Category Archives: Major studies

List this

I have devised a list of ‘rules’ if you like to guide me in design of my colander. If the design does not accomplish all of the rules I need to revise it. If it does accomplish all of the rules, I can then look for other benefits/uses. You could say that the 10 rules are the basis for my design, they are what makes the design unique and worth while.

The colander list

  1. Acts as a vessel
  2. Separates water from contents
  3. Handles for holding/picking up/carrying
  4. Handles for shaking excess water
  5. Storage- hang/cupboard
  6. Can wash and rinse. Together as one process or as separate process’
  7. Can be poured- with components together or separate
  8. Free standing- both components (together or separate)
  9. Mess free- no water spill/overflow
  10. Each component can be used separate from the other for different tasks

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When speaking of things with holes in such as colanders, I have come across the Dr.Scud Fly swatter from Philippe Starck, produced by Alessi. This appears to be a normal fly swatter, however on closer inspection there is a face on the swatter. why? Philippe starck has a great way of turning everyday household objects into livig characters- he injects humour into his designs. This is something that I would like to do for my designs this semester- add some humour to make them memorable… make people smile/think/talk.


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Charles Eames and the Lota

Lota (vessel) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Soumitri drew my attention to the Indian Lota, which is considered ‘exactly right’ in design. Charles Eames comments on the Lota in his ‘The Indian Report’ and had the following to say about its design:

‘Of all the objects we have seen and admired during our visit to India, the Lota, that simple vessel of everyday use, stands out as perhaps the greatest, the most beautiful. The village women have a process which, with the use of tamarind and ash, each day turns this brass into gold. But how would one go about designing a Lota? First one would have to shut out all preconceived ideas on the subject and then begin to consider factor after factor’:

  • The optimum amount of liquid to be fetched, carried, poured and stored in a prescribed set of circumstances.
  • The size and strength and gender of the hands (if hands) that would manipulate it.
  • The way it is to be transported – head, hip, hand, basket or cart.
  • The balance, the center of gravity, when empty, when full, its balance when rotated for pouring.
  • The fluid dynamics of the problem not only when pouring but when filling and cleaning, and under the complicated motions of head carrying – slow and fast.
  • Its sculpture as it fits the palm of the hand, the curve of the hip.
  • Its sculpture as compliment to the rhythmic motion of walking or a static post at the well.
  • The relation of opening to volume in terms of storage uses – and objects other than liquid.
  • The size of the opening and inner contour in terms of cleaning.
  • The texture inside and out in terms of cleaning and feeling.
  • Heat transfer – can it be grasped if the liquid is hot?
  • How pleasant does it feel, eyes closed, eyes open?
  • How pleasant does it sound, when it strikes another vessel, is set down on ground or stone, empty or full – or being poured into?
  • What is the possible material?
  • What is its cost in terms of working?
  • What is its cost in terms of ultimate service?
  • What kind of an investment does the material provide as product, as salvage?
  • How will the material affect the contents, etc., etc.?
  • How will it look as the sun reflects off its surface?
  • How does it feel to possess it, to sell it, to give it ?

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In class we have been discussing the various projects within our small group of 7 and how they sit within the real world. Several people are undertaking ‘art’ style projects where they are concentrating on aesthetics. Others are completing projects based on a more design studio system where they appear to be completing projects for a client. It was discussed that both myself and Brittany are completing personal projects which, in the long term could be the start of a design practice or individual design methods for working. Could I work on water saving projects for a sustained period of time? The answer is yes… I think anyway. So I have begun to look at my project as a business. For starters I am purposely not blogging images of my work as a method of protecting my ideas. Further more on this idea, I arranged a meeting with Marcus Powe to discuss patenting. Patenting, Marcus assured me, is a long, involved and expensive process. Instead of heading down the path of patenting, Marcus provided me with a confidentially contract, which will protect my ideas sufficiently for now anyway. This contract will be presented to any person outside of RMIT when discussing or manufacturing my prototypes. The Holey water cup is coming along well. At this present stage I am busy reflecting on the work I completed looking into anthropometrics, and combining this with the organic feel that I have approached this project with. From my research, including clay testing, I am now working on what I am naming my ‘Pattern’. The pattern is the ultimate design of the Holey and will be presented to the various areas of production- plastic, ceramic and glass. I am predicting that the design will change between each material due to material constraints and manufacturing process. The pattern can be used by both left and right handed users. Where the original Holey had an off centred hole, the pattern has a central hole accessible for both grips. The pattern has a continuous lip/rim on the opposite side form the hole to comfortably support the rest of the hand. The pattern is symmetrical I am not entirely comfortable with the pattern being symmetrical, however, I know that the outcomes will all differ- the glass pieces will be less symmetrical and exist as ‘one’ off art works. It is important that I start with a symmetrical and basic design so that each outcome will exhibit the ‘essence’ of the original. I am currently completing the CAD model of the pattern and will have the piece 3D printed as soon as possible. From there I will be approaching manufacturers for production. In regards to the Holey cup I am also looking at the Indian Lota. The Lota is regarded by many as very good design in terms of the way it is held and used. The use of a lip, makes the Lota comfortable to hold.

The colander is also advancing nicely. After finishing a complete metal concept I became frustrated with attempting to accurately complete a CAD model. It then occurred that I needed to explore the design further- I have locked in the fact that:

a) The colander will exist in two pieces

b) The method of using (the ways in which the holes are arranged)

I had previously been locked into constructing the piece from spun metal, however after discussions with Soumitri, I am now exploring mixed materials. A large problem I had with a complete metal piece was the way in which the two components will connect. I am aiming to have a simple outcome and this includes no screws, glues or fixings. It was suggested to me that there are two options:

Originally I had only eyes for a minimalist approach: The entire piece completed solely from spun metal. The two components would joint together via male/female connections.

I am now looking towards a Migration approach and have begun to explore ways in which ‘things’ joint together. In particular, I am inspired by the way simple coffee plungers connect- the plastic base contains the glass ‘cup’ and the two stay together via the friction between the two materials. I have found many occasions where two components are ‘joined’ together via their differing material properties.

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D-catcher Clothes Drier by Tian Lingrui » Yanko Design

D-catcher Clothes Drier by Tian Lingrui

I thought this was a great outcome for a micro event that uses water. The water that is caught by the D-Catcher may seem minimal, however similarly to my project- every little drop counts. Maybe if everyone addressed every micro  event that uses water we could start seeing change. This Design is right where I’m sitting, and I’m so glad that other people are doing similar projects to me.

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Where I’m at

So much has been happening with both my projects I have lost sight of completing weekly reports. So I thought that I would post a summary that covered everything I have done in the last few weeks and to get the project up to speed.


I had previously constructed and tested my colander prototype which revealed some issues with size. The testing however, re-enforced that the idea of selecting half of the surface of the colander for drain holes only was proven theory in water saving. From here I have been sketching smaller and more useable shapes for the colander. I have been working on the idea of having the colander split into 2- one side filled, the other side holey. I made a quick mock up of this theory previously and noted that there needed to be segregation between the two areas so that water could be contained in the reservoir. I made a quick mock up with a ‘wall’ in-between both areas. This worked well, but was a little ‘clunky’ for need of a better word. So I began to think about other patterns of draining holes. I quickly made up a colander that was filled in the centre, with holes surrounding the upper edges/walls. This worked really well, and when needing to drain water away, the colander was simply tilted. This change in idea saw me return once more to a shape that I began with at the start of semester. This colander is oval in shape, and has an angled basket within. The lowest end of the basket is filled and acts as the initial reservoir in which to wash. The upper surfaces of the reservoir have drain holes. When the user needs to drain away the used water, the colander is tilted, so that the lower reservoir drains through the holes and into a catchment area beneath. Complicated I know, but in the flesh it’s a really simple.

I am now playing with this idea and am trying to find the program Lamina on the uni computers to produce some paper models. This will give me quick and inexpensive insight into overall shape and feel of the objects from CAD.

Holey water

This project has become a battle of measurements at the moment. I decided on creating my own new grip. Currently human grips are divided into two areas- the ‘power grip’ and the ‘precision grip’. The way in which the holey water cup is held combines both of these grips and for now I have named it the ‘tetra grip’ because of the 3 main points that make the grip. This thumb acts as a power grip, the index finger as a precision grip and the rest of the fingers as a combination of the two. I have come across a great book Bodyspace, by Stephen Pheasant, which has given me so much direction in the way of anthropometrics and ergonomics. I have currently produced a set of measurements for the tetra grip that suit a range of data from male and female, child, adult, etc. This data seems great in theory, but needs to be modelled 3D to get a better understanding. At the moment the overall shape appears too small.

I have also been working on the plastics arm of the project- I have previously broken the project down into 3 materials pathways ceramics, plastics and glass. I created and tested several mock ups of add on grips that, instead of being the entire vessel, will simply attach to any regular drinking glass. These have worked really well but in the end will come down to materials choice for friction with drinking glasses. I am now looking into cooking grade silicones for this outcome.

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week 4

Week 4 again saw much advancement for both of my projects.

My first colander mock up (which I had made in wk.3) now needed insides. I ventured to the workshop and approached Paul for some help. Over the next hour of so we managed to vacuum press styrene over the top of the outside shape, to form a ‘bowl’ shape on the inside. This sounds fairly straight forwards, however we had to work the machine backwards in effect… thanks Paul J From here I cut the new bowl from the sheet so it sat snugly on top of the outside shape. I was really impressed with the overall look of the object- although it was very simply put together; my project was now taking shape. I proceeded to drill holes into one side of the colander (discussed previously).

From here I went to the sink for some serious testing. I first washed some spinach leaves with a normal colander, and measured the amount of water the process used- 3cups. I then proceeded to complete the same task with my colander- 1cup. I love it when these tests prove my theories right… makes my project all worth while. I filmed this process and added it to my accumulating prototyping file of footage.

From the video I came to several conclusions:

  1. The height of the colander was too tall; it was difficult to manage such a tall object within the sink. It was also difficult to align the tap for the same reasons. So the colander needs to be shorter, perhaps wider…
  2. The washing and the draining can over lap. They need separated areas of some sort
  3. The sheer size of the object was too large and difficult to handle.
  4. I may need to make the colander with a handle of some sort, so that the tap can be turned on/off/down when using it
  5. I like the wash and drain idea. The movie proved that this idea has merit

I have now begun to sketch from my conclusions and will endeavour to create more mock ups during week 5.

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