New Making

New Making

The first half of the current semester has been focused on experimenting with new technologies and exploring the unconventional oppurtunities they posses. The project was split into three subsections – Hybrid materiality, Scaffolding glitches and Parametric design – the aim being to explore their potential through ideation and experimentation.

Hybrid Materiality

Beginning  with hybrid materiality I looked for a problem I could solve that also allowed me the opportunity to explore the topic. I decided to try and design something that would organise my laptop charger in my bag. Designing around the dimensions of an existing product posed a challenge.

 I began by sketching initial ideas and how I hoped it would work and realised there would need to be two independent parts. I designed the parts in illustrator with the knowledge I would be cutting on the laser cutter. Knowing the thickness of the material I was using allowed me to create joints of the correct dimensions to house parts when it was eventually assembled. Holes for nuts and bolts were considered to make the assembly as easy as possible. The hybrid materiality aspect was explored through the use of an existing product and housing this in a new structure, as well as the merging of materials; nuts and bolts, ply and acrylic. 

I enjoyed the creation of a three dimensional object using only a two dimensional software and the challenge that posed visualising the final product. I gained an understanding of how to merge materials and objects into one product succesfully.  


Scaffolding Glitches

Scaffolding glitches was the research into the support structure, infill and other tools a 3D printer uses to print a model correctly. Our research looked at exploring and exploiting these traits through experimentation.

Ideas for this mostly involved the failure to add support and how this could have an effect on the final print. I moved away from this and looked and celebrating the support, creating a set of floating steps and allowing the printer to insert support where it was required.

Through printing the part and making cuts in the support I realised the support had a hinge like quality and allowed the treads to move independently on a variety of different planes, Something to explore in future projects.

Parametric Design

Parametric design is based on numeric value, altering dimensions in a way that will distort or change the size and shape of the object. To begin I looked at softwares that offered the ability to design parametrically, opting to try the design tables in Fusion 360 and OpenSCAD. I struggled at first with OpenSCAD but after watching tutorials began to create forms and shapes and was comfortable editing their parameters. Design tables in fusion was a little more restrictive, although I was more comfortable with the software I felt it was less capable of creating the kind of output OpenSCAD did. My Experiments in Fusion were the altering of sizes of a nut I had previously drawn. I played with angle and base size and ended up with an abnormal but aesthetically pleasing part.

I made a variety of different forms in OpenScad changing the parameters to alter its shape. Exploring parametric design gave me a means of creating original spontaneous forms that can be made either manually or based on data collected.

Final Outcome

As a final step I wanted to create an object that merged different elements of the three design tasks. I opted to make a sculptural lamp/ form that was based on a shape I created parametrically.

The object used different processes to design and manufacture. For the design I used OpenSCAD to create the form. This form was then made in Fusion and split into 13 fins. The fins were then saved as dxfs in illustrator in preparation to be laser cut. A housing for the fins was required. I chose to create this in Fusion 360 with the size of the acrylic being considered then 3D printing one for the top and bottom to hold the fins. This part needed to revolve on a central acrylic pole to show an almost ghosted version of the form when spun on the acrylic axis.


After assembling, adding a base and an LED the form can now be appreciated when revolved, showing the parametric form in a pleasing ghost like style.

Reflecting on the assignment as a whole, I have developed a greater and deeper appreciation for new technologies and processes as well as traditional craft and assembly. I have a better understanding of what it takes to translate an initial digital design idea to a final three dimensional object.  I have gained skills that I can apply to future work and add interest to the work I produce.

New Making

Kakukei, An Orchid’s Pot

Kakukei reveals in use the image of a floating world with an elegant lightness of being. An orchid, framed oblivious, by the eight crisp planes that define its form. A conversation in textures, materialities, and translucencies; the glass arrangement suspends a layer of water to provide an osmose reservoir for its carer. Whether drowned in moonlight or sun-basking as a fleck of mauve on a windowsill, the orchid spins gold from hard life, moving forth and toward the grand sky.

The project of New Making hasn’t been an exploration of orchids, but rather that of iterative styles; digital craft, and product assemblage. First inspired by the jumbling and complex iterative repair of Ernesto Oroza’s Objects of Necessity, and taking the collage-esque method by which his chairs were constructed into task to house an orchid; I quickly became fascinated with the applications of emerging manufacturing methods in aiding the removal of ornament and craft effort, and in elevating existing objects through new materialities.

Through Kakukei, I refine and give purpose to the sculptural forms of gone era; the octagonal vase a tradition within eastern Chinese and Japanese pottery, now re-birthed without ornament or the physical effort required in craft, for more individuals to experience. Through utilising 3D-printed forms for mould-making, I was able to iterate rapidly in cast glass; a process traditionally very labour-intensive and heavily crafted now re-appropriated for an age of modern consumer culture.

From the onset, and as a quirk of the Cuban-inspired prototyping method of assemblage, the final object is constructed of very few materials. The glass reservoir is constructed from a single piece of solid glass, and the internal chamber of only two pieces. The hydrochomic coating is bonded to the outer surface of the Polylactide plastic pot. This streamlining of materials makes the object aesthetically minimalist, and easy to mass-produce.

Throughout the project I had made 10 iterative prototypes, one each week; and have displayed them below.

If we were to look forward and attempt to make Kakukei more efficient for mass production, it would require re-thinking some of the finer details of the product.  The current iteration utilises solid cast glass to achieve the frosted body of the pot, which is an incredibly labour-intensive process, even with the allowances of rapid prototyping to help in form-making. In exploring multiple material options, I feel that injection-moulded acrylic would provide the closest and most cost-efficient replacement to the cast glass; with a slight frosted texture. Acrylic is more hygienic than the cast glass, without any imperfections or air pockets that could harbour bacteria.


New Making Projects


Billy Dixon, Joseph Revans and Joanna Spreadbury

The Soundbox is an accessible mp3 player made in collaboration with the Golden Group at Cherry Road Resource Centre. Our clients were a group of older service users at the centre, who live with early onset dementia in addition to multiple physical and cognitive disabilities. From our time spent getting to know the Golden Group, we discovered the importance of music to their lives. However, all of the devices used to select music for the group utilised touch screens, which were inaccessible to them.

In response to this need, and after extensive development, we produced an accessible interface for media selection, to bring greater agency to the service users. The device uses a deck of RFID “Soundcards”, which when tapped on the Soundbox trigger a specific song or sound to play from an integrated mp3 player.

Although this was a 4 week project, as a group we are planning to continue working on this project, to bring further functionality and malleability to the final artefact.

Thanks to Cherry Road Resource Centre, Artlink, Fixperts and Dave Murray-Rust.

New Making Work in Progress

New Making Post #3

After toying with the idea of cutting or lazercutting a form from a sheet of neoprene I decided that leather would be a much nicer material to create in (if not to work with). Leather is unique in that it can look simplistic and expensive when new and also ages wonderfully well, telling the stories of its increasing sentimental values embodied by it’s creases, folds and discolouration.

Can I replicate the attachment I feel to old leather boots in my intervention?

When using leather there are always ethical questions that crop up, moral qualms that some consumers will have over whether your product or service will be categorised as ethical design. Re-using old leather, though, pays no money towards livestock industry.This as well as availability to the general public were reasons for my service being built upon recycled belts.



New Making

Ornament, Crime, and The Monobloc Chair

The Villa Müller is formed of perpendicular planes and forms; each floor suspended misaligned with another, each room not opened onto by doors and windows but instead existing as open cavities.
Constructed in 1930 to the owners of a building company in Prague, it reflects in stark white and marble veneer the principles of its architect and modernist writer of design theory, Adolf Loos.

He posits that the removal of ornamental features within design is to be the natural progression of taste; in that whilst previous practitioners would hone craft and demonstrate value through the addition of superfluous detailing to their work, the advancement of automated manufacturing removed the necessity in “adding style” – saying that it would be a waste of a craftsman’s time, as with progression, everything would eventually become unfashionable.

The central living space of the Villa Müller has walls paneled with grey marble, a brass-trimmed ash table, and silk-inlay wallpaper. Loos had made a decision to refine the experience of a physical space to it’s texturality and materiality, rather than it’s physical dimensionality. Each material’s connotations can author the same message, but without wasted labour of styling and sculpting.

Could we consider too our imminent revolution in New Making a vehicle by which to remove ornament and further optimise the lasting power of our aesthetic choices? Or, could we utilise New Making as a method by which to explore spaces in materiality and texturality without the time and waste required for superfluous stylisation of a practised craft?


Cuban designer Ernesto Oroza speaks of the Monobloc chair as if it holds sentience, existing much like an animal in the natural environment; such as that “they ramble around the neighbourhood until they get tangentially trapped inside a human activity”.

The Monobloc chair is a lightweight stackable polypropylene chair – and for the past seventeen years, Oroza has sought to document their proliferation and abuse within Cuban maker culture, most often in the form of his self-titled “Objects Of Necessity”, so named as objects willed into existence through rough prototyping as a way to solve temporary problems.

Though not everybody can agree on the exact origin for the Monobloc chair, its cultural permanence is undeniable,  arguably billions being produced and hundreds of millions in circulation, sociologist Ethan Zuckerman describes the chair as an object without context – “Seeing a white plastic chair in a photograph offers you no clues about where or when you are.”

Many design variants of the basic idea exist – and that is exactly what creates of the Monobloc such a compelling object. Each iteration costs approximately $3 to produce, affordable across the world.

Atleast within Cuba, such Objects of Necessity are exactly that – neccesary, due to decades of trading blocades with the western hemisphere, as well as lasting sentiment toward self-sufficience and anti-globalism. When Oroza talks of “Technological Disobedience”, he speaks of the Cuban culture of re-design and re-making as a political act as opposed to an artistic one – a defiance against the manufacturer’s intended use of objects and a method by which to seize the tools of production to consolidate their own political beliefs within the act of making and repairing.

It is interesting, therefore, that such “design work” is so popular outside of Cuban culture, a fetishisation of poverty’s struggle with material culture – the designs of Marcantonio Malerba, an Italian designer,  selling the below offences for $1800 on home-wares store Anthropologie.

5.5 Design Studio in France has had a wonderfully inventive portfolio history with “Objects Of Necessity”, undertaking similar design exploration in merging rudimentary objects together to form new meaning and function in a playful manner.

There is this poetic dichotomy between unintentional, necessary object design, and the purposeful, ordinary object design – and to read it is to start to grasp how complexly intertwined practical design, and social anthropology truly are.

So if, perhaps – we could reverse the thread that pulls necessary objects into being, and instead take the items we hold common and contribute universal appendages so that their usages are multiplied and renewed afresh, could we find ourselves a prototyping technique that is quick, transparent, fluid and allows us to explore objects as they would be in the eyes of a non-designer – free of CAD, Sketching, or technical drawings.

Just as much as 5.5 Design Studio’s design of a monobloc chair consists of taping two curtain rails to a found-object chair, I can use the same methods to prototype around a theme.  Could I craft a quick solution to my problem from found objects to solve my design friction, and could it then spiral me into something more prototyped, more industrial, more official? This, I believe, is the immediate appeal of New Making.