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Module 4 Hugh Stanford 583 128 Virtual Environments Group 8


Throughout the creation of my lantern, there was one underlying aim I clung to. I aspired to create a design that took inspiration from a natural process, yet had no final resemblance with what that process was. A series of complicating and simplifying steps were undertaken in an attempt to filter out any direct resemblance to my chosen natural process. The thought I possessed was that anyone could make direct representation of a cloud or a tree. By deeply analysing a processes base form and flow however, you get a far more unique and intricate design. Only by truly breaking something down do you separate yourself from those who can copy, to those who can interpret. My design didn’t have a preconceived final form. Only by undertaking the design process could I understand what was possible to create given the skills and resources available. In the end, my design walks the line between a model with that seems to be a simple form, yet possesses an incredibly intricate sub-context that can only be completely understood once the progression undertaken is revealed. Through the critical observations and alterations enforced on my design at all periods of development. I was able to make adjustments to both the major form and the panelling. These adjustments allowed me to create a final model, whose individual parts all associated directly to the chosen natural process, yet whose sum parts disassociated from the original muse. By maintaining the balance between these two variables, I was able to achieve my goal of inspiration-based reproduction, instead of direct recreation. In doing so I was able to create an interesting form of process art that conformed to my design aspirations without loosing track of the core inspiration I was bound to.

Natural Process

A major milestone along the path of primate evolution resides in the many varied and unique styles of locomotion. Where most land dwelling mammals opt for a 4 limbed approach when transporting themselves, there area a few species who use no greater than 2 limbs when generating locomotion. Gibbons and Humans fall into the latter category. Both work via bi-limb movement, yet social and geographical isolation has caused these two species to evolve in different ways. Where humans opt for a walking gait, our tree-dwelling counterparts have adapted to be the only animal to brachiate as a primary mode of transport. The obvious similarities yet drastic variants in these styles of locomotion provide an interesting example of convergent evolution, where similar traits occur in completely isolated and unrelated species, Though my natural process is the locomotion of primates, specifically that of Gibbons and Humana, My goal for my model is to represent a comparison between two different forms of movement, in an attempt to represent how evolution of two isolated species arrive at similar functionally efficient conclusions.

Natural Process

Humans have a 2 phase gait cycle

Gibbons are a Primate species known for their ability to move between trees via brachiation. Humans rely on their feet to act as a primary contact point during locomotion. Gibbons, being tree-dwelling mammals, use their hands to allow for brachiation. This was the specific contrast in movement I decided to focus on when comparing the two locomotive forms in kinematic diagrams.

Because my aim was to produce a kinematic comparison between the two movements. Several diagrams combining the two movements were constructed in an attempt to present the spacial and temporal comparisons between varying locomotive movements.

There are 3 phases involved in brachiation 1) Hanging 2) Swinging 3) Gripping

1) Stance 2) Swing

Module 1 Proposal 1

Module 1 Proposal 2

The First model proposal introduced the idea of displaying the two kinematic diagrams on different view plains. The process of locomotion is a very 3 directional and 3 dimensional movement. Where a horizontal vector occurs in correlation with the vertical movement of a body. The third direction involves the destination in which gait or brachiation takes you. It is rare for a single vector to take a body where it is intending to travel, only a combination of directions on the horizontal plane will provide the deliverance to a destination. Presenting Kinematic diagrams on different planes replicates the 3D nature of primate locomotion, thus linking back to my original natural process. My model originally was designed as a diagrammatic comparison between two different forms of primate locomotion. The illustration I based my model off required the spatial and temporal scale of the movements to be aligned. If this didn’t occur, the entire comparison became invalid. My original model proposal did not align the two diagrams spatially and temporally, this therefore did not correlate to the core goal of my design and had to be altered.

The second proposal focused on the direct alignment of both diagrammatically displays. When looking at the frontal angle, a direct comparison between the two faces is visible. The model starts on the left with the commencement of the swing phase in both gait and brachiation, it then continues towards the right until it reaches the end of the stance phase in gait and the grip phase in brachiation. Though the model did improve on the flaws of the previous model, it neglected the positives mentioned regarding the form of the initial proposal. The model only displayed its purpose in 1 dimension, and therefore did not replicate the 3 dimensional form that locomotion possesses. Furthermore the model appeared clumpy and cumbersome, in doing so failed to capture the fluid and efficient form that locomotion possess. Overall though at one level it fulfilled my design aspirations of diagrammatically comparing the two styles, it was not an adequate representation of my original natural process.

Module 1 proposal 3

The 3rd design balanced the diagrammatic representation, whilst embodying the flow possessed by locomotion. The model works in all 3 dimensions, replicating the flow of the natural process chosen. Yet the position and shape of the arms allows for a direct comparison between diagrammatic illustrations in both spatial and temporal scales. When light is shone from the left of the model, the vertical arm casts a shadow. This shadow displays the kinematic diagram of the human gait. By casting a shadow, it directly aligns both the horizontal and vertical arm, allowing for the viewer to see the direct comparison between sketches. The undulations of the design replicates the fluid, smooth, efficient form the occurs in both gait and brachiation. By creating regular curves, the arms not only represented my comparison diagrams but also replicated the gross form of locomotion as a natural process. The most interesting part of the 3rd design lies in its selective revealing of its core meaning. From some angles, a viewer would not interpret the model as a comparison of locomotive styles. However when viewed at the correct angle, the message the structure is trying to transfer to the viewer is as clear as day. This is the first time throughout the progression of my design that I link back to my aspiration of creating a design that took inspiration from a natural process, but showed little resemblance to what that process was.

Module 1 proposal 3

Once the final form of the diagrammaticle arms had been chosen, there was a significant gap between the 2 arms. I felt the need to add a third arm, and by doing so, finally represent the 3 dimensional form of locomotion adequately. When drafting the kinematic diagrams, the key contact point during locomotion (hand for a Gibbon, foot for a Human) was chosen as a focal point for comparative movement. This was an important feature that I felt had to be represented elsewhere in the model. For the third arm I decided to create a physiological comparison between the major bones in each anatomical structure. Though this was irrelevant in regard to the kinematics of primate locomotion, it was still relevant in my aim to display how different paths of evolution ended in similar forms, and still provided a comparison between two different elements of locomotion.

Module 2 Panelling Experiments

Module 2 Lighting Experiments During the early stages of brainstorming for a final panelling scheme, creating paper models of potential designs was an efficient way to see what structures could be fabricated. The bellow design was subsequently created in Rhino, but was later scrapped for the final design.

Creating physical models aided with experimentation of silhouetting. By having a physical model to shine light through, a real world perspective not possible on Rhino was achieved.

Initially, it was important to experiment with the ‘panelling tools’ plug in. Though many of the designs generated were unrelated to the chosen natural process, it was important to experiment with different styles of panelling to understand what was possible to create in Rhino. The link between the model and inspiration was nonexistent and therefore needed to be strengthened for my final proposal.

Though none of these designs featured in the final model, using physical models aided in the understanding of what types of structures would be possible to fabricate, as well as how light would interact with them

Module 2 Panelling Sub-unit

Module 2 Panelling Sub-unit

Closed polygonal variation of original analytical drawings Original Analytical sketches of Human body position during gait for Gibbon

Original analysis of Gibbon Process of complicating and simplifying shapes produced several variations for the ‘Gibbon arm’ body positions

Kandinsky’s teachings at the Bauhaus School of Design focused on accenting the functionality of an image, yet simplifying it to exaggerate its major force producing members. I found this method of analytical drawing to be a great way to incorporate the analysis of varied types of locomotion into my design. The photographs of both a Gibbon and a Human Triangle outline being added to initial closed shapes for human sub-unit during their respective locomotive cycles were used to create 2 sets of 6 analytical drawings that would become not only another way to display my process, but the primary link to my design goal in my final model. During the initial sketches produced, I unintentionally over-complicated many of the prototypes. This not only created patterns that were near impossible to construct once a physical model needed to be erected. It also failed to represent the elegant and relatively simple form of locomotion. It therefore needed editing to be a suitable representation of my chosen natural process.

Variations in proposed sub-unit for the ‘Human arm’

When simplifying the panelling sub-unit, I thought it important to maintain the idea of analytical drawings to represent the core physiological and functional form of both the Gibbons and Humans during locomotion. I felt by not only using the diagrammatic kinematic sketches but also the analytical sketches, the comparison between brachiation and gait was strengthened. The issue I previously faced regarding the sub-unit not capturing the elegance and simplicity of locomotion was something that needed to be resolved. I accomplished this by drastically simplifying my sketches. This was done by decreasing the number of members drawn, and only keeping the major lines of strain. This closely refers back to the Kandansky method I was originally using, where simplicity was enforced and only the most crucially structural members were drawn. Though the panelling unit now was in a simplified form, It’s unsymmetrical nature meant that it would inevitably bring about construction issues. In later steps I was required to alter the form of the unit to make it more easily constructed. I had to do this whilst maintaining the positives gained through this design.

Module 2 Proposal 1

The first proposal that incorporated the analytical drawings did so in a simple yet convoluted way. The major issues I had with this format is the lack of progression representation. My goal was to align the analytical drawing spatially with the same temporal process on the kinematic arms. This would allow a greater depth in the comparative analysis, thus satisfying my design ambition. However, in the case of my first proposal the grid density was too great, resulting in a lack of cohesion between the models form and the panelling sub-unit. When deciding on the overall form my model would take, I was attracted to the idea of the model representing it’s message in three dimensions. This was to capture the three dimensional form locomotion possesses. I aspired for this idea to not only apply to the physical form of the model but also to the panelling of the model. Because this proposal is 2D it failed to interpret the 3D form of locomotion, and therefore had to be altered.

Module 2 Proposal 2

The second proposal applied the previously mentioned design aspirations that were not achieved in model 1. It succeeded in aligning the panelling sub-unit in accordance with the form of the model. This was achieved by decreasing the grid density, only allowing the 6 sub-units to be visible once along the length of each arm. The second proposal used a 3D approach to its panelling. This allowed it to closer represent the 3 dimensional form of brachiation and gait.

Module 2 Proposal 3

Once I had completed the second proposal, I started experimenting with different grid variation settings. This made some interesting forms, my favourite one being the 3rd proposal. However on critical analysis of my work I decided that the increase in complication of my model had no relevance to my original process of design goals.

For these reasons I decided to progress my 2nd proposal instead. This model was a key moment in the progression of my design. It marks a turning point where there emphasis on further adding ideas to my model is changed to simplifying it.

Centralising Panelling Unit

Prefab panelling triangulations

During the prefabrication editions, it was evident that the panelling unit, simplified as it may have been, was not suitable for fabrication. Namely the different triangles that made up the unit did not connect at a single focal point. This made it impossible to fabricate without the repercussions of bending and inevitably tearing occurring. To combat this fabrication error The unit had to be edited to have a single point in which all the members of the unit met. This however edited the shape of the analytic sketches. Minor editing was required to stay true to the original shape whilst enabling the possibility of fabrication.

Base pattern for centralised subunit

During prefab alterations to the design, It became evident that buckling of many faces of the model was inevitable. This would drastically alter the forces applied to the model during fabrication, potentially changing the final form created. To combat this negative effect, triangulations of all buckling surfaces was required. This triangulation process greatly increased the units and therefore the complexity of the design. The design became quite convoluted, distracting from the original shape of the model as well as creating a separation between the panelling and the form of the model. The Form and panelling of the model was intended to present two different sides to the same process. Therefore they were intended to have a close correlation to allow them to represent these different aspects to the greatest level. By dissociating them, this connection was interrupted, disrupting the message presented.

Module 3 Proposal 1

Module 3 Proposal 2

To combat the over convoluting effect the triangulation process created, the model underwent several simplification processes. Halving the grid density of the panelling not only effected the external pattern, but also altered the models form. This process greatly simplified the model, resulting in less distraction from the form of the shape. Along with a reduction in grid density, there was an alteration made in the panelling unit pattern. This alteration effected the shape of the model. The simplifying editions resulted in a greater integration between the panelling and the form of the model. Where originally the panelling and model were two different entities, now they were both interconnected, with minor editions in the panelling unit effecting the form of the model. This integration was an important achievement as it allowed the two different sides of analysis (the kinematic drawings and the analytical sketches) to be closer related.

Aside from the unfavourable convolution of the triangular process, Module 3’s 1st proposal was able to maintain the positive elements achieved in module 2’s second proposal. The spatial progression between the panelling unit and the form was maintained, as was the 3 dimensional form.

Prefab Panelling Alterations

During the triangulation process, the original progression of shapes became impossible to maintain. I initially continued to use the 6 analytical sketches patterns for the panelling, but now they weren’t in progressive order, they lacked the original purpose of aligning with the curve of the model. By focussing on only one of the analytical drawings, I was able to still display the original inspiration for the panelling unit, but also elude the now moot point of pattern progression. Furthermore, it was easier to fit into the simplified model, enabling a more rigid form of the final design.

Prefab Panelling Alterations

Originally the midline panelling form was a change between units from the Gibbon arm and from the Human arm. After the simplification process, I decided on creating a new midline pattern, one which resembled the base pattern in which both the new Gibbon and Human units originated from

Prefab Panelling Alterations

The initial pattern orientation presented all the panelling units in an upward facing direction. This produced a relatively symmetrical surface. When simplifying my design, I decided to use a continues cyclical arrangement. This produced a less predictable, more calculated chaotic form. My goal at this point was to use the inspiration I had acquired from my natural process and warp it to produce a new unrelated design. My intentions were to disassociate from the original natural process and for someone to only understand the design process undertaken once the design had been explained. The original pattern displayed more of a diagrammatic representation of the original natural process, this contradicted my ambition and had to be changed.



Through the construction of prototypes, I found the way the triangular sub-units interacted varied from the virtual model. This at times needed to be minimised as it altered the form away from the intended shape. However in the case of the midline arm, the alterations resulted in a closer comparison to the original inspiration. The physical model had a curved shape. This represented the original sketches of two bones meeting each other. Changes at the pointed end of arm formed a angled head which resembled the original inspiration for the arm closer than that of the virtual model. Though the fabrication process resulted in a closer association between the model and the natural process, I decided not to use this effect in my final model. This was due to my original goal to disassociate from any literal representation to my original natural process. I wanted to interpret not represent. Therefore, producing a model that resembled the inspired form would contradict my initial design aspiration.

When constructing prototypes many issues arouse that negatively effected the shape of the lantern. Due to the physical properties of the card, it was significantly easier to bend the joints of the card in one direction than the other. Because my design required both directions of bending, this innability to fold resulted in a change in the geometry of the card pieces. When putting the pieces together there became significant gaps between different pieces. This resulted in a major issue when lighting the model. Throughout the design, strategically placed wholes in the surface of the model were intended to let out light in a purposeful manner. By increasing the number of gaps in the surface of the lantern, light was able to emit through areas that did not correlate with the design intentions. This therefore weakened the entire message of the model. When constructing the model, the three arms that made up the design had to be fabricated separately. This resulted in issues when the arms had to be connected. An inability to effectively connect the arms further allowed light to be emitted from areas not designed. It also created a disjointed aesthetic. The main aim of the entire model was to suggest a close comparison between different types of locomotion. If the different arms representing these different forms of locomotion did not connect, the entire message produced from the model had been altered.

Final Model

Final Model

When experimenting with different card materials, it was obvious that the different colour properties significantly effected the way light emitted from the lantern. Where white card allowed light to radiate through its material. Black card enabled light to penetrate only the holes intentionally design within the panelling unit. Because the panelling was the major point of representation for my natural process, by only shining light through this area, I highlighted the focal point of the lantern. For my third model, I decided to undergo a drastic simplification process to quell the fabrication issues faced with my previous design. Where as the previous model relied on both the analytical sketches as well as the physical form to portray its message. Through the progression of the design, my focus shifted towards emphasising the linear aspects of locomotion, as opposed to the 3 dimensional approach that the model previously centred on. The progression was now symbolised through the change in analytical sketches. This minimalist approach allowed the model to pay homage to the simplicity and efficiency of locomotion.

Panelling unit alterations


When considering the lighting arrangement for my model, there were three main design choices I made to accentuate my natural process and design aspirations. Firstly, the holes in the panelled surface where light penetrates replicated the analytical drawings that showed the progression of locomotion. These holes were organised as they were to represent the different patterns in the drawings. Secondly, the model remained open ended at both ends. This produced the effect of the internal light continuing away from model until it vanished into the void that surrounded the lantern. When compressing the model, it was evident that now both the human and gibbon arms of the model had been combined, the same had to happen for the analytic drawings. Originally I had used missing triangular units to represent the original Kandansky sketches. I later chose to have different sized gaps in present triangular units to represent the sketches. Larger holes represented the human analytic drawings, where as the smaller holes represented the Gibbon drawings. This was simply because Humans are a larger species than Gibbons, therefore it was fitting for them to have a larger hole. Furthermore I opted on a hand cut method of removing these pieces. I felt a major focal point originally in my now obsolete kinematic sketches was the hand of a Gibbon and the foot of a Human. By hand cutting the holes out, I felt the intentional imperfect nature of the holes would symbolise that through it all, the one constant my model had were the primates I was taking inspiration from. I was representing the infinitely imperfect nature of these animals.

Close ended model at side view

Close up of open in panelled surface

Thirdly, having 2 lights at opposite ends of the model allowed for the radiating of the light out the two ends of the lantern at an optimal level. Having three lights would cause one LED to be visible when looking at the design from the front. This over saturation of light in one specific undesirable location would distract the point of view away from the illuminated pattern caused by the panelling surface. Therefore it would diminish the effect the first lighting design choice.

Light leading away from open ended model

Design Precedents

Design Precedents Shoal Fly By, designed by Cat Mcleod and Michael Bellemo, is a part of myriad of sculptures along the Docklands foreshore in Melbourne. Mcleod and Bellemo were inspired by “flying shoals of fish… rippling the water” (VicUrban 2010). The design represents the fluid movement of an animal through it’s natural habitat, similar to my model. It does this by taking a time laps image of the process. As the fish move through time, they leave a path travelled, this is represented in the undulations of a long thin member. The sculpture, underneath all its layers, is still just a diagrammatic representation of a kinematic process. In these ways the “Shoal Fly By” was an obvious design precedents in the early stages of my initial planning, with its form being relatively similar to the initial form of my lantern. Through progression of my model however, it is evident how the process of design breeds change and compromise; an obvious point when comparing this precedents to the final proposal.

The Anise Pendent by design company Earl.Pinto uses natural materials, such as natural or high gloss ply wood, to accomplish a clean simple design. When designing the lamp, Earl.Pinto had a major issue with the their joint structure. Originally adhered by glue, this resulted in an overflow from joint, compromising the clean, simple aesthetic that was intended. By using friction to connect the pieces together, they simplified the design, allowing it to remain true to their original intentions.

After making a significantly over complicated design proposal, I realised my design had varied from the origin intentions I possessed. By halving the density of the my panelling grid, and creating a simplified panelling unit, I was able to return my design back to a more simple design, more honest to my original idea. This was further the case during the last simplification process, where a drastic minimalist simplification was required to enable manufacturing.

The Anise Pendent represents the manufacturing process of my design process. Similar to Eart. Pinto, I faced an endless tirade of obstacles that had to be over come with drastic design alterations. Just like in this case there is evidence of design development through the limitations of fabrication./

Earl.Pinto pride themselves on using “materials and technologies that are readily available”. The designers form digital models of their structure, breaking it down into separate sub units to be cut out and manufactured into the final lantern. The use of wood cutting machines allows a highly computer generated modelling process. This is similar to my lantern, where many sub-units of my design were cut out of a piece of paper using technologies similar to that used by Earl.Pinto. Using similar technologies presented similar design possibilities and issues.

Design Precedents Minimalism was an art movement that occurred in the late 60’s early 70’s. The main premise of this movement was to present the core essentials of a subject through eliminating all nonessential aspects or concepts. The idea was simple, remove distractions and all there is to see is the raw essence of the object. In these movie poster examples they have removed everything that related to the film. The core characters and plot details are eluded to in the cases of “The Life Aquatic” and “Star Wars”. However, in other cases viewier interpretations are shown, such as the Top Gun poster eluding to the idea of a homosexual undertone throughout the film. This may be dismissed as a joke in poor taste, however it epitomises the Minimalist movement. The artist has been able to successfully portray a complex theory easily understood by a viewer, using only a single toned image and a title. Though my model uses more than an image and a title, by using nothing more than a single arm of a previously far more complex design, I have been able to represent a complex natural process in the span of 30 centre meters. This is due to eliminating any distracting qualities from my design. By only leaving the core necessities I was able to embody the ideals of the minimalist movement and achieve my overall design aspirations. The entire Minimalist movement and the ideals it stood for were an important precedent to the path my design ultimately took.


The beginning is simple to mark, however it is the journey that is worth marking. When setting out along the long and at times psychologically perilous path that would inevitably equate to the completion of my lantern; I had a dream. I had a dream that one day I would be able to represent a natural process. This natural process was the locomotion in its greater glory. The movement of a Gibbon through the tree-tops, the movement of a man on the pavement. I had a dream that these two movements, though different at first glance had a underlying connection. Though thousands of years of evolutionary pressures compressed down upon these two species until drastically different physiological forms emerged, there were still core functional similarities between the two. I set out to compare these two animals and the way they moved. I believed that by combining these movements I would see significant similarities. I was able to illustrate that though these were isolated species separated for millions of years, evolution finds a way to resolve issues in similar function manners. What I did not expect was that the way I would achieve this outcome was not through my final design. It was however, through the process partaken. Through the long road of design development, there was one constant; the effortless combining of the two opposed locomotive movements. Through this process I was able to successfully articulate my chosen natural process in the form of a lantern. A fitting easy ending I may say. However, though my natural process has been presented and my underlying evolutionary comparison has been conquered, the crux of my design development remains as untouched as an arts graduate by an employer. By this I mean the core struggle undertaken by myself was directly due to my aspirations to not represent my natural process but to interpret it. I had the initial desire to take a natural process and warp it to the point beyond uninstructed observation. When someone looked at my lantern I wanted the last thing they saw to be the natural process. I wanted the analysis of locomotion to be the bricks and mortar to my design, not the facade itself. One thing I found when partaking in this project was the idea that regardless of your design plans, everything that can go wrong will, and the things that shouldn’t go wrong do. Due to this, I started with no complete design plan, my model took form through the progression required by design. Obstacles arose, and just like the evolutionary process I was trying to symbolise, adaptation was required for survival. Overall my design process followed the path of a single undulation. I started with little, built up a model by the means of complicating it’s design. Then drastic simplification was required to nullify the over convoluting that had started to jeopardise the form of my design away from the natural process that was keeping it up. Through constant criticism and alterations undertaken along my design path, I was successful in creating a functional lantern. A lantern that when put together eluded the obvious comparison with its inspiration. However, whose individual parts, whose bricks and mortar, were all direct and obvious representations of my initial chosen natural process.