Page 1





When introduced with the broad brief to create a lantern that represents a natural process, I spent many hours contemplating on where I should start. I quickly realised that my project was in fact surrounding me. ‘Growth of life on earth’. It’s a broad topic however after narrowing my many choices down, what intrigued me was the way in which a plant grows from a mere seed, blooms beautifully and dies gracefully. The flow, elegance and exquisite nature of plant life attracted my attention. I finally decided I was going to create a free standing lantern that echoed the growth of a plant and its bloom and beauty.

image: Peony by Marie Wise

I was positioned to examine the life of plants and map my version of their lives from a seed to the moment they die. I found this process quite fascinating. By mapping out the growth from a small mere seed, to the wilting and death of a plant I was able to represent the flow and distinctive features of a plant. These features include the seed, the roots, the leaves and the flower. Moreover, the shapes and forms overall were often were repetitive hence I was able to consider the unique and structured patterns often created by flowers and plants.

Within the first week of the subject, the readings by Phillip Ball assisted me in further understanding the relationship of what is natural and what is not. I was able to explore my ideas with a deeper knowledge of the world around me and how things are perceived differently by many. Within the first week, something sparked a streak of creativity. I was able to understand the importance of my sketches representing flow and beauty simply and effectively. I also was aware of the importance and need for sketches and annotations as I had many ideas flowing at once that I needed to take note of. Another element I wanted to consider was the cycle of life and its circular motion. Within the growth of a plant, I felt the roots were a vital aspect. This idea evoked a certain element of thought and idea generation.



The process I have sketched above represents the life of a plant. At STAGE ONE, a seed is planted in fertile soil and allowed to settle and grow. STAGES TWO-FOUR depict that with optimal growing conditions, the seeds sprout and in turn, grow gracefully into full-grown plants allowing the flower to bloom and reveal its true beauty and colour. At STAGE 5 the plant begins to wilt. Finally, at STAGE 6 the plants life cycle has come to an end and the plant would have assured fertilisation. Thus, the cycle of life will begin once again.

From the step by step sketch above, I mapped out my own lantern-like sketch of what I believe could be a possible lantern. I outlined my scribble with a shape to map the silhouette and mass object to get a sense of where I could start for the project. It was revealed over time, that this sketch was a starting point not abstract enough that could be improved.


What interested me was the way in which plants and life grew in particular individual unique ways. Their shapes and forms fascinated me and thus I begun to scribble my ideas of how a plants life could be mapped to create a lantern. This importance of sketching or scribbling any ideas was highlighted in the reading “Visual Thinking for Design� by Ware, Colin (2008). After attending the lecture in which Henry Segerman addressed us, I was able to then add to my vast collection of sketches and thus I have collated 6 of my most inspirational and meaningful sketches which represent growth of plant life on earth. Although they are not all abstract, the designs speak for themselves. I felt that the more free the sketch was, the more effective it was in producing more ideas. My main aim for the project was to echo nature in a slightly abstract way.


I have always been inspired by many structures in Dubai however The National Stadium and The National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing seemed to capture my attention for this project.

This fact allowed me to take my initial thoughts and shapes and mould them into more appropriate and concise ideas. My reason for choosing these images was that they were all taken at night. The night scene allows the lighting to better demonstrate the abstract and beautiful features of these structures. The flow and simplicity of both The National Stadium and The National Centre for the Performing Arts captured the attention of millions of people and for many has been an inspiration in their own designs.

The National Center for the Performing Arts—Beijing’s Lincoln Center—Designed by the French architect Paul Andreu. Photograph by Todd Eberle

Beijing’s National Stadium, designed by the Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron.

In my opinion, the buildings capture the light in a unique way and are abstract to the normal which is my aim. In particular, The National Stadium (better known as The Birds Nest) is an abstraction of reality. It is a design based on an element in the environment around us. They have taken the idea of a birds nest and created a lantern- like structure.

ANALYSIS OF PROGRESS After a few days of refining and sketching, it then dawned on me that in fact my sketches and work I had done was sending me into a daze. I wasn’t really getting where I wanted. I realised quickly that the beauty of the growth of a particular plant or aspect needed to be explored.


I N S P I R A T I O N Initially, I began my research by looking up photographs on the internet and in books of elegant beautiful blooming flowers.


I came across the peony flower and its soft pinks and process of a bloom seemed to capture my attention. I wanted to capture this elegance within my designs.


I N S P I R A T I O N After further research, i also found the bird of paradise an interesting form that I could possibly display within my designs. The sharpness yet elegance to the plant really inspired some. What fascinated me were the sharp spikes and abstract elements of a blooming Bird Of Paradise.

By combining the two inspirations, I was able to assess the elements I particularly liked about the two types of blooms. It allowed me to understand that the Peony flower had a softer bloom that is overshadowed by the harsh spikes and swirls of the Bird of Paradise.


The movement, elegance and growth of the plant needed to be captured within the lantern whilst still abstracting the lantern itself so that exhibitors would not know instantly that it was connected to the bloom of a plant. This in my opinion was a difficult task. I had to create the lantern with my concept of a blooming flower, however the design needed to be modern and sophisticated enough that people would not instantly associate the design with a flower. It was vital to deepen my knowledge of a plants growth and immerse myself in the concept of flowers and their features and forms in order to create my design.

SMOOTH VS ROUGH I then went on to compare soft folds and curves with harsh lines and rough forms. I found in comparing my photographs, that to represent a flower, a softer flow would be more appropriate than a harsh texture

The Flower Chair by Kenneth Cobonpue

The first concept was the twisting form of the growth of a flower and the flowing motion it presents. The second was the softness of petals on a flower (such as a hibiscus) which can often create a relaxed or elegant feeling in the flower itself. These two concepts focus on different elements of the life of a flower to its bloom. This task allowed me to further explore and understand how to represent a ‘growth and bloom’ concept for the lantern.

'blossoming dubai' by petra architects

Upon further analysis of my sketches and ideas, I decided to consider textures, shapes and patterns in a blooming flower. I focused on two main elements of flowers, their growth and their bloom.

patterns - flow, growth & life from left to right to top


The Bahá’í House of Worship in Delhi, India (also known as the Lotus Temple) is an example of the way in which modern architecture can be formed using nature as inspiration. This idea of creating a temple in a distinctive flower shape allows the structure to look elegant and captures the attention of many due to its unique construction. I used this image as an example of flowers in architecture however more importantly, I felt it perfectly fit into the module as inspiration for my design as it echoed my aim to create a lantern of the growth and bloom of a flower in nature.

Moreover, this design could be translated into a suspended model of a lantern. I used the concept of the multiple panels to create a few ideas that I sketched and started to use as further inspiration

Possible design that could be suspended from the roof The Bahá’í House of Worship in Delhi, India architectectualy designed by Fariborz Sahba

DESIGN IDEA 1: THE BLOOM THE BLOOM After sketching out some various ideas, I decided my first concept would be a suspended lantern that was hollow on the inside and represented the importance of the roots in the growth of a plant whilst also incorporating the petal-like panelling that gradually got bigger as a bloom does. I did not want the design to look like a blooming flower but echo the ideas I had researched thus far. This design was diverse as it was able to be suspended in the air via wires or it could be free standing on any given flat surface. After carefully analysing my design, I found that it seemed too bulky thus was not chosen as the final design however elements such as the roots were to be incorporated into a different design.

The sketches above were a starting point at which I tried to analyse the way in which I could manipulate the design to allow light to radiate from the lantern (the highlighted lines) This assisted me in analysing the efficiency of my design and also allowed me to explore my ideas quickly and efficiently

D E S I G N I D E A 2: F R O M S E E D T O B L O O M

FROM SEED TO BLOOM This concept was a simple yet elegant design that incorporated the idea of a plants gradual growth once again with the element of the roots being central to the growth of a plant itself. The design seemed quite simple so I went on to create a sense of a ‘bloom’ at the top of the lantern which gave the design a sense of abstraction. Once I had the idea, I needed to analyse how the light would emerge from the lantern. After considering this design, it seemed too simple and not abstract enough. The elements of a flower were clear thus this was not a great design I needed to create a lantern that was different from the shape, form and texture of a flower. I also felt that the concept itself did not flow regarding my ideas and it seemed over complicated even though, in fact, it wasnt.

the mapping of a blooming flower

D E S I G N I D E A 2: T H E B L O O M O F T H E B I R D THE BLOOM OF THE BIRD This concept is a combination of the growth and bloom of a Peony flower with the inspiration of the Bird of Paradise within the design. After many sketches and scribbles, I was able to form a design that echoed my idea perfectly. Although it may not be clear, the lantern itself and the shadow it produced in this model are related. The form of the lantern represents the initial growth towards the base of the lantern. As the lantern becomes wider and begins to spread into three strands towards the top of the lantern, it is representing the bloom of the Bird of Paradise.

The model itself moulds the idea of the growth of a bird of paradise and all its beauty and elegance. it also represents the abstract nature of a blooming flower in its shadow. This relationship allows the design to adhere to the brief. This design allows the Bird of Paradise to be a central focus whilst still acknowledging the subtle bloom of the Peony in its shadow

by sketching over the plant, i was able to better understand the form, flow and sharpness of this plant

After modelling the design, I found that the shadow of the lantern created, mimicked the form of a bloom of a Peony flower. This relationship was quite beautiful and amazing and I was extremely pleased with the outcome however, it needed refining as the lantern was too smooth and consistent.

D E S I G N I D E A 2: THE BLOOM OF THE BIRD PANELLING IDEAS After analysing my design above, I had to understand the way in which I would panel my design before I continued to create my final design. The idea of panelling made my design come to life. I trialled 3 different forms of panelling.

My first panelling design was a more abstract pattern that did not seem to feel very structured and allowed the design to flow and take a more cylindrical shape that assisted the design to blend in with all elements.

Next, I tried a sharper panelling idea in which the lantern became thicker and much more bulky in appearance. With this design, the lantern lost its quality and beauty in my own opinion. The design no longer appealed to me as much as it originally did.

THE REASON FOR THE TRIANGLES: THE PATTERN FORMED BY THE LEAVES ON THE BIRD OF PARADISE ......... sketches of my paneling ideas for the lantern

Finally, my third approach seemed to stand out and seemed to suit the design best. It also incorporated the extra backing at the top to add an abstract element. What I like in particular of this lantern is that it still looks like the chosen design and it has allowed the design itself to improve and stand out as a 3D model.

D E S I G N I D E A 2: THE BLOOM OF THE BIRD After analysing the above design and my panelling choices, an extra element needed to be added to the design. I took my initial sketch and a picture of the Bird of Paradise and I begun to sketch out some various ideas. After a few sketches, I realised that the design needed to have panels on the top left side of the lantern. I needed to add a point to the back of it which in turn also allowed the model to look a lot like the Bird of Paradise itself.


REFLECTION Overall, I found this module to be a great learning experience. If there is one thing I took away from this is that every scribble and idea no matter how irrelevant it may seem will assist in the final product. I was able to further understand how to express my complex thoughts simply and I also learnt that less is sometimes more. At the inception of this process, I was not as critical of my work and I seemed to be often too deep in my complex thoughts rather than taking an idea and simplifying it. What I did not realise was that my concept of a plant from seed to death was too broad to create a model thus narrowing down my natural process to the growth and bloom of a flower assisted me to really explore specific elements much deeper. This module allowed me to understand the pace at which I must work. By undertaking this workload, I was exposed to a time frame at which flew by very fast thus I cannot afford to waste time, but knuckle down and get into the work full speed. Initially, my theme opened too many doors thus I had no real direction. When I started to narrow down my ideas, I was able to efficiently focus on my concepts. This also helped me to complete tasks at a faster pace as I was focused and in control. Overall, I learnt from my mistakes, and as time passed, I was able to understand how to critique my own work and how to analyse the aspects I liked and disliked. I have also been able to gain knowledge through the lectures and readings which I used to help mould my module one assessment.


lantern concept

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you