Spatial Experiences

PART 1

4.6.20

For the first part of this project, the assignment was to create different modular structures by using three types of modules and constructing two 3D structures out of each type. Each configuration should follow certain rules when being constructed out of all the same pieces.

I first brainstormed different pieces I would be interested in trying out, and selected a few of particular interest :

1.

For my first module, I used the thin cardboard from an old snack box to cut 14 copies of the diamond-like shape with three slits:

As I started to experiment, I applied only one simple rule to my first configuration:

  • Corresponding types of slits/edges could not join; the shorter ends could not join with shorter ends of other pieces, they could only join with the longer sides.

My second structure followed the opposite rule, and I consciously tried to make it more planar to perpetuate a pattern.

  • Only corresponding types of sides can join (short to short, long to long)

2.

My second module took the form of a quarter circle, with three slits that were slightly more sophisticated in angle and placement than the precious module:

With the first structure of this module, I tried the technique of creating smaller structures that I could join together.

  • Five smaller three-piece structures in which two pieces are connected to the slits in the arch of one piece via their points.
  • When putting the smaller structures together, they must be inserted via the point at the highest slit available on each side.

The second configuration followed a similar method of construction:

  • Each three-piece structure must be connected symmetrically via the slits in the arches.
  • When putting the five smaller structures together, they must be connected via the slits in the arches in a linear fashion.

3.

My third module, although generally simple in shape, had diagonally facing slits that made construction more complicated.

For these configurations, I struggled with finding rules that would not confuse me as I was building but would allow for pieces to fit together without interfering with one another. The first configuration rules:

  • The single slit on the bottom edge of one piece must fit into the slit closer to the short end of the next piece.
  • All following pieces should be facing the same way as others in the same position.

The rules for the second configuration are similar, but using the same amount of pieces did not allow the form to close on itself.

  • The single slit on the bottom edge of one piece must fit into the slit closer to the tall end of the next piece.
  • All following pieces should be facing the same way as others in the same position.

PART 2

4.21.20

For the second part of this project, the objective was to choose one action verb and construct a larger modular structure (25–50 pieces) based on this word with which people could hypothetically interact. I chose to focus on the word “relax,” and began to think about the characteristics I wanted my structure to embody. I wanted the pieces to be organic and nature-inspired, as I felt straight edges and jagged corners would be less relaxing. Moreover, I wanted to create a low-to-the-ground structure where people could sit, lay down, rest upon, etc.

Since it was difficult to plan out the pieces and configuration accurately through drawing, I chose a bean-like shape and began experimenting.

I ended up sticking with this shape, and gradually cut out more and more to keep trying new configurations. I quickly realized that because of the way these slits were cut in the angled shapes, it was hard to create multiple flat platforms like I had planned. Thus, I introduced the leaf-shaped pieces to help join the bean-shaped ones in a way that would keep them flat. I ended up cutting a total of 18 bean-shapes and 11 leaf-shapes.

When building the actual structure, I tried a couple different configurations and played around with different combinations and possibilities before deciding on my final. For my final, I wanted to create a welcoming feeling while incorporating some elevation.

Much of this outcome was created through pure experimentation and a goal to keep things generally symmetrical while considering how people would interact with and feel about the structure. Although this is my final for now, I feel an area of improvement could be creating some sort of roof to give it a more comforting feel.

PART 3

4.23.20

In the next steps of this project, we were instructed to think of a physical “context” which would inform our structure and environment–such as a cafe, hospital, library, etc.–and come up with three word associations. Going based on the form I had constructed, I chose the context of a spa, and related it to the words “soothing,” “clean,” and “peaceful.”

Inspiration images:

The next step was to add color, so I painted my all pieces a light shade of purple on one side and a darker shade of purple on the other, as I felt that this color was soothing and fit the mood I was trying to set. It was neither too attention-grabbing nor generic, and it communicated a sense of not belonging completely to nature despite the organic-ness of the modules.

When experimenting with lighting, I worked mostly with natural light on different types of backdrops. The background texture was also key in informing the feel of the space.

Photos of the structure in different lighting/angles/surfaces:

Small structure (or large cat? lol)

How people might interact with the structure and a map of the available sitting/resting areas:

PART 4

4.28.20

Based on the feedback I received from last class, I first painted the edges of each piece white, as they were bare before and the brown cardboard showing through made the structure feel unfinished. I made the borders white to add a slight highlight and be consistent with the adjectives “soothing,” “calm,” and “peaceful.”

I also adjusted the overall structure of the form, as the feedback had mentioned that the top portion felt unresolved in the way that some pieces did not connect to others and ended abruptly instead. In my new structure, all the pieces feel as though they fit in a purposeful manner. Moreover, it provides more of an overhang and a direct entrance, both aspects I had not previously achieved.

Moving forward, I designated a photo taken for last class that I felt best encapsulated the mood I was aiming for:

This image captures the sense of serenity I wanted; however, I still imagined the space to feel a little warmer and welcoming, and tried to keep this in mind when taking new images. I also scaled the people down in this iteration, as larger structure dimensions would provide more space to sit, lie down, spread out, etc.

Next, I sought out three non-design friends to ask them how they felt about this space–the mood, adjectives, what they might do, etc. their responses are as listed below:

Friend 1 — Calm… the purple is really soothing… I just think the color is pleasing to the eye and like relaxes me it feels like a nice place to like have a conversation like those two people chilling on the bench”

Friend 2 — “It feels a little cold… The people you made remind me of old people so i think of a nice day at a park outside and they are just relaxing and enjoying themselves and warm and then there are also little children who sit at the higher benches with their legs hanging off and they are laughing and happy”

Friend 3 — “Purple makes me wanna say calm… Put shapes kinda push back on the calmness… Lavender is like very soothing and calm… cloth backdrop also adds like the softness to the lavender color…”

The opinions of each friend were generally consistent with my goal mood, as they all used the words I had actually started with. One point of interest is that friends 2 and 3 actually hinted that the space might be more lively than I’d expected, but I feel that this can still fall under the general purpose of relaxation I started with.

PART 5

4.29.20

The main thing I wanted to change for our final class was to take images from some new perspectives in brighter lighting, as most of my images from last week feel a bit cold and dimly lit when looking back on them. Instead of taking pictures at night in the lighting of my room, I took them in the afternoon in natural lighting, then filtered them to have a warmer aura, turning the contrast down to create a less dynamic mood. I also experimented with adding digital figures instead of paper ones.

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