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Lian Chen Ng Student No: 617177

Semester 1/2013

Group 2

PROJECT INTRODUCTION This project is about designing and making a portable paper lantern that is wearable on body or interface with hand which can be carried by one person. The concept of the paper lantern is derived from geometric rules behind a pattern found in nature. The processes started from exploring ideas in Module 1, designing panels digitally using 3D modelling software in Module 2, fabricating prototypes and final model using CNC card cutter in Module 3 and finally writing reflection in Module 4. The final product took 12 weeks of learning and designing processes to successfully produce a lantern with aesthetic spatial effects.

MODULE IDEATION MODULE 11 IDEATION NATURAL PATTERN AS ROOT OF DESIGN Natural patterns were often used as recipes or idea for development processes in many design works. An experential understanding of natural processes found on pattern is to apply its beauty of form and completicity to achieve abstract and aesthetic design. In this project, a natural pattern of pinecone was chosen to construct recipes based on its Fibonacci sequence leaves arrangement for lantern design. According to Ball (2012) in 'Pattern Formation in Nature', natural pattern often emerged based on repetition of a set of rules which results in a self-organisation characteristics such as ‘symmetry breaking’ in embryo formation, 'branching' in snowflakes and river. There are often mathematical analogies behind the rules which govern the formation of the natural pattern. Similarly, the pattern found on pine cone also results from mathematical rule. Pine cone has very unique set of numbers on its spirals of bracts called Fibonacci numbers. The formation of pine cone is based on two sets of spirals, which are clockwise spirals and counter clockwise spirals. There are always 13 clockwise spirals and 8 counter clockwise spirals formed on a normal pine cone which results a golden ratio of 13:8.

Left: 8 anti-clockwise spirals


Rght: 13 clockwise spirals

Sketches above show the Fibonacci sequence of spirals occur in pine cone.

150x150mm chosen natural pattern of pinecone




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From the 13 clockwise spirals and eight counter clockwise spirals on the balance analytical drawing, a pair of clockwise and anti-clockwise spiral was selected as my recipe to design my lantern.

The clockwise spiral and anti-clockwise spiral were paired up together as shown in the drawing above to achieve balance within the two different spirals. Analytical drawing above shows the balance analysed from pine cone pattern.

With the knowledge of mathematical rules (Fibonacci numbers) behind the pine cone pattern, a series of analytical drawings were made based on the chosen pattern to formulate a recipe for lantern design. Kandinsky's principles of analytical drawing from the reading by Poling (1987) were applied to the drawings. The analysis process of the drawings involves three stages: simplification, analysis and transformation. Recipes were then formulated according to the method by Aranda & Lasch (2006) in 'Tooling'. For instance, the drawing above shown is the analytical drawing which focuses on balance. For this drawing, dotsš were first drawn to simplify the pine cone pattern. Then, lines and dotted lines² were used to join the dots and finally the overall drawing was transformed into more abstract form at the same time balance is achieved. On the right side of the drawing are the recipes formulated during the analysis processes of pine cone pattern.

The drawing above shows the form developed from two droplets shape based on the clockwise and counterclockwise recipe which the balance of the lantern form structure is emphasised.



Airspace Tokyo, a multi-storey dwelling unit with 3,500 square feet exterior skin designed by Faulders Studio based on Voronoi concept. Although the building looks pretty simply, just a rectangle box, it is the multi-layer skin structures of the building that attracted me while looking inspiration for my lantern design.

Clay modelling techniques were applied to make a clay model of lantern form in 1:5 scale. Different sizes petal patterns made from rolled coils which inspired by the voronoi patterns in Airspace Tokyo were added on the clay model.

The sketch above shows the cut effects of light source from the model.

Development of skin design to achieve cut light effects and shadows.

Apart from its Voronoi pattern, the main idea learnt from this precedent is its shadows and lighting effects that formed on the walls. The interesting shadows and lighting formed on the wall through the cut holes of the multilayer structures inspired me to apply cut light effect shadows to my lantern.

My aim is to create a lantern that not only can form interesting shadows, but also create an ambient environment. Hence, a series of drawing were drawn to design different sizes of holes on the skin texture for my lantern form which inspired by the Voronoi holes in Airspace Tokyo. However, instead of layered effects from the precedent, cut effects is decided to use to form direct shadows from the cut out pattern.






At the end of this Ideation module, a very first lantern form was successfully designed. A clay model of the lantern in 1:5 scale was developed and used to determine how the lantern interface with body. From the photos shown, the lantern is designed to interface around the neck and hang on the left side of body. The upper end is hang around the neck and the lower end will interface with the arm. The movements of the patterns create a balance to the whole structure of the lantern form: one moving upwards to the neck and another moving downwards to the arm.








Contouring Process... 5











A new clay model without skin textures design as shown at the photos below were made to transform the physical model into digital form in Rhino. The model which made of two curvy shapes was contoured using pencil and segmented together in 0.5cm slices. The sliced sections were then arranged in order as shown in the photo above and photographed to digitise the model in Rhino.



Top Orthographic views of contoured model

Dimension of contoured clay model (11.58cm x 5.20 cm) in 1:5 scale.

Contoured curves were arranged manually refering to the photos of clay model taken.

Digitised model formed after lofting the curves that arranged according to the clay model form.



Original contoured form

Rebuild to smoothen the curve

Pull both end by controlling Selv and Selu

Bend both end using gumball follow the recipes (clockwise & counterclockwise)

Adjust the diameter using gumball to curve both end

Rebuild form based on the recipes.

After understanding the digital techniques and tools in Rhino, I decided to explore for more abstract and challenging form based on my recipes. Hence, a series of modification and development were made to lantern form. This is to achieve a more abstract and aesthetic lantern form using the recipes.

Smoothen form by lofting extracted isocurve

Sketch shows how the new lantern form interface on body and hand.



Dimension of model (18.16cm x 54.09cm )

Test for panelling with grid number U: 16 V: 8

Test for panelling after shuffled the grid usiing point attractors. Grid number U: 30 V: 20

Model panelled with custom design panels.





From the Voronoi concept inspired by the Airspace Tokyo, I tried to make a variation of petal holes panels which I designed on my clay model. As I wanted to make a set of panels that is unique for my lantern itself. Therefore, I research for the patterns that can be found on the pine cone such as pentagon and diamond shapes to further develop my panels.


1 a


Pentagon holes on the panel were inspired by pine cone bracts which shown in the photo above.



Pentagon holes were modified into three diamond holes and arranged in triangle form.



3D triangular 'spiky roofs' were added to mimic the extension bracts of the pine cone.



In this module, 'abstraction' and 'reduction' which introduced in the reading 'Lost in Parameter Space' by Scheurer & Stehling (2011) were applied in the process of designing lantern. Abstraction was applied during the transformation and modification of model based on chosen recipes using Rhino 3D modelling software. Meanwhile, 'reduction' is the process where the information on the panels was reduced for model optimisation using Rhino's Panelling Tools.







Panels were modified from the previous panels designed. B


At the end of this module, it is becoming clear how important is digital technology in recent designing industries. From the reading 'Design and Manufacturing' by Kolarevic (2003), different ways of transforming physical to digital model or vice versa were introduced to explore for perceptual and spatial effects. Using the knowledge from this reading, 3D scanning (contouring and loft nurbs) were used to transform my physical clay model into digital model in Rhino.

New panels added for design optimisation


3a 3c 3b 3d The chosen panels for the final lantern model.

After realised the panels with the previous set of grid number were too small (2cm x 1cm each panel), the grid number were reduced to as below: U: 20 V:12

Digital model of final panelised of lantern model.

In 'Digital Fabrication' by Iwamoto (2009), it mentioned how to manipulate nurbs to create expressive and aesthetic design. For this, the grids on my model were manipulated using shuffle grid technique with the aid of point attractor points to produce multiple differentiated size grids. This gives rise to a variation to the sizes of custom panels designed which also create movement effect across the surfaces of the lantern.



1 A 300gsm black card was used for my first prototype to test the light effects with black surfaces lantern. For this prototype, only important parts of my lantern were chosen to test the shadows of the cut pattern on the lantern. For the lighting, as we were advised to try different colours of light for our lantern, bright yellow LEDs stripe were used in this prototype to test the warm colour effect for this prototype. As the LEDs were bright enough, the lantern successfully created cut and layered shadows on the wall from the pattern holes on the panels. However, the surfaces of the lantern cannot be illuminated when black card is used.

2 After testing with black card, white ivory card was used for my lantern skin. As the LEDs bought from fab lab are diffused LEDs, the lights might not strong enough to illuminate my lantern if black card is used. Hence, besides three diffused 10mm LEDs from fab lab, I added another six clear 5mm LEDs for this prototype. From the photos shown here, the LEDs were just bright enough to illuminate the lantern surfaces, but only formed small part of shadows on the wall. Besides that, some dirt on the lantern and the hidden tabs inside the lantern can be easily seen without the 3D panels.


CUTTING TEMPLATE FOR FINAL MODEL After considering all the problems met in the prototypes, I decided to use white ivory card for my lantern skin and black card for the 3D panels. This is to create contrast between the surfaces and the 3D parts, so the 3D panels stand out on the surface of the lantern. In order to prepare the template to cut using CNC cutter in fab lab, I had arranged my unrolled surfaces to fit all the unrolled tabs in one ivory card. It can be seen from the cutting template for unrolled 3D panels, a quarter area left on the card after I arranged the surfaces very close to each other to reduce wastage area.

Material: Ivory Card (250gsm) Material Size: 900mm x 600mm Cutting File: 2DUnrolled Panels Scale: 1:1 Area Used: 90% Wastage Area: 10%

Material: Black Card (300gsm) Material Size: 900mm x 600mm Cutting File: 3D Unrolled Panels Scale: 1:1 Area Used: 75% Wastage Area: 25%









Soldering wires together.

Soldering wire on the LED strip.

50cm Diagram of lighting circuit installed inside the lantern.

Complete series circuit made up of 4 LED strips.

Soldering iron was used to connect all the wires toLED strips because it is the fastest and most secure way to build a circuit. A switch was added to the circuit so that the lantern can be turned on or off easily and a 12V alkaline battery was used to light up the LED strips. A mini battery was chosen so that it can hide inside my lantern.



After experimenting with both white LEDs and yellow LEDs from the prototypes, yellow LED was chosen to use as it able to create warm effects to the lantern. Also, yellow light is more suitable for my lantern because it mimics the colour of fire which makes my lantern looks more 'natural'. From the photos shown above, my lantern has successfully created interesting cut shadows and lighting effects aimed since at the beginning. It also creates a romantic scene when it lighted up in the dark due to the warm light effect. The 3D panels were used to diffuse some of the light from the cut panels so that the shadows formed were not too complicated as my attention is to create an ease atmosphere.








1,4 : The photos show the cut pattern shadows formed on the walls. 2,3: Interesting shadows look like fern plant formed on the wall. 1,4,5: The photos show how the lantern interface arond neck and the way to hold it.


MODULE MODULE 44 REFLECTION REFLECTION Virtual Environments has taken me on an exciting and invaluable journey. It is truly an inspiring subject that broadens my view and knowledge in designing field. At the beginning, everything was a little unclear and overwhelming. It only became clear after I experienced and went through the processes step-by-step from Module 1 until Module 4. Throughout the process, I have been constantly engaged with new ideas and skills that essential in designing process. One important thing that I learnt in this subject is the designing process. Designing is often challenging and timeconsuming process as it requires imaginations and inspirations from time to time. Although tasks were organized systematically according to the module plan, sometimes it is needed to reverse back to reconsider about your design concepts. This often tests my patience and making decision abilities. As designing always involves decision making, we make silly mistakes all the time. Nevertheless, the most efficient way to learn is by making mistakes. Although digital software assists greatly in designing to explore perceptual and spatial effects, this can be constraint by the limitation associated with human computation inputs skills (Bernstein & Deamer, 2008). There are certain risks that have to be included in every decision made. For this, I learnt that never give up on trying new ideas no matter how many failures have to endure. It has been worthwhile to spend countless hours exploring the functions in Rhino to construct not only an aesthetic, but also developable lantern. Similarly, parametric software like Grasshopper plug in and CNC cutter are very useful tools after learning how to operate them. With the aid of these technologies, fabrications process become so much easier and faster. The importance of digital technology discussed in the reading 'The Third Industrial Revolution' by Rifkin (2011) has not only changed my view on designing industries, but also the future economy and modern manufacturing process. The future will be a whole new digital dependent world. Digital technology is always essential to build more advance machines that able to produce huge production in very short period at the same time reduce production cost. Recently, digital software and digital fabrication has replaced the traditional methods of designing processes such as drawing. With computer aided design software and 3D printing technology, it is possible to print a three dimensional product where 'additive manufacturing' is becoming highly preferred over 'subtractive manufacturing' as it requires less raw material and potentially energy and cost saving. Hence, digital technology is also essential for moving towards a sustainable future. Overall, I enjoyed this subject very much and the knowledge that I gained from this subject would definitely assist my future studies and career. I am truly grateful to all my tutors and friends who assist me all the time and create a meaningful learning journey in my very first semester of university.


REFLECTION QUOTE 'The pencil and computer are, if left to their own devices, equally dumb and only as good as the person driving them' -Norman Foster

BIBLIOGRAPHY Archicubed 2010, Airspace Tokyo. Retrieved March 24th from, Ball, P. 2012. Pattern Formation in Nature, AD: Architectural Design, Wiley, 82 (2), March, pp. 22-27 Bernstein, P. & Deamer, P. 2008. Building the Future: Recasting Labor in Architecture. Princeton Architectural Press. pp 38-42 Faulders Studio, Airspace Tokyo. Retrieved March 24th from, Iwamoto, L. 2009. Digital fabrications: architectural and material techniques. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.. Kolarevic, B. 2003. Architecture in the Digital Age - Design and Manufacturing. Spon Press, London. Lasch, A. 2006. Tooling. New York : Princeton Architectural Press. Poling, C. 1987. Analytical Drawing In Kandisky’s Teaching at the Bauhaus Rizzoli, New York, pp. 107-122 Rifkin,J. & Macmillan,P. 201. The third Industrial Revolution .pp107-126 Scheurer, F. & Stehling, H. 2011. Lost in Parameter Space? IAD: Architectural Design, Wiley, 81 (4), July, pp. 70-79

Nature | Paper Lantern  

Paneling Tools, Rhinoceros 3D | Virtual Environments 2013, University of Melbourne

Nature | Paper Lantern  

Paneling Tools, Rhinoceros 3D | Virtual Environments 2013, University of Melbourne