The Design Method and the Meaning Behind the Data

Following the research into parametric and generative design, I felt I needed to to further clarify my design method and why I am using it in writing. My design method has also changed a bit since I last wrote about it.

The Design Method

  • Establish the topic or area of research and inspiration that is to be used as the focal point of the piece or pieces. The function of each pieces should link back to the topic of research or the reason for choosing the topic of interest should be clearly as it is key to the pieces themselves. For instance, I am using the sun and planets to define the form of each piece. I have chosen these bodies as the focal point of my lighting pieces as they are natural sources light, with the sun emitting the light and the planets reflecting it back to us.
  • Establish the method of using this body to define the form of the work. My method is focused around finding a useful data-set that the entity has generated; reflecting its character through data.
  • Establish the method of converting this data into form. I have mainly used parametric design software to aid this. However, this is only one method and there other ways to let the information define the form of the object which can be explored.
  • Define the materials of the form with reasoning harking back to the original body of inspiration, further letting it define the form. The material of the pieces should be thoroughly understood with respect and understanding of its properties and processes required to form it.
  • Create the form virtually and then physically. This can be a long process and may require much development work before completion. Having said that, this design method can lend itself to quick form generation and can be taken to completion rapidly using the latest rapid prototyping techniques, if swift experiments are required.
  • Finish the form by integrating its function. In my case the form lend themselves to the function of lighting and require wiring and a light source which suits the concept. It may be the form produced is more of a pieces of fine art where the location and curation of the object should then be considered carefully.

The Meaning 

The are two approaches one can take with regards to the data and the entity from which the data has been generated;

  • You are using the data to make a statement or get across a message about the entity that has generated the data-set. For instance, a form could have been generated by data on the rising sea temperatures and global warming or the decrease in wildlife as the arctic sea ice recedes. The key for the designer here is to design a form which uses this data in such a way it visually communicates to the viewer the message behind the form.
  • You are using the data because it is inspiring and interesting, creating a form which is aesthetically pleasing and visually interesting, drawing the viewer in to find out more about the body and its characteristics.

Whatever the approach, the form of the piece should draw the viewer in and make them want to find out more about the piece.

My planet pieces are more focused on the second method, with our solar system being a source of inspiration and interest with the planets being very mysterious and unexplored beings. Whilst I am not making any statement in particular about them, I do want to communicate to people the character of each planet and their mystery.

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