Exploration of regenerative and nutrient rich materials for industrial design. Building soil, not filling landfills.
Civil Centers // The Sidewalk Manifesto
This short volume includes two separate but related projects completed in my first year of my Industrial Design MFA at California College of the Arts. The first is the final paper I wrote for Randy Nakamura in Design In Context: Contemporary Practice, entitled The Sidewalk Manifesto. In this paper I propose that the sidewalk is an interface and analyse it based on my understanding of The Unworkable Interface by Alexander R. Galloway and The Architecture of the Mouse by Mark Wigley. I conclude that the problem of the sidewalk stems from its success, and therefore demise, as an interface. I very intentionally call this a manifesto and do not offer any answers in the paper. This is due to my belief that most manifestos do a very good of identifying the problem but a very poor job of providing solutions. In this paper I am interested only in the problem. However, I used the final project for Drawing and Building with Monica Martinez, a public art proposal, to respond to the problem I identify in the paper and, in so doing, complete the manifesto. Civil Center is a public art intervention that disrupts the standard interaction we expect from the sidewalk using Ionic columns to direct pedestrian traffic and create enough friction to force an acknowledgement of the space we share. In San Francisco the sidewalk has become a major point of contention and I hope that this exploration helps nudge towards a more civil approach to the sidewalk.
This body of work stems from my deep concern for the environment. As humans continue to overpopulate, over harvest, and over consume, the chance to save our planet and our species seems to disintegrate. To address these concerns, each sculpture is a repurposed piece of furniture that grows plants in homes utilizing vertical and hydroponic technologies. My hope is that each sculpture incites enough interest for people to want to both learn more about the technologies and consider how such a change could take place in their own lives. The photographs act as an extension of this goal and further attempt to normalize the new farming technologies. I believe that small actions can constitute revolutions if they are taken consciously and seriously and, so, my work attempts to revolutionize how humans interact with the environment on a personal level.
Final submissions for Wheaton College Honors Thesis Spring 2011.
This project was is much a utilitarian endeavor as it is a philosophical exercise. The full scale pieces were created for Luke’s Local, where we needed to furnish the operations office, and for my partner when we moved to a new apartment. I utilized pallet wood that was readily available at our industrial park and all too often thrown away after one use. My goal was to extend the life of the pallet wood, keeping it out of the landfill for as long as possible. The full scale furniture became the starting point for an exploration of an industrial scale proposal for upcycling wood. I looked to home deconstruction for raw material and quickly narrowed my focus to 2x4 wall studs to give structure to my exploration. I modeled in 1/5th scale to both test the industrial process I am proposing and explore the language of the objects. I also modeled the material at full scale to better understand the process. I see this work as an early phase in a larger exploration of sustainable reuse and landfill diversion.
Full Scale Modeling
Fifth Scale Modeling
This installation is the beginning of a dialogue that considers material circulation, use and ubiquity. Each material addressed is shaped into a 12x12x18in form to encourage comparison and conversation between viewers and the material itself. The dimension of the material is specifically chosen to create a human scale object that helps facilitate an embodied knowledge. The collection is an invitation to kick, spit, flip and explore in the service of learning. There is an empty pedestal positioned at the end of the installation to allow for constant reconsideration and additions to the work. This is not a conclusive or exhaustive list. However, these materials are in constant circulation and to take them for granted is to ignore the (mono)culture of materials we live with. This installation should ask more questions than it answers and hopefully allows for a more sensitive understanding of our material world.
This project is an exploration of the possibilities of in home recycling and plastic production as a way to take responsibility for our trash. I wanted to question why we site recycling and manufacturing of plastics far away from (some) of our homes and explore the possibilities of true ownership of consumption. I was inspired by Annika Frye’s Improvisation Machine and David Hakkens’ Precious Plastic project, taking the coopting of household appliances from Frye’s work and the miniaturized industrial processes as proof of concept from Hakkens. However, I was interested in the cultural implications of in home plastic production and so I created a character, the Rustic Individual, as a symbolic stand in for a potential market. In my investigation of this concept I built a prototype vacuum former that was powered by a shop vac and modeled potential products that would result from in home recycling processes. Ultimately I found it most interesting to site and advertise an oven baked vacuum former and a stove top injection molder. I used images of Bay Area billboards from Wired magazine to advertise these prospective appliances and the collages attempt to ask the question of what ownership of plastic waste could look like in home, in the kitchen.
Sterile Toilet Brush
For this project we were asked to pick one noun and one adjective at random from a hat. The goal was to design the noun using the language of the adjective. I chose STERILE TOILET BRUSH.
I was struck by the inherent oxymoron of this selection as nothing that goes into the toilet ever comes out [for good reason] with the exception of the toilet brush, making them seem inherently unsanitary.
With this in mind I explored sterilization methods including using UV Light, a chemical bath, a frozen brush and an autoclave stand. I was most interested in developing the frozen brush concept.
The frozen brush would break off into the toilet and melt, keeping with thegeneral principal of what goes into a toilet should not come out.
For this project we were tasked with selecting an object from Ikea for re-interpretation to improve its utilitarian promise. Through class discussion, we defined metrics of utility as being intentional, efficient, intuitive and effective. I selected the Enudden Soap as a starting point. I noticed that soap dishes, like the Enudden, are almost disposable due to the difficulty of cleaning them and their overall lackluster performance.
I based my design on a market survey that analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of different strategies employed by common soap dishes. I then combined the best features of each strategy to create an overall conceptual model for the Utility Soap Dish. Once I landed on the best strategic model, I did extensive experimentation to prove out the specific features and dimensions of the final model.