL What will be abstractly expressed in terms of personal qualities and characteristics? In the design I like to communicate a sensation of clarity, transparency, brightness and serenity, using materials that will allow the natural or artificial light diffusion. I imagine it standing on the floor, close to a wall, but it can be a window too. To what will the design respond in terms or the site context? My design, if located outdoors, will act in response to the amount of available light (natural or artificial). It should be located in a sheltered area, shielding it away from strong winds. If indoors, in addition to the presence of light, it will reacts to the local activity. Its position will entitle it to be a focal point, something that everyone entering the room will become aware of. Let’s start with some basic definitions to help me acquire a better understanding before making the first step towards my future mobile draft. SITE I am about to place my mobile within an active network. It seems reasonable to assume that if I’m to integrate my design gracefully into this site, without destroying or affecting negatively its aspects, then I must first make myself aware of the nature of the network through a contextual analysis. We should take into consideration physical aspects as I already explained above, but also climatic aspects such as weather, light, wind, sunlight direction, especially when dealing with outdoors sites.


I decided to choose 3 sites for my mobile project, two indoors and one outdoor. In this way I will be prepared in case another classmate will chose the same spot. Indoors: a. Room 245: entering the room the left side of the main blackboard. b. Room 245: right hand side of the projecting wall Outdoors: a. Courtyard: Going out from rooms 245 and 246, turning immediately to the right, the corner close to the windows facing room 245.

Even though right will be, I’m more selected sites it will have and

now I don’t know what my design attracted by the two indoors considering the characteristics that also my passion for Interior Design.

MOBILE DEVICE 1. MAKER PROFILE-KINETIC WAVE SCULPTURES ON MAKE DdehXioMIKg0&rct=j&sa=X&ei=wVumTueBKuSViQLwzMnVDQ&ved=0 CCYQuAIwAA&q=kinetic+wave+sculptures&usg=AFQjCNEaqBZueP9P stqxyQu8wnqV6d6SiA A You Tube link by Reuben Margolin, a Bay Area visionary and longtime maker, creates totally singular techno-kinetic wave sculptures. Using everything from weed to cardboard to found and salvaged objects. His work is diverse, with sculptures ranging from tiny to looming, motorized to hand–cranked. Focusing on natural elements like a discrete water droplet or a powerful ocean whirlpool.


His work is elegant and hypnotic. I learned how ocean waves can power our future. 2. KINETIC ART-SCUPTURE IN MOTION DHmcADeaiHAc&rct=j&sa=X&ei=EmCmTvMHpSMigLW9_CkDQ&ved=0CFcQuAIwAQ&q=kinetic+art+in+motion&u sg=AFQjCNFQEjPWB_JQlS6ucl8Fu75omds0jQ Kinetic Art depends on motion for its effect. The motion can be provided in many ways, through wind, electricity or by relying on a bystander to provide power such as cranking a handl 3. IMAGES FOR MOVING SCULPTURE =en&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=MfmlTr3aH8Lgi AK8qYHRDQ&ved=0CIcBELAE This link provides a wide range of moving sculptures images and multiple possibilities to observe and initiate a proposal. Attention-grabbing sites that I can count on to fulfill my ideas and go ahead with the creation of my mobile. CONCLUSION All this in a row with the information and guidance given by our instructor, plus every one of the steps, methods and techniques that I got knowledge of during the first part of this semester will contribute to a good start in the elaboration of this project. The outset will be based, in some ways, on things and events that inspire me and which clearly impacted my actual way of thinking and reacting to situations, such as: - the continuous change of residence, which involves the opportunity of meeting new people and different cultures each time, - the inclination to protect nature and my desire to protect the planet, - the appreciation of different cultures and religious convictions. 9

October 24 to November 14, 2011 (3 weeks) Upon the presentation of the Research and Draft Project Proposal, we were able to start making gestural studies in charcoal on newsprint that were the base for the composition of several iterations in small scale, which we needed to put together and make a presentation in the chosen site.

October 27, 2011 First iteration (3:30 hours) Once finished with this initial step, I ended up building my first iteration. I decided to introduce the use of cardboard and foam as new materials, in addition to the previous ones (wires, aluminum, and wood). Based in one of my inspirations (places and people and friends I met during the last 25 years) I built five towers in hierarchical increasing sizes, resting on a common base and which were meant to represent the places I lived in and visited. Those towers were pierced by straight wires (representing closer friends) that were pulled by a crank and supported by several washers. On the wires, various curvilinear rounded pieces (symbolizing the rest of people I met) were attached. My intention was to make them move with the crank. What did work: I was satisfied with the way I managed to put a number of pieces of cardboard and foam board together, I achieved the placement and arrangement of the five towers, and was also happy with the base, but, What did not work: First, the straight line of wires was erroneously placed, the crank was not at the right angle, and consequently, nothing was moving! Secondly, the glued towers were shaking and almost collapsing every time I tried to operate the system, and the wavy shape of the pieces attached to the wires did not allow them to move freely, on the contrary, they were stuck together 10

Conclusion: This first mobile iteration was a complete fiasco, because: a. the distance between the towers was not properly measured, b. the connecting points were not at the same level, c. the wire was not strong enough d. the crank was wrongly positioned.

November 1st. 2011 Second iteration (4 hours) I was determined to leave the idea of the towers behind, and decided to use two asymmetrical cardboard columns instead. The inspiration and intention was the same as in the previous iteration. These columns were placed on a curvilinear base, made of foam, and were perforated, and linked together by three straight lines of wires. To those wire lines were attached to various pieces of covered rounded wires which would simultaneously move with the help of the crank.


What did work: The columns were perfectly crafted, and securely fixed to the base. The straight lines of wire seemed to turn easily with the help of the crank, which this time was placed at the right angle, but‌. What did not work: Again, the curvy shape of the elements attached to the wire lines was the biggest problem, it was preventing them from moving freely. They were knotted together. Conclusion: It was clear that I had to carefully study the geometrical shape of the moving elements, and I was planning to start all over again, when I finally realized that the system I was using to make the mobile design move was not an innovation. The idea of integrating a crank is something that has existed for ages!!!

Our instructor corroborated this assumption and emphasized that the mobile object should move by itself, responding to a natural force (wind, water, light, noise, motion of people passing by‌.); and not with the help of an operated device. After having tried these two iterations, I decided to make a complete shift.


November 8, 2011 Third iteration (6 hours) I took a decision, and opted for discarding cardboard plus foam and only use wire, wood with some covering material. I was thinking what my next design would look like, and took my mobile phone, and just looking at its cover I fell in love with the geometrical pattern on it. I loved the blend of curvilinear/rectilinear movement.

I took it from there and started again with some gestural drawings in charcoal:


November 10, 2011 Fourth Iteration (5 hours)

Using a number of long wooden rods of three different diameters: 3/4, 3/8, and 3/16, tracing paper, small washers, glue and springs, I made my fourth iteration. The basic inspiration was the same, so this time: a. the longest vertical wooden pieces correspond to the places I lived in and visited, b. the rectangular forms, covered with tracing paper represent my closer friends, c. the rounded pieces of wood connected with hooks symbolize the people I have met. The object needed to be suspended outdoors, and would, theoretically, move with the wind, turning in a clockwise rotation. What did work: I was pleased with the final craft results. The joints were well constructed, the paper properly glued, the moving parts well placed. Indeed, it was moving (I tried with a hair dryer), and was working, but not as well as expected What did not work: Again it looked like a decorative object, due principally to the little round pieces of wood, attached with hooks, and also the final appearance of the 14

triangular covered pieces, one of them looked like a bow tie. The biggest mistake, the object shape was too simple, I needed to add complexity in order to have a three dimensional look, and probably with that, it would easily move. Conclusion: At this stage of the semester, I had to be more accurate before taking any step towards starting with the design achievement. I urgently needed to decide with precision all the measurements and specifics of any single element, including: size, shape, volume, proportions, orientation, complexity, and the most important, match all these with the chosen site. There was no time to lose.

New gestural studies:


November 15, 2011 Fifth iteration (13 days) Taking it with determination, I went ahead with my final iteration. Staying with the same philosophy about my inspirations I started selecting the materials, the most important thing I kept in mind was that I needed to produce a very special design, which would move easily with the breeze. I decided at this point that it no longer had to be suspended from the ceiling, but would sit on a base and rotate with the help of a turning device. The materials: - Wood for the main frame, which should be a very light one. - Wooden rods (3 different sizes: 3/4, 3/8 and 3/16) - Aluminum wires - Covering material (special for unpredictable outdoor weather) - Turning device: “Lazy Susan” bearing system After a number of gestural drawings, and detailed measurements I started to work on “my final iteration”. I was fortunate to find the kind of wood I was looking for, (Ponderosa pine), which is exceptionally light. The most difficult part of the progression was just ahead of me: the wood cutting. Never before I had done it, and it took me three days to do it properly. I cannot recall how may pieces of wood I ruined getting to the final result. After this, came the assembling, I did not want to use glue for the attachment of the pieces, and preferred to adopt piercing/penetration method, which added time and efforts to the process.


Subsequent to the attachments of pieces came the perforation, I also decided to make punctures all over the entire object, which would be used to place the different pieces of wooden rods and covered aluminum wires. Then, I had to install the 3� Lazy Susan bearing system. One of my classmates had done it before and I used his method. Opening a hole on the base to set the first screw, then through the same cavity set the rest of the rivets while turning the device. It was such a long procedure, but an effective one. In top of the bearing system, I integrated another wooden curvilinear design measuring 4 ½� in diameter, so it completely covered the mechanism with maximal discretion.


November 28, 2011 Final iteration A very special moment in my designing process arrived. I had to incorporate pieces of wire covered with a waterproof material ( photo finish paper) special for an outdoor environment. This new addition is an essential element. When I was done, I discovered that indeed, my design could turn when the slighted airflow. I was extremely delighted when I corroborated that fact. I had just designed A MOBILE!!

What did work: - The design process was a pleasant period as at this moment of the semester, and after having tried numerous times, I finally had a very clear idea of what my design should be. - The most exhausting time was cutting the wood, it was a procedure that I had never attempted before but, in the end, I was tremendously satisfied with this new skill. - The general assembly process was very easy, especially the integration of the straight wooden rods on the base. 18

What did not work: - Due to the fragile nature of the wood I selected (Ponderosa pine), I had to pay particular attention when I had to incorporate the contracted wooden rods. The resultant tension produced two important ruptures on the frame that I had to fix with glue. Even if I had decided, from the very beginning, not to use any kind of adhesive. - This time I had to use superglue on the different pieces of covered wires. My preliminary desire was to sew the covering material on the wires, but it was impossible as the photo finish paper was too rigid for that. Conclusion: By repeating the process and thinking through what worked and what didn’t, I started to get a feel for what was pleasant and above all for how best to achieve what I was trying to represent internally. The process from thought to object did take me quite a while, but it also forced me to challenge myself, intellectually and manually and even attempt things I had never dreamed of doing before. This was a true learning experience in every sense of the term


December 1st., 2011 Final Narrative (2:30 hours)

NARRATIVE I decided to use the Maya Lin’s narrative proposal model, as I have extensively read about her projects, and principally the Vietnam’s Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. All her works are a great inspiration for me. -Describe what you fell is the most significant aspects and qualities of your selected site: This corner of the courtyard, up the stairs just in top of the small flat surface is a pleasant area in the outdoors, the feeling of being outside surrounded by nature but protected by two dazzling eucalyptus trees (Australian native) which in certain way seem to control the flow of air, make this place a cozy comfortable environment to be in and which gives the sentiment of being surrounded, supported by friends specially which reminds me of the support and friendship I received when I first arrived in Sydney. This site brings back beautiful memories of the time spent practicing yoga with my Australian friends in a field close to Bondi Beach, bordered with this kind of flora.

-What a first time visitor to your site will see and experience: Someone coming for the first time to my site will see a peaceful environment of nature; experience the soft embrace of a pleasant light breeze, combined with the smooth movement of my work, which colors harmoniously blend with the natural background.


-Describe what your project primarily represents: a. The orderly placed pieces of wood similar to a set of ribs represent my closest friends, they’ in turn, bond to the central bone, myself, and no matter where I go, they will follow me and my family bringing us their continuous support and friendship. b. The other pieces of wood, presented in a straight line and placed on the base, correspond to the places I visited and lived during the last 25 years; the asymmetrical base is not a full circle as, I imagine, I will continue my errant life. c. The central curvilinear wooden piece (the backbone) symbolizes the strength and support of my family. d. The three semi-straight pillars supporting the backbone are a symbol of my family (husband, son and I). e. The irregular semi-base is the stability finally found every time I moved to a different place. f. The wires covered with photo finish paper (special material for outdoors milieu), epitomize the people I met in the different places I lived in, but who are not deep-rooted friends, their size and mood can change as the airstream that strikes them. They have a secondary meaning too; they remind me of the roof of the Sydney Opera House.

Australia, among all the places I have lived in, is one of my

favorite one because of its wild and almost untouched nature and its friendly people.


g. The turning structure between the semi-base and the object represents my waist swaying to the rhythm of Caribbean music, my roots, and another inspiration in my life. h. The empty holes all over the object stand for friends or people I will meet in the future.

-Describe details of what your audience will see and experience as they engage your work and relate these details to your metaphors: My composition is a moving object itself represented by the curvilinear central bone that is interlaced by the hierarchical repetition of ordered curved compressed pieces of wood inviting the viewer to follow their path with a final encounter in a shared focal point.

-Describe what the audience will see and experience as their gaze extends beyond your immediate work and what will be broadly realized, tying what your work is about to a greater set of meanings. When the breeze gives movement to the object, the audience will have an optical illusion. The wooden lines seem to form a single solid body moving around a natural surrounding; showing a portion of the of the path I have walked on since I have been attending CCSF, in particular, the half walls between the paved road and the courtyard, which I regularly jump over to take a short cut to the classroom. Although the viewers may not immediately see the same thing or feel the same experience, these can also be shared between the creator and the viewers. If asked for, I can share all these memories, about a place where I have spent quite a number of hours, during the last 3 years, a period of time that I have enjoyed to the 22

fullest, immersing myself in a field, learning new techniques and discovering design in a way I never and would never have, imagined before.

-Tell us how you are provoking your audience to wonder, question and think in an intended direction of thought for whom is your work intended. Observing the juxtaposition of pieces of wood, ordered in an increasing hierarchical way, the audience will probably be inclined to assume that they represent a sequence of events that took place during an specific period of time, some of them piercing the central bone and others penetrating the base. The site, that outdoor location, embellished by those two eucalyptus trees, wrapping-up the moving composition, will lead the spectators to ask why the selection of such a site.

-Tell us more about your work in terms of the physical aspect and qualities, its organization, and its relationships to significant existing conditions at your local site and beyond. My final composition, made of a extremely supple wood (ponderosa pine) will be placed just in the center of the site, between the two eucalyptus trees, it will turn by itself when the wind blows. There is a central focal point, which I define as “the backbone”, it is 2.5 feet tall, it breaks in on an asymmetrical curvilinear/rectilinear base, which rotates with the help of a 3” lazy Susan bearing system. It is supported by two semi-straight and one rectilinear, pillars, the largest one is 17” high, the middle one is 10”, and the shortest one is just 2” high , it is 95% perforated with 3/16 perimeter holes, set 2” apart .


Through these holes several thin pieces of wooden rods and wire covered with photo finish paper are positioned in a hierarchical organization. The entire object will rest on a mahogany wooden pedestal. The natural wood hue blends with the background native flora and the wooden fence recently installed. Final site:


Arch 21 Learning Portfolio