Concept Development…

September 20, 2009

I had heaps of trouble trying to draw that particular form in 2D on paper so I gave up and decide to just work my ideas straight off the photos I had taken. Of of the nudges and manipulation done in photoshop and illustrator this was what I was satisfied with…The front is yet to be appiled on these pics but I have a fairly good idea of how its gonna look like…..Please comment so I can get feedback on how I could make it better….

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Form conceptualistation up to date…

September 17, 2009

This was what i was going to present to class yesterday.

I had been playing with the paper model some more since last week, however I had a really hard time trying to express it by drawing  the form paper so i did all my experimentation and variations my making a series of physical mock-ups. The last concept shows a layout which produces 3 cavity by the way i manipulated the paper which I decide to made use of by placing my seating and bike storage. At the moment I have been trying to stylise my form.

Still wanted to put most of my front styling to this form wondering if i should….????

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Package development contin…

August 17, 2009

I put these pics up on the blog for this week’s class…

The picture at the back was what I initally proposed for my vehicle concept, i took it into CAD and made some slight modifications after adding proper dimensions of human proportions. I measured myself and also measured the interior space and looked up on the specs of an existing yaris as a rough guide of proportions. The machanical components are purely conceptual in size, but also tried to be realistic…so now i have been drawing over package with the theme which I had in mind…. 

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Interesting alternative vehicle concepts…

August 17, 2009

Aquaskipper

The New EcoBoomer

OrbitWheel

McLean Monowheel

Hybrid Bike – got the link from a friend a while back i think is pretty awesome :D

Suzuki’s Biplane – I can so see it in the next kamen rider series lol…

My technology research…

August 17, 2009

Looking at the idea of growing structure and form, I decide to take up the concept of the Venus chair by Tokujin Yoshioka and look at the potential of crystalisation as a method of growing complex forms for my project. To understand the concept of crystalisation better without any prior knowledge I had conducted a simple experiment where I just dissolved some salt in hot water and let it evapourate overtime. Below are pictures of the crystalisation process, results of the experiment was way out of my expectation with some very interesting forms and patterns being generated.

The whole experiment took about 3 weeks: from the adding the salt till all the water had evapourated…

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Looks like the milky way…

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Looks like the spikes coming out of godzilla’s back…:S 

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hmm…..Oyster infestations or some geological build-up of some sort…

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Looks like culturing bacteria…

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perfect squares…

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all dried up…

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I like the transition from geometric to organic forms.

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polished diamonds :D:D:D….inspiration for a new jewelry project….after i am done with my major project of course

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bulk-buildup of salt crystals…shape of UK :P

Reflection: what was once a technology research experiment had became more of a form generation exercise. I need to do more tests this stage because I cant really see the potential of a actually using crystalisation as a technology. I feel I dont have much time to be thinking about that aspect of my project anymore since I think i am not up to date with my vehicle design aspect of my project. Abandoning technology seem like a good option at this time, might use this research as my actual form inspiration rather than technlogy?…..

5/8/09 Class refections…

August 11, 2009

I know this entry is a little bit overdue, was trying to scan some of my sketches before I put in this entry but was always occupied when I was at uni, had this as a draft for a week now I thought I may as well just publish it. During class last week (edit), I presented the potential themes for the vehicle concept and some concepts with my bike storage idea. I also presented some of the stuff I was doing with my technology which was looking at crystallisation and its characteristics. I also briefly talked about my design strategy and how I plan to integrate my various aspects of my project together.

General feedback from my lecturer…

Before our individual crits, our lecturer made a statement that skill development should not be taught in this course before once people start to get into specifics, your skills and ideas will loose scope and become narrow. Skills development like drawing and cad should come after if only you think it would benefit your project and learn it in your own time. In contradiction I had spend most of my time prior class and focus on drawing the most clean lines, I guess at this point its quantity and not quality just yet.

During the crits my lecturer stressed the idea of ‘hi-design and kitsch,’ he talked about how there are some very cheap styling in products out there. The example he used was the sharps cut outs at the side of the efpos machines, which are forms that are there without a real purpose and its there to try to make the product look good. He stressed the importance that we dont go down that path when designing and sketching out our ideas.

Our lecturer also made a statement that our designs should have a genre embedded in our design. A very fundamental theme buried beneath all the concepts which our design can express. During class we talked about the genre of voyage, adventure and the wondering hero, these themes can be embedded in our design and provide some sort of narrative like the potential usage and concept of the car to the audience.

He also commented how design inspirations can come from all sorts of mediums aside from just drawing on the table. He talked about the  idea of  ‘material speak,’ the idea of how the properties of the material under investigation can dictate form and which cannot be perceived and expressed through drawing. The talked about the idea of playing bamboo strips which was an example put forward my one of our peers and looking at fabrics etc. He said that design today is all about making a statement invoke emotions and create forms that have never been seen before, one of the ways which you can do that is exploring materials and let the material dictate the idea.

Individual feedback

My lecturer commented that my project had become more of a redesign project rather than creating something new. My design logic is all about the practicality of my concept and very little in the focus of capturing potential forms through the eye. He said I he saw little relation to what I was doing and what I had down on paper. He also ended with a general statement to the class that he wasn’t impressed with the amount of work done by our class.

My interpretation of today’s class…

From what was said that day, I can see that my lecturer wanted to say for a long time but never had a chance to. I can see a lot of logic in what he said and I agree with most of the things that he said. In my opinion, the things he talked about to more about design theory in general than in context of what this studio was really about: the car of the future. It all sounds very utopian and Zen which I think is great, but sometimes schedules and submission dates kind of kill that passion a little, I guess is all about being smart about how you design in that given time frame. I felt I am already doing some of things he was talking about like letting the material speak but just in a different context (technology exploration rather than form). I feel I cant do too much of that aspect of design as there aren’t enough time to explore new mediums, at this point I will just stick to what I am doing, but whether if I can really gain anything inspiration from that is a different story. When the lecturer talked about ‘hi-design and kitsch,’ I felt a little bit guilty because I felt that I was doing some of that in my design, when I draw cars I unknowingly draw existing cars that I like. I feel I need to be out there a lot more with my designs but at the same time very hard in doing so because of my tight schedule and things are going rather slow to be honest even thought I spent a lot of time on it.

To be honest I feel my progress is rather slow and I think it really needs to be a lot faster….

At the moment I have been sticking to my time table and my existing design strategy so hope things will work out…

Some people research

May 13, 2009

The design approach of the vehicle concept itself will come from the research of people study. Looking at people current needs, trends and routine will give me an indication of a future mobility and lifestyles. People related researches done up to date in there were a compilation of surveys, talking to people about the answer they give and opinions of all sorts.

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(Image of the survey I used)

General findings (based on the survey research)

  • Many young adults live at home with their parents.
  • There is average of 3~4 people living per household
  • At least one car owner per suburban household
  • Most people who own cars and drives to city don’t use public transport at all, primarily because they need to buy the tickets which meant extra expenses on top of their car.
  • Many young drivers would avoid driving to city due to the inconvenience with parking and traffic; older commuters don’t have that kind of problem with parking, when I asked them some have parking spaces in their own office and could even effort to pay more of good parking spots.
  • When ask in general where they like to park, many would say Crown for its cheap flat rate even though is far from the CBD. Interestingly, some response to compensate that problem was using the free city circle service to get to the city. This suggests the city circle service despite being a public vehicle primarily for tourist use; locals would also use it as part of their daily routine rather than using a standard met card trams.
  • People drive solo in most of their daily routines especially commuters that travel during the weekdays.
  • People tend to use the same cars on the weekends. When given a scenario of going out with a bunch of people on the weekend people (around the age of 20 or younger – 25) prefer taking a taxi which meant everyone could drink alcohol and fares are split among themselves hence cheap and more convenient for a scenario that involves being out late.
  • Little tend to go out of their way to use a different vehicle for a special trip. Special trips often being overseas hence no vehicle is used.
  • There is trend in people who used GPS and melway often; this suggests people tend to like to visit new and unfamiliar places aside from their basic A to B destinations.
  • Most people who drive would use cars for their usual chores aside from the basic commuting, even to places very close by.
  • Most people from all ages prefer to have two smaller vehicles than a people carrier when going out with a large of group of people, except young adults that don’t have a habit of driving. This suggests drivers prefer fewer people in the car. But results that argue the other way all tend to be easy to manage rather than my initial assumption of ‘fewer cars on the road meant better for the environment.’
  • When talking to people who own cars they like they like the flexibility aspect of having a car. Some of them are very dependent on their cars.
  • Almost everyone would pay more of a car that’s more eco friendly
  • People who wants a  car that can go faster than 100km/hr rather than fuel efficiency all uses the freeway this suggests they will tend to get over that speed in what suppose to be the actual speed limit. After talking to them they also just like the idea of their cars being able to have the capacity of going over that speed (just in case).
  • Trend shows older people would pay more for a more eco-friendly vehicle but won’t get a car that has less speed in exchange for fuel efficiency. This shows older generation would help take into consideration for the environment without the sacrifice of their needs and lifestyle, but willing to spend more money to compensate for it.
  • Younger generations show that they are more environmentally aware with the results that they prefer sustainability and fuel efficiency in their preferences also would pay more and sacrifice performance for it. Possible misconception is that many of whom don’t drive hence wont know the difference.
  • Results of peoples preferences in a vehicle
  1. Safety
  2. Fuel efficient
  3. Performance
  4. Sustainable
  5. Looks
  6. Storage space
  7. More Seats
  8. Accessories

Results shows safety and fuel efficiency ranked relatively the same as both scored similar total points. This trend shows my design direction should firstly concentrate on the fundamental necessities of a vehicle, then the environmental impact of the vehicle and finally the styling aspect. Little scored for seats and built-in accessories, this would indicate that people prefer smaller vehicles and little attention should be paid to the accessories aspect of the vehicle in my design approach.

School observation

Observation of kids going to primarily school, shows a significant trend in parents driving them to school, kids that would go to school without parental supervision is extremely rare. Often being mothers who would drive them their kids to school, the mixture of vehicle demographics which shows no significant trend, however with the observation of the casual dress code of mothers suggests many of whom don’t seem to work after dropping of their kids to school. But I don’t think a conclusion can be drawn assuming that most mothers don’t work. Suburban Public high school students have a habit of using public transport being the social norm. Where as Observation of private schools shows a mixture of both types with their parents often driving more expensive cars to drive their kids to school.

Demographics of Commuter Cars Driving to The city via the Eastern Freeway.

On the 8th of May me and Edwin were doing a survey of car demographics at the exit of the Eastern Freeway turning into Hoddle Street. We organised amongst ourselves as to what type of cars we were in charge of and conducted the survey with a tally method. After 30 mins of observation (8:30am -9:00am) we have recorded over 900 cars and results are significantly apparent.

Saloon 38%
Wagon 6%
SUV 13%
People carrier 2%
Van 2%
Hatch back 25%
Super mini 5%
Coupe 4%
Convertible 2%
Ute/Pick up 3%

Next we took time looking at the number of passengers in the car and almost of them seem to just be carrying one person and an only a few were two people at most.

Possible future scenario and PACKAGE based on the people research

My design approach will be based on this potential scenario in the future of Melbourne: in near future more and more people will live in suburban areas and will have to commute to the city to work and study. There will be trend of young adults living at home specially students and working part-time. Suburban Household dwellers will be on an average of 4 people and they will own least one or more cars per household. For most commuting drivers who don’t have reserved car spots there will be an increasing trend of parking further and further away from the CBD due to government legislations (e.g. the swanston street redevelopment programme) in limiting private vehicles being used in area. My target segment would be these suburban dwellers commuting to city by personal vehicles.

  • The package that car will have for this particular segment would be a small sized vehicle that would run on renewable energy (best candidate at this current point would be bio diesel).
  • This will have to be small enough to navigate narrow streets and lanes with ease to find good potential parking spaces; it should be big enough to seat 3-4 additional people like of the conventional cars to maintain the flexibility aspect of other uses besides commuting.
  • It should have back good storage concepts but reduce operational controls primarily in the area of built-in accessories.
  • My vehicle will have to be economical due to the reason of the size and that it uses as little energy as possible, so this principle will dictate the type of technology I will be using. Potential navigation tools will be built into the car itself to navigate around the CBD gridlock system as well as notification of traffics and public transport times.
  • With the potential biomimic technologies embedded into my vehicle, my vehicle would take a different aesthetic like of the existing hybrids; that is where my form approach would come in.
  • Possible innovation to my vehicle concept would include a bike storage module for means of travel into the city from far parking location; this also means that an additional people research will need to be conducted to get feed back on the concept.

The Mazda Furai Concept Car

May 11, 2009

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With the name Furai (meaning the sound of the wind) you can’t make it anymore apparent. If I was to find a modern example of a car which has the elements of Japanese aesthetics then the Mazda Furai would be it. This car was introduced in the North American Auto show in 2008, promoting the new radical direction which Mazda is heading towards. In terms of the form of the car, its concept was to imitates the properties of wind and I think it car has capture that imagery perfectly with its radical sleek intersecting headlight concept. The Mazda motto of the ‘ZOOM ZOOM’ philosophy which expresses the idea of motion and performance of its cars now also intent on incorporating it on to the styling of their vehicles. The car also takes on the more sustainable direction by adapting the use of ethanol as its fuel source for its three-rotor rotary engine.

My opinion: I think the car really reflected the idea of Japanese aesthetics by being inspired by natural elements such as wind. I think it makes a lot of sense in using wind as it’s primarily concept because not only it reflects the idea of motion and speed which Mazda had intended, but wind is also a very significant element in its culture. Wind in Japanese culture was a very sacred element for it is a symbol that reflects the divine power of god. The idea of worshiping the wind became rather apparent tradition after the defeat of the Mongols fleet at the coast of Japan, the main factor of its success was due the intense windy conditions that aided in obliterating the Mongol ships. I reckon Japanese aesthetics in cars only became apparent in these few decades; car was introduced to Asia by the west hence it is only reasonable that western styling would no doubt influence Asian vehicle design, now days it seems it is going both ways….

Naoto Fukasawa

May 11, 2009

Naoto Fukasawa


After my initial research into Japanese aesthetics, I wanted to know more about how it is practiced in design. I went to the library for a second run of book on Japanese aesthetics, it was then I noticed a rather thick and heavy book titled ‘Naoto Fukasawa,’ a world-class famous product designer. I heard about him when I saw the wall CD player in a Muji store in Hong Kong and since then I hear his name mentioned every now and again. After a quick skim of the book’s contents I thought it was very interesting so borrowed it.

In his book he explores the idea of ‘Without Thought,’ which looks at noticing the unnoticeable and intuitive actions in our daily life style. Already I can see some of the Japanese aesthetics being expressed through his work. The products he makes are a result of observing the potential product’s surrounding, minimalist thinking and appeal to human emotions.

Examples of some of his works mentioned in the book:

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Rather than the conventional initial design approach of exploring appealing forms for a printer, the initial design approach was looking the environment of where a printer would be potentially used and how it is used.

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Work environment concept where it eliminates sectioned walls and replaced by personal skies.

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Minimalism approach to design a watch by eliminating the frame.

My opinion: After researching about Japanese aesthetics, reading his book makes a lot of sense in terms of the direction in his concepts. Naoto Fukazawa stresses the importance of the power of observation, pay attention to detail of the surroundings, which was also emphasized in my previous research. The idea of simplicity and designing products that harmonizes with this respectful environment is also some of the principles explored in my previous research on Japanese aesthetics.

Japanese aesthetics – Philosophy in form

May 11, 2009

When we think about Japanese culture, we can quickly come up with words and names like: sushi, kimono, Zen, katana etc. We all seem to know the characteristic of Japanese aesthetics but when being asked what makes something Japanese we would find trouble trying to answer it…

At first glance, it seems that Japanese-styled objects and architecture all take on a familiar imagery. But little do we know that all these are an end result of a culture that is deeply immersed with perfectionism. For one to truly understand how this ideology came about (at least for own piece of mind) we should firstly look at Shintoism which is a animist native Japanese religion which one would admire the fundamental elements of nature. It is this kind of philosophy that Japanese would find love in observing the natural world and ultimately influence their approach to art and design.

The nature-inspired design philosophy in Japanese aesthetic is called wabi sabi, which focuses on the aesthetic of textures and forms found in nature which portrays a sense of admirable subtlety in things that are: imperfect, asymmetrical, incomplete and the order within chaos. An old tree may not have the youthful pigments and sleek posture of a young tree which is what we would conventionally define as good aesthetic, but its aged existence transcends its sense natural beauty to a whole new level, a sense of beauty that promotes admiration and respect.

With the influence of Ch’an (Zen) Buddhism in Japan during the 12th century, Japanese people quickly adapted to its ideals as it shares the similar ‘man and nature’ principles as Shintoism. In design terms Zen favours at the purity and simplicity in natural materials and textures like the grain on the wood and the rough surface on a rock. Light and space also plays a major role in the Zen aesthetics the intangible elements of nature. As a result Japanese aesthetics takes on the Buddhist teaching of minimalism. The idea of ‘less is more’ can be seen everywhere from products to colour arrangements.

Japanese lifestyle is highly ritualised, when you look at their tea ceremonies and ikebana flower arrangements it seem to follow a similar set of motifs of ordered and linear arrangements that is shown through the wabi sabi and zen aesthetics. At the same time there another principle of Japanese aesthetic involved called the Geidō which one who admire the process of creation, an example of that is looking at cherry blossoms, it is not permanent, yet it provides purpose and meaning during its short life of bloom. These elements can be seen in these rituals and ceremonies, the manner in which they are being conduct promotes feeling of purpose and discipline in whatever they do and create.

To sum up I have come to understand the wabi sabi, Zen and Geidō in Japanese aesthetics which focuses largely on observing the environment, admiring it for what is and using its elements and processes subtly in action and creation.

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(Above) Examples of Wabi sabi and Zen in Japanese aesthetics, these images of objects all have elements of nature embedded in its form. You can see that all these objects fit into the context of its surroundings…

My opinion: While people would often take on different trends, adapt to different fashions and their ever changing desires, their admiration towards nature will never change. That is why nature-inspired aesthetics as so appealing. Japanese culture have always immerse in observing nature, it is only reasonable that they would use these natural motifs in their forms and aesthetics. I think using natural elements in design can be a very powerful and an effective tool, but the best part about it that it is very simple to exploit.

I think the greatest strength in Japanese aesthetics in their composition. In my opinion everything that has a good composition seems to communicate better as well as giving the object a reason of existence.


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