Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Class Update: Theory of Development of Form (3D)

Tradition holds that the great philosopher Plato had engraved above the doorway to his academy these words: "Let no one ignorant of geometry come under my roof."  Powerful words from a highly intelligent man but up until this point, I might have considered this quote to strictly apply to math majors and history geeks.  That is, until this semester.  Another 6 weeks has come and gone with yet another design class being checked off the requirement list.  This time around, my battleground was 3D - compliments of AI Online...
Ascending the throne of my final project!

Taking cues from the classical thought process of Plato, the 3D class at AI Online proved to be both exhilarating and enlightening.  No more was I student in the flat medium known as 2D with the strict boundaries of width and length but now depth was added to the recipe - a part of everything that we did for class.  

Weekly assignments consisted of constructing an object - usually built out of bristol paper.  Bristol paper gave way to basal wood capping off the course with corrugated cardboard.  

My first attempt using basal wood.

There was lots to learn about planar nets, Archiemdean Solids and the 5 Platonic Solids.  The aforementioned Greek mathematician and philosopher Plato discovered that there are five "perfect" three dimensional solids.  And only five.  They include: 
Not being ones to shy away from anything daunting, we embarked on a journey to create on the lovely objects above.  Below is a picture of the Octahedron that I constructed as well as a folder from bristol paper.   
2D beauty to 3D volume - gorgeous!

Undergraduate design classes are not the only places to discover the timeless beauty of mathematical solids. (Heck, my 4th grader made a book report from a paper dodecahedron but I'll save that for another rant... ) Designers utilize these all the time to create abiding items in their collections.  Take a look at this lamp from Ralph Lauren Home  - truly striking. 
Week 5 proved to be no less daunting -- create our own 3D composition involving symmetry, balance , proportion and harmony.  All made out of basal wood and glue.  Friends, please hold your giggles until after the show... For those of you that know me well, you know that ever since my sons were little using Elmer's at my kitchen table that I have despised the stuff.  Literally, I hate glue.  Would rather make a slept in bed a hundred times.  But, not to fear!  I soldiered through the assignment with flying colors.  But my fellow student Andi....well, that's on a different playing field.  Andi's commission was stunning.  Great job, Andi!

Our last assignment was to make a chair out of cardboard. Requirements?  Only the approved tools (x-acto knife, glue and cardboard) were to be utilized. Including the initial design, this was to be duty numero 4 for that week.  Ugghh.  Did I mention that it was supposed to hold a 200 pound person?

Desperate for inspiration, I leafed through one of my favorite books 1000 Chairs (get one!) and continued to be motivated by Charles Renee MacKintosh.  Architect, designer and artist from the 20th century , this dude can build chairs. 

The chairs below are pieces from the early 20th century.  Restaurants during that time catered to the women folk who arrived donning long dressed and fancy hats with one focus -- to chat and eat.  (sounds good to me...)  Being long and lean, these style chairs allowed for privacy while accomplishing the task at hand.  Here are my inspiration pieces:
Mackintosh chairs

Initially, I created a mock-up out of the chair out of bristol paper. The fruits are below:
Then, it was off to create the real one.  The successful construction of the chair was the inner workings as shown below.  Support was key.  It was a family affair.  For weight testing purposes, the boys in the Moss household proved to be invaluable.  
The chair in progress...the internal "support system" with interlocking cardboard

The chair was a success!  Some fringe, a cushion and an emblem topped off the entire project.  No crashes,  Yeah me!
And so concludes my journey for the last 6 weeks.  Although I am fairly sure that Plato never intended his sayings to be pertinent to our modern day theories, isn't it awesome to think that simple ideas never fade with time?  Not only did I get a great insight into the philosophers of the past, but a new paper chair to boot! Next?  CAD.  Yippee!

Off to download,

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