Simon J. Bloch

ENGR001 - Design and Sculpture in the Digital Age

Final Vine Firepit - Project 3

The arrangement of stones around the fire pit is sparse and ugly! And the fire pit itself is a frequent site of littering and discarded beer cans. One possible direction involves redesigning the firepit as a sculpture which evokes our need to care for the Crum Woods.

Inspiration - Project 3

One of our final models involves a redesign of the firepit itself, inspired by the invasive vines that are taking over the woods. We used a repeating vine form to wrangle and contain the fire, and has a very dynamic, random looking form.

Another idea involves the ugly stairwells in Parrish which lead to the residence halls. It's a large "well" stairwell, yet the steps are dirty concrete and the walls are an acrid yellow color. We're discussing designs for a themed sculpture with vines which wrap around the railing supports, evoking the aggression of invasive vines and other species in the Crum. This would also enhance the dreadful experience of ascending the stairs.

A third idea tackles the issue of inability to access various rooves on campus. The sculpture would be a discrete clip-on mechanism which attaches to hard-to-reach ledges and enables ascension to the roof above.

Final Models - Project 2

Our final models came out really nice--we tried a new method for ensuring that the lid and bottom section align with our pattern, and the alignment looks very smooth. We were worried that the small scale and high resolution of detail would make the boxes sharp and uncomfortable to hold, but they are actually quite pleasing to manipulate and twist. Our two final designs contrast each other nicely. The rocky design was intended to conceal the seam where the box, and to contrast the smooth motion with a blocky, angular exterior. The continuous, rotating design is meant to evoke the twisting mechanism of the box itself, echoing the motion and instructing the holder. It also is reminiscient of running water, which fits with one potential use case for the box: we discussed using the box as a ring holder while a person is washing dishes or using the sink.

Printed Models - Project 2

Our rotating ring box/display came out really nice! The tolerance was set to a good value, and the mechanics feel pretty smooth. The blue color looks really nice.

Inspiration - Project 2

We were particularly inspired by smooth rotating mechanisms from jewlery boxes:

Rotating Ring Box
4 Models - Project 2

For our first model, we were excited by the idea of a box that doesn't appear to open or even contain another object. Because breakfast is the most important meal of the day, we decided to make a box to conceal 2 hard-boiled eggs. Because of the comforting feel and pleasing shape, not to mention the pun, we chose to make an Egg box out of Uggs.

In our research of decorative boxes, we encountered light boxes with interior illumination which makes patterns on the surrounding surface. We tried, somewhat unsuccessfully, to model this with the clay.

Rhinocerous Models

Project 1: Final Sculpture!

In our final iteration of this project, Steve and I spent a lot of time deliberating about what elements we wanted to keep and which elements we felt needed to change. We agreed that our final form should entirely be made up of octagons--using simple geometry to represent curves was the initial spark that got us working on our water tower model. We wanted the curves to be less symmetrical and functional than those of the water tower, but we also agreed that the form should be more visually appealing than our second model.

We revisited SketchUp and continued experimenting with bulges and twists, eventually settling on a wavy, tapered form, with a pipe-like opening at one end and a large round bulge at the other. We also wanted to ensure the final form would have an opening that traveled all the way through the sculpture.

Once the octagons were cut and stacked, we began discussing the actual arrangment. We agreed that we wanted to arrange the octagons in an interesting way which told a story as the eye travelled down the deformed pipe. We agreed that the gradual rotation down the pipe was the most visually appealing, so we had the rotation change direction and increase/decrease in the amount of "entropy" of the movement of the octagons.

Finally, we painted the sculpture white and constructed a copper base for the piece. We wanted continue with our hydraulic theme, inspired by the Horton Waterspheroid, and liked the color contrast of the white and copper. Also, because the of the wild, irregular form of the octagonal sculpture, we chose to have thin copper hoops "wrangling" around the scuplture to give it a sense of being tethered.

Surprisingly, the copper was quite easy to work with! The soft flexible tubing was easy to deform (with a little elbow grease) and Jay hooked us up with a handsaw, vice, and file.

To paint the inside of our form, I tried using semi-gloss spraypaint. Unfortunately, because the paint was oil based (instead of acrylic), the paint ate away at the foamcore and began to form holes! Fortunately, a friend from maintenance (coincidentally also named Jay) loaned me some quick drying clay powder to fill the holes in the sculpture.

Second Round Models

For this second round, we elected to be more aggressive with what we included and excluded in our two models. We both loved the organic curves of the waterspheroid, but wanted to work against its simple symmetry. To do this, we chose to continue using octagons to simualate gradient in curvature. We felt that when appplied to an even more irregular form, we would be able to achieve the contrast we wanted. We also wanted to include a representation of the pipe from the water tower as well--the smooth cylinder gives an interesting directionality to the piece. Thus, we inverted the pipe shape and made a cylindrical hole to cut through all of our slices. The pipe goes through each octagonal slice at a slight angle, so its cross- sectional intersection is slightly elliptical.

We constructed the octagonal "key faces" in SketchUp, and used the Curviloft extension to approximate the continuous curve that traces through each of them

Next, we added a tube through our object, and set to trying to subtract it from the surrounding the form. We used Autodesk 123D to generate the cutting of our object.

Models 1 & 2: Inspired by the Horton Waterspheroid

Intrigued by the beautiful and challenging curvature of the Horton waterspheroid, we used this model to embrace the limitations of a discretized laminate structure approach. We sought to approximate the shape using carefully measured octagons, so the curve approximation occurs on two dimensions: top-down, and around the perimeter of each circle.

Models 3 & 4: Inspired by the negative space of the tennis courts

The tennis courts have highly symmetrical perpendicular geometry. To subvert that, we analyzed the negative space present at the intersection of the ground and the walls. With this model, we aimed to subvert the natural tendency to let gravity and structure dictate the orientation of the laminate slices. Instead, here we achieve the three intersecting right-angles with a series of equilateral triangles.

Preliminary drawings for the four small scupltures. Looks kinda cool!