The second Studio project this semester was to adapt an animal to emulate the aesthetic of the famous Eames elephant from Charles and Ray Eames. The main goal of this project was to develop an understanding of plastic forming and to hone our ability to abstract forms. The prompt was to design a simple animal to be made out of laser cut and bent acrylic with simple rivets to hold a minimum of two and a maximum of four pieces together. Being assigned a whale I started by cutting draft models out of bristol paper and experimenting with how I could bend and attach the model. Eventually, I came up with a design where the belly was one piece and the body and fins were an upper portion. This lower portion was attached to the tail and eye area. Through iterating in plastic I figured out I could also attach the bell portion in a way where the rivet also represented the blowhole and I didn’t need a fastener in the rail region if I bent the sides of the tail region in to trap the tapering end of that part. This helped to really simplify my design and make it more pleasing to view. Overall I am very happy with my result as I think I was able to find a good balance between detail and abstraction.
As usual, it has been a busy semester so far with lots of improvement in my abilities as a designer. Today I am going to take the time to post about a handful of my early projects. The first of which is my Studio 3 cantilever project. The goal of this project was to practice the design project in a very extreme case. Our objective with this project was to suspend a two-pound weight as far from the center of a 6-inch circle and a minimum of 7 inches from the surface of the table. This distance from the center of the base would then be divided by the weight of our model to determine the ratio of distance to weight. This ratio along with the thoroughness which with we executed the process of developing the cantilever would then be used to determine our grade. In our cantilever, we could only use super glue and balsa wood sticks and a single 1-pound counterweight. In the end, after at least five iterations, I was the student with the best ratio! I have attached a picture of my final winning design. It is a simple bridge-like truss with side supports to prevent torsion from the weights. My key development was using a single truss instead of two parallel ones which significantly cut down on weight. My final model weighed only 26 grams and extended 14 inches!
Now that it had been a couple weeks since classes started, I figured I might write about my roster for this semester. This semester, similar to the last two, I have 19 credits of mostly major required classes. My core design classes for this semester are Industrial Design Studio 3, 3D Realization, and 3D Visualization. Studio consists of primarily more major projects that focus on developing the design process and tying together the many different skills developed in the two other design classes. 3D Realization is the design class which has replaced the more graphic design esk classes from last year. 3D Realization focuses on teaching different modeling and machining practices. So far we have learned to safely use the laser cutter, foam cutters, plastic ovens, band saws, drill presses, mills, and metal lathes. The laser cutter and plastic ovens already played a major role in our second studio project. 3D Visualization is my drawing class for the semester. In 3D Visualization, we moved from using black colored pencils as we did last year to using various types of pens and Copic markers for shading/color. I took me a little while to get back into the drawing flow but recently I have been very satisfied with some of my work.
Aside from my design classes, I have a social studies elective and a mandatory physics class. For social studies, I decided to take design history. Both classes are very well organized and have a regular pattern which is something I appreciate. In History class, for instance, there is always an online quiz due on Tuesday before class and the writing homework is due by midnight Friday. In physics, the online homework is due every money before class and the quiz is due by midnight Wednesday. This makes it really easy to keep track of all work and get it in on time. Overall I am very satisfied with all of my classes and professors this year. I will continue to write posts referring to individual projects as I complete them.
September was a busy month. After flying in from California on the 30th of August I went to my roommate’s house in Rhode Island from which we prepared to move into the apartment on the 1st. When we moved in, the apartment was left in pretty poor condition so we spent the first three days driving in from Rhode Island in the morning then cleaning or painting for a few hours and in the evening driving back to Road Island to sleep and eat. While it would have been nice to be able to move into the apartment the day we got to the city, having to do some work wasn’t unexpected and the real estate agency was willing to reimburse us for the materials we needed to buy. Now that we have moved into the apartment it is really nice to have a clean, open, and most of all a personal room. Hopefully, this whole endeavor is rewarding enough for the time and energy spent on it.
So far I am happy with living off campus but there are some cons to renting from a private company instead of getting a dorm room on campus. The most noticeable is that if I lived on campus my classes would only be about 5 minutes away while from my apartment it takes about 15. On the flip side of this, the grocery store and Target are only 5 minutes away instead of 15 which makes it easier to go grocery shopping and prepare meals myself. Another mark against the off-campus apartment would be that we are on the fourth floor and don’t have an elevator in the building. However, I quickly got used to walking the steps and now appreciate it as a mandatory workout. Overall I am happy with my choice to move into the Fenway but I understand that it wouldn’t be the best choice for everyone.
The last few weeks in both Vis and Studio have been taken up with our final projects for this semester. In studio, we were instructed to design the packaging and form of a bar of soap, and in Vis, we were asked to design a poster for an assigned font type. For my soap, I chose to design a product that addressed the needs of a swimmer. Having been a swimmer for most of my life I knew that a crucial part of the soap would be addressing the issues surrounding chlorine exposure. To solve this, I added moisturizers and liquid anti-chlorine soap to the base we were using. In the packaging and the form of the soap, I upheld the swimming theme by using speedo products such as swimming fins as a reference. I really like the final product which I came up with and will have it at my year end show this week. I am also very pleased with my poster. After several iterations, this is what I came up with what I have attached below.
After coming back from winter break my classes started up again pretty quickly. Especially in my studio and drawing classes. However, I still found enough time to go to the gym here on campus and to go out into the city when the weather permitted. In addition to my classes this semester, I also made a point to attend the many guest lectures which the design professors organize for the students. My two favorites were from a Wentworth graduate who is now doing design work for Bose and the lead designer for Nerf at Hasbro toys. Both presentations helped me to further understand what life is like as a professional designer. After attending it was a lot clearer to me which skills are most emphasized by the industry.
Life in the Evansway dorm this semester has continued to be pretty comfortable. My suitemates and I all get along well and often help each other with assignments since we are in many of the same classes. The dorm isn’t far from any of my classes and is close enough to the Fenway to attend games and carry back groceries from Target or Star Market. The one thing I wish I had access to is a kitchen somewhere on campus or even just a counter to prepare food standing and not at a desk.
Even though I found that on-campus housing was a good experience this first year for the next three I will be moving off campus into an apartment in the Fenway area. I chose to do this mostly because as an out of state student from the west coast I found that moving in and out of housing every year and needing to go home over winter and spring break was extremely costly and difficult to organize. Off-campus housing, however, gives me a year-round space to live in and has the potential of being less costly than on campus housing if I stay in the city for my co-ops and organize a roommate. However, this does limit my flexibility when it comes to the location of where I could do my internships. During the whole process of finding an off-campus solution for next year, Wentworth Housing was very helpful in figuring out the logistics on their side of things and made the process really straightforward.
In all, I have really liked my first year at Wentworth and am really looking forward to my Sophomore, Junior, and Senior years. For these last two weeks, I have to focus on getting my final projects and presentations ready for my review. Once I have them figured out I will certainly write a post summarizing what I achieved this year in my classes.
The last few weeks have been busy per usual. However, as we approach spring break and we wrap up projects, I finally have some extra time to write a few blog posts to summarize the last month. In industrial design studio, we have been working on the final compositions for the deconstruct/reconstruct project. In this project, we took a found object, in my case a hand plain, and deconstructed it to understand the form and function. After this, we did several iterative models to reach a final composition which pays homage to what we observed in the first step. The final model is made of different colors of chipboard joined with Sobo glue. In my model, I chose to include a mechanical mechanism that slides. As you push the plain forward the wood shaving grows longer. Of the work I have done while here at Wentworth this is my new favorite.
January in Boston has been treating me well. While I do wish it was a little warmer it has stayed mostly dry for the last few weeks. However, we do have a snow storm warning for tomorrow so we will see how the next few days go. My new classes have thus far been quite enjoyable. I am currently enrolled in Industrial Design Studio 2, Visualisation 2, Visual Communication, English 2, and Geometry. In industrial design studio class, we have already finished our first project which was an 8-inch by 8-inch cube that we developed using subtractive methods and ultimately modeled in chipboard. Visualization 2 is my drawing class for this semester. As opposed to what we were doing last semester this brand of drawing is a lot more technical and definitely more my thing. I have attached a drawing from class to this post. Visual communication started off with taking pictures of elements and principles of design in existing objects and has now moved onto coming up with personal compositions. English 2 and geometry are pretty standard classes for their subject.
It has been another couple busy weeks here at Wentworth Institute of Technology. I am beginning to adjust more and more to my classes and the new environment. Recently, I have been able to take the time to experience more of what Boston has to offer. Just this last Thursday I was able to go see the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s production of Mozart’s 39th symphony with a friend. Though it was a relatively cold and rainy night, we had a great time going to the Boston Symphony for the first time and experiencing something out of the ordinary. It was extremely convenient that the symphony was only a few blocks down Huntington Ave. I still have to get used to the idea that so much in the city is only a green line ride away. For instance the week before last I went to the Harvard Museum of Natural History with my drawing class with only a short 15 minute trip from the T station right outside of Wentworth.
Academically, I can really see myself improving. The basics we learned during the first weeks of school are now transitioning into more complex work. However, the foundations built initially are constantly referenced when doing these new more dynamic projects. The design studio project I just finished this weekend for Tuesday is an animal-themed mask in honor of Halloween but all I could use to make the mask was thick card stock paper. I could not even use glue or tape to hold it together. This project pushed me to further my understanding of how folding and tabs work in relation to paper craft while still reinforcing techniques learned previously such as how to cut and score card stock. In the end, I produced through several iterative steps a fish mask which not only strongly resembles a goldfish but is also is made with several complex and interesting techniques. In the next weeks, I look forward to doing new and different projects that are as interesting and fun as this last one.
Boy has this first month flown by! I have been meaning to write my first blog post for some time now but I’ve just been so busy going to class, doing homework, daily chores and meeting scores of amazing new people. I find myself without a doubt wishing for more hours in the day and more days in the week. I feel as if I can’t get everything I want to do to fit into the 24 hours I am given and thusly my days and weeks seem all too short. Often a day will feel like a heartbeat even though I did so much. This past Thursday my roommate (who is also an industrial design student) and I remarked on how we could have both sworn it was the beginning of the week and that we still had several more days of classes ahead of us but in actuality, we were nearing the end. On Tuesday and Wednesday I already proudly turned in my second set of projects for industrial design studio, drawing, and color and composition. My work thus far has eaten up a lot of time but nothing has felt like busy work. Each and every assignment has felt natural and purposeful which is exactly what I was looking for in my college experience. I am so impressed by the fact that I have been here hardly a month and I already would be hard pressed to count off all the new skills I have acquired. However, Despite how busy school keeps me I still have found enough time to go out and explore the city with my new friends and roommates. A highlight from my birthday on the 16th, for instance, was being able to treat my friends to a dinner out on Newbury Street and then to retreat to the common room of our eight-person suite for a movie after a long week of classes. All in all, I am enjoying my early days at Wentworth and am looking forward to sharing more of my experiences here on the admissions blog in the future!