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Ball, Philip (2011): The Shapes of Things . In Shapes: Nature’s Patterns, Oxford University Press, pp. 1-35 The start of this article questioned the reader whether they could be sure to tell the difference between living and non-living forms. I had never actually thought about this before, and I found the idea very confronting at first. As the article goes on and Ball discusses the many different patterns and forms in nature I learnt a lot about the mathematical processes involved in creating such shapes as a curled horn or the spiral shell of a crab (see photo taken from reading). I appreciated the Darwin theory and how it is believed that organisms can adapt to the demands of the environment very intriguing and thought provoking. I do believe that nature has the ability to adapt in order to become more sustainable and improve survival opportunities, however I agree with Thompson in that ‘biology does not always do things by the most economical means imaginable’. Ball also makes the very important point that models only have to include aspects which the designer deems necessary in producing the basic concept of the design. This was very helpful as I will relate to this when making my models for my lamp.

Ball, Phillip (2011): The Man Who Loved Fluids . In Flow: Nature’s Patterns, Oxford University Press, pp. 118 ‘Leonardo felt that one could not imbue the picture with life until one understood how nature does it.’ This quote is of high relevance to our own lamp projects, in that we must understand the natural process before we can begin abstracting it and getting our own understandings from it. Ball then goes on to discuss different cultures’ ways of visually interpreting natural processes through the use of lines in Chinese art and the play of light in Western paintings. I found this very interesting and I think these interpretations are crucial in our understanding today of how these processes were interpreted and portrayed through the use of different design elements.

Above: Leonardo’s interpretation of a natural process: flowing water.

Ball, Phillip (2011): A Winter’s Tale. In Branches: Nature’s Patterns , Oxford University Press, pp. 1-27. This reading was very mathematical and scientific and I enjoyed it to an extent. As shown to us in lecture two, the theory that majority of nature is formed in a mathematical pattern, then altered by environmental factors such as weather, is clearly demonstrated through Ball’s description of the formation of the snowflake. I found it very interesting how these formations occur and as obvious as it seems, I had never looked at the natural environment in such a structured way.

Ware, Colin (2008): Creative Meta-seeing. In Visual Thinking for Design – for Design, Elsevier, pp. 147164 In this chapter Colin really opened my eyes to the scientific evidence of how designs are produced and processed by the brain. I believe the processes he talks about are crucial in the construction of our own lamp designs. The idea that sketching is a constructive act in itself – not just a way of putting ideas on paper - has taught me a lot about designing. The concept of how the brain’s process of creating mental images is very similar to when images are created by the external environment is an interesting idea I hadn’t previously thought much about. I think the diagram shown to the left (taken from text) is a very simple way of describing the very complex design process, starting with random sketches, to designing models and finally coming out with a refined and completed product. This design process will relate very closely to the production of my lamp in this subject.

Lecture one Lecture one was very much an introduction, and got me excited and scared for the challenges ahead. We were introduced to patterns and processes and I particularly appreciated the fact that all patterns, no matter how random they seem, have been drawn from mathematics. In this case, Federation square was shown and how every triangle has a further 5 triangles, with a further 5 triangles inside each of those, but yet no two triangles are of the same dimensions. I had never really looked at the built world with such an approach that expected there to be pattern but this lecture really opened my eyes. This pattern approach will be very helpful when we get into the panelling aspect of our lantern.

Lecture two In lecture two we were introduced to Jackson Pollock’s abstract expressionist art form of hurling paint onto a huge canvas, yet still portraying his ideas through these abstractions. He introduced the theory and rule that most natural processes such as the growth of a tree follow the simple rule of growth then division, growth then division, and so on. Then, once affected by variables such as wind, the ‘natural’ looking tree is formed. I never really thought about a tree growing in a mathematical pattern, but now I am noticing more and more in the world I live in how relevant and accurate Pollock’s ideas are.

Left: Pollock’s August Rhythm

Lecture three Lecture three Henry Segerman introduced us to his career of mathematical art. He showed us many 3D printouts of his models, some of which were amazingly complicated. It was interesting, though I don’t think I could see myself as a mathematical artist. The lecture was useful however in demonstrating the power of abstraction of a basic form or shape, as shown by transforming the skeleton of a cube into a 3D full object by adding more and more vertices to each original vertex. These abstractions in a way relate to our own assessment in the abstraction of a natural process.

Above: Segermans sphere, with the word ‘sphere’ appearing 20 times, creating a mathematical pattern.

Lecture four Gerard Pinto introduced the company he part owns, Earlpinto, of which he is lead designer. He informed us very thoroughly of the process steps and procedures which are involved in creating an idea to then turning that into a product which can be successfully sold to an end user – in this case the lantern he designed (left). The process is very long and time-consuming, as I am also learning with the design of my lantern. The many constraints and considerations Gerard spoke of are all very relevant to our own lantern designs, and also relates to the reading by Colin, ‘Visual design for thinking’, and the design coil (in reading analysis).

Left: Earlpinto’s lantern design made primarily of plywood, with no gluing involved.

Rhino Module One Deliverables

Rhino Module One Deliverables

Rhino Module One Deliverables


Readings analysis

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