“Could I be a Green Cup” Data-Driven Souvenir Design

Student No. 1942670

Project Brief

As the number of visitors to the Edinburgh festival increases year by year, the amount of garbage and waste gas generated during the festival has increased year by year. The souvenir aiming to improve the environmental awareness of tourists and encourage them to save energy and reduce emissions.

This project is a souvenir cup design based on the parametric design method. It records visitors’ data during the Edinburgh festival and physicalizes it to be a unique festival souvenir.

How to collect data from visitors

Data Physicalization

I visualize the data for three different colour points in grasshopper. If the users visit Edinburgh in a green way, they could earn many green points and the pattern would be covered by more green cells. The following work all based on this parametric pattern, which means all factors are changeable and keep changing as a whole.

Next steps, I covered a cup-shaped surface with that 2D pattern, then I offset the surface to be a brep.

Frames & Cells

At first, tourist could buy a white frame cup in a souvenir shop. Then they could download the app for it, and collect points on the app. Finally, visitors could exchange their points for coloured cells and embed those cells into the frame. They can have a green Edinburgh trip to gradually finish the cup.

Move to recyclable trash collection points to get special points!

When people recycle an object in the collection points, they will have a special cell with Edinburgh landmark patterns recorded into their accounts. After they finish their trip, they could go to the gift shop again to obtain cells using their points on their accounts.

Hypothetical users


Beneath the surface

Exploring the combination of digital fabrication with glass making

Frank Ren

In this project, I apply topology optimization and parametric design to explore the possibility of digital fabrication in product design. Then I use 3D printing and some traditional glass techniques to experiment and produce products。

Through the smooth glass surface, we can see the incredible structure brought by the digital design that flies in layers.

Firstly, I built a normal column in rhino and generate a triangle mesh. After that, I set a series of supports and forces with the material I wanted to use in the product developing.

Secondly, I use a plug-in software called Ameba to evolve the model. This app applies topology optimization to generate random structure under the restriction of supporters and forces that users set. However, the result of that is often an imperfect surface with many non-manifold edges, and it took me time to repair the mesh.

Thirdly, I use Meshmixer to further improve the model. I filled holes and polished the objects. I attempted to reduce the number of protrusions and amplitude of protrusions to minimize the amount of supporter used in 3D printing, in order to speed up the printing process.

After I got the 3D printed model, I went to the casting workshop to cast. The process was quite complicated. Simply speaking, the technique takes the advantage of the difference of melting points between plastic, plaster and glass to transform an object from a plastic form to a glass form.

After melting the plastic mould, I cleaned the plaster mould, then placed the prepared funnel and the measured glass together as shown in the diagram and put them in the furnace

Glass moulded after up to a week of firing and cooling. I removed the plaster and cleaned the model.

The most import step was polishing. Glass is very fragile, so I had to be careful.

The final output looks like a crystal!

The glass is delicate but also fragile, it is prone to accidents during the manufacturing process and causes it to be damaged. I was inspired by the traditional Chinese Kintsukuroi process to repair cracks with silver materials.