Initial Photos — We were asked to take photos of different light sources that we found interesting.

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In class, we got the project which went as followed:

“ We’re going to make objects that produce and modulate light. Each object is a one-off real thing, not a prototype of a yet to be produced market product. An important thing to keep in mind is that artificial lighting exists in two major states; ON and OFF. Your desk lamp is still there even when it is not being used to provide light.”

The next class, we were told to play around with paper and bring back photos of our attempts of experimentation.

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Some main things that I focused on were:

  • Different types of paper
  • Gradients
  • Curves vs hard edges
  • Size of paper
  • Crumpled vs straight paper

The following class we picked our prompt out of a hat, and the one I got was: “Design a lighting engine that supports contemplation.” From here we were to start prototyping.

Prototype 1:

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My inspiration for this prototype was the “light under the door.”

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Overview:

I was thinking about when I contemplated and knew that I primarily did it in my room in the dark. However, it was never pitch black, and I knew I always stared at some light source. I realized that often, I would stare at the gap underneath my door and look at light. That light was often very warm, flat, and easy on the eyes. It also added to my imagination, as it seemed like there was an entire world on the other side of the door, on the side of the light. From there, I decided to make a duplicate experience in a light.

Issues:

Although, it is nice to look at, there are many inherent design flaws. When it’s on, it looks like a simple box with a slot cut out, serving no other purpose. It is a generally uninteresting shape without the light on. Also, it is made primarily out of foam core, which we later heard we were supposed to use as little as possible.

I do like the concept of having a thin light bar, so I may try to make another version in the future with a more thought provoking/interesting shape.

Prototype 2:

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Overview:

When I was a kid I had this plastic thing that went over my ceiling light that had planes and other cool shapes on it. This was an attempt at emulating a similar thing, as I thought the way that the shapes blocked out the light was interesting. I also wanted to try and create something that had two distinct states, so this was my first attempt at that.

There are two layers that I wanted to be able to twist and turn so that you could change the way the shapes interact with each other. I thought that this would aid contemplation as the changing shapes would be something that would generate thought.

Issues:

This was a concept that I think was much better in my head then in reality. The shapes just looked jagged and disorderly and didn’t create the “thoughtful forms” that I thought they would. When I tried spacing the two layers out, they just got blurry. Overall it just looked childish and didn’t fit the prompt of contemplation.

Prototype 3:

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Overview:

This prototype was an attempt at emulating rock lights that I see all the time in stores. It was also a study of paper as I attempted to learn what wrinkled/crumpled paper looked like when light passed through it.

Issues:

The wrinkled paper didn’t provide as much contrast as I thought it would. I thought the light passing through would lend itself to the form of the paper, but instead it just looked like wrinkled paper. Also, it let out too much light and looking at it hurt my eyes.

Prototype 4 - variation 1:

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It was around this point where I realized that it was easier to just build and not sketch

Overview:

I asked a variety of other people where and when they “contemplated” and the majority said that they primarily did when they were in bed or in a dark room. Many said that they liked having a dim light in the room as they contemplated. This context informed the type of lighting, as from here I knew the lighting would need to be easy on the eyes.

When it’s on, it has a warm gradient to it with layering of several pieces of paper to provide the gradient. The quality of light is very dim, yet warm. I did this on purpose, as warmer lights tend to be more relaxing, and bright lights would be distracting and hurt the eyes. I wanted to make something with this prototype that you could stare directly at for a long time.

One thing that I wanted to capture was difference between two states. When it’s off it looks very simple, only looking like a tall white tube. I attempted to make something that looked very different or unexpected when it was in each state. When it’s on, the details on the inside with the gradient become apparent.

I picked the round shape, as I wanted it to be uniform all the way around. Also, the round shape does lends itself to the paper, as it is a natural shape for paper to be in.

This prototype was made out of layers of Bristol paper.

Issues:

After I built it, the main issues that I saw was that the seam on the back. It really broke up the flow of the light and I know I’ll need to fix it in future updates.

Prototype 4 - Variation 2

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Some people didn’t like how the gradient was so harsh, so I added another layer that diffused the light. I don’t think I like this one quite as much personally. The reaction was 50/50 compared to the previous one.

Prototype 5:

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Overview:

This prototype was more of an exploration of the paper. I wanted to play with the diffusing of lighting in a form that is both curved and rigid and ended up with this prototype.

Issues:

It wasn’t very effective as the paper I used was very thick so light didn’t pass through very well. Also, it didn’t fit the prompt very well, outside of some correlation to the shape being a star. It was a stretch, so I didn’t pursue anything with it. I did learn a lot about paper and how it can/cannot be used.

Prototype 6:

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I was thinking of places where people contemplated and how people have

Feedback from critique:

For the critique, I brought my prototype 5 and prototype 6.

The gradient was very nice to look at, and the warm light did fit the context. The top was distracting, maybe find a way to make the transition up more fluid

Find a way to better incorporate the cable + stand. Bad ones are very clear and take away from the form (Frankenstein metal bits, phone upside down)

Don’t worry about the two states, that is an add on. It needs to be interesting in both states on/off.

The wavy form of another prototype was interesting and emitted the light cool. Maybe think of combining them

Marissa — The repetition of the gradient was very meditative. The repeating shadows reminds me of the repetitive movement or task that is common in some forms of meditation.

Also, Steve took one of my prototypes and stacked it on top of the other one and commented on how the light passed through the bottom.

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I thought this was very interesting, and that I could possible combine it with my prototype 4 and capture the same underglow effect.

The biggest takeaways from this critique was that I should stop worrying about the two states and having there be a big difference between them. I need to focus on both states being interesting instead.

Prototype 7 - v1

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This prototype was an attempt at combining prototype 4 with prototype 6. I really liked the layering of the two prototypes, and I thought that combining them would create a nice effect.

I think this turned out fairly well, outside of the craft issues.

I especially struggled with the seams and overlaps. I tried hiding them behind layering, but it didn't work as the light shone through all of the layers.

The reason that this is pink is due to the printer paper. I was forced to use this paper to make the prototype, as the store was closed on Sunday, and I missed the open hours of the store on Monday. This actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as I really liked the gradient of pink to orange throughout the light, and I plan to continue using this paper in my future models.

Prototype 7 - v2

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I attempted to make this prototype out of one long piece of paper in order to avoid crease marks or weird overlaps. Although I liked the light effect on the top, this was very poorly made. The really long piece of paper was extremely unwieldy and really hard to put together. I learned a lot as to what not to do from this version.

Feedback from critique:

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I talk about it in my comments on the paper, but the biggest takeaways was that it seemed to capture what I wanted but I had a lot of craft issues with the tape and creases. I did too much and it made it feel distracting almost.

We also got a large critique from Steve and Stacy and they told us a lot of things that we needed to improve.

  • Craftmanship
  • Adhesives — try out different things. Too many adhesives are showing or interfering with the light.
  • Sockets and cords are too jarring. They need to be hidden or incorporated with the pieces. On this one in particular, The cut between the gradient and the dark part is too abrupt.
  • Symmetry — A lot of lighting engines look like they are supposed to be symmetrical but were slightly off. This goes hand in hand with the assembly and craftmanship
  • 2D vs 3D — Many of the lamps are not designed in the 3D. They are designed as different sides and not a complete 3D object. (Car example)

Prototype 8:

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New version

Overview:

For this last prototype I incorporated all the feedback that I got from the previous critique.

I made it slightly larger and made it cleaner by spacing out each of the layers. This helped with a variety of issues. By spacing out the layers I was able to hid the seams behind a variety of layering. This made it less distracting overall and simplified the form which others said made it easier to look at. Also, I was able to incorporate the glow from my prototype 6 which was the effect I had wanted originally but wasn’t able to capture in my previous prototype.

This new prototype had a sense of serenity that the previous model didn’t have, while still maintaining the parts I liked from early prototypes with the gradient and distinct layering. I also fixed the issue of it looking bad when the light was off as the general shape of the light was interesting in both states.

Some other comments:

When I asked others for feedback, almost everyone I asked said that it did help them contemplate. Additionally, many of them started staring at it and thought of different things that it reminded them of:

  • bamboo
  • lava lamp
  • mountains
  • sunset
  • candle +candle wax
  • ocean waves
  • cake icing
  • volcano exploding + LAVAAAA — by carol
  • Disney cake — beauty and the beast
  • magic mountain
  • mulan
  • old chinese painting

Addressing prior feedback:

My craftsmanship was much improved, which was aided by a lot of pre planning. I made sure to measure everything out before, and although I messed up a few times, catching it early led to fewer mistakes and craft issues later on.

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Planning out all the dimensions. I did mess up pretty bad midway!

Also, I was able to focus more on the task at hand, rather than juggling around a lot of different things in my head. I spent a lot more time on craftsmanship and it showed overall. Cuts were cleaner, gluing was done smoother, and the final product turned out almost exactly the way I had hoped.

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Making plans for internal structure for the final product

I didn’t have too many problems with adhesives in earlier versions but for the final I decided to opt for more permanent solutions rather then tape such as hot glue and superglue for a lot of the more robust connections. This gave me a lot more confidence in the security of certain parts which I think was a good idea in the end.

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As far as sockets and cords go, I was able to have a smoother transition from socket to lit object by removing some of the hard cuts and letting the light flow into the base. It makes the light blend a lot better into the lighting engine.

This picture to the left is a good example of how I improved on the seams and assembly. I wasn’t able to devise a way to get rid of them, so I hid them behind higher ridges of lower layers. You might be able to see the faint shadow of one on the left. Overall this was very effective and nobody commented or made any negative remarks on them when I was asking for feedback.

For the 2D/3D feedback, I primarily had issues with this in the earliest prototypes. I think as I went on, I was able to understand that the object needed to look good on all sides, and not necessarily have a front and back. On an earlier test model, I had all the seams line up on one side. I then heard in my head, the voice of Steve saying “2D vs 3D!” and that’s when I started ideating towards the final hidden seams which are scattered around on all sides. Having a cylindrical shape definitely forced me to face this head on.

Final Version!

Overall, I do think it was successful in accomplishing its goal to aid contemplation. I definitely learned a lot, and wa

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