Simplify and add lightness
When I left you last time, dear reader, I was contemplating a snake like table that could fold into any height, and posed the question: could this be simplified further? Yes. Yes it can. End of blog.
Only joking. I’ll expand.
What are the core components of both the crumpled table idea – which I still LOVE by the way – and the snake table? Triangles, fabric and the hidden image. So why don’t I just make a table out of triangles, fabric and then wrap it in an image? I will. I bloody well will!
I still want the ‘table’ to not look like a table. I want it look unusual, to entice the viewer in, to encourage interactivity and exploration of the product. No, not a product, an experience. I want to experience my table, to have fun with it, to be intrigued by it. Not a product, a piece of performance art. Ooooo, bold statement, I know.
Four is the magic number
One triangle? Two triangles? Seven? How many triangles do I need to make this work as a ‘table’, but also satisfy the above? With mucho experimentalio, with varying numbers of triangle shapes and sizes, I settled on four. One could tilt and and possibly balance on the point, but had no real interaction. Two was the same. With four, they can be folded into a square, in fact, it is a perfect square cut into four equal triangles, and manipulated into various positions. I made a quick mock up of the idea with some wood and duck tape. Within 60 seconds it was apparent that the idea has legs…even though it doesn’t. I took it over to Richard, (I’m sure he’s sick of me constantly coming over with new ideas; just settle on ONE would you!), and just handed it to him. He grabbed the cube of triangles and started to play with it. Stage one complete, the interaction of the item is there. Hang on, he is still playing with it, placing the ‘table’ into various positions, remarking that it is incredibly simple yet can be placed in any number of positions. High, low, tilted, as a table, as a long sharing surface; flip it on the side and use it as a series of connected stools. Each side could be covered in a different image so you can orientate it randomly for alternative images or for a specific image. Each image could be a puzzle to solve or an indication to the user to show how to arrange the table into ‘normal’ positions. Basically, Richard liked it. Seriously though, how many ideas do I need to go through, that Richard likes, before I come to a final design? Do I struggle to make a decision? Do I go so hard and fast into an idea that I negate to iron out the issues early on? Am I mentally unstable or is this one ‘image’ taken from a larger tapestry? Does Richard like everything I do? At least one of those must be true.
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So, does Richard think it’s a good idea? Yes, yes he does. He advised me that it is so simple, so pure an idea – which satisfies the brief – that it really could work. It has the ability to be displayed as an object of intrigue, but can simply be put into position with a few simple moves. I also spoke to Dr Martyn Woodward regarding this idea. Again, I gave him the table and said this is my design, what do you think? He, like Richard played with it, putting it into positions I hadn’t considered at all.
“But it’s so simple?!?! Can it really be an idea to go with?”.
“The best designs are simple ideas.”
It’s All A Game
After some research and discussions, it seemed best to make the triangles hollow, and therefore light, and attach them with seatbelt style material. This is designed to withstand thousands of hours of abuse and has a high tensile strength; perfect for this. The triangle cores can then be wrapped in removable panels, made from any number of materials, dependant on need, and with any image on the face. Is Comic Relief due shortly? Update the face with Comic Relief livery. A new series of Dr Who about to land? Cover them with an image of a dalek and position them around the building in tall, dalek-like positions. Needs some quick extra seating? Flip them on the side and sit of the padded sides as linked stools. Hey what happens if we put one on top of the other? How many combinations would that make? Could we have two tables that have images which link up when placed together? I guess this is my favourite bit about this design: it’s interactive. It encourages people to explore the possibilities with the tables. Do you try to make an image – place the head of Pudsey Bear onto the body of Del Boy – or try and position them into an unusual arrangement for the next user, or simply see if you can shape them into an arrangement that is suited to how you like to work.
Countdown To Launch
So where to go from here? With only a few days to go before our Viva, there is a lot to achieve. We have four A3 flat sheets – that is not enough space to show all of the work that has gone into this – one A1 in situ poster and an A4 abstract. Oh, and the scale model. I planned on cutting this on the laser cutter, but it is fully booked out with people from the Field project. Dammit. 3D printer it is. I made the file in CAD, including the triangle shape plus all the replacement panels, and set it to print. It went wrong. One ran out of material during the print and the other messed up. They are now printing again. Fingers crossed this time. I do have other difficulties, however. How do I make my sketches and CAD of something so simple, look good? I almost want to put a single flat sheet out of a triangle on a page. The next sheet then having four triangles in various positions. Do I go this brazen? Not sure yet. There are other problems as well. Field and Constellation. Field has taken up so much of my time. I have put in so many hours into that, resulting in my other uni work suffering. My fellow peers, who are not on Mind Your Own Business, seem to have an easy ride. They have very little work to do and are either finished already or require very little as an end product. Ours is more than enough work on its own, let alone with the BBC brief and the essay to do. Ah, the essay. I haven’t started it yet. In fact, I haven’t started reading anything for it yet. Some of my colleagues have worked throughout the night to stay on top of their work. I feel I may need to do the same. I am not giving in something subpar. When this is all over, and before next term, I seriously need to think of a way of speeding up my work. Being more efficient. I like things to be perfect, and feel this is the best way to be, but I need to find a way of getting there quicker.