Research Task continued…

My second choice of images that share similar physical spaces but evoke different intangible feelings are super skinny skyscrapers.

The first is of the skyscraper in 111 West 57th Street. The luxury designed tower tapers at the top like a pencil and has only one residence on each floor. Its east and west facades are clad in terracotta tiles with bronze accents, while glass curtain walls face Central Park to the north and Lower Manhattan to the south. The building standing at 472 metres hight and houses a 25-metre swimming pool, as well as other luxury amenities including a private dining room and a double-height fitness centre with a terrace.

Fig. 1 – 111 West, 57th Street, NYC skyscraper

My second image is of the MoMa Tower, designed by French architect Jean Nouvel. It’s the 11th highest building in New York City and it’s certainly seems to have been built in the perfect spot and close proximity to all the great spots of the city, it’s in midtown Manhattan and has 360-degree views of the city skyline, including Central Park, the Hudson River, and the East River. The different layers to the structure give the building character, standing at 320 metres high it also boasts beautiful interiors.

Fig. 2 – MoMA Tower, NYC skyscraper

Both buildings have physical similarities but evoke different intangible feelings.

The first building, the 111 West 57th Street skyscraper screams power and importance, it wants to be the tallest building in NYC but for me the tallest isn’t always the best. It certainly has a sense of large scale because NYC have skyscrapers and that’s nothing new but this skyscraper has less character and evokes a feeling of loneliness, it was obviously designed to stand out from the rest, that was probably intentional and so feels less about the city and more about status.

The second building, the MoMA Tower, is again a tall building but has much more character and charm about it. The different heights of the building resemble a pyramid shape, it still serves a purpose of sharing the best views across the city but in a much more desirable way. It stands adjacent to the Museum of Modern Art and so the design seems more in-keeping with the area and so in my opinion, the building evokes a sense of aesthetic and drama in a more collaborative way.

My last pair of images is of interior bathrooms with views through a glass window.

The first image is of a master bathroom at 432 Park Avenue, New York City, which has the most amazing view over the city. Structural and physical elements such as the walls, floor, glass window, bath and bathroom fixtures sit seamlessly in the space. The designer has considered which material best to use, it’s high end quality luxurious material, marble, but has really captured the feeling within by using soft lighting in the room, this creates a different mood at sunset and sunrise with the added bonus of the glow from the sky. The window space frames a view of the city, of the skyline and less of the buildings, which create a sumptuous relaxing atmosphere.

Fig. 3 – A master bathroom at 432 Park Avenue, NYC
Fig. 4 – #57A residence, the Flatiron District, NYC

Another bathroom in the second image, in the same city but photographed during the day with daylight pouring in. Structurally it’s very similar to the first image, with walls, windows, bath and bathroom fixtures which also sit in a wonderful space. The obvious differences are that the window view is broken up with several panes and the interior walls and floor are of a different style of material. I love how the colours in the walls and floor pick out the colours in the buildings over the city. The view is again another beautiful one but interrupted with window frames, not as seamless a view as image one.

They both evoke a feeling of amazement and wonder simply because of the view, but image one draws me into a moody, mysterious feeling, a place you could really lose yourself in with a good book, and the view of course! The second image evokes a feeling of amazement which is helped more with the view than the bathroom itself but the colours in the walls and floor lead my eye to the buildings in an appreciative, thoughtful way.

This exercise was interesting. I would normally view an image and form my opinion as to whether I liked it or not but comparing two very similar images helped me fully understand my reasons for liking or disliking. It has helped me put my feelings into words, expressing my opinion in this way will help me in making future design decisions, it has helped me understand the meaning of intangibility a little more. I generally show my emotions when I enter a space or take in the view of a building, I generally show my emotions in my every day life, which is coming in very handy right now! I’m also aware there is still so much more to learn, I’m looking forward to strengthening this ability as I work through the unit.

Images

Fig. 1 – 111 West, 57th Street, NYC skyscraper https://www.dezeen.com/2022/04/13/super-skinny-skyscrapers-new-york-city/ (accessed 9.10.22)

Fig. 2 – MoMA Tower, NYC skyscraper https://www.dezeen.com/2022/04/13/super-skinny-skyscrapers-new-york-city/ (accessed 9.10.22)

Fig. 3 – A master bathroom at 432 Park Avenue, NYC https://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/13/garden/bathrooms-with-full-frontal-views.html (access 10.10.22)

Fig. 4 – #57A residence, the Flatiron District, NYC https://robbreport.com/shelter/homes-for-sale/rupert-murdoch-lists-two-new-york-condos-for-78-million-1234670108/ (accessed 10.10.22)

Research Task: Intangible and Tangible

Examining the first image; would you like to live here? What makes this house interesting, what makes you want to live here?

I love the buildings’ location, the building is set in the hills overlooking Los Angeles, California, a little piece of tranquility amongst the hectic built up environment of the concrete jungle, the city. The flat roof and glass windows make it a simplistic design as a piece of architecture, perfect for this environment because it has a 360 degree view of the landscape it sits upon, yes I would like to live here. The view would change with the weather making it an interesting place to live. At night time I can imagine a blanket of lights as the city lights up, I would get lots of inspiration for my designs if I was fortunate enough to live somewhere like this.

Fig. 1 – Pierre Koenig, Case Study House #22 (1959) 

I approached the second image with the same questions; I have a different view of this building. I would prefer to live in the building above. The second image is of the same build in terms of the corner windows and flat roof, but is far less attractive and sits in a completely different environment as far as I can see from the image. After further research online, I now understand more about this building.

It’s one of Britain’s largest collection of postwar prefabs that can be found at the Excalibur Estate in Catford, southeast London, where 187 homes were built by German and Italian prisoners of war. Their design followed a strict Ministry of Works template: detached 600sq ft bungalows with two bedrooms, a living room and kitchen, indoor loo and bathroom plus a bit of garden. Several dozen of the tenants later exercised the right to buy their prefab. However, following a 10-year conservation battle, with the Twentieth Century Society siding against Lewisham council, the major part of the site planned to make way for a new estate of 371 houses and flats built with housing association L&Q, the council’s development partner. There will be a mix of private sale, rented and shared-ownership homes. Existing owners and tenants have priority to buy or rent a new home. Six prefabs will remain, plus a sheet metal barrel-roofed church from the same era. They have been listed by English Heritage and will become community buildings. (Spittles, 2017)

Having read this page I am pleased that some of the homes will remain and are listed by English Heritage, it’s so important that we keep buildings as parts of history, we can read about these but to actually visit them we can get a better idea of how the architecture and building make us feel, this will help when making good choices for future design.

Fig. 2 – Excalibur Estate, Catford (2014)

Continuing with this exercise, I have found and compared some images that show the tangible and intangible qualities of an interior space. I have done some visual research online and in books and found 3 pairs of images to compare. For each pair of images I note the physical similarities and differences between the two, and list any built elements that evoke an intangible feeling, and also what that intangible feeling is.

Known as the coin building, the Al Dar Headquarters, Abu Dhabi comprises of two circular convex shaped facades linked by a narrow band of indented glazing. It is completely circular and fully glazed.

The groundbreaking building represents a fusion of tradition and modernity, with the striking circular shape symbolising unity and stability. The building’s diagrid concept largely eliminates the need for internal columns, which would compromise the aesthetic appeal of both the external building as well as the views from within. The project also adopts a subterranean vacuum Waste collection system which transfers the waste directly to a local waste transfer station for recycling and compacting, eliminating the need for refuse collection vehicles. This system is the first of its kind in Abu Dhabi. (Arup,s.d)

Fig. 3 – The Al Dar Headquarters, Abu Dhabi

My first reaction to this building was how different it looked to other buildings I have researched, a circular building but in a vertical position is a first for me. Digging further into what led to this design helped me to understand that it’s the first ever circular building of its kind in the Middle East. It was developed following the principles of the American system of classification of U.S. Green Building Council LEED and built in a new area on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi. The architect Marwan Zgheib wanted to create a simple object, with a bold and powerful presence that was able to compete with UAE’s already iconic architecture, creating a sense of belonging and identity to the area. Inspiration came from the clam shell that has a deep meaning for Abu Dhabi with its maritime heritage and so the geometric round shape evokes that sense of an open shell. Such a simple concept that has developed into a magnificent piece of architecture for the business district to enjoy.

My second choice of similar buildings is the Sunrise Kempinski Hotel that sits near Beijings city centre which is said to look like the rising sun, whilst looking at it from the side it appears to resemble a scallop, which represents fortune in Chinese culture.

Fig. 4 – The Sunrise Kempinski Hotel, Beijing

The building is a luxury hotel that sits on the shore of Yanqi Lake, surrounded by the rolling Yanshan mountains. An international team of designers from the UK, Italy, Spain, the US, Holland and the Philippines worked on the design, a critical view from people outside of China was needed to broaden their ideas and showcase Chinese culture. Inspired by nature, the top of the building reflects the colour of the sky, the middle of the building reflects the Yanshan Mountain, and the bottom of the building reflects the lake. The entrance of the hotel is shaped like the mouth of a fish, symbolising prosperity.

“We need the architecture that can represent the soul of Chinese culture, namely the idea of learning from nature. We not only have to consider the ‘connection’ between the main building and the environment, it is a hotel complex that also involves a private island, so, a vivid visual needs to be created for the guests – resulting in, when a guest looks at Yanqi Lake Kempinski from Yanqi Island, it will really give our guests the beautiful picture of sunrise and sunset,” said the leading Architect. (thedesignsociety, s.d.)

Chinese people believe the sun reflects the core values of Chinese philosophy and that mankind is an integral part of nature and in order to be harmonious, nature should be respected. In China, a circle means the start and the continuity of the life, it only seems fitting that this building takes on board all of these points and represents the sun rising upon the lake.

Both circular buildings have physical similarities in both style and shape as they are both built with glass whilst both resembling seashells. The first building doesn’t have internal columns, it’s made up of a complex external structure of diamond-shaped steel, called diagrid, a framework of diagonally intersecting metal beams, whereas the second building is made from reinforced concrete and all-glass exterior so built differently.

They both evoke a feeling of meaningfulness, even before reading their stories I felt they had a more symbolic meaning behind them. The shape of them evoke a sense of nature, both designed to resemble seashells, and they both give that feeling of importance because of the size of them sitting on the landscape.

The first building, the Aldar Headquarters evokes that feeling of importance and wealth because it is enormous standing 121 metres tall and the only building of its kind in the area. It also evokes power as it is singled out on the landscape and that feels, to me, very intimidating. If the environment surrounding it has other buildings alongside it may not seem so terrifying.

The second building, the Sunrise Kempinski Hotel also evokes that feeling of importance but with cultural meaning behind it. It feels less threatening than the Aldar building, maybe that’s because it looks more organic. Still standing enormous at 97 metres high it seems the environment surrounding it softens the building slightly, the mountains and sea compliment it and it seems to fit in better.

Referencing

(Spittles, 2017) https://www.standard.co.uk/homesandproperty/buying-mortgages/postwar-prefabs-on-catford-s-excalibur-estate-to-be-replaced-by-371-new-houses-and-flats-a116196.html (accessed 9.10.22)

(Arup,s.d) https://www.arup.com/projects/aldar-headquarters (accessed 9.10.22)

(thedesignsociety, s.d.)http://thedesignsoc.com/shanghai-huadu-architecture/ (accessed 9.10.22)

Images

Fig. 1 – Pierre Koenig, Case Study House #22 (1959) Photograph by mbtrama on Flickr: Creative Commons. (accessed 9.10.22)

Fig. 2 – Excalibur Estate, Catford (2014) Photograph by diamond geezer on Flickr: Creative Commons. (accessed 9.10.22)

Fig. 3 – The Al Dar Headquarters, Abu Dhabi https://www.mz-architects.com/projects-detail.php?prid=64&cat=Offices (accessed 9.10.22)

Fig. 4 – The Sunrise Kempinski Hotel, Beijing https://www.amusingplanet.com/2015/12/5-unusual-circular-buildings.html (accessed 9.10.22)

Project 6: Intangibility

Intangible refers to something that can only be experienced, rather than touched. We, as humans, have a philosophical reaction to all physical things and the feeling that is evoked will differ from person to person.

As an example, taking a look at this image of the Taj Mahal, I will consider how it makes me feel, what I like about it and/or don’t like about it. I see a mass of blue sky as the buildings’ backdrop. The building is made up of symmetry, organic shapes and there is also symmetry in the landscape. Many people consider this building as beautiful. I would agree. The architectural material used is of soft, warm, delicate tones complimenting the paving that lines the water in front. The building was made using brick-in-lime mortar veneered with red sandstone and marble, with precious/semi precious stones inlaid.

The Taj Mahal is a perfect representation of the Mughal style, which fuses architecture techniques of Persian, Islamic and Indian styles. Easily one of the most recognisable buildings in the world, the Taj Mahal stands as a symbol of eternal love as its history and beauty never fail to captivate the heart (Sveiven, 2011)

When I consider how the building makes me feel; I feel grateful, happy, overwhelmed, stunned, interested and at peace by its magnificent beauty. Perfection also comes to mind because of the symmetry not only within the architecture but the landscape that mimics this, expanding those feelings outwards. Now making me feel that I need to visit and feel those feelings in the flesh!

Fig. 1 – The Taj Mahal

Referencing

(Sveiven, 2011) https://www.archdaily.com/100528/ad-classics-taj-mahal-shah-jahan?ad_source=search&ad_medium=projects_tab (accessed 9.10.22)

Images

Fig. 1 – The Taj Mahal https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/252/ (accessed 9.10.22)

Reflection

Assignment Five

My tutor noted some interesting explorations being done throughout this part of the unit. There are still a few areas that would benefit from improvement. I’m showing a growing understanding of detailed thinking in design which can be seen in my drinks cabinet exercise where I have broken down the assembly and component parts that make up the piece of furniture.

My technical drawings need attention in some areas, which I will look at and post the changes and/or additions. I will look at more videos to help me understand how different designs are assembled.

My tutor is pleased to see my research continues to be recorded in my learning log.

Going forward I have made a list to help organise my thoughts and actions

  • continue to build upon my detailed thinking research
  • continue to build upon my knowledge of other designers and their philosophies in terms of design and materials
  • continue to back up my work with images or diagrams
  • continue to be more experimental with how I communicate my ideas by researching skills that give me a variation of ideas
  • continue documenting my ideas throughout my learning log and show my notes and analysis of my work

I will continue to look at ways of improving my work and expand upon my research and drawing when considering all the detail that should be put in my assignments.

Reflection

Assignment Four

This assignment was very different to any others I have done throughout the course. I had the fun task of creating a 3D model using real materials that embodied my chosen word; gratitude, and then do a presentation to my tutor and other students at a WIP event via zoom.

Sadly, no students attended this particular session but I was fortunate to be able to present to both my current tutor and a previous tutor, both of whom have been very supportive and encouraging whilst I have been studying this degree.

My tutors were both very impressed with the evidence of broad thoughtfulness and iterative approach that I made for a very well-validated and successful design. They were pleased with the preparation and presentation showing both success and demonstrative progress. Nerves were very much at the forefront of my presentation, but after a few slides in I relaxed and enjoyed the process. I was confident with my design and had spent time on preparing the presentation, which I did on Powerpoint, so overall a successful presentation, one that I enjoyed very much.

I will continue to build upon my materials knowledge and research skills to enable me to make good design decisions. I will also continue to practice with imagery and graphics, finding a better balance of how to showcase my work.

My tutor is pleased to see my research continues to be recorded in my learning log.

Going forward I have made a list to help organise my thoughts and actions

  • continue to back up my work with images or diagrams
  • continue to be more experimental with how I communicate my ideas by researching skills that give me a variation of ideas
  • continue documenting my ideas throughout my learning log and show my notes and analysis of my work

I will continue to look at ways of improving my work and expand upon my research and drawing when considering all the detail that should be put in my assignments.

Assignment Five

Part 1: Copying a conventional detailed drawing

I have studied Goff’s detailed drawing and made a copy. I have chosen to do this by hand using a technical pencil and A3 paper. I printed off a copy of the drawing and traced over the section drawing to fully understand the technical scale that it was drawn at. The original drawing was done in feet, so I converted this into mm. I broke down each section of the drawing and jotted down the measurements roughly so that I could take this information in an easier way and translate it into my own drawing. This way I could then interpret the drawing in my own way at a different scale. I chose scale 1:500 to give me the chance to draw at a relatively good size for the A3 page size. I have also recognised the different line weights and drawn the same. I have annotated the drawing as per the original and laid it out clearly with a tile block.

A technical drawing copy of the suspended bedroom area in Section

Part 2: Drawing your own section

I have referred to my 3D model that I made for project 4 and have drawn a detailed section drawing at scale 1:1 on an A3 sheet of paper. This time I chose to use Autocad, which I have drawn, annotated and to scale 1:1.

Firstly, I reminded myself of the model then I did a quick sketch of the elevation in section showing the bamboo canes and the 3 different fabrics weaving through each cane, sat on the cork mat, annotated and showing measurements.

Exercise 1

Breaking down an object into its component parts.

I wandered around my home looking for objects that were made up of at least 4 or 5 component parts. I chose a wooden and glass cabinet that we have repurposed as our drinks cabinet! We bought it a few years ago from a furniture emporium. I believe it dates back to the 1950’s, constructed mainly of wood with two glass doors and beautiful dansette feet. There are two glass shelves inside and two glass side panels, with a drawer at the bottom. The drawer has two brass handles and brass decoration around them.

After examining the cabinet, I made sketches in front elevation, side elevation, section and plan. I took measurements and annotated the sketches

I then took photographs of the different elements that make up the cabinet. The dansette feet, the brass handles and detail on the drawer, the glass front with inlaid brass button openers.

I have listed the component parts that make up the display cabinet.

  • Wood
  • Brass
  • Glass
  • Plastic

The wood is glued together using blocks inside at each corner of the cabinet. The plastic black trim at the top and bottom of the front of the cabinet allow the glass doors to sit and slide. The dansette feet are fixed using screws on the underside of the furniture, made up of wood and brass. The detail in brass on the front of the drawer is pinned and glued. The handles, also made of brass are fixed using screws.

Research Task

Truth to Materials

Truth to materials is an architectural theory based on the idea that materials should be used where they are most appropriate, and without their natural qualities being concealed in any way. I have researched designers whose work focuses on the material properties.

Henry Moore was an english artist best known for his semi-abstract monumental bronze sculptures which are located around the world as public works of art, but also for his carvings, drawings, prints and designed textiles and tapestries. He often made work inspired by the human body and natural forms and textures like stones, shells and sticks. He was also inspired by the dramatic Yorkshire landscape where he grew up as a child.

Fig. 1 – Recumbent Figure by Henry Moore

In 1954 he was commissioned to design and install a large wall relief into Joost Boks’ new construction centre in the Dutch city of Rotterdam. The project is made up of approximately 16,000 hand-carved Dutch bricks, his only work completed in the humble material. The organic designs are both concave and convex, beautifully constructed by two master bricklayers. The centre has undergone structural changes over the years but thankfully the brick wall has been preserved. I love how the wall sits intentionally unsymmetrical, complimenting the character of the brick. The warm colour tones broken up by concave organic forms, an interesting sculpture.

Fig. 2 – A selection of photo’s of Henry Moores’ Wall Relief Design

Walter Gropius founded the Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany in 1919, and it is where the ‘truth to materials’ was taught, believing that material should be used in the most honest way possible, the nature of the material should not be modified in any way and for supportive materials such as steel should be exposed rather than hidden within the form of the furniture or building.

The Fagus Factory façade comprises of more glass than brick and instead of conventional load-bearing exterior walls, Gropius had made the bold and innovative decision to place reinforced concrete columns inside the building to free the façade. A series of brick piers suspend iron frames between that supports glass inserts. Metal panels were placed within the iron frame to conceal the floor slabs behind. (Pascucci, 2018)

Fig. 3 – The Fagus Factory designed by Walter Gropius

Referencing

(Pascucci, 2018) https://www.archdaily.com/612249/ad-classics-fagus-factory-walter-gropius-adolf-meyer (accessed 30.9.22)

Images

Fig. 1 – Recumbent Figure by Henry Moore https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/henry-moore/henry-moore-om-ch-recumbent-figure-r1147451 (accessed 28.9.22)

Fig. 2 – A selection of photo’s of Henry Moores’ Wall Relief Design https://www.bkor.nl/en/documentatie/hommage-aan-de-baksteen/ https://www.metalocus.es/en/news/henry-moore-wall-relief-no1-rotterdam and https://www.archdaily.com/593572/sculptural-brickwork-henry-moore-s-reliefs-in-rotterdam (accessed 30.9.22)

Fig. 3 – The Fagus Factory designed by Walter Gropius https://www.archdaily.com/612249/ad-classics-fagus-factory-walter-gropius-adolf-meyer (accessed 30.9.22)

Assignment Four

Presenting work for peer and tutor feedback.

For this assignment, I was to present my work from exercise 3. I was given the choice of presenting live at a WIP event or via a pre-recorded presentation that is later shared with my peers and tutor. I chose to present live. I knew this would help with my confidence but also give me the opportunity to interact with other students and my tutor. When I’m practicing as a designer I will need to be able to present designs to clients and doing this face to face helps build relationships and you can gauge a better response to your ideas.

I approached this assignment with enthusiasm knowing it was very different to other assignments I have submitted, but unknowingly at the time with a professional head on, on reflection it definitely felt right and a step in the right direction to having my own creative practice. I created a list of what was needed in order for me to present my work. I’m familiar with Powerpoint and so created slides to present my work in images. My intention was to present each slide and talk about the information on each slide and so I typed wording on a Word document and split my screen so that I could refer to that and see the Powerpoint presentation at the same time.

I began with an introduction, giving context to the assignment and worked through each slide finishing with images of my 3D Model. Sadly, no students attended this session, but I was fortunate to present to two tutors, who gave me really positive feedback. It was a great experience, albeit a little nerve wracking, I know with more practice I will become more confident when presenting my ideas to people. I had every confidence in my design, but running it past two people I admire wasn’t easy, they did make me feel at ease and were impressed with my design and how I presented it to them so overall a really gratifying experience. If you follow my learning log you will see what I did there!

Exercise 3

Model making to Explore Texture, Fabric and Upholstery

In the previous exercise I chose a word that describes a feeling that I would like to evoke within a space. That word was GRATITUDE and I have made an object based on this word. I have chosen 5 of the natural materials to make up my 3D object.

Feeding off the word gratitude led me to think about other feelings around this word. Spiral has a spiritual meaning that symbolises the consciousness of nature starting from the centre and expanding outward, the way of all things according to mystics. Spiral represents life, creation, birth and rebirth, evolution, awareness and development. I printed off some inspiring spiral images.

Initially I thought of making a spiral staircase. If the staircase is wrapped in natural materials you would feel the strength of these materials as you walk up the stairs, they would envelope you and make you feel secure and safe. I made some initial drawings of ideas. A spiral staircase, a dream catcher, a glove, a flower, a row of bamboo with material woven through.

I really liked the idea of creating a wall of bamboo with the materials woven between each cane.

I documented the process, firstly by drawing the gratitude symbol on the cork mat in pencil, I then used black marker to make it stand out. Next I pierced a small hole for the cane to sit in then added each one to create an arc wall of canes. I then cut strips of hemp, hessian and linen to weave through the canes creating a screen, which I then fixed with paper clips. The arc shape protects the gratitude symbol in one way but the openness of the space welcomes growth and ideas. I placed an ammonite on the mat to show the pure rawness of the limestone, a reminder of the natural elements within the design.

Once I had made this 3D object and taken the photographs outside in the natural daylight, it still felt that there was something missing. It looked too simple a design, although I did like the way the fabric was woven through the canes, I felt it was too standard and safe. I was inspired by the precedent studies of Kengo Kuma, in his designs he weaves material together to produce structures. Of the materials I had chosen it seemed the bamboo would be the most appropriate to achieve this look. I knew I wouldn’t have achieved this with the brick, slate or stone. I cut each piece of bamboo to less than 20cm and pressed them into the cork tile. I then weaved the hemp, hessian and linen through each cane, fixed at the ends using paper clips, intentionally colour coordinated.

The woven strips of material provide a screen style design, I particularly like the way all 3 pieces of material let in a little light, you can see the weave of all 3 pieces so much clearer in the natural outdoor light. I purposely placed the model in different outdoor scenarios; in the grass, on the concrete path, in front of the lavender and against the pebbledash wall. All four backdrops enhance the design and the tones and colours of the fabric.

The 3D model is sat amongst the grass, the vibrant green grass as a backdrop draws my eye to the green embroidery on the linen and the green paperclip.

In this image, the 3D model is sat in front of the lavender and on top of hamstone creating a contrast in colours, the wooden sleeper and stone to the left match visually with the top material, the hemp.

Here the model is sat on a concrete path and my eye is drawn immediately to the black gratitude symbol, the dark patches on the path compliment that symbol whilst the hemp material on the top also compliment that shade in the path.

This image is of the model sat in front of a cream pebbledash wall, the whole 3D model stands out because the wall is a neutral colour, although there is texture on the wall, the 3D model has darker tones and texture in the materials and colour emphasising the design.

Usually I would spend time procrastinating over what improvements could be made to my designs, both physically and digitally, but this project was different. It didn’t take me too long to realise that changes were needed with this design and so after sketching and re-thinking, I decided to create another 3D design, something with a more visual edge, a 360 degree aspect of difference and intrigue. I feel that I have learned so much in respect of concept ideas and the importance of going through the process of sketching that I now accept that my ideas don’t have to be the perfect end result straight away, this process takes time.

For my second design, I used smaller pieces of bamboo cut at different lengths. I glued 3 pieces together creating a triangular shape then stacked each set on top of the other, going from large at the bottom to smaller at the top and used a glue gun to stick them together. I then cut thinner strips of material and weaved each piece through the stack of canes in a less specific way. Again inspired by designers that use natural materials to create a structure led me to this design. I find this design a bit more interesting, a bit more quirky and more free flowing and organic. Restricted to 200mm x 200mm x 200mm made me consider each triangular shape and how they would sit on each other if they were the same size, I knew I wanted it to replicate a pyramid shape but didn’t want it to be perfectly formed, from every angle it looks slightly different adding interest and intrigue. Each piece is supported, but not relied upon, by the upright bamboo and with the material weaved through it changes the whole look and feel of the structure adding warmth and texture by enclosing some of the spaces within. The colours and tones of the materials also add warmth to the design. Even the glue strands resemble cobwebs on a dewy morning, another natural element to bring the model alive. Looking down through the structure you can see the dark line symbol that represents the word gratitude, an example of a spiral being the centre of all things, on this occasion it’s in the centre of my 3D pyramid stack. You can also see the waffle type weave on the fabric, the sunlight highlights this beautiful weave adding interest to the material that you would otherwise not see.

Further research led me to the explanation of the symbol GRATITUDE.

I like the idea of perfect circle being the core of the gratitude symbol with a spiral in the centre, which often symbolises many powerful concepts, such as rebirth, the circle of life and evolution, and is often seen as a symbol for change and development. As one of the oldest symbols used in spiritual practices, it also represents accepting the constant changes that life presents to you which as designers we need to embrace. These concepts are closely tied to gratitude. Gratitude is, at its core, the act of giving thanks for what you have, it prompts personal growth which is often seen as personal evolution, seems fitting for my life right now as I work through the course towards making a better life for myself. The three dots are believed to have a variety of meanings, first of which means the dots stand for taking further thought or action, for example as part of gratitude practice you could take further action by journalling to give thanks. Another meaning is that the three dots represent an infinite list in mathematical representations, in that there is always something to be grateful for. The hook at the bottom of the symbol resembles an ancient Hawaiian symbol called Makau, this represents strength, energy and abundance.

The overall 3D structure reminds me that natural materials that grow each and every day are not perfectly formed in shape and size. They are not manufactured or man made to look a certain way. They retain their organic, natural elements which make these designs much more interesting. A natural material can be strong enough to make a structure or compliment a manmade material, the natural material will soften some manufactured materials whilst adding interesting elements. All natural materials need to go through a process either chemically or mechanically to become a textile but this is done without losing character and charm.

Hand drawn sketch of 3D model using pencil and fine liner
Digital image of 3D model drawn on the iPad using Procreate

I did some further research of images on Pinterest and came across some fabulous architectural models, it got me thinking, could I create a similar style with bamboo. The bamboo canes I have are not flexible enough to create the vertical curve but by placing canes at different heights similar to this image I have designed a more interesting curved 3D object almost like the spiral pattern. I then cut some strips of the fabric; hemp, hessian and linen, also at different sizes and weaved each one through the bamboo canes pinned together at each end with dressmaking pins. It is very similar to the first model I made but by adding more bamboo canes and putting them closer together creates a more interesting shape and structure and by doing it like this it’s as though the structure is protecting the gratitude symbol but also presenting it to the viewer.

Some images of structures found on Pinterest

My influences throughout this project have come from bamboo structures, fabric weaving and the impact these materials have on our environment.

Inspirational images of structure, pattern and texture

From the images above you can see how close the weave is on the linen, almost blocking out the light, whereas the hemp and hessian lets in the light both slightly differently, mostly obscuring what’s behind it so offering privacy as well as intrigue.

I tweaked my 3D object slightly, by still using bamboo canes vertically I glued them to the cork tile but added more to the arc and used different heights to add more shape and form to the structure. I then cut different widths of linen, hemp and hessian material and weaved each piece both horizontally and vertically through the canes, securing the ends with dress making pins. I did this in a less symmetrical way, purposefully creating a more organic and natural flow to the design. The bamboo canes are placed at different heights which adds character to the structure. Each piece of material has texture and warmth that is woven through the bamboo and is both protecting the gratitude symbol I have drawn on the cork mat but also offering encouragement to become grateful not only for the natural materials we are so fortunate to have but for our planet that we are able to grow these materials on.

The 3D model I have made illustrates the feeling of gratitude, using natural materials to create a structure, a fun design full of organic features reminding me that those natural materials derived from the ground, the very ground that our planet is made up of. Whilst some naturally grown materials need human intervention, it’s important how that intervention is carried out. We need to consider the impact on our environment such as pollution by air, land and water, the disruption and destruction of our eco systems.

Photographs of my 3D model

Being grateful for nature itself helps us find calm beautiful aspects in our life that I’m sure you will agree, everybody needs at some point. Immersing ourselves in nature provides a sense of calm and helps us filter and break down the chaos that everyday life can throw at us.

Having grown up in the South West of England, a small town surrounded by villages and open countryside and although I crave the chaos of city life I always find myself retreating to the peace and tranquility of the rural life, the birds singing day and night, the foxes communicating, the wind rustling the trees, the aroma of country life, it’s in the blood! The London to Exeter train line is right on my doorstep (the sound of the train running past regularly being a gentle reminder of village life and leaving me feeling quite nostalgic) and although I have access to visit cities I’m still drawn to rural living. Gratitude, for me, is the act of giving thanks for what we have and alongside forgiveness, when it comes to design it helps us avoid errors before they occur and then in turn provides a sense of stability, I’m extremely grateful for being encouraged to learn and explore the use design.