The terrain of Iceland expands outward in great, uninterrupted swaths of grass, rock, and ice. The air is crisp and cool. Being amidst the landscape I feel as though I am standing on the top of the world, or the edge of the moon. It inspires the desire to simply sit in awe, and contemplate its vastness and my own smallness in its context.
I wanted to create an object to facilitate that experience—something that would both reflect the landscape and disappear in it. It should support that simple desire to sit in awe. That concept became Sitja i Otti (Sit in Awe): a seat made of a single thick clear polycarbonate sheet, with clean lines and perfectly simple geometry. This simple form with highly considered details makes Sitja i Otti just what it needs to be — an object that defers to the awe of the earth around it.
See my blog section for more details on constructing the production quality prototype.
I found that my wardrobe consisted of three “classes” of clothing. Clean clothing that is folded in a dresser/hung in a closet, dirty clothing that is thrown into a laundry basket, and a third type of clothing that is lightly worn but not enough to need cleaning, and also likely to be worn again soon and thus not ready to be folded up and put back into the dresser.
This third class of clothing has no where to exist in the ordinary bedroom. Upon doing a little research I found that this was a problem for many people, and while some solutions existed many of them, like hooks on the back of the door, were not the most effective or enjoyable.
I wanted to work with people's existing habits instead of against them. Since most people toss their clothing over a chair or on the floor, the solution needed to be something that was out in the room if it was going to be used, not something that faded into a corner somewhere. So I designed Mangrove to be an elegant free standing piece of furniture that would have an intensional place in the room.
Sketches and full scale prototypes to better understand the form.
User testing on the full scale functional prototype.
Top detail with rounded dowel ends to protect clothing.
Bottom detail, with felt pads on feet to protect floors from scratches.
Silakan Duduk (Please Sit)
Project recently published on designboom digital magazine.
As a child growing up in the tropics, I was always drawn to concrete surfaces. The grass in Indonesia, where I was born, is course, itchy, and muddy. In contrast to the unpleasant feel of the grass, was the endless flat of concrete pathways, stepping stones, and walls on which to walk, run, and climb. Concrete's smooth, yet powdery sort of surface represents the stark opposite of the grass, and has a lovely feel to the touch. It is cool in the shade, providing relief from the heat and humidity of living on the equator. Its smooth, hard surface is solid and gives a sense of connection to the ground. The concrete stayed mostly the same during the daily tropical downpours, unlike the grass, which inevitably turned into a lake of mud. This tactility soon represented to me that which is solid, grounded, comfortable, and “clean.”
I wanted to work with the tactile nature of concrete, especially how it feels underfoot. I decided to create seating sculptures using concrete that were inspired by a popular Indonesian way to sit. In Indonesia (and a variety of other asian countries), people often sit by squatting. Squatting creates a direct interaction between a person’s foot and the material they are squatting on. It was the perfect inspiration to help direct my exploration.
With all this in mind, I began experimenting with concrete as a material, and how I might alter its traditional properties. After experimenting with a variety of aggregatesI tried adding shredded paper to the mixture. The result was a semi-fluid form of concrete that was sculptable. Initially, I had been mixing the concrete and pouring it into molds that I made. After discovering this new method, I began sculpting the concrete into simple open faced molds. My hands inevitably left some of the surfaces rough and choppy. This created a beautiful contrast between the polished surfaces that face the mold, and the rough surfaces that were sculpted into place by my hands. The juxtaposition of the hand-made and the mass-produced , the polished and the rough, represents two extremes of the material’s potential. This play with the material amplifies its tactile properties, while creating a unique experience for squatting, sitting, or otherwise touching the concrete.
Hundreds of years ago, architects and builders used gravity, balance, and the geometry of individually carved stones to construct some of the largest and longest standing structures on earth — cathedrals. Angulo is a wooden toy that works through the use of multiple identical tripod-like elements. The toy is complex and requires a high level of dexterity in order to assemble the pieces into configurations. Much like the cathedrals of Europe, Angulo encourages a consideration and use of geometry, gravity, and balance to build free standing configurations with the toy. The shape of the pieces and the angles of the their edges dictate certain ways in which they best fit together. The connections between individual pieces rely entirely on gravity to hold them in position. The pieces do not snap together in any way. This obviously limits the flexibility of possible ways the pieces can be assembled. However, by forgoing a snap feature, Angulo forces the user to dream up and construct a composition that balances well in order to successfully remain standing. Angulo encourages experimentation and exploration within specific constraints, allowing the user to push the boundaries of what is possible with the toy. It forces the user to work with geometry, gravity, and balance much like medieval architects and builders did when they constructed cathedrals.
This tile design was inspired by a trip to India and the patterns and architecture that I saw there.