For my final project, I extrapolated a concept from my inspiration object, the cassette tape. I knew I wanted to explore a more physical, product design esque project and try a new medium like metal or casting. From these ideas came the concept for my final project.
The initial brainstorming was fueled from the idea of bringing the tape and all that it represents (physically, emotionally, conceptually) and translating it in some way into an object. The few ideas I drew from that were: have an object that is functional or at least appears functional, have an object that mimics the industrial and geometric physicality of the tape itself, integrate sound into the object as the tape has a strong connection with sound and music.
From these ideas I began to sketch. Surprisingly, very quickly and fluidly I came up with this concept you see below. It actually came to me before falling to sleep one night and the first thing I did upon waking up was sketch it out. This initial scribble didn’t actually change all that much through out the whole process, and the product I ended up with is almost exactly what my initial sketch was.
The (for lack of a better term) main idea behind it is that you would insert or hold your phone (or similar device) up to the slot on the front face and play sound or music. The sound would bounce around and out the object and amplify the sound. In practice, this concept does semi-work using the finished object.
I planned to also integrate a concrete base, which would be cast in wood, but this ended up not coming to fruition. I am still happy with the result and almost find the piece more pure and straightforward without the concrete. Such an addition still would have positively impacted the piece, but not having it doesn’t take away in my opinion.
Whilst brainstorming, I used a lot of chairs and seating devices as inspiration. Since this idea lead my design thinking, it is inherent in the design and function of the object, thus making one of the functions of the object a seating device of sorts.
The process for constructing the object was adventurous. This was my first time working with metal in any capacity, so construction was very daunting for me. Although, once surpassing that initial hurdle the construction process was relatively straightforward.
The first step was drawing, to measure and scale, in Illustrator, the individual pieces that were needed for construction of the piece. This file was then exported and sent to the plasma cutter in the metal workshop where it was cut to my specifications. The next step was construction via welding. I made sure the pieces were aligned properly and clamped in before beginning welding. Tack welds were made on each side of the piece. This was a fail-safe, as you can still undo a tack weld and realign a piece if need be. Once the piece was fully tacked I began welding the sides fully. The instruction I received for welding was to weld slowly in sort of a spiral motion. This, I assume, is to make sure all welds are sufficient as you go over every area twice as you circle back around.
Overall I am pleased with the project. Working with metal was an adventure and I definitely learned a lot. The piece doesn’t quite amplify sound but it does resonate and has an interested effect which I am pleased with. I chose not to grind down the welds since I wanted this object to have a sort of imperfect, raw feel. I felt like the raw welds add a textural element to the piece that contrasts with the smooth metal, adding interest.
Additionally, the piece retains a “sketchy” quality with the raw edges, hence the name Resonant Sketch. This is what really brought it all together for me. As I said before, the piece really turned out more like the initial sketch than my adjustments and refinements to the design along the way. In many ways, this piece is a sketch. I feel like there is still a lot I could explore within this project. It is not 100% perfected, and I think this is a concept that deserves revisiting in some capacity. After making and presenting this project, something really struck me: I was able to bring an idea from my head into reality. What began as a scribbly drawing on paper was able to make its way to fruition. For me, that is the most valuable and amazing thing about this piece, and really, it’s what design is all about; bringing an idea to reality.
Following the link below you can view my presentation brochure. I talk more about the project and you can see the process in an appealing way.