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Xeyiing Ng Student No : 596296

Semester 2/2012

Group 14

Natural Form 1 : Lightning Lightning is essentially a huge flow of electrons forming current flows.

Zigzag of Lightning Lightning is jagged because each leader forms independently of the others. Each place a lightning bolt zigs or zags is where one leader stopped and another one started. Each place a lightning bolt forks is where two separate leaders formed from the bottom end of a single leader above. This whole process takes only a few thousandths of a second. Air is made up of all sorts of different gases, elements, particles, moisture. When a lightning channel begins to form, pulled along by the difference in electrical charges, it takes the path of least resistance through the airvery much like the water flowing down a rocky hill.

Lightning Pattern Lightning are Lichtenburg Figures which are part of the Fractal Pattern.

Lightning in the night sky

Fractal patterns of lightning

Precedent : Fractal, Virtual Environment Lecture 2 Trees are living fractals, their great complexity stems from one very simple rule. The aim is to maximise the amount of sunlight the tree gets, and it only needs one rule to create this shape that is to grow then divide, grow again and then divide. The same pattern repeats itself again and again at smaller and smaller scale.

Fractal patterns of a living tree Trees, the living fractal

Inspiration : Fractal as a Functioning Pattern The conventional lantern serves as an illuminating source and even though the main purpose of lightning is not to illuminate, it does bring light to the dark sky. Like trees which uses fractal to branch up and out to maximise the amount of sunlight it obtains, the more branching of the lightning, the brighter it is. Some lightning are bold and concentrated whereas others are weak and scattered. The fractal pattern can applied to enhance this feature of lightning.

Key Concept : Branching and Lighting of Lightning

Weak and scattered lightning

Strong and bold lightning

Lightning with more branching produces weaker and scattered light

The begining of the branching of lightning is where bold and strong light is produced.

Sketch of Lightning design

Natural Form 2 : Snowflakes Snowflakes are conglomerations of frozen ice crystals which fall through the Earth’s atmosphere.

Symmetry of Snowflakes Snowflake exhibits a six-fold symmetry, same as a regular hexagon and this is due to the crystalline sixfold structure of ice. The six "arms" of the snowflake, or dendrites, then grow independently, and each side of each arm grows independently althought most snowflakes are not completely symmetric. The micro-environment in which the snowflake grows changes dynamically as the snowflake falls through the cloud, and tiny changes in temperature and humidity affect the way in which water molecules attach to the snowflake. Since the micro-environment (and its changes) are very nearly identical around the snowflake, each arm can grow in nearly the same way.


Formation of Snowflakes Snow crystals develop when microscopic supercooled cloud droplets freeze, complex shapes emerge as the flake moves through differing temperature and humidity regimes, such that individual snowflake are nearly unique in structure

Formation of snowflake

Precedent : The Michael Schumacher World Champion Tower Architect : Location :

Chris Bosse and Tobias Wallisser of Laboratory for Visionary Architecture Asia Pacific (LAVA) Dubai

Inspired by the geometrical order of a snowflake and the aerodynamics of a Formula 1 racing car, the tower encapsulates speed, fluid dynamics, future technology and natural patterns of organisation. Rather than purely mimicking shapes in nature for their elegance and unpredictability, the architects learned from nature’s own geometrical orders creating highly efficient structures and intriguing spaces.

The Michael Schumacher World Champion Tower

Inspiration : Molecular Structure of Snowflake Snowflakes take up different forms as they fall down to the earth, affected by the various surrounding factors. Despite the fancy patterns, snowflakes like many other natural forms are organised and systematic and has its’ own geometrical order in governing the underlying structure. Instead of mimicking the shapes of snowflakes, the focus was brought to its’ molecular structure. All snowflakes, no matter their final forms, are formed from a symmetrical hexagon.

Molecular structure of a snowflake

Key Concept : Molecular Structure of Different Stages of Water Precedent : Analytical Drawing in Kandinsky’s Teaching at the Bauhaus, by Poling Kandinsky said, ‘The teaching of drawing at the Bauhaus is an education in looking, precise observation and the precise representation not of the external appearance of an object but of constructive elements, the laws that govern the forces that can be discovered in given objects, and of their logical construction.’

Inspiration : Simplifying the Molecular Structure of Snowflake The molecular structure of snowflake although complicated has a regular shape and is symmetrical and it was then reduced to simple lines forming a symmetrical equilateral hexagon. The lines in the polygon represent the combining of forces between its’ particles supporting the structures of the snowflake. The unnecessary and distracting elements were removed, directing the attention to its’ constructive element. Molecular strucute of snowflake

Inspiration : Melting of Snowflakes

Molecular structure of liquid water

The simplifying process was then taken a step further. When snowflakes melts, the crystalline structure turns into liquid, forming water, and when more heat is provided, water turns into its’ gaseous form, steam or vapour, the simplest form of water. The molecular structures of water and steam when simplify forms a rhombus and triangle.

Molecular structure of steam

Putting all of the molecular structures together, they form a cycle known as the water cycle. The water cycle is seen around nature wherever there is water and is a very important process as it maintains balance in the earth.

Different stages of water and its’ processes

Molecular structure of vapour

Molecular structure of liquid water

Molecular structure of snowflake

Figure . Sketch of the Water Cycle model

The crown-like model, the Water Cycle shows the transition of molecular structures of water from its’ different stages. The first triangle, which is placed above all other structures represents the simplest form of water. The structures were arranged in increasing sizes from the first triangle to the hexagons, clockwise to show the accumulation of molecules for the formation of water and snowflake from vapour, however the sizes decreases from the hexagon back to the first triangle, clockwise as the molecules from snowflakes breakdown back to its’ gaseous form. The smaller triangles in between is to clearly separate the different stages.

Clay model of the Water Cycle

Natural Form 3 : Wind Waves Wind waves are surface waves that occur on the free surface of oceans, seas, lakes,rivers, and canals or even on small puddles and ponds. Wind waves are mechanical waves, a wave that requires a medium to travel (ie. water). Wind waves in the ocean are called ocean surface waves. Wind waves have a certain amount of randomness: subsequent waves differ in height, duration and shape, with a limited predictability. They can be described as a stochastic process, in combination with the physics governing their generation, growth, propagation and decay.

Waves at the coastline

Breaking Waves Curving of waves are more accurately known as breaking wave. It is the breaking of water surface waves on a coastline because of the horizontal component of the fluid velocity associated with the wave motion, wave crests steepen as the amplitude increases; wave breaking generally occurs where the amplitude reaches the point that the crest of the wave actually overturns. It is particularly common on beaches because wave heights are amplified in the region of shallower water.

Formation of breaking waves

Precedent : Pattern Formation, Virtual Environments, Sem 2 2012 Lecture 1 All things are constantly changing, the change however is not random and it takes on certain patterns. Patterns can be found everywhere, in the growth of shells and plants, even among the huge city, where we have fixed structures yet there are still changes in between them, i.e. the human traffic. Many of the patterns having underlying rules and codes that we humans are yet to discover, such patterns help govern the formation of things around us. When we understand the rules behind it, we are able to apply it to other purposes

Inspiration : Circular Motion of Wave Particle The common pattern of the sea waves known by many forms up and down curves which alternates, the formation of the curves are however unknown to many. Through science, it is understood that the surface particles of the wave move in circular motion hence creating the curves we see. The circular motion of wave particles is the underlying code which governs the formation of the pattern of waves.

Particle near the surface move in circular paths Besides the perfectly rounded motion of the wave particle, when the amplitude of the wave increases, the particle path no longer form closed orbits, rather after each passage of each crest, particles are displaced slightly from their previous position and this phenomena is known as the stroke drift.

Stroke drift

Precedent : The Flosion Seating System 'Designer :

Amy Tang

As a multifunctional object it provides creativity while maintaining practicality. The individual components can be positioned as singular stools, or several can be put together to create a bench. By removing the cushions, you can also create a sturdy coffee or end table. According to Selector, the undulating flow of the system’s curves was inspired by waves. The designer intended that the connecting of the pieces would inspire interaction and energy exchange between people. Besides the obvious beauty it brings to the home, the system has great potential for public and commercial applications, such as clubs, hotels and office spaces.

The Flosion Seating System

Inspiration : Double Waves Developing from the first concept of waves and circles, a second inverted wave with the circle of the same radius is place directly above the first wave creating a petal shape. Not all waves are in coherent, hence if one observes waves from its’ cross section, one is likely to observe the petal-shaped waves. Creating a closed loop provides better structural support to the petals than a cantilever wave, like the seating system above, creates a sturdy structure.

Petal-shaped wave

Key Concept : Circular Motion of Wave Particles As the depth of water increases, the radius of crcular motion of wave particle decreases.

Wave particle motion from shallow to deep waters.. As the depth of water decreases, the elliptical movement of particle flattens.

Circular motion of wave particles

The silhouette of the model looks very much like a flower with lots of petals; it is however inspired by ocean waves showing a series of progression in waves. In the deep ocean, waves are formed when the wind blows, although unable to quantify wind, a gust of wind will however create lots of waves propagating in different direction at different speed and amplitude, the wavy petals are like the waves, caused and formed by the same source (i.e. the same starting point) yet propagates and move in various direction. The first layer of petals are of much smaller amplitude (i.e. circle with a smaller radius), calm and mild, the second layer however has wavers of much greater amplitude (i.e. circle with a greater radius). This phenomena can be observed on the ocean, when the wind blows on the deep ocean, due to its’ depth, waves generated generally have smaller amplitude, as the wave propagates to the shore where the waters are shallow, the velocity of wave decreases hence increasing the wave energy causing an increase in amplitude, resulting in an increase in the wave crest.

Sketch of Wave Petals model

Paper model of the Wave Petals

Making A Choice...

For the final concept, a choice was to be made from the Water Cycle, the Lightning or the Wave Petals model for further development. The Water Cycle and the Wave Petal are essentially based on the same element, water, and it was decided that even though the Water Cycle has a more rigid structure and the Wave Petal is more flexible, both designs must have common properties that would allow them to merge together. The lightning had a very different element and was not as well developed as the other two designs, it was hence eliminated. The common properties of the Water Cycle and the Wave Petal were explored to develop the final concept.

Final Design : Water Cycle and Wave Petals

Final Concept : Temperature and Amplitude of Waves To merge the Water Cycle and Wave Petals, the ocean is imagined as a huge water tank, the ocean is where waves are most commonly formed and it is also a natural site where water cycle occurs hence merging both the designs together by their common property. One end of the tank is constantly maintained at 100Ëšc while on the other end, the water is maintain at 0Ëšc. During the boiling of water, hot water at the bottom rises to the surface creating wave like turbulences on the surface which then moves towards the sides of the tank where the temperature is lower, with this, waves are created. Assuming the ocean floor is parallel to the surface of the water, the hot waves with greater amplitude gradually loses energy as it move towards the cold region, resulting in waves with smaller amplitude when it reaches the cold region.

Hot Water

Sketch of the ocean as a huge tank

Cold Water

Key Concept : Wave Particles and the Formation of Wave Patterns Taken from the Water Cycle, the three different forms of water representing changes in temperature.


From the Wave Petals, wave petals of different amplitudes are used.

Incorporating the isolated structures from each model generally results in the following designs. The different structural forms of water are placed inside the wave petals so that they act like the wave particles, moving in circular motion creating the wave patterns.

The overall structure is an equilateral triangle, which represents water in its’ simplest form, vapour.

From A to C and a to c, the radius of the circular motion decreases as the waves move from hot to cold, showing a symmetrical structure.

Changes from vapour (triangle) to liquid water (rhombus) and then to ice (hexagon), showing a decrease in temperature. Sketch of Nine Petals model

The Nine Petal can also be supported on the shoulders. l

The Nine Petal can be worn around the neck like a necklace.

The Nine Petals model is a merge of the Water Cycle and the Wave Petal, the key variable in the design being the temperature. A full circle was not made because as water becomes vapour in air, its’ movement are not guided by the same principles as the wave pattern anymore. Although with similar features from the previous concepts, they however relate to the natural concept differently. The three polygons for instance, the change from triangle to rhombus then hexagon in the Water Cycle meant a structural change from vapour to ice, in the Nine Petals model however, the changes in the polygon focuses on the change of temperature rather than the structural change of water. The meaning behind the sizes of the wave too varies from the Wave Petal model. In the Wave Petal, the change in the radius of the circle aims to bring attention to the relationship between the depth of water and the amplitude of waves, but in the Nine Petals model, change in the amplitude of the waves is related to the change in energy of the waves as it propagates. Generally, the amplitude of waves decreases in the anticlockwise direction as the wave loses energy from the hot to the cold region.

Side elevation of the Nine Petal Clay model of the Nine Petal

Reflection I had always been a science student which means I classify things into two regions, the right and the wrong. The past few weeks has been a real eye opener for me, I had a real shock when I was told in the first lecture that there are not right or wrong answers in this subject, and I had no idea how to work things out in the first week. As the weeks past, with the lectures and tutorials, I however begin to embrace the subjective side of things. The lectures helped me see things at a whole new level, to find underlying patterns in the ever changing surrounding. It was when further research was done after lectures that I realise patterns are all around us, and with that I was able to successfully accomplish Week 1’s tasks in researching for natural processes and while working on the design, instead of recreating the shapes of waves, I managed to incorporate the underlying working theory into my design. The following lectures by guest lecturers who talked about forming patterns from mathematical equations and also patterns in structures had been a great inspiration for my designs as I was working towards the molecular structures of water and it has enhanced my designs. Readings, especially the Analytical Drawing by Poling, which discussed about how the forces in the structures are shown instead of the physical appearance, has also contributed to my final design, where the emphasis was not laid on the external shape of the natural processes. The design flow did not come easily to me, but tutorials and group discussions in seminars had assist me in expressing my ideas and also organising them. The clay-model making process was great, seeing ideas on paper being made into real 3D structures gave me a sense of pride and achievement. Learning up new technical skills such as Rhino and InDesign was very useful, as it has provided me with a platform to present my work better. Still clueless on how current model will turn into a lantern, I have confidence that it will worked out as I gain more knowledge and experience in the coming weeks. Although it is obvious that much improvement has to be made and that I am far from perfect, the past weeks has been a very meaningful start and I look forward to the rest of the semester with enthusiasm.

Reference List

Module 1  

Xeyiing Ng module 1

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