Wednesday, May 27, 2009


[i-ke-ba-na] n. The Japanese art of formal flower arrangement with special regard shown to balance, harmony, and form.

I loved how different this was from American style floral arrangments. As a florist for a month doing American style arrangements, I had learnt only to focus on the balance between the plantlife. There wasn't as much concern for the stems, leaves, and the way the flower holder worked as part of the composition. The flower holder was mainly just to hold the flowers and often times got concealed under leaves, ribbons, and decorative papers.

I was also amazed by how with the art of ikebana, the flowers are often made to stand up without any help from the flower holder. It brings a whole new range of possibilities to the art of floral arrangements. My final designs did not make use of this possibility, but some of my original concepts do have the possibility in mind:

Final Concept.

This went through 3 phases eventually ending with a more subtle placement of the aluminum tube within a red oak container. The design also began with a study of the aesthetics and balance of chinese calligraphy.

Concept 1.

Concept 2.

This one started off as an attempt to use the balance and aesthetic of chinese calligraphy as a way of finding the proportions and form for a flower holder. It is made with bent layered walnut laminate and waterproofed rockite.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


A wall and desk clock still to be fully realized. This idea originated from my search for a simple but elegant clock design and a fascination for the color combination red-black-white. The clock is made with layered white acrylic cut on the laser cutter, yet another technology which I had never used before.

A metal stand sits into the back of the clock and can be pulled back to allow the clock to rest on a horizontal surface. Hopefully there will be an update soon showing how that detail is incorporated.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


It seems like as an architecture student, we're always asked to think about the implications of everything. What is the implication of advertisement on the society we live in today? Is there an architectural response? What is the implication of ornament on a building? Is ornament crime?

One of the things I've always wondered about since entering the architecture school is the disgust with artificial/cheap materials. The plastic that my balcony is made out of, for example. It's recycled, brown, and has wood patterns imprinted into it. Four years ago, I'm not sure I would have had a problem with it. Now... it seems wrong. Or my dad's suggestion to get brick patterned wallpaper for our family room... ugh.

So what's so bad about all these things pretending to be other things? At the most basic level, it's a lie. There's the whole discussion about architecture needing to be truthful which leads to expressed structures and buildings where even the mechanical systems are left exposed. I wonder, though, one more level down... does an architecture that lies actually effect the day/life of an inhabitant? What's the impact?

I could let my thoughts wander... Maybe materials and structures that lie are part of what trains the human mind to accept falsehoods as long as they produce the results that are seeked. The plastic balcony probably has some sort of forever-warranty against cracking, mold, and discoloration; so, forget about real wood. In a way, it reflects the way people live out other areas of life too. There are people so ready to cash into so many "bad" things just for power or immediate gain. It's just too easy to find some twisted logic to make something wrong into something right.

Does dishonest architecture buy into that worldview?

At the heart of my wonderings is the question of whether architecture really impacts society beyond providing for the practical needs for shelter and useful space. It's a question i struggled a lot with my final project at UofM. I'll be posting my work from that project soon, so maybe it will be better expressed then.


It's amazing how much the world of design seems to open up after just learning a very simple new process. In this case it was spot welding and wire bending. It always seems strange afterwards that I hadn't been able to figure it out before.

This project also demonstrated the beauty of constraints. I wish I had more photos of the other lamps produced in the classroom. Even though we were only allowed to use a limited set of materials (paper, wire, lamp parts) the results were quite varied and there was more than one that I could see myself buying out of a store.

Here is my first study model of the final design:

The idea was that instead of predetermining a form for the diffusive paper, the wire would act both as structure and form giver. Many tests were done using different lengths of wire with different curvature as well as various shapes of paper. Below is the final result.

There were also two other ideas I had for lamps which did not get played out:

Thursday, May 21, 2009


There are always things that could be better. One of the nuisances in my life is the dresser drawer at home full of cd's and cd cases that have nowhere better to go. The dresser is old and the drawer, more often than not, falls out when i pull it out to try to find the one cd my ears are hungry to hear.

There are always new things to learn. I had never used the CNC router before this year.

The question. How can I use the router to produce something that could hold my cd's in an aesthetically pleasing and well organized way?

The product. A CD tower perfect for me: someone who recognizes cd's/books/etcetera by color rather than by name. (My bookshelf at home is organized by color). Slits where the "spine" of the cds sit reveal their stripes of color as the tower is filled. Openings which extend through the entire width of the tower allow the cd's to be easily accessed while leaving them flush with the sides of the tower when not in use, producing a very clean feel.

The process. Layering up 1/4" plywood cut into shape by the router. Old cd cases were used to keep the layers in line, and a sanding paddle was created to sand the slots for the cds smooth. In the end, white formica was applied to the faces as a final finish.


After four years of undergraduate pursuing an architectural education, I find that I've reached a point where its almost like I'm starting out all over again. This blog aspires to be a documentation of the next four years of my life as I continue in my pursuit of thinking and making at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.