Sunday, 8 March 2015

Baffled: Form Factor

Part III of the Advanced Digital Design individual coursework.  Read Part I and Part II here.

After the feedback I was given during my last presentation, I decided that I needed to explore the narrative of the baffle more, and to start re-working it's form factor.

The two aims of the product are to; a) absorb sound and b) be compact.  Though I'd looked into compressibility in the past and thought inflation might be a novel solution, I knew I had to come up with a compression method that had more to do with the narrative of the product.

In my mind, the ideal setting of the product would be a noisy area that you want to shield yourself from.  Because of the size, and portable nature of the product, I kept going back to the analogy of a book, and propping up an open book in front of you while you are working; could it have the form of a book?
I started sketching out some ideas based around this, with two flat sides (like a hardback book) and a fully flexible spine.  I thought about crushable patterns, and was inspired by the work of Lauren Moriarty, who uses a lasercutter to etch patterns into foam.
Crushable structures - Lauren Moriarty: Source
Crushable structure - Lauren Moriarty: Plastics Handbook by Christopher Lefteri (Detail)
Left: Sketches, Right: Detail of traditional Japanese kimono

This lead me to look at paper.  Though my product was going to be made of acoustic felt, I started looking at traditional paper folding techniques, origami and pop-up books, to allow the product to be folded down into a much smaller space.

Origami structure - Paul Jackson: Folding techniques for designers by Paul Jackson (detail)
After hours deliberating, I decided that making the product crushable, or compressible, wasn't the direction I would like to take with it - it wasn't intuitive enough to use.  I decided to look back again at the archetypal hard-back book form.

Books I've been reading:
Origami : the art of paper folding -  Robert Harbin
Paper engineering : 3D design techniques for a 2D material - Natalie Avella
Folding techniques for designers : from sheet to form - Paul Jackson
Cut and fold techniques for pop-up designs - Paul Jackson