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After doing a week4 entry in design journal I realised that I’m still not satisfied with the outlook of my model. I traced the slices and that method appeared to be not suitable for this particular model. So I decided to go a step backward. Instead of trying to improve existing surface I just used another tracing method- tracing curves from the reference image. This time the model was much better. As the lantern is going to be in the form of armour, I scaled the model to fit my hand and arm.

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As this was actually the third model I’ve been digitizing, and I new that slicing technique doesn’t work very well for this type of curvature, so I decided to use a new method - tracing the curves. The resulting curves were rather rough so I just rebuit them with a fewer control points. Then, turning the control points on, I improved geometry before drawing cross-sections and further lofting,

NEW MODEL Top view

Front view

Right view

Perspective view

The model has smooth shape which is suitable for panelling. The tunnel inside is a place for my arm and it was done using BooleanDifference. It will be used as a supporting construction when it will come to fixing the LED lights inside

Exploring the panelling options Custom 2D pattern. It consists of several rectangles put one in one.

Exploring the panelling options

Custom panel: circles

Library panels: diamond

Library panels: triangles

Custom panel 4-ray star

Exploring the panelling options: 3D panels

2D panel

3D panel Model surface populated with 3D custom panels

Exploring the panelling options: 3D panels

For the sake of experiment I put a model into a box and used a Rhino Rendering option to produce and test lighting effects. But as every easy way it was not perfect, producing very vague shadows.

This 3D panelling was produced from a Rhino’s library triangle pattern using ptFinEdges command.

Exploring the panelling options: 3D panels

The panelling element - short tube.

Out of all tested models this one, with the circles, fits the surface of the model better. That is because the curvature of the surface is very smooth and probably the triangular elements, that I used, are somewhat too big for it.

Exploring the lighting effects

Light effects from a rectangle-shaped element. I actually liked this light effects, they are very close the ones I wanted for my model. Trying to assemble theese four panels together I realised, that the paper, which I chose for that is too thin so most of the elements are not sitting straight on their assigned places. That means that if I will choose this type of panels for further development, I’ll need to pick a thicker card for cutting, otherwise it will be impossible to build a model.

Lighting effects for overlapping circles. When we were doing analytic drawings few weeks ago, I particularly liked this one, as I new it would produce beautiful light effects. So I tried to reproduce these effects in panels. I was very much satisfied with the resulting picture, but when I started to model overlapping circles in Rhino, it appeared that they just won’t lay straight, and start to pop out of the surface. I am going to try to play with the scale of these panel and see if it is possible to improve the result

I tested a few other panels. The first pattern appears from the triangle slits on the skin of the object. I generally liked this type of effect, but was not satisfied with the scale - I think, bigger slits would look better. The second picture represents light effects for a rectangle shaped panel.


In a TED talk video Tomas Heatherwick discusses his own approach to design. Specifically, he notes that when he observed build environment it felt like there was not much life in it. This led him to an idea of creativity and fun in design. While fun is commonly associated with impracticality, Heatherwick, on the contrary, insists on combining aesthetic component with sustainability, social integration (people interact with design), innovation and visual stimulation. This video continues the idea of oneness discussed in a previous lecture: multiple components of design - aesthetical and utilitarian - become one in a final product. The final consumer of a design product should not be able to detect components or “seams” between different ideas used in design. He should percept it as a single picture. Heatherwick also seems to implement the same creative strategy that is used in our course: he draws inspiration from nature and then creates something totally new by means of analysis, combination of different ideas and methods, ‘exploring alternatives for materiality’. We can see that design can’t be developed only mentally or solely by digital means, it needs to be tested against real-life conditions. Sometimes it involves producing multiple prototypes. This relates to our activities in next few weeks in this course. Reading (Lost in Parameter Space? / F. Scheurer and H. Stehling. AD: Architectural Design, Wiley, 81 (4), July, 2011. P. 70-79.) continues discussing necessary and unnecessary, this time in digital design. Modern design software is continuously evolving, increasingly using mathematics and offering architects new opportunities in design. But this evolution eventually came to a point when the software became so complex and resourse-consuming that it affects operational speed and demands a lot of space to store information. There are several strategies to reduce amount of information in operation while still keeping design well-described. Among them are abstraction and reduction. The difference is that abstraction allows some deliberate loss of information, still keeping geometry well understandable, while reduction creates lean process by getting rid of repeating information or allowing the software to operate within a range of parameters under some set of rules (which stay the same all the time) rather than describing each and every outcome for every single parameter. This relates to our design process: at first we extracted the main idea of our pattern, deliberately leaving aside quite a lot of information, and than started to shape our ideas constantly testing them against their purpose, aesthetics and buildability. REFERENCES: 1. Lost in Parameter Space? / F. Scheurer and H. Stehling. AD: Architectural Design, Wiley, 81 (4), July, 2011. P. 70-79. 2. TED talks - Thomas Heatherwick

Week 6 entry  

Week 6, Module 2 Design

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