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Module 3 Mengqi Yu Student No. 581992 Semester 1/ 2012 Group 8

Module 2 Abstract Models from Module 2

The model I created in Module 2 is panelled by a combination of custom 3D and partition. However, the model is not complex and stylish enough for me to fabricate. The changing of light and projected shadows is still a bit dull. Therefore, I decide to modify my panel to create more variability.

Custom Panel

Remodelling for Fabrication Point meets point while panelling. It will be a problem of connecting panels in fabrication process


Left: 500 surfaces 1000 curves 300 polysurfaces


I got rid of the partition panels, as it seems unnecessary. On this new model, I use offset faceborder command to dig more holes on the tail of the model and less at the front. More light variability are created. However, the model contains too many curves and surfaces, which is hard to be unrolled and made within 2 weeks.


fig. 1

Initially, I fixed the “point to point connecting” problem by getting rid of the top left pyramid and adding a larger triangular surface with more edges connected with each part of the panels. Furthermore, I start to simplify my panel by reducing the pyramids. However, I still cannot unroll my model. The main problem is that the panelled surfaces are not flat, but curved. I tried “pt triangular faces” to flatten my surfaces; however, all the pyramids are pressed into 2D triangles. Therefore, I just try the 2D panel without pyramid. Finally, I succeed! fig. 3

fig. 2

Remodelling for Fabrication I decided to use the panel in figure 3 to apply on my model. However, this 2D custom panel is too simple. I manually offset face borders on the model in different distance and densities to characterize my design. I offset more face borders in a distance of 0.5 on its tail. Then the numbers of face boarders be offset are reduced and the holes are smaller. The reason is that I want to create a light feeling on the tail, which symbolized evaporated water vapour. Then the gradual changing of hole densities symbolize the process of condensation.

Final Model Orthographic View (Scale: 1:1)


Unfolding Model Before


I manually drew the surfaces at the front to close the “mouth� of the lantern in order to leave some space for batteries and switch.

Unfolding surfaces into strips horizontally . Colours symbolize different layers.

Unfolding Model - Unfolding and Nesting custom 2D panels

Initial Nesting strips: -Using Grasshopper to create tags and folds - Material chosen: 5 White Ivory Paper - Using black cut lines and red score lines

Full Scaled Prototype

Top 1: I fabricated my model using card cutter. The material I chose is white ivory card, as the colour is the same as cloud and the texture of the card is soft and smooth enough to be bent.

Left: Flipped surfaces. As the lines are scored, therefore, when I folded them inversely, the lines became crumple.

Top 2: Problems: Too many unnecessary tags are created. Therefore, I have to manually cut them.

Full Scaled Prototype This is a combination of the first three strips at the front. However, my model is too big and the ivory card is not strong enough to hold the big hole in the middle. This part is pressed on the floor. Therefore, I used aluminium wire to structure and support it.

Precedents Shenzhen International Energy Mansion by BIG Architect This is the model of Shenzhen International Energy Mansion designed by BIG Architect. I like the light illustration of the model, which is very soft and misty.

The Three Baskets Of Knowledge By David Trubridge David Trubridge, industrial designer from New Zealand displayed a light installation as part of Milan Design Week. In this lightening installation, the bottom part is hollowed out and the body part is translucent. The light through the bottom projects clear patterns of shadows. I like the combination of transparent and translucent effects.

Full Scaled Prototype Lightening translucent, soft, hazy hole, transparent

clear projected light

Inspiring from the precedents above, I chose tracing paper to add some variation to my light effect. The reason that I chose it is that tracing paper is translucent, which dims the light and makes it like the model of Shenzhen International Energy Mansion. However, I still leave some holes to project clear shadow patterns.

Resend to FABLAB

These are the flipped surfaces found in prototyping; therefore, I used “mirror� command to flip back the surfaces and reallocated them onto an ivory card.



Cut from white ivory card

Fold score lines

Join 2 strips

putting wires

Connecting two major parts together


Santa Monica Parking Structures by Cliff Garten Studio In 2009 Cliff Garten Studio completed the lighting for Santa Monica parking structures. It was done in collaboration with Pugh + Scarpa Architects and the City of Santa Monica Public Art Program, Cultural Affairs Division. This changing colour of light inspired me to organize the position of tracing paper on my model. The brighter light can indicate “heat” with more energy, while the dimming light can indicate “cold” with less energy. Looking back to the rule of cloud formation, warm air arises and meets cold air, then condensation happened to form the clouds. I decided to dim more light on the big front of my model by adding tracing papers.

Materials: LED lights Lithium Batteries Double-side Sticking Tape PVC Insulation Tape

Fabrication Install Lights

- Stick the negative side of LED Light on the negative side of battery using PVC Insulation Tape - Stick double-side sticking tape on the back of the battery (one battery for one LED) - Leave the positive side LED out.

Left: -Stick LED Light in the internal surface of the model. -Stick a PVC Insulation tape beside the battery as a switch. When sticking the tape on the top of the battery with the positive filament of LED light, the light is on. While tearing off the tape, the light is off.

Final model

Length: 110 cm width: 45cm Material: white ivory card 6 X LED LIGHT 6 X BATTERIES

Final model - Light Effect

Light Effect

Final Model Light Effect

I particularly like the projected shadow. They are in different brightness and shapes.

Critical Analysis & Reflection In this project, I have learnt how to transform a designer’s idea into a reality. I went through the basic process of sketching, digitalization and fabrication. Within these processes, it is necessary and important to make design refinements. By considering the “reality� problem for each stage, the idea is keeping modified through the way. For example, the shape of my model made by clay must have some differences between the shape I digitized in Rhino. Rhino is a tool to further develop my model to the next process. When computers and designers met together, designers can achieve above their idea. I can quickly see my final effect of my model by using panelling tool. It is much more effective them manually hand drawing. However, in order to not offset my ideas, I have to go back and check the relevance of my design. It is meaningless to create a purely complex model without linking its complexity and its philosophy behind. Therefore, while panelling my model using complex custom panels, I have to evaluate whether the way of panelling reflect my chosen natural process of cloud formation or not. Trough transferring the digitized model from 3D to 2D by unrolling surfaces; we are able to fabricate it by using paper. We need to carefully nest the surfaces by rotation and division the unrolled strips in order to save the materials used. There is always a gap between the initial design idea and the final presentation. At the fabrication stage, there are lots of limitations in materiality. In Rhino, the each panel on the model is perfectly connected with each other. While in reality, I have to consider the quality of the material chose. As the scale of my model is too big, the white ivory card I used is too soft, which is unable to support the structure. Therefore, I have to use aluminum wires to structure it inside. Then I join the materials using UHU craft glue and sticking tape. It is a time consuming process and there are always some errors while sticking. Once they are not accurately joined, some curly faces will occur. Comparing with digitalization and fabrication process, I found that digitalization is much more accurate and efficient than fabrication. However, the hazy light effect created by tracing paper is easier to be manually constructed. I found that the various patterns of projected shadow are hard to be rendered by Rhino. I found it more useful to test the light effect through prototyping. From the 3 modules, I learnt that digitally enabled fabrication allows more sophisticated projects to be made. Through this process, I also found out more material constrains. However, the advance development of information technology enables designers to achieve more from their imaginations.



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