Friday, August 29, 2014

INDN 342: Sketched Development of the H-03 (Temporary Name)

After coming up with the idea and concept for this design, I sat down in PreFab and had a coffee (or two!) and sketched away at the design, trying to pull it apart and figure out how it might work.
 One of the most challengind and difficult aspects of the design was thinking about how the legs were going to work for the design. The part that made it challenging was that the small underside extension from the stool design got in the way of all the optimal leg positions for neighboring stools. On the bottom drawing above, the red hatched sections represent the locations of all potential underside extensions from other stools joining up with the first stool. These also then represented all the places that the legs could not go.

 To solve the stool leg conundrum, I decided to put a slot in the underside extension that allows a leg to occupy the same space as the red sections. This is key, as I was very concerned about the stability of the stool, especially since it is inherently such a strange, oblong shape. I'd be worried about creating a stool that falls over, especially if it ends up being kind of heavy!

This slot opened up a lot of new opportunities for the design. One of my concepts involved the slot being something that served a function beyond just being an interlocking point for the stools. I wanted it to be something people might use. Perhaps in interesting, cool ways, such as cup holders, hooks for hanging small things, or more.

However, that's when I realised there was a problem with the straight slot. While it works really well for simple connections, such as the top and bottom red hatched sections, it posed a big problem for the main feature of the design, namely the ability for the stools to be slotted together as one big three-piece table.
AS a result, I had to do some rethinking about what I could do to still maintain the functionality of the modularity of my designs, while also still getting my design to still be aesthetic and function in the same way. The straight slot wasn't going to do that, so I decided to test out a curve slot. The curved slot would allow any stool to be turned out from the hexagon, enabling easy manipulation of arrangements.

The rotational revamp would enable people to easily manipulate the configuration of the stools. I don't want to design something that's difficult to put together or take apart, so ensuring what will work well is really important.

Monday, August 25, 2014

INDN 342: New Sketch Models

The sketch modelling process is an important aspect of my design process, however I'd still argue that I'm very good at making decent sketch models. However, I think that the ideas and concepts are conveyed quite nicely through the models that I do make. And really that's where the importance is for me personally. Ultimately in this project I want to make something that I'm going to enjoy having and enjoy looking at. Those are factors that might not be directly inherent right now visually, but just might come through in the perceived function.

This stool type explores a very simple principle and could be expressed quite nicely through a form that was highly expressive of the materials it was made from. The materials themselves could kind of inform how the process might work. This particular concept could be made of plywood or laminates, and the bend could be controlled by just laminating or steam bending the section.

Each piece on it's own has a small lower section where users could put down their coffee, perhaps their book, or a multitude of other small- to medium-sized items. The form of the design also informs how it's put together, as well as allowing for potential play with how the two identical stools interact with each other. This form is basic, but the design could be expressed in a very linear, geometric way, as well as a more curvy form.

This design definitely tracks down the more geometric path, as it looks at a equal-sided rhombus for the main form. I actually really like the shape that this design creates, and the way it makes sense in terms of construction. It feels like a simple folded steel construct, and that is then emulated in the way that the bottom section of the stool sticks out to provide both a "locking" point as well as a place to place and keep small items.
After playing around with the basic sketch models, I realised that a really nice way of joining these stools up together was to arrange them in a hexagon, joining the three different stools up rotationally. This was because of the 30 degree rhombus that I chose as my form. It allows for perfect matching up with the next stool. The rationale behind three stools comes from the way they can be arranged. When arranged as three, they make a really cool shape for a coffee table.

The forms slot together really nicely, as well as complementing the shapes of the other. Construction and manufacture of these should be fairly easy, as the design is the same for each chair. The way that each chair is expressed is where the interesting thing lies, allowing the chair to be harmonious with the rest of it's design, and allowing for lots of interesting configurations.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

INDN 312: 3D Printers In Every Home

The project that I've been developing in this class focuses heavily on the potential of the 3D printing revolution. I'm looking at how this revolution could impact smaller towns in New Zealand. This culture is one which New Zealand's history is heavily steeped in. Small towns formed the basis of our western cultural heritage, often being based around specific resources or commodities that were made, mined, or harvested there. These towns now form the backbone of our agricultural sector, with most farmers using the small towns as their closest port of call for almost anything.

The small town is sadly also seeing a slow demise. The rural-urban shift is a very real global trend. This spells disaster for those who depend on their home town for their livelihood. The reality is a lot of people end up moving to the city after being faced with job difficulties in their home time, therefore further perpetuating the cycle. No one is to blame for this of course, the cities often bring much more excitement as well as more people into people's lives that they might have missed out on otherwise.

The issues that face small towns could possibly be dealt with in part with certain active responses. The opportunities that I see involve using 3d printing as a method for creating new jobs, new opportunities, and new life in a small town. Perhaps by allowing the town to retain and sculpt its own identity, it might encourage more people to engage and stay in their communities. New life could be injected into these townships, and the youth of the towns might be able to find creative outlets for their free time and isolation from the cities.

A concept that was suggested was the potential of letting the towns develop and create a scape that that the big cities don't have. Encouraging technological progression in the small townships could legitimise the towns as a place to stay and live for uncertain people. The utilisation of new technologies would allow the town to develop a progressive cultural and social identity. Using Scion's cellulose-based 3d printing material as well as developing their manufacturing techniques into a system that would allow more more independence from the larger cities, as well as creating an almost self-sustaining system.

3d printing being such a new and minimally adopted technology means that there are definitely going to be some barriers to its widespread adoption. This is almost consistently the way with new, game-changing technology. Hopefully the development of the technology and the acquisition of it into the homes of many would be accelerated with the presence of the internet and the global economy. The ability for everyone to design their own 3d printed objects might be a little much for now, but the potential is that soon 3d modelling knowledge might be as commonplace as knowing how to use a computer. At the very least, the hope is that the basic skill set of 3d printing; utilising it solely as a printer of available designs, would be widespread.

The way that this could be engaged with a small town presents a unique challenge. The idea that this could be a holistically designed system of products and services is an attractive one. But, that said, how would I, a single person accomplish that in such a short time, considering time is running out? The answer would usually be I'd try my damn best, but given that this is one of my last project, I want it to be a really good one. A really good one. That means that I think I need to take a more realistic and considered approach to the project and what it might mean and how it can then be extrapolated and made awesome. More to come soon!

Friday, August 15, 2014

INDN 342: Sketch Development

The sketch development for my furniture design project is a very long and at times arduous, but I'm really enjoying the amount of development I'm getting the chance to put into my projects. The project is very much still a mixed bag in terms of my direction for it. I'm worried about working on the project and then reaching a point where I've made a bad call and just have to roll with the design. I'm rather worried that I won't be completely pleased with the result of the furniture.

I have lots and lots of ideas floating around in my head, but I'm concerned that the ideas just aren't good enough. I know what the ideas are based around in terms of what I want them to do and how one interacts with them, but at the same time I also want to find a design that I really want to pursue. And I want to find that idea soon.

The two ideas that I'm developing at the moment are based around the same basic concept. I want the stools to interact with each other in a way that allows them to come together and form one single piece of furniture. This piece of furniture may form the same function as the previous two separate components, or it may fill an entirely different function. The first iteration of that idea looks at the way two stools could come together and interlace to still form one single stool, by way of the way they are designed.

The second idea that I initially pursued, but am no longer looking at, analysed the notion of the perfect fit and how it could be expressed in a pair of stools. The stools wouldn't be the same height, but would look at how the user might interact and play with the stools. The stools would fit on top of each other perfectly, the molded form of the top one sitting perfectly on top of  the seat of the lower one.

 The method of interlacing proved to be very challenging, as the design obviously would have to come apart, meaning making two identical stools that would slot together in the way I desired was almost impossible. I have a mind for manipulating things in 3D, but this unfortunately was a little beyond me. The interlacing was a really fun thing to work with however, and offered both an interesting challenge as well as a lovely rhythmical approach to the forms that the other design concepts didn't.

The third concept that I looked at started out with a look at the Yin/Yang symbol, and how both parts are actually identical, yet they slot together in a way that isn't inherently simple or linear. This sparked the concept for a third design, one that looked at the different ways a set of identical stools would be able to fit inside, above, and below each other, all at the same time.

The design that I presented at my presentation for the final idea was seen as the design that offered the most potential, whereas the other two were more implicit in the way they fit together. This one had the most potential for surprise, as well as the ability for capturing the "!" moment that I really liked about Nendo. The way the surprise could be conveyed could be very dependant on the way that the stools fit together, or it could be based on the material selection, and how everything works in terms of materiality.

The way that I looked at the stools allowed for the design to progress in a very linear way. Now that, that right there is really damn boring. I want to break the mould for this project. I want to be able to make something that really stands out and creates a unique silhouette or has a certain uniqueness of character. Something that gives it that wow factor and makes it have a certain effect on the people that see it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

INDN 342: Nendo, Chair Bonanza!

Nendo is a thoroughly awesome design firm, with some fantastic design concepts and ideals. I am currently completely in love with their style and the way they design their projects. I think the methodology behind their concepts and how they showcase their individuality as a firm is spectacular and really captures the imagination of the audience they're looking to involve.

Nendo has a really fantastic concept that they try and convey in their designs. This notion is the idea of trying to bring a "!" moment into the everyday life of the viewer/user.

Image acquired from:

This first chair is the cord chair, developed in collaboration with Hiroshima Prefecture. I think this chair is a really interesting one, as it seeks to create the most minimal chair in terms of bulk and mass, and yet it's actually hiding a lot of what makes it truly strong. The chair legs are hollowed out and their core replaced with steels rods, allowing the legs to be so skinny (15mm!!). This structure is what allows the legs to be so strong and yet so slimline. The woodwork with this design is utterly stunning, and completes a wonderful design.

Image acquired from:

Thick black lines explores the potential of creating implied spaces with simple black lines. Exploring the possibilities of creating a chair that essentially feels like a sketch into mid-air showcases the potential that the materials offer. The black is very bold and contrasts nicely, again underpinning the sketch-like nature of the chair. I think one of my favourite aspects of this chair is the way that in certain angles the construct almost appears to phase between the 2D and the 3D, warping one's perception.

Image acquired from:

These chairs were designed for Edition Blue and were designed to specifically utilise the skills and knowledge of Akimoku, the only specialist Japanese bentwood furniture manufacturer. Nendo explored the nature of the chair and reflected on it's older forms. These forms were then developed into a more harmonious and embellishment-poor design, seeking to capture the most prominent and wonderful features of the original design.

Image acquired from:

I love the quirky nature behind the Cape chair. The utilisation of the really simple materials in a more interesting way than just flat pieces of static material really allows the chairs to come into their own. They have a character, a certain atmosphere that they create that suggests life (chairs) doesn't have to be as serious as it might initially be made out to be. This revamping of the everyday into something that makes you smile or laugh is integral to what Nendo is trying to do with their furniture. 

Image acquired from:

This chair is one of many "illusionary" pieces that Nendo designs. This isn't my favourite illusionary piece by Nendo, but it is a chair that achieves it. The notion of making the chair look like it's floating gives it an ethereal quality, perhaps one that pertains to the way in which the chair almost fades out of an invisible fog. Fadeout-Chair's design choices incorporate a multi-material approach, as the bottom of the legs are defined by clear resin flowing into solid timber.

I'm a huge fan of Nendo's furniture designs, as a lot of them really connect with my ideals in terms of the way that things could be designed.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

INDN 312: Presentified!

INDN 312: Research Complete!

“3D Printing is going to be way bigger than what the 3D printing companies are saying” (Credit Suisse, 2013) This huge projected growth will have an impact on New Zealand, just as much as the rest of the world. The result will be interesting to project in terms of the ripple across the different sorts of cultures in NZ, particularly the clash it might have with “small town NZ”. How might latest-generation 3D printing (wood cellulose printing) revolutionise small-town life in a way that requires and creates a meaningful brand of products and services?


Scion's bio polymer research places them almost in the realms of science fiction, and yet the position Scion places itself in is an inherently NZ position. The research facility seeks to make technological advances through research into our forests. This scientific alignment appears simultaneously hyper modern and astoundingly ancient, and subsequently fits well into the NZ story. Developing new technologies while having the foresight to never lose track of where you come from and how you got there is both a recipe for success and a sound way to keep the press happy. The mission statement “Forests – Products – Innovation” (Scion, 2014) harmonizes well with the Maori cultural and spiritual connection to the whenua; the land, and fits a strong NZ story connected to our multiculturalism.

Wood fibre based 3D printing – 3ders

Scion's current uses for bio polymers are interesting yet few in number. Current uses are limited to low-design items such as kitchenware and small-scale 3D printing, yet the potential for more diverse uses certainly exists. The advanced material 3D printing exhibits certain surface qualities that speak of a naturalistic NZ identity, a concept that has been explored in some designed forms including the curious kiwifruit “Spife” (Scion, 2014) as well as light explorations by David Trubridge. The phrase “wood-based materials could be the next big thing in 3D printing” (3ders, 2013) is becoming more ubiquitous as the media realises the potential in making more degradable and materially interesting polymers. The benefits cost- and material-wise of wood-based filaments has yet to be fully developed, but the future for them is promising and bright.

New Zealand Resource

New Zealand shows time and again that its most important resource is not natural or refined materials, but the people who live here. The culture that NZ has cultivated is one that is more than ready for the world stage now, as it has evolved extensively while still maintaining a strong connection to its roots. NZ has joined the global vanguard in creative industries and scientific research, allowing us to make large strides in a world so often dominated by money or power alone. The innovation and capabilities that NZ brings through its culture stand out, despite the fact that NZ's most defining and enduring cultural feature is the small town. In global terms, the small town is not traditionally associated with “cultural melting pots” or “centres of innovation” (Leading Edge, 2014). Despite the stigma, this is a definitive part of our history and the physical make-up of our landscape. Historically speaking a lot of our best cases of “Kiwi Ingenuity” have stemmed from these small towns.

Queenstown – Alexander Sac

The outcome of NZ starting as a sporadic assembly of small towns resulted in a lot of wares and technology being of limited or no availability, subsequently forcing inhabitants to “Do It Yourself” (Leading Edge, 2014). DIY culture should be celebrated and given the tools to produce and develop meaningful solutions for real problems in small communities.


Apple as a brand commands a high level of respect in the consumer electronics area, and not without good reason. The qualities and emotive responses associated with Apple and their products are astonishingly far-reaching as well as exceedingly controversial. Apple has cultivated an extremely alluring brand identity and has created “an emotional response to its products that other companies just can't beat” (Boone, 2011). Apple's products can elicit high-process brain responses that mimic those of religious faithful (Boone, 2011).

Apple Product Connectivity – Jordan Kahn

The key aspect of their products however isn't necessarily the product itself, but what the product comes with and or is capable of. Applications, accessories, all of the products are designed to work seamlessly with each other, and this is where a lot of the power of the brand lies. Apple products are designed to work perfectly with the iTunes store, as well as use the iTunes store as a one-stop-shop for all the digital needs of the devices. This fully integrated, holistic concept for product integration and cross-platform usage sets the products up as being part of a family of products, rather than separate entities, and creates a highly successful, desirable product line that defines the brand. The synergy between products and services is the best means of keeping the customers coming back for more.

Project Brief

Small towns are an integral part of New Zealand's cultural, historical, and physical make-up, and as such, a well-designed brand that presents a successful combination of products and accompanying services could have a strong and positive influence on the future of NZ. A brand identity centred around the development of 3D printing systems and services in the cultural landscape of the small town would meet little resistance at present. A fifteen-year plan developing said brand with a holistic, all-encompassing, sustainable approach to the technological advancement of small town communities would align well with the explosion of public and cultural adoption of 3D printing. By focussing intently on the small town, the brand would be able to fill a specific niche that 3D printing could meet as an agent for self-sufficiency, independent repair, production, and problem solving. Integrated with a wide-reaching supply and a mobile support/service network with backing from product retail brands, this would guarantee a step forward in the NZ DIY mentality and ensure a brighter, easier tomorrow.


3ders. (2013). Could wood-based material lead 2014 3D printing priorities?. Retrieved from

Boone, A. (Producer). (2011). Technology [Episode 3]. In Secrets Of The Superbrands. London, United Kingdom: BBC.

Company Watch - Apple. (2014, January 6). AirGuide Business. Retrieved from

Kahn, J. (2014). Apple brings Multipeer Connectivity to Mac, enables cross-platform nearby networking w/ iOS. Retrieved from

Scion. (2014). Scion Research. Retrieved from

Sac, A. (2012). Queenstown. A voyage to Queenstown, New Zealand, Pacific. Retrieved from

Wheeler, A. (2006). Designing brand identity: A complete guide to creating, building and maintaining strong brands. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley.