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Module Four : Reflection Semester 1 Group 1 Min Gee Suh 607048

Ideation Natural Pattern

“Pattern formation is not a static thing. But arises from growth” (Ball,2013) Ball points out the understanding of pattern formation as an “endeavor that unites many disparate fields of science.” Similariy the symmetrical formation of a fern is not just ‘static’ or occuring randomly but is highly affected by the factor of growth. More specifically, the pattern is highly affected by the sunlight as plants usually grow in a way that receives them most effectively. Understanding the arrangement of the fern beyond its visual representation served to be the starting point of this project.

To understand the formation of the natural pattern, I produced a visual recipe according to ‘Tooling’ by Aranda and Lasch. By considering the overall balance and the arrangement of the leaves, I was able to identify the formation of the leaves (reflection symmetry) which will become the starting point of the lantern.

Ideation Generating the


Kandisky view of analytical drawing has significantly influence me during the form generating process.

“The whole construction by means of the most concise schema” (Polling 1987) I focused on finding the core ‘tension’ instead of the obvious relation that could be drawn immediatly. As a result, I was able to produce a paper model with the most concise schema. The difficult part was transfering this into a clay model so that it consists of a volume.

After few sketch proposals, I chose to develop upon this particular form as I was pleased with the simple geomtry that were produced through a slight alteration of the emerging form.

Ideation Final Clay Model

After several maipulation of the emerging form, I was able to arrive with a final spherical form as above. Although a simple geometry, it explores the core tension found in a fern, mainly placing the emphasize on the central point where leaves starts to extend.

Design Digitization Abstraction and reduction as reflected through Lost In Parameter Space(2011) was one of the most important process to consider in the designing process. When transferring the physical clay model into Rhino, some details would inevitably be reduced. Therefore the aim would be minimizing the reduction to prevent any unnecessary alteration of the content due to technical difficulties.

I used the tracing and lofting method to digitize my model. Using multiple of circles, I traced the outline of the model and manually manipulated the distance and angles of each circles so it could be lofted to form a desired shape. Although there were some changes made to the model, the main concept and the core tension identified in the previous steps remained the same.

Design Precedents

The polish pavilion (Shanghai Expo 2012) incoporates a form of layered light. I was particulary intrigued with the sophisticated and unpredictable shadow casted in the interior of the building. Therefore I aimed to achieve a similar layered effect when designing the panels of my lantern.

The lighting effect in the Etch Web Light was also interesting and relevant to my design. I was especially pleased with the way that the light source seemed to be floating in the mid-air to produce a balance and dispersed shadow. Besides the shadow effect, I also liked the open structure of the overall form. As a result, instead of having small gaps where light would be barely filtered, I decided to have a open structure to place a emphasize on the light source.

Design Paneling

3D Panel - Partition

3D Panel - Pyramid

2D Panel - Box

Keeping the precedents in mind, I explored the range of 2D and 3D panels that could be implemented in my model. After several trials, I realized the pre-built panel was irrelavent and far from my original intention. Therefore I decided to come up with my own custom design which relates to the natural pattern and the precedents. This is where I used the key concept of abstraction, a process of reducing the amount of information by considering the general concept or the main characterestics as opposed to the concrete reality. (Stehling,2011)

2D Panel - Triangle

Custom Panel # 1

Custom Panel # 2

Design Paneling

Inspired by the web etch light, I decided to create a substructure to allow similar effects to be produced. This structure would be attached to the base structure through a form of string. This will make the light seem floating in the mid air and consquently give a more dispersed shadow effect.

Tom Dixion’s Etch Light Web project





As with the base structure, I tried out different panelings ranging from 2D to 3D. Although I was pleased with the partition panel, it seemed to be too exposed and unsuitable when it comes down to installing the LED light. Thefore, carrying a similar idea, I created a custom panel which would filter just the right amount of light while incoporating the layered effect I initially tried to achieve .

Custom Panel

Fabrication Unrolling B4 A9


A8 B5





A3 Prior to nesting, I produced an exploded axonometric drawing to visiualize the position of each strips thereby eliminate any confusion during the fabrication process.






Fabrication Nesting&Tabs In week 8 reading by Kolarevic, I was able to examine the various types of fabrication techniques such as additive, subtractive and two dimensional fabrications to name a few. The most relevant technique for my paper model was the subtractive fabrication method which uses the laser cutter and card cutter. Both of this seemed to be suitable when cutting papers, especially in terms of cost efficiency. In terms of the accuracy, the low tolelence of the laser cutter would result in accurate cuts and score lines. (Kolarevic 2003). In opposition, the card cutter could potentially create a weak score lines as it uses a blade. The major constraints for both machines were the waste produced due to the nature of the subtractive fabrication method. In order to minimize the wastage, I produced a cutting template where all strips are arranged in the most compact and identifiable way.

The tabs were created manually on the left side of each strips. Few alteration had to be made because the initial tabs were too large. (see prototyping)


Fabrication Prototyping & Refinement The advancement of technology has allowed more effective construction to take place. (Iwamoto,2009) One aspect of the recent shift in use of digital technology from design to fabrication is the effectiveness of prototyping.

Prototype 1

Absense of tabs creating bad finishes in the end part of the model.

Ivory Card(White) 1:2 Scale

Glue Marks and unconnected panels due to weak fold lines.

The first prototype was cut with a card cutter and glued with the PVA glue. The major problem of the card cutter was the weak score line that resulted in unclean folds. The PVA glue was also a problem as it created a mess when it dried out.

Oversized tabs interfering with the desired shadow effect.

Fabrication Prototyping & Refinement

Prototype 2 Ivory Card(White) 1:1 Scale As an improvement from the first prototype, I used a laser cutter to cut out all the strips. Although the laser cutter left a burn mark as shown in the figure above, the quality of the folds were significantly enhanced. In terms of the adhesive, although the use of water glue instead of PVA was much more time consuming, the result was much pleasing in the end. However, after producing a 1:1 scale, I realized that the individual panel was too large. After discussing with my tutor, I decided to increase the number of panels in the u direction to 5 when producing my final model

Fabrication Final Model & Lighting After fabricating half of the model, I moved on to the fabrication of the sub structure (light source).

For the lighting, 3 LED lights were installed in the sub-structure and connected to a battery pack with ON/OFF switch. I used a merely visible string to attach it to the base structure and make it seem like it’s floating in the mid air (refer to light web etch precedent).

Fabrication Final Model Projection Top



Lighting Effects & Interaction

Reflection Although Virtual Environment was a challenging course as I had to learn new set of skills in a short period of time, I found it very rewarding in the end. From the initial readings and lectures I learned about the concept of biomimicry and more specifically the influential role of nature in human design. Furrthermore, by actually designing a model in relation to the natural pattern, I was able to draw a close link between the physical and the virtual world. Q. Drawing inspiration from the reading and your own learning from the last 10 weeks, describe how digital technology has changed your view on design, making and the context of the built environment? Throughout the 12 weeks, I have been constantly engaged with the digital technology which certainly influenced my view on design process. Without the use of digital technology, the prototyping process and the refinement of the lantern would not have been as effective and economical. As mentioned in week 8 lecture, prototype acts as a bridge between the virtual world and the physical model in reality. Therefore it is crucial to develop several prototypes to identify problems that might not be visible in the digital version but could serve to be a problem in the physical model. Digital technology increased the effectiveness of this prototyping process as the problem identified in each prototype was simply altered in the digital version and constantly reproduced. Furthermore, with the use of technology, I was able to minimize wastage by placing each strip in the most compact way prior to the fabrication process. Although this may not seem so significant in a comparatively small project like this, designers would be able to save a significant amount of time and expenses when working on a larger scale. Overall, the introduction of digital technology allowed me to view design process as iterative rather than a linear process. As errors are continuously identified and refined with the aid of technology, I was able to explore greater opportunities for my design.

Bibliography Ball, Philip (2012): Pattern Formation in Nature, AD: Architectural Design, Wiley, 82 (2), March, pp. 22-27 Scheurer, F. and Stehling, H. (2011): Lost in Parameter Space? IAD: Architectural Design, Wiley, 81 (4), July, pp. 70-79 Architecture in the Digital Age - Design and Manufacturing /Branko Kolarevic. Spon Press, London, c2003 Digital fabrications: architectural and material techniques / Lisa Iwamoto. New York : Princeton Architectural Press, c2009.

Module 4