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.
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.
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)
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!
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.
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.
My influences throughout this project have come from bamboo structures, fabric weaving and the impact these materials have on our environment.
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.
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.
My tutor was pleased to see the diligence and detail in my research for the critical review of Chromophobia. It was noted that my experimenting with colour exercise was particularly compelling, seeing my own observations recorded beneath each experiment. By listening to the lecture and making my own notes leads me to areas I probably would not have otherwise. My tutor has encouraged me to make lists and prioritise work for each exercise which I have been putting into practise more recently, it helps to organise my thoughts.
I must practise writing my essays in third person rather than first person and then back my work up with further direct quotations from the text to help reiterate some of the points being made in the review, as well as remembering to keep referencing.
Academic writing is very new to me but I will build on this throughout the course and particularly when researching and reviewing.
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
consider how further best practices in terms of academic writing can be applied moving forward
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.
I have researched the internet and found some buildings that have used woven materials in its construction.
This office block in Tokyo was completed by Japanese studio Aisaka Architects in Tokyo. The four-storey building Keiun Building sits between a railway line and a fire station, made up of a row of ground-level shops with three multi-tenant office floors above. The woven facade is called the knitting method which involved intertwining curving pieces of aluminium that function as sun shades for the offices within, the woven pieces are coloured in five different shades of red, which is intended to reference a brick building that once stood on the site. Steel brackets were used to hold the aluminium curves in place and these were attached to a layer of autoclaved aerated concrete panels,
Aisaka said the facade is a reinterpretation of the sudare – a traditional bamboo blind. “Focus is placed on the Japanese sudare that does not interfere with the area of the room and works to pass air while shutting down heat. It is substituted with the high-durability, light, and inexpensive aluminium,” (Mairs, 2015)
Each curved piece is fixed in place with a bolt at either end, holding the bowed shape, the exploded diagram below shows how it is made up in more detail. It reminds me of pieces of ribbon or party streamers threaded through each other and it’s practical too.
Heatherwick Studios based in central London have transformed the entrance to Guys Hospital, London by adding an undulating facade of woven steel panels which encase the boiler house. This facade is known as The Boiler Suit and is made up of 108 undulating tiles of woven stainless steel braid, it is illuminated at night to provide a distinctive welcoming beacon for staff and visitors arriving at hospital in the dark and was only made possible thanks to funding from Pool of London Partnership, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity and the Friends of Guy’s Hospital. The weave is so cleverly done, it looks just like a basket weave where the threads interlock.
I have chosen a word that best describes a feeling that I would like to evoke in a designed space, that word is GRATEFUL.
I have found 10 material samples that accurately illustrate my chosen word and made an A3 texture sample board, these samples describe the word, GRATEFUL. These materials I have sourced locally, using actual materials helps communicate my ideas in such a good way.
I created a mind map, which is always such a helpful exercise.
The materials I have chosen are;
I also researched each material. The materials I have chosen are all natural materials as they have a reduced impact on the environment. This was a vital part of the exercise for me to help showcase my chosen word. I am grateful for all the natural materials and resources our planet can offer and when done correctly, the materials can be harvested without negatively affecting the environment. They can also be disposed of safely without increasing the levels of pollution in the air, land, and sea.
Wood delivers on innovative design, speed, cost and resource efficiency, health & wellbeing, and offers a low-carbon, environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional building materials. It is strong, versatile, light and the only construction material that is 100% renewable because it does not deplete the earth of its natural resources. It’s a resource that more or less stands on its own, it can be grown and harvested over and over again.
Stone is made from nature, by nature. It requires no chemicals or hazardous additives and does not produce harmful gases, like many other building materials. Compared to manufactured alternatives, like brick and concrete, it uses little energy in its extraction and production. It’s a natural material that has strength, structure, texture, density, hardness, porosity and absorption.
Essential Oils not only smell great, they reduce stress, treat fungal infections, and help you sleep. They are concentrated extractions from plants. A process called distillation turns the “essence” of a plant into a liquefied form for many medicinal and recreational uses. Apart from providing a pleasant smell, there are lots of different oils and they all have their own benefits.
Wool is a natural protein fibre found on sheep from around the world. It is biodegradable, renewable, breathable, hypoallergenic, flame retardant, energy efficient and hard wearing. As well as these benefits it can also be used as insulation, brick reinforcement, packing material and often used when upholstering furniture.
Cotton is one of the strongest natural fibres around and is more durable and resistant than other fabrics. It benefits from being biodegradable, breathable, absorbent but has a tendency to fade and shrink. It is mostly grown in India, China and the USA, where it needs a warm climate to grow. It is not very sustainable due to its harvesting and manufacturing process.
Bamboo requires no chemicals and very little water to grow, it is an environmental wonder-plant. Bamboo absorbs more carbon dioxide from the air than either cotton or timber. It also releases more oxygen into the environment which improves air quality. It can be a very sustainable crop as it’s fast-growing grass, requires no fertiliser and self-regenerates from its own roots, so it doesn’t need to be replanted.
Cork grows naturally in the Mediterranean and Northwest Africa and originates from the cork oak tree which is an evergreen oak that has a thick corky bark, this is harvested to produce the cork. Every 20 years a cork tree is ready for its first harvest, which is of poor quality and so is used to make agglomerated cork products such as bottle stoppers, pin boards and insulation board. Every 9 years following, the cork bark is much better quality.
Limestone it’s often described as a soft stone but is actually much tougher than other common flooring materials like wood, carpet, vinyl or laminate as long as it has been sealed properly. This protection makes it very hard to stain, chip, scratch, or otherwise damage making it ideal for busy areas. It is heat resistant, a natural insulator and because it’s a natural material it makes it far easier to reuse or recycle.
Brick is the most economical material as its raw material is easily available. It’s durable, strong and there is very low maintenance cost involved. They offer sound insulation, help to control heat in the home and they have an aesthetic value. Red clay bricks are made of clay and water and contain no complex components or chemicals and this makes them completely recyclable which can be ultimately returned to our beautiful planet earth.
Hemp fabric is a sustainable textile made of fibres of a very high-yielding crop in the cannabis sativa plant family. Historically used for industrial purposes, like rope and sails, hemp is known as one of the most versatile and durable natural fibres. Hemp fabrics are stronger, more absorbent, more durable, and better insulating than cotton and as a crop grows extremely fast and requires no toxic pesticides or fertilisers, it also helps detoxify and regenerates the soil.
Linen is eco friendly, sustainable, versatile and breathable. It is moisture resistant and bacteria doesn’t easily grown in it, but easily wrinkles and if bleached or dyed, it can lose its biodegradable properties. Linen is one of the most sustainable fabrics because it is made from flax plants, a plant which grows without the need for fertilisers or pesticides, making it a renewable resource, one that is fast growing and can be produced without damaging the environment because the entire flax plant can be woven into a fibre, which means that almost no waste is left over from the spinning and weaving process. If organically processed without chemicals or intensive dyes, it also means no water pollution is made. Compared to other materials such as cotton, linen can be expensive because of its lengthy manufacturing process.
Hessian is completely biodegradable, given that it’s sourced from cheap yet sustainable plants. Hessian is a fabric produced from the jute fibre. The jute fibres are processed and made into this Hessian material which can be put into lot of use. No chemicals are used in this processing and hence it is considered as eco friendly. Hessian sacks are used for packaging products such as rice, coffee beans and potatoes. The woven nature of the fabric allows the contents to breathe and is therefore ideal for products that are moisture sensitive.
I then made an A3 texture sample board using actual samples of the materials I chose. I understand the value in using real samples to communicate my design ideas. I also played around with the arrangement in the garden with the natural sunlight peeping through and included a fig tree plant for context.
I picked up all the textile materials from my local Scrapstore, its a wonderful place where those with learning difficulties and autism get to meet, master new skills and move forwards. The scrapstore has an array of fabrics and craft supplies for sale, at a very cheap price, the staff are extremely helpful. Not only do they offer their trainees a programme and structure within the craft space, they also provide training in the cafe. One of their enterprises is TRACE. It is a social enterprise run by the Hub which is focused on recycling, reusing and reinvention. With the motto ‘leave no trace’, they aim to reduce the impact and trace what they save from landfill.
The wood, bamboo cane, red brick and slate were finds in my back garden, there’s always a reason I keep hold of everything, I’m now extremely grateful that I didn’t get rid of them! My neighbour is a dry stone waller and so after a chat with him about my project he gave me a piece of limestone and some ammonites, it’s bonkers to think that these fossils are over 10,000 years old! In the next part of this project I look further at ‘spiral’ and so these fossils seemed very fitting for my sample board.
Kengo Kuma is a Japanese Architect, he weaves materials together to produce structures. Back in 2020, he worked with Australian artist Geoffrey Nees to create this semi-circular pavilion using timber harvested from dead or felled trees at Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens. Commissioned for the NGV Triennial and based on traditional Japanese architecture, the Botanical pavilion is made of wood with the interlocking slats assembled as pieces of a puzzle and held together by tension and gravity. The timber used was collected from trees felled or removed during the millennium drought (1996–2010) at the Royal Botanic Gardens. It is a sensorial journey in which visitors are exposed to different essences of wood, different timber species have been arranged by colour, the timber slats were arranged in a pattern with a dark to light colour gradient as visitors moved along the walkway.
“In the design of this pavilion, small wooden pieces are assembled like a three-dimensional puzzle to form a structural arch. This approach is inspired by the Japanese carpentry tradition of using smaller elements, relying on joinery to achieve larger spans,” he added. (Architecture news & editorial desk, s.d)
This pavilion a beautiful structure, with the small pieces of wood he was able to layer them and create an organic shape, I really like how the light casts a pattern of shadows that mimics the shapes, they seem to dancing.
Another of his designs is the Yure, a Japanese expression for a nomadic habitat moving in the wind. The project is made from identical wooden pieces that are connected vertically and obliquely using traditional crafted joints, a technique commonly used by Japanese carpenters. The structure appears different from every view, seeking to blur the lines between art and architecture and create a distinct diversity of space.
Fabric style are designed to hang inside the structure, waterproofing the inside, and creating the structure’s separate rooms. Without the fabric hanging inside the open lattice of pieces create an organic and flexible space, which allows free movement through and up the structure by using the ladder to access the bedroom, living room, and terrace.
This structure reminds me of when I was a child and we used matchsticks to make an object or structure, glueing them together to hold them. It’s also reminiscent of building a tower using playing cards, you would try really hard to build it as high as you could until they would eventually collapse in a heap!
I made a list of different ‘physical feelings’ and wrote down a material that, for me, illustrates that feeling.
Cold – Marble
Warm – Wood
Smooth – Resin
Rough – Stone
Soft – Velvet
Heavy – Concrete
Dark – Steel
Hollow – Polystyrene
Relaxed – Wool
Scalded – Denim
Using the same process I made a list of different ’emotional feelings’ and a material that evokes that particular feeling.
Angry – Pebbledash
Excited – Paint
Frightened – Plastic
Content – Velour
Confused – Vinyl
Love – Gemstone
Boredom – Plastic
Grateful – Limestone
Fear – Coal
Nostalgia – Denim
Empathy – Wood
When considering a calm space and materials for that space, my initial thoughts would be soft fabrics, light coloured materials, natural products such as wood, wool, real plants, real flowers, water, fresh air, stone, candle wax and paint. I have listed the textures that each of these materials would have.
Wood – Smooth and flat
Wool – Soft and textured
Real plants – Organic and smooth
Real flowers – Layered
Water – Smooth
Fresh air – Soft
Stone – Textured
Candle Wax – Silky
Paint – Soft
After completing this exercise I thought it would be interesting to ask other people the same question. I chose to ask 3 members of my family, two of my daughters and my husband. It was interesting hearing their responses, some were very different to mine but a few the same. It’s good to get other perspectives on design ideas and the emotions that materials have on each and every one, a very thought provoking exercise, which I particularly enjoy doing. It’s good to carry out this sort of exercise to remind yourself that we all have different perspectives towards design but can probably agree that some materials and emotions we share similar feelings towards and that having different emotions towards a fabric gives us room for discussion when designing a space.
Cold – Stone. Marble. Stone
Warm – Velvet. Coal.Carpet
Smooth – Glass. Granite.Paper
Rough – Straw. Sand.Coir doormat
Soft – Silk. Satin.Hair
Heavy – Granite. Lead.Brick
Dark – Slate. Coal.Coal
Hollow – Corrugate. Egg Shell.Card
Relaxed – Silk. Water.Fleece
Scalded – Leaves. Carpet.Water
Angry – Leather. Concrete.Geometric pattern
Excited – Bubblewrap. Gold.3D pattern
Frightened – Coal. Steel.Water
Content – Cotton. Baise.Cotton
Confused – Carpet. Polystyrene.Blue Typography on paper
Love – Fleece. Duckdown Feather.Feather
The above two designs are similar but I can see that they use different materials and therefore have a different textural quality to each other. Each chair evokes a feeling of comfort and calm. The Bowl Chair, on the left looks comfortable and a seat that you could sit and relax in whilst reading a book or taking a nap. The Ball Chair, on the right, also looks comfortable but because it is more enclosed it makes me feel happy and safe, that feeling you have when a baby is born, a safe and joyous feeling. Texturally I think the Ball Chair has the edge, it looks to be softer to sit on and the material looks soft and warm, the Bowl Chair looks to made of leather which when sat on is quite cold to the skin, so although it may be soft to sit on it wouldn’t evoke the feeling of safe and joyous. Sophistication springs to mind when I think of the Bowl Chair but Fun and Joy springs to mind when looking at the Ball Chair.
I found other examples of furniture that looks as though is has been designed in order to evoke a really distinct feeling. Firstly, here is a seating design that was designed by Gigi Barker. The leather was stretched and moulded over the bulbous forms with the suede section facing side up, these were made as small clay models before translating them into the larger objects and then impregnated with pheromones and aftershave to evoke the sense of sitting on human flesh.
It really does mimic human flesh, which makes me feel a bit strange, but in the right setting I can understand how it would have a positive impact on the user. Barker’s intention was to create shapes that were not instantly recognisable as chairs and that made the viewer question how to interact with shape. This definitely made me question whether it looks comfortable because of the organic shapes or does it remind me of skin and make me hesitate and want to keep my distance? I feel intrigued and would like to sit and feel the emotion it would offer me.
Another furniture design is The Flesh Chair, which was made from the concept “less is a bore” by student designer Nanna Kiil and modelled on an obese body. Kiil was inspired by overweight humans and she wanted to work with aesthetic in a positive way.
She used memory foam covered in a light pink textile to create the flabby appearance of the armchair. A wrinkled breed of dog was also taken as a reference when forming the folds and creases. “I was really inspired by the sharpei dog, where the fat is something I find really attractive,” said Kiil. The foam was scrunched and wrinkled around a metal frame then sewn together along the edges. Wooden appendages are attached to the end of the frame and poke from the lumpy material to imitate hands and feet. (Howarth, 2014)
My niece had a sharpei dog, he was called Bean and was a beautiful soul full of fun and wrinkles, he was cuddly and comforting. Visually, the chair looks soft and snug, the layers add fun to the design and I honestly believe this chair would look great in different colours, I understand her reasons for designing in a flesh colour but imagine the same design in forest green or pillar box red, how amazing and fun that would be.
The Headspace Pod was designed by Mike & Maaike, a progressive industrial design studio, in collaboration with Headspace and intended for public spaces such as university campuses, offices, hotel lobbies, co-working and event spaces. It is an inviting and simple design that evokes joy and intended for people to experience Headspace, the project has resulted in physical prototypes which is fantastic news. We, as humans, have our daily challenges and on top of that we have all experienced a couple of years of pandemic hell, so this sort of design will hopefully help those who may be struggling with their mental wellbeing, giving them the opportunity to sit and listen to some relaxing mindfulness. I’m impressed that it was intended for public spaces, it’s a simple organic shape that could sit perfectly within both an interior and exterior space providing a disassociation with work and media, it offers a built-in directional audio, with upright seating that creates a posture ideal for cultivating mindfulness.
My tutor was pleased to see that I am making progress on this unit and continuing with the work within my learning log. She was pleased to see my use of sketching and has encouraged me to explore more posts about sketching, both annotated and rendered.
When presenting this assignment, I didn’t fully expand upon the materials and the history of how the designer came to this design decision. I had researched his ideas but I didn’t show that in my work, only in my notes.
My CAD drawing wasn’t completely accurate, my tutor pointed out that my section drawing looked more like an unrolled view of the lamp, which it does unfortunately! I will revisit this drawing and re draw, giving me more practise with the software, which I know I need. Hopefully, one day soon I’ll get the hang of section drawing!
Going forward I have made a list to help organise my thoughts and actions
continue to back up my work with images or diagrams
be more experimental with how I communicate my ideas
practise more using Autocad
explore more posts about sketching
expand upon my research
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.
As an extension to my studies I have carried out some research to find other work by Le Corbusier and other modernist architect’s buildings that are usually perceived as pared-back or colourless from the outside, but that has a significant use of colour in the interior.
Maison du Bresil is one of Le Corbusier’s residential designs. Built in 1957, it is one of twenty-three international residences at the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris, located in the heart of Paris. It is known as the “House of Brazil” and the building acts as both a residence hall for Brazilian academics, students, teachers, and artists and as a hub for Brazilian culture, by providing exhibition spaces and archival resources. The colour you can see on the outside of the building tells me that this is just a sneak peak of what is happening inside. The bold colours make a real statement on the interior and I like that he used other colours alongside the traditional Brazilian colours of green, yellow and blue. The colours are vibrant and happy and cheer up the brutalist architecture.
Widawscy Studio Architects are a multidisciplinary design studio involved in architecture, interior design and industrial design projects. In their projects they combine minimalism with timeless modernism. They find inspiration by combining the old with the new. Here are two examples of their work.
Firstly, D47 is a home in Myslowice, Poland, designed for a pair of young travellers using white walls, antiqued floorboards and old brick which gives the interior a natural feel. The home has become a stage for modern furniture, colourful accents and geometric patterns that loved its residents. Loving the colourful interior, adding intrigue at every turn.
Secondly, D70 has an irregular, raw shape which became the inspiration for creating the interior of the house, it was important the interior reflected the exterior. The only accent colours inside the house are mint and turquoise as requested by their client. A family of 5 reside in the bright and spacious interior for whom a combination of good quality and design was a priority. I’m not a huge fan of mint and turquoise but that’s my personal opinion, if I was asked to include those two colours in a brief then I would choose similarly to this design and combine it with the odd statement piece in green and yellow, just to soften the strong tones of turquoise.