Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Light Photos

Exploring compositions through photoshop

Project 4: understanding a space

Project 3: SketchUp and Color

Project 2: Abstract Perspective

Project 1: Name Tag

This is the name tag that I designed for Heather. She likes neutral colors, especially greys and very simplistic and balanced designs so I made something that would suit her. The asymmetrical aspect is something that showed a little of my own personality and design aesthetic that she would still appreciate.

Monday, May 2, 2011

In class Sketching

Some of the top sketches I did this semester:

Click for Larger view

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Writers Retreat.. Final Spring Project

The last project of the semester was my favorite project. We were asked to take St. Mary's house and imagine that it could transform into a place to house visiting scholars in UNCG's creative writing program. We collaborated as a class and studied the history of the building, the neighborhood, the school and the city, the writing process, historic guidelines and the measurements of the entire building and property. All of this had to be taken into account before trying to come up with even a design concept for this assignment.

The next phase was an initial idea in the form of a Parti. The driving force behind my design ideas was to create a space that met all of the needs of the public space and to try to accommodate different kinds of people and writers. There is a comfortable place for writing and a more traditional desk type of writing situation in each separate "space". The space as a whole is supposed to feel completely open but also can feel like smaller more specific rooms but with the minimum amount of dividing walls. Upon first walking into St. Mary's house I loved the open feeling in front and biggest room but as I went back into the kitchen, bedroom and other rooms, including the hallway, the space started to feel very small and chopped up unnecessarily.

You walk through the front door and you see the entire right wall is shelving and screen sliding doors with storage for the obvious book collection and other inspiration materials (Pictured in the top picture above Ie: section elevation) but also a place for the resident to keep anything they wish to bring with them to make it their "home". The shelves can be left so that the items are part of the design or the screens can hide everything depending on the taste of different individuals. The windows along this wall divide the wall of storage into three equally sized sections. There is a chair to sit and write or read or just relax on this wall. Opposite of the chair is a pair of desks that can be expanded into L-shaped desks for larger groups of students, or left as regular sized desks when they are not in use or needed. Directly behind the desks there is a couch and chairs around the fireplace which is the heart of the home, this area is designed specifically for socializing and relaxation. The arrangement of this social fireplace area sections off the public reading space that sits directly behind in a linear arrangement. There is a very large, oversized L-shaped sofa that can seat people for bigger socail gatehrings or the intended public readings. The one dividing wall is intentionally put behind the public reading nook because it is the most bold part of the whole space and it's the most bold and engaging place to stand when you're commanding attention. (Pictured in the two-point perspective rendering above)

This one dividing wall is a main feature of the house. It is made out of happhazardly put together vertical strips of different thin wood. It can be pulled all the way to each wall, entirely closing off the front (public) and back (private) spaces, or it can be pushed all the way to one side and retracted into the wall completely eliminating dividing walls alltogether allowing it to be one giant space. If the wall is pulled over and a normal sized doorway opening is left to the right side, there is virtually no disruption to the large back window that I added to the space which is another key feature of this design. You could sit in the chair by the front door and see all the way through which is nice because the other windows in the house are quite narrow.

View of the bedroom as if standing by the window.

The back portion of the house is like a loft apartment completely open except the bathroom. The bed has tall shelving in the place of a headboard so that if the retractable wall is all the way open there is still some privacy. There is also a lofted space that runs above the bedroom area along the retracted wall and over a little bit of the kitchen. The placement of the loft was to make the bedroom ceiling lower and more intimate and also to allow someone to hang something to make the bed closed off if they wished. The bathroom walls are made of frosted/painted glass and the kitchen table and chairs are clear plastic. The rest of the house is wood and earth tones. The large back window has giant over-sized seating built in that is essentially the size of three beds. There is also storage under the cushions for convenience. The seating is a good place for reflection, relaxation, reading, writing or hosting over-night guests. The Large window has the same retractable wood wall as the room divider so it can be covered completely if need be.
View of the bathroom wall and built in seating/window, standing in kitchen  

Lofted space above bedroom and part of kitchen/ Bathroom walls as seen in the model

Renderings of Studio Building

One-Point Perspective in Pencil

Marker and Colored Pencil Renderings

Material Rendering Study

Dining Space Project

The third project of the semester was to design a dining space, sideboard and table that would accommodate 8 - 10 people on a fictional "International Eradicating Hunger Celebration" day.  Lighting was supposed to be mindfully considered within the space, because the fictional holiday falls on the summer and winter solstice. We were also supposed to consider our brief social media exploration from the previous week.

All of these ideas seemed to clash in my mind. I actually hated the idea that social media would make its way into a dining space because it takes away from the ceremony of the dining experience; this experience, in my mind, includes good food and good old fashioned conversation, face-to-face. I also felt like it was grossly counteractive to the cause to design some fancy dining space for people to celebrate on a day about hunger when there are so many people on this planet starving. My design was more about concept than just sheer aesthetics or practicality which was a risk that I took with this project.

For our initial idea we were asked to create a Parti. I had a really hard time even coming up with anything that made sense for this project because I was so conflicted with the meaning of the fictional holiday being celebrated and designing something great because this is, after all, design school and not a real project. My ideas looked jumbled and nonsensical on this parti because they definitely were...

My space is "minimal" meaning that there are no extras in the space. The measurements specifically fit a table, the people and the sideboard, the sideboard even fits into a perfectly sized nook so that the spacing is equal on all sides of the table. There are large diagonal windows at the east and west sides of the space to let light run through the space emphasizing the center, where the table stands.

One-point Perspective drawing pencil, intended lighting in the space/ material of the floor(shiny reflective concrete)

Sketch model of sideboard

Final Sideboard model

The table is made out of melted plastics from recycled items which gives a cool effect but is also minimal cost so that more money can be distributed to people in need of food. Similarly, the sideboard is made out of scrap metal and aluminum cans cut in curved pieces and sort of collaged and randomly arranged. The aluminum cans have universally recognizable fonts and logos such as the coke label and letting these become part of the design kind of throws the consumer culture back in your face in an Andy Warhol kind of way. I thought this could be playful but also a somewhat serious statement considering the occasion. A day to think about how wasteful and spoiled we can be when there are others who go without. I also set the table at a lower height with the intention that everyone would sit on cushions on the floor just to further the point that we could stand to scale back every now and then for the greater good of everyone.

The space is designed to promote critical thinking and conversation between the people dining in it with almost no distractions at all.

Theory reading 5 April 6

3 Design Journals/Websites:

Theory Reading 4 March 18

The portion of A Pattern Language that we were assigned to read gave insight to the "intimacy gradient" within spaces and buildings. It makes sense that the public and private areas of the space be separated and have specific boundaries, with multi-functional rooms somewhere in between the progression. For the purposes of the Writer's Retreat project this is our main challenge because the space has to house visiting scholars and they need to feel like they have a home while they stay here, but there are also many public events and meetings that also need to be factored into the space. The front of the house is naturally the public sector because the front door places an incoming person directly in the front room. The back of most houses is usually the quiet area away from the street and hustle and bustle so it also makes the most sense for private areas like the bedroom.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Dining Space: Studio East Dining
 This is the dining space that I chose. It was built on a construction site using, or borrowing really, all the materials including the light fixtures. It was a 3 week long temporary restaurant and after it was taken apart all of the materials were given back or recycled. This space is really cool because obviously it is completely eco-friendly as a space. 

The lighting in the space is notable because the walls are a translucent polyethylene which takes advantage of natural light in the daytime, and at night these really cool fixtures light the space. The fixtures are made of yellow construction lights with long yellow cords.

Social Space: Maxxi Art Museum designed by Zaha Hadid in Italy

This space is extremely sculptural and neutral at the same time. The concrete and glass materials create an understated palette which doesn't take away from what is inside. The amount of glass in the ceiling lets the space get illuminated with predominately natural light. There are also complex louvers and framework that allow manipulation.

Ritual Space: Parish of Helsinki by JKMM Architects

This church is designed to feel like "congregating in the woods" which I think is a beautiful idea. Nature and closeness to the land feels spiritual in itself. The space is made of numerous kinds of wood and it is full of very sharp, crisp lines. The windows that span to the floor further connect the outside with the inside.

reading 2: Babette's Feast

Culture and design are inextricably related. We are a product of our culture and society, and design is a product of us. One essentially does not exist without the other in some way. All cultures are different, and as so the spaces, music, art, clothes, people, food and just overall way of life are different too.  As a culture we have different needs, wants and influences than other places and designers react accordingly. I think traveling and experiencing other places is extremely important and valuable for this reason, to get inspired and be completely out of your element, to share and adopt other customs and ideas.

We watched a movie, Babette’s Feast, about two sisters living in a remote area of Denmark in the 19th Century. They led a very simple lifestyle to say the very least, even their food was the same fish and bread day in and day out. They sat quietly and ate their modest meals, until years go by and their now live-in house keeper/ cook receives a large sum of money. She is French and instead of using her newfound fortune to go back to her old home she cooks an extravagant meal for them. She had previously been a chef at a fancy restaurant and she really made an evening out of it for the sisters and their guests. This is what people mean when they say there is a difference between just eating and dining. Dining is an experience, a time to come together and enjoy, not only the food, but also the company and the atmosphere. Many cultures treat mealtimes this way, not just the French. When I traveled to Italy and Spain I had dining experiences in both, it seemed to be more of a lengthy event with different food courses, wines, coffee and conversation. My family has always treated dinner this way when we’re all together and I don’t think enough of us really appreciate that time together as we should. It should be a time to catch up on the events of the day and appreciate the food, not sit in front of the T.V. or Internet like a vegetable on the plate. Most people have a T.V. in or within view of the kitchen, and a lot of places you go to eat out have T.V.s as well. Social media at this point is really taking away from the dining experience, maybe it can change but for now…

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Design Manifesto

 “A picture is something between a thing and a thought”— Arthur Symons

I think this quote by Arthur Symons epitomizes the design process: It starts with an idea, a thought, a concept or maybe even an image in my head, but translating that to a drawing on paper is difficult in itself. Then, translating that drawing into the actual thing is another layer, and sometimes the end product becomes very different than the initial “idea”. It’s definitely a process. To be able to successfully design though, I think you have to master all three parts of this process to a certain degree.

A strong concept and initial idea can be lost in a poor drawing, and alternately, a weak or flawed concept can win over a client or group of fellow designers with a strong drawing; Drawings can be misleading. These same things happen when I have an amazing idea or image in my head, sometimes I can draw it out perfectly, but then following through with the design off of the paper is a completely different story. Or other times the drawing does not translate but I am able to follow through without it anyway.

Most modern designers draw out designs using computer programming and then somebody else entirely constructs the design, they come up with the idea and then somebody else has to execute it. These “instructional drawings” can be misinterpreted or have unforeseen errors or a lack of clarity. This seems like a scary concept with my very limited design experience, at what point does it become someone else’s design?

After just one semester we have learned to appreciate “craft” that goes into design and we have practiced free hand drawing. I feel like both of these are somewhat of a dying art in designers learning today, and yet they are both so important. Appreciating the hands on work is definitely key, but also just experimentation in both of these lead to completely different and, maybe better, end products. The art of crafting pushes us to find out what materials are capable of though trial and error. Drawing by hand has advantages in many ways too, you can just free yourself, let loose and be fantastical...

For me personally it’s always a long process and it involves a lot of anxiety, a lot of searching for something better. I usually come back to something close to my original idea, but I refine it and polish it up. I have random a-ha! Moments and it will suddenly all make sense. I just have to remember it’s okay to change and transform an idea that I’m so attached to. I have high anxiety and I'm usually under the impression that whatever I come up with won't be good enough, and while this puts a lot of pressure on myself, it also pushes me to always do my best.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Project 3: Social Networking in Portugal

In my research for Social networking in Portugal, I was surprised by what I found. I am used to and grew up living in the internet age- We no longer have to wrack our brains to remember an obscure name of a movie character from our childhood, one of our friends just whips out their iphone and retrieves whatever answer in a few seconds. Similarly, maps, and even the more modern version mapquest, no longer are necessity because all of the new smart-phones have built in GPS...the information is at our fingertips. Most people my age can not imagine what life would be like without the internet.

In a survey taken in Portugal about internet use for any reason, more people answered that they did NOT use the internet than the ones that said they did; only 5,168,800 out of 10,735,765 answered yes, that they did use the internet for email or any other reason. I also found some statistics about facebook in Portugal: only about 30% of the population uses facebook, which is just unheard of for us. The most common forms of social media in Portugal include television, magazines and a different social networking website, OLX.


Color Week (project 2)

Light Box; First project of spring semester

The first assignment of the semester was to take a 12" x 12" x 18" cardboard/foamboard box and use only cut-outs and skewers to create 4 separate spaces within the box. Sounds simple right? No, actually it doesn't even sound simple because getting light to do what you actually intend for it to do is pretty challenging.

As an object aside from the purpose of the project I don't necessarily "like" this design. It was supposed to be simple and I imagined it as an extremely large and powerful space, maybe a grand train station or something public and massive.

I started this project by just jumping right in with my xacto knife and just making cuts and seeing what the light would do. I ended up with a first version that looked like a psycho had carved coded messages all over a box. Then I thought it would be really cool to just have one cut somehow because the most obvious solution had been to cut two lines intersecting or three parallel lines.
so, that is how I ended up with an S-shaped cut out. If I put the light in the perfect location, which maybe only happened once, you actually could see 4 sections along the floor and the back section extending up the wall some. I put 3 skewers in the middle-right because this is where the s shape met the wall and section off the first three areas. There are two up on the wall where the 4th is supposed to hit. The curving cut-out let the light move and guide you through the space.