Monthly Archives: March 2009

research plan

Just a little snippet from my research plan…

The Key to the success of my project will be the outcomes of thorough research. My research will be conducted around people and the way in which they interact with water in their daily lives. At a basic level I view research in 3 stages:

  1. Collecting. Involves collecting a large amount of information through various methods of research
  2. Categorising. When information has been collected it should be evaluated and compared. Research is then categorised into areas of similarity, difference or any other significant grouping.
  3. Synthesise. Involves making sense of what you have researched. Finding what is important or useful and what is not. Finding what can be used to further the project. ‘Making’ as a result of research.


To conduct my research I plan to establish a ‘research’ relationship with at least 10 households. The households will be based around my connections and include a diverse range of living circumstances. I feel that it is very important to source households with people who have many differences- different backgrounds, children, married, single. The differences in each household will push my research and form a strong base for design. Each house will be visited a minimum of twice and a set of identical methods conducted on each. I will establish research tasks before any visit. This will ensure I collect information that has similarities so my data can be compared and categorised.


Task 4:

Visual Sociology- Photography

To capture micro events within the household I am going to participate in visual sociology in the form of photography. To simply observe and take notes I would be missing many finer details of events. I will endeavor to photograph every instance of water use within a house. The photographic style will be quick snap shots of events- multiples if needed. I will also pay attention to different people completing the same task to capture differences.

The photos taken form the house visits will be gathered and presented together, and further studied. The bonus of having visual documentation of events is the ability to share. I will be able to show peers the photos and discuss them in context of my direction. Instead of telling people about what I have seen, I will be able to share the photos and gain further perspectives on top of my own.


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greener gadgets

So when browsing (as I so often do) I came across the Greener Gadgets and competition in conjunction with Core 77. The competition targets green design of household products and electrical goods. The brief is as follows:

‘We invited designers to explore the concept of “Greener Gadgets.” Designs sought to minimize the environmental impact of consumer electronic devices at any stage in the product life cycle. Areas of sustainability to consider included energy, materials/life cycle/recycling, social impact, and educational development. Designers could focus on a particular area of human enterprise (learning, playing, communicating, etc.) or a particular context (work, home, school, etc.), a particular material, or a specific device. Entries could also seek to create new paradigms for products and services.’

One entry I found of particular interest was that from Yunwen Hsu. Hsu designed a rice cooker/washing device that stores the water that is used to wash the starch from rice. Traditionally in Asian households,  ‘rice water’ is re-used to wash dishes. The starch is particularly good at removing grease and oils from plates. In modern times most households throw away starchy water and use fresh water and detergent instead. This design washes and cooks rice, then stores the water in an easy to access container. Awesome…

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Whats in a name?

So my presentation went very well on Thursday last week. I had my topic approved which was a relief and I am now clear to proceed with my research etc. It was suggested to me that I need to come up with a ‘sexy name’ for my project. Agreed, there is noting like a good project name that gets you thinking. Off the top of my head- ‘water tight’ or maybe ‘1 for the future’ based on using 1 litre for the ‘future’ of our water… i will keep you posted. Another interesting thing bought up in my presentation was discussion around Bimimicry. I am using biomimicry as a design method for water saving products. Biomimicry looks at natural systems and mimicking them through design. Biomimicry is interesting in the way a product is produced- it is not concerned with aesthetics a whole heap, rather being true to a natural system. I think looking at natural systems to do with water will be a great source of inspiration when I get to a designing stage.

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Fire bunker

As a warm up exercise we are designing and sketching fire bunker solutions. I found researching bunkers came up with the same result- they had to be partly or fully buried, and the best material to use is concrete. Got to thinking. Could I design concrete bunkers that doubled as other useful objects. A bunker is used possibly once or twice in a lifetime. Its a big investment for something you just bury and forget about.  A worthy and life saving option but still… Concrete Furniture. Its surprisingly nice. Could a bunker beneath, be furniture on top? Could this be an interesting concept for a public fire bunker…


Simoa Concrete bench, Germany                                                 

askew-concrete-table1 Askew concrete bench

Jorge Chapa, Oso Industries


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profile-toilet-caromaCaroma Profile toilet

releaf04-fan2Releaf watering system


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Hughie Removable sink



I thought this was great. Simple design, effective for re-use of water in the kitchen. Just questioned the many different shapes and sizes of existing sinks…

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capability statement… first draft

To write a capability statement about myself, I first feel I need to reveal my journey to this point. That is, I feel the need to highlight the events in my design career that make me who I am.

I studied hard in year 12. Had a great folio. Great marks. Thought I could take on the world. Had dreams and knew where I thought I would be in the future.

I applied for Industrial design at several institutions and didn’t get in. I am a determined person. If I set goals, I need to achieve them. Not so much for the marks or the recognition, but for my own satisfaction of not being beaten.

I enrolled and was successful in gaining a position in Furniture Technology, knowing that it was a pathway to my goal of studying Industrial Design. I certainly did not find comfort in the Furniture course, but what I did find was a challenge.

I delved into the world of manufacturing, plant management, GANT charts and costing. From my experiences in TAFE I gained a solid base for the creative work I would complete in the future. I learned time management. Being able to sit down and look at all the tasks that need to be completed and at what stages they would be required. I completed a business plan for a TAFE exhibition space within RMIT that could showcase and market objects being produced in the university. I was part of a team which designed, costed and manufactured a piece of furniture which was finally exhibited in Furnitex in Melbourne. I played a large role in the organising of the Furnitex stand, from displays to bump in/out. I stood at the stand and discussed our piece with passers bye, full of confidence that I knew the piece in-side-out.

After one year of the furniture course I had the option to move to Industrial Design through an RMIT course pathways. I chose not to. I felt the need to complete what I had started.

In my second year of TAFE I was granted 1 of 2 places in the 2005 Manufacturing scholarship in conjunction with Schiavello Furniture. I had to stand in front of Schiavello board members along with heads of the RMIT TAFE sector and tell them what I had to offer. I have a strong understanding of the work that goes into a piece of furniture, the processes of manufacturing and the workmanship. But I also have a creative mind. I told them I could offer a rounded package- someone who could design, be creative and present a manufacturing solution. I worked at Schiavello for approximately 6 months, eventually presenting a proposal of the future office. I experienced first hand the workings of a large company, and gained much knowledge from the Schiavello team.

In 2006 I finally stepped into Industrial Design. Over the last 3 years I have tackled many design problems and feel that my experiences and learning within TAFE have been very beneficial.

Our first task, on the first day, was a way out request from a lecturer who knew that he was going to scare the lot of us. We had to make a ‘machine’ which had something reflective, embodied energy, something that spins, shows your identity, is no bigger (and I quote) ‘…than a rabbit’, and so on. I was really daunted by such a request, however at the same time so energized to fulfil all of the requirements. The task of completing something that is seemingly impossible gives me such a buzz. Getting to the end of a project and having a completed outcome that satisfies the requirements is the biggest rush and I am forever looking forward to hearing the next challenging brief. I came back to class the next day with a machine that did all that, and the lecturer didn’t even look at them… but it didn’t matter- I still have my ‘machine’ as a reminder of an impossible task.

I am a person who is constantly seeking clarity. I like to have an understanding of what I am doing personally as well as having confidence that I can communicate my ideas to others. During a furniture studio, I came to the realisation that the construction that needed to be done for my piece, was far greater than what the workshop at RMIT could handle. I had to approach various fabricators to have the work done, and negotiate on various items including design, price and materials. Approaching a metal fabricator with a piece of student furniture is not always an easy task, and I had many raised eyebrow looks heading my way. I was determined to be clear with my ideas and to have knowledge about the materials and process needed. After asking for ‘… the 30mm solid steel tube cut to 400mm lengths, welded into the pre-cut recess’ in the bent steel tubular framework- here are the technical drawings…’ I was greeted with a little shocked but willing fabricator. And the chair was completed within a week and handed in on time.

Creativity. I have always prided myself on being a creative person. I balloted for a ‘wood/timber’ toolkit early on thinking that I would naturally be suited to the tasks. When I actually started to take on the projects I realised that I would have to push myself further because of my background in working with timber. We had to design a piece of furniture as well as a smaller timber project focusing on unusual ways to use wood. I have always used dressed timber and so, decided to tackle ‘wood’ in its natural state- bark and all. I collected ghost gum branches from Red Hill and began to analyse each piece for its potential to be a component of a chair.

This was not an easy task and required a large amount of creativity to get a practical outcome. I also used the timber to produce ‘wood’ jewellery. I noted that branches were generally round and that a section of a branch had potential for being a ring. Getting the bare wood to form practical items took an amazing amount of time and patience. I completed hours of ‘exploratory design’, testing and failing and re-testing ideas. Eventually what came from the studio were very strong and unique pieces.

I have always been a problem solver. My last studio presented no problems; I simply designed a ‘relaxing’ chair. Whilst this was very fulfilling and the outcome was great, over the semester I became aware of my need for purpose within design. That studio helped direct me into my final year of study- of purposeful design. Within design I aspire to solve a problem that can make a difference on any scale within everyday life. I believe that I have many great attributes for an Industrial Designer. My unique pathway to Industrial Design makes me different from my peers. The learning I gained from TAFE makes me strong in the area of time management and understanding that there is more to design than the model at the end. I strive for clarity and to understand the tasks presented to me, and believe that I can communicate my ideas well verbally and visually.

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