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Design Brief In Studio 1, the Development of Product Form, the class assignment was to design a nightlight that was influenced by a designer's design philosophy .My designer was the iconic, Ettore Sottsass.


With this assignment the student must conduct thorough research on their designer and translate their designer's philosophy into their design. From this assignment students will understand how to communicate their ideas, conduct research, and develop a concept using someone else's design.

Within his designs he included different angles and cut-outs to allow the viewer to admire the product with different perspectives within its environment. Similar to a framed picture, the cut-outs and different

angles of the product directed the viewer's eyes, forcing them to look at a specific area differently then what they would had viewed the product and its surroundings in its entirety.

I first conducted research by looking up images of my designer's products. The way he combined the intensity of bold colors with the simplicity of basic geometrical shapes is what made his designs dominate his surroundings.

Goal: Implement the use of bold colors, contrast

between organic and rigid shapes, and the involvement of negative space through the use of dynamic angles into the design.

Ettore was also big on the utilization of different materials within his products, such as the transparent

surface of glass in comparison to a matted plastic. Due to the use of these different materials he was able to manipulate the light within its surroundings. He realized how the role of light always reacted differently to objects possessing different textures and surfaces. Besides manipulating light, he felt that the use of different materials can also symbolize a deeper meaning, such as a glass globe representing someone looking in on the world.


During my first round of sketches I really did not know who my designer was as an artist nor did I understand his design philosophy.

However, as time progressed and I kept reanalysing my designer, I began to understand his design language and how every angle or shape he used had a meaning.

With this design I wanted the light to come from the top and dwindle down through the middle into the bottom to create an aura as if it was floating. Unfortunately, due to the construction of this design, it was unstable. Therefore, while keeping the same concept, I decided to make my design resemble one of

Ettore's totem pieces.

Ideation: Detailed

After some in depth research on my designer, I was able to develop a definition of a nightlight with my designer's philosophy in mind:

A night light is an object not only subjected to illuminating the room as the day changes into night, but

acts as a catalyst of perspective

gradually transforming a person's view from reality into possibilities.



The above image is me sanding the body of my nightlight on the wood lathe. Below are before and after images of my top, middle, and bottom piece of the nightlight, where I cut off the excess wood and placed the clear acrylic in the center. Placing the acrylic between the top two pieces allowed me to envision how my nightlight would look when completed.

First I had to glue up my wood and let it dry for 24 hours before I could place it on the lathe. Once my wood was glued up, it was ready for the lathe. While on the lathe I constantly checked my sketch to make sure I was staying true to my initial design.

Although I had a few bumps and mistakes along the way I was able to turn my mistakes into successes.

After I got the shapes of my pieces done I began sanding and priming them to get them ready for a paint job.

Due to me incorporating spirals and swirls into my design, I had to tape off certain sections of my pieces to get the look I imagined.

Here is an exploded view on how my nightlight was pieced together.

Final Model

A totem piece serves as an emblem of a family or clan and often as a reminder of its ancestry. However, with this design the light represents the Creator's will and love. With his love, the light travels from the heavens (top) going through many obstacles (the middle) but amazingly, the light still manages to reach the world, showing us his love (the bottom).

Here is a close up on the details I incorporated within my design. The yellow transitions into white through strips and directs the light down to the center, where the white now becomes black. As the light is directed toward the bottom, the black swirl creates motion in contrast to the vibrant yellow. Finally at the bottom, the light glows the entire globe, creating a relaxing atmosphere.

Nightlight: Ettore Sottsass