Utilities in Transition

Project description:

Each student will create an object inspired by the selected culture. The objects will have a utilitarian quality (function) when interacting with the end user.

The main transformation will be a physical change in the user appearance (garment, body accessory) or posture (sitting, walking, leaning, lying, etc.). ,

A secondary will enhance a second Human sense:  touch, smell, sound, etc.

Students will be focusing on the volume of the form in relation to the human body, as well as understanding the social aspect in relation to the related culture.


First i felt pretty stuck and fixated on “functionality”, in my eyes all functional objects I could think of were so professionally manufactured, i knew I would not be able to make them. As the time went by I realized it is may be ok to create a concept, which i did. The idea that I can’t seal all edges to make my concept closer to reality messed with my head pretty much all the time.

Here is my thinking process. I was literally listing all hard and soft objects, and their combinations, and functions. And honestly couldn’t think about anything better than chair and coat. Those seemed to be to simple for me though.

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Somewhere in the middle of the process I just gave up, and decided that I just want to make a crystal, because i like crystals. Somehow that idea formed into crystal backpack with all initial crazy ideas to make it backpack – chair, with removable top that can become a cup. That is still a good idea though, taking in consideration, that culture of my choice is Burning Man culture.

Than one day i just realized that we, or may be its just me don’t explore a lot our smell sense. It’s all about visual and sound, and smell is overlooked. In addition, my friend sent me photos of pollution in Beijing, and now i am thinking that i was scrolling through Westelm website to get something for my apartment and saw hanging geometrical planters and it all clicked together.

I realized that i have to stick a plant into a crystal, connect it to a mask with corrugated pipes and that’s amazing idea on to show how polluted the air is ( or how dusty Burning man is – if we are speaking about my culture). Pipe and mask also go great with Burning Man aesthetic.

I knew that taking in consideration that one week was left it’ll be challenging to create a mask, but i decided to try anyways.

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I planned a crystal in Sketch up, i had to redraw it few times to get right size and proportions.

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Then i took measurements from there and drew all planes in illustrator, added holes for connectors and leather straps, and pipes.


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I knew i was gonna use zipties, because i love the look they give.

Corrugated pipe delivery was stuck somewhere, so i had to hope i can trust internets measurement for my hole.

I ordered air plant as well.

Initially i really wanted to have actual plant and soil inside, but I knew it’ll be challenging to execute.

I watched youtube video, where the guy cut glass, wrapped it in copper foil, and soldered pieces together.

But i didn’t want to use glass. It would make piece heavy, and i wouldn’t be able to cut out circles for pipe.

I didnt want to apply soldering near plexi glass.

Connecting plexi with any mechanical connectors would mean there are still gaps with planes.

I tried to use silicone the one you use for bathtubs, my test unfortunately wasn’t documented and went in trash, as it didn’t look neat.

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I was lucky and was able to grab a mask from doctors office, so i started to measure pieces of paper straight on my face and created a shape that had 6 triangles (to match the backpack’s top).

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I measured all triangles sides and angles and drew them in illustrator.


initially i planned to use leather for straps, but then i decided that i need something plastic-y looking, sort of vinyl, because plexi and zip ties are plastics already.

I got vinyl fabric and really had a challenge with finding leather rivets, but those i found worked really well.

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I made a test with jeans rivets and spiky screw-back rivets and ended up liking spiky ones.

I ran a laser test on mask, one sheet of acrylic failed, another one i broke in the process, plus the mask somehow ended up too small.

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I figured i didnt do a proper math on one triangle, so i had to adjust it.


This is work in progress file for second set of triangles.

I had to run to laser shop to make it on time so i finished my file there in the lab on the go and so i don’t have it. Basically i removed all guides, and set the line properly.

At the same time i knew i had to recut crystal, because i wanted straps to be closer to each other, corrugated pipe arrived and didnt fit, also i forgot holes for pipe attachment, and the strap for the top would be hard to close, so i had to move holes for it as well.


Here is the final result.









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