GSMD 550 Directed Study

There are two main design awards I am working on this semester, and the experience of having the freedom as an independent designer is very valuable and enjoying thing to do. I really appreciate the accomplishment and support from Dimeji Onafuwa who is the course leader of GSMD 550 spring 2021.

Keywords: sustainability, community, care, ecosystem, recycle, reuse, engagement, reward system, human-centred design, design for the system, pandemic, psychological effect, nature, wild

At the beginning of the course, I’m expecting to finish several concept design projects under this pandemic situation.

Design is a way of thinking that drives innovation, to provide sustainable development solutions “human-centred design”. The tasks of design are not only to serve life and business but also accompanied by artistic creation. Achieving challenges in society, the design improves people’s living standards and plays a vital role. With the spirit of “design changes the future”.

GoldenCrown International Design Award (referred to as GoldenCrown Award) is openly soliciting outstanding design works of international standards from professional institutions and designers around the world. The award will provide me with a great opportunity to rethink some of the design problems I am researching now, and give me time to jump out of the box. I am doing this project with one of my ECU undergraduate classmates who is learning a master’s degree in sustainable practices in the UK. I primarily expect to finish the projects through CAD rendering, however, we found ourselves better communicates with physical products. I will primarily work in the critical design and product design field. GoldenCrown Awards is one of the competitions we are attending, we’re also attending the biomimicry Global design challenge after handing in the first awards and researching into other design awards. 

Initial idea generation

In the first few weeks, we started with discussing the core topic that we would like to further explore and having them recorded on paper so we can do research separately and gather the information for the next meeting.

Basically, we have set two main directions: one is about the disposable problems we are having under the COVID-19 situation, and the other would be how lighting system and home design can help affect people’s emotions (this topic is retrieved from my core study reflections and this could not be my research direction for my master degree so I decided to keep the ideas for the competition and I can make it real in this course).

Phase I

We observed this situation of the increasing number of disposible masks being thrown everywhere, especially in the water, and it would take over 400 years for the nature to recycle it. There are over 15,000,000,000 masks has been thrown into the ocean.

Medical masks will not disappear anytime soon. This protective mask may take hundreds of years to decompose in nature, release them into nature can cause harm to wildlife. said Ashley Fruno from PETA Animal Rights.

part of the discussion about intial ideas

In this more than a year since the pandemic starts, apart from the ever-increasing number of infections, this war without gunpowder is far from over. What is more worrying is the butterfly effect brought about by the epidemic. For example, masks that are thrown away are causing a large number of wild animals to die.

I was considering the design problems all the time, and one day I was dreaming of a furniture design project that recycles the masks and convert to a couch, I immediately record it and start researching when I woke up. There’s one example that has been made out one step earlier than my dream: is called couch-19 designed by an Italian designer Tobia Zambotti.

Precedent Research:

We started looking into some precedents design that tending to solve the problem of overusing disposible masks.

couch-19 by Tobia Zambotti

Zambotti recruited volunteers through Facebook📱 to safely collect masks discarded on the street and save the masks they use every day to give them new uses.


Although the new coronavirus particles can only survive on the mask for about 7 days, Zambotti kept them in a sealed plastic bag for a month to ensure that no danger was left behind. They also disinfect with ozone spray, which has been shown to inactivate viruses similar to Covid-19.


These masks are compressed into four modular units, covered with PVC, which can be combined into a series of seats from ordinary sofas to recliners.


Zambotti explained: “The material must be strong, transparent and ‘cold’. If the plastic is recyclable♻️, then it is innocent, and the clear crystal PVC I chose is 100% recyclable.”

Hanel Kim – stack and stack

South Korean designer Haneul Kim collected thousands of disposable masks from his university campus and recycled them into stackable stools. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many countries around the world require people to wear masks in public places. According to data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, in 2020, global sales of disposable masks will reach 166 billion U.S. dollars. This is more than 200 times that of the previous year, and the previous year’s sales were only US$800 million.


During the coronavirus pandemic, there are 129 billion disposable masks used every month around the world. The United Nations estimates that as many as 75% of the masks are eventually buried in landfills or appear in our waterways. PPE has been found in 30% of beaches in the UK.


Haneul Kim’s project is called Stack and Stack (“Jenga”) and aims to show how to prevent disposable masks from being transferred to landfills and the ocean.


This Guiyuan University student said: “In the beginning, I collected disposable masks that my friends and I had used, but the amount collected in this way was limited. So I installed a mask collection box on the campus. And empty it regularly.”


After quarantining these masks for several days, Kim stacked the masks in a mold and melted them one by one using a hot air gun. Gradually, these materials constitute a solid seat design. Each stool leg requires about 250 masks, and the stool surface requires another 750 masks, and each stool uses about 1,500 masks😷.


The final product does not require glue or resin to fix and is completely made of recycled personal protective equipment (PPE) ♻️ without adding any other materials. The white, blue, and pink marbling patterns on the seats are not derived from the added dyes or paints, but from the original colours of the masks.

We’ve experienced a topic shift in the process, about the sharing communication between couples. But eventually, we decided to continue exploring the idea of the mask.

Face to face

There is a special isolated lounge in the 9th Suzhou Cultural and Creative Design Industry Trade Fair. This art installation named “face to face” comes from the architectural design studio CAS. The “building materials” in the entire lounge are made of 117,539 pieces. The 80 “wall curtains” made up of masks create gaps that allow people to walk through them.

When being in a covered space “built” entirely by masks, also makes people have different perspectives and thinking about the crisis and themselves.

Secondary Research:

As I’m having a dog at home, and the frequency of taking a walk outside has been reduced. She got much energy awaits to spend, so I’m thinking if there’s an opportunity can help dogs release their energy at home. I contact my partner and discussed it. So we have the to-do list ready for the next phase.

Some mockup drafts to guide the next phase of design.

I started collecting the used masks at my home, sanitized them and seperates them by materials.

I actually used the part user tested on my dog, she likes it, and it actually consumes her energy. The result turns in a good way.

There was a hard time while we were trying to figuring out the afterlife of the masks that have been recycled for a second time. I was thinking if those masks can be compressed into building bricks, but this idea is hard to be approved, so we research some precedent ideas about the afterlife of recycled masks. One of the great insights would be to turn them into the road-making cycles.

A way finder 🏃‍♀️

This project has helped me set a great title and direction that I would like to continue researching into for the next phase of study.

In this first week, I was trying to get ideas organized in words as I have retrieved from the second project. One day, I was cooking, when I check my fridge, there’s this carrot having some small yellow leaves poking out. I was curious about how it grows within such cold conditions with no sunlight and enough water. So I cut the top part off and put it in a small tray with some water just to see if it can become alive. Surprisingly, the leaves start turning green, and more branches start standing up. During that time, that beam of green has become a microecology in my home. I took one picture a day and send it to my mom. She is surprised with that little green garden as well, but she also mentioned, carrots grow with seeds, putting a part of the carrot in the water will die eventually.

The leaves grow fast every day, and I was trying to record the secret grow process of the buds, but it seems to have some camera-shy which never let me catch those growing moments but the quick change of the outside environment.

It indeed dead at the second week, which makes me think of the lifecycle of plants.

It is an inevitable process of participating in the lifecycle, but the moment when it blooms itself has become the highlighting moment of its life. Observing the growth of a plant is a common activity that most kids will do at a very young age, and repeating this activity at my age of view has changed. The world never stops moving, and there are things that die every second. Facing of fall of lives is not that hard as before, it is just a part of the cycle. Largely speaking, I believe the world is connected together since time starts, there always some clues that connect the universe system as a whole. Just like the patterns on the rock, changes through time forms the rocks we see now. We react to the environment around us, also the environment is reacting to what we have done.

ln this case, I would like to visualize the situation with “cycles” There are a lot of cycles happening at the same time. The system may seems messy, but every single of them has their own trajectories. In the case of home care, I would like to describe my life like these wires. There more and more things overlapping with the growth of my age, and it has become harder for me to find the true self in this chaos system. I want to refer back to the 5 senses that I would like to explore in the previous action.

I was planning a workshop within my friend in order to see the effect of 5 senses, but the results doesn’t wroks very well.

In the workshop, there were 13 friends participated, and I had the lighting system with color changes to create a different sense of feeling under each color, with wine and essence burning on the side. Then we started to play a game with easily get arguments among us so that I can monitor the changes in people’s voice to see how their emotion changes. The light color shifts every 30s.

chart of sound loudness change

The X-axis represents the amount of wine they take, and the Y-axis represents the measurements of the talk (Hz). The results take me to nowhere, so I stopped recording it and feel kinda lost at the moment.

Thinking of the cloud changes happening when I was trying to record the growth of the carrot, in the meantime, I’m very interested to see how the world moves in no sense. Things always change without our notice. I started recording these beautiful moments of time that actually give me a sense of relief.

There’s another tool that gives me a lot if insight and try to help me thinking in another way is several crystal balls. When I feel lost, I look the world through it’s sections, the worls shifts with the rotation and this process refers to the activity of mimicing the perspectives of cat and dog.

With the variations, I have tried several materials and forms to see if there’s any new insights would come up.

The way how things interact with each other is a great way of exploration, with the tension of itself, outside power, free forming, or interlocking system.

Life is like a sphere, the things around us affect our small world. Most people believe that what you see is what you get, so they are busy all day for the two or three trivial matters in front of them. And I believe that life has no boundaries. Breaking conventions can open up infinite vitality, just like those sticks poking out of the ball. To me, nature comes from the inside of our hearts. One of the sentences from Kenya Hara: “The more technology evolves, the closer it will be to the form of life. “

I was experiencing a huge barrier at this moment when I feel completely lost in the program, I started question myself, what is the purpose of continuing studies, and why I am here studing sth I don’t understand. Things overlapping together, and the voice of questioning is always pulling me backwards.

It is hard for me to overcome this project. The project has experienced a lot of development through these weeks. I was so confused again when I was in the middle of the project and trying to get it to make sense. However, when things tied up and think in a smooth and clearer way, it seems every action that happened in the previous time has constructed the situation where I stand, most of them are making sense in a way. There may be some ideas being abandoned, but the overall thinking process is pushing itself towards what I initially expected. Sometimes, I got distracted by other interesting elements and started confusing myself, but thanks to those who always help and listen to me, I’m still keeping myself in the lane.

At this time, I would like to thank my supervisors and Laura, who always support me with these hard time. I started making when I eventually have my mind clearer, and make sure what I would like to do is the continuous process of design products. So I started with lighting system.

The lights are called 1/2 light and tri-lit. 1/2 light is made from wood panel, acrylic boards, and LED stripe, it concept is inspired from my previous confusion about the program. I want to remind myself with this light that things are not only front and back, there’s some way more than that, and not trouble myself in a single perspective which maybe just a half of the whole situation. The second light is made from acrylic panels and fibretek material, which is a more sustainable material that made with paper, but has a strong tension of use. Tri-lit is mimicing two tones of light that I saw on the reflection of the window by chance.

Moving forward from the lighting system to another level of thinking, I would like to talk about breath. I was watching the Japanese animation: Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba and in this work, people are all talking about the way how they breathe to upgrade their skills and abilities, which made me think about traditional Taoism and Buddhism.

sitting posture

The world is constantly in motion, whether we are running, ironing, martial arts, boxing, qigong, yoga… In almost all sports, breathing training is a very important part.

In China, in the ancient fitness techniques of Yijinjing, Baduanjin, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, breathing seems to be more mysterious, which is almost equivalent to the secrets of becoming immortal. There are far more secrets to explore in terms of breathing.

Taoist practice requires focus on breathing, and sitting posture is a very common posture in so many cultures, I would like to take the sitting panel as a way of explorations.

When I figure out a clear way of thinking, everything can become an inspiration.

At the time, I just found ideas flood into my head, and I would like to have them all on paper for future manufacture.

First, I tried with ballons. The softness provides comfortness but at the same time, my mind is always keeping me aware because I’m afraid if the ballon is broken when I’m sitting on it is going to definitely scare me. I was holding my breath when I was sitting on it. Eventually, they break because I was trying to do activities on it. Then I would like to move on to some hard materials, so I shift my battleground to the woodshop.

Then I move on to wood balls and see how that works with the balance. The rounded shape is the most balanced but unbalanced thing, it is a very inclusive shape to discover with.

The curve also represents a kind of spirituality. In your furniture, it represents a kind of faith in your loyalty to the curve. You may never replace it with a straight line. Eventually it will become a kind of belief. I personally think that it is fun, or it can be said to be feelings.

Final title decided:

Design Slomo: A miracle balance

Furniture as an environment to build a flat lifestyle

I think objects nourish its user, just like a jade product. A good environment is also elegant with people. It’s a double-way relationship. For example, I am constantly affected by the objects in the house. Every moment my spirit interacts with it. I think the best way of living is to define your lifestyle. It is like the Yin and Yang relationships, it never ends.

I am a designer, but a designer does not mean a person who knows how to design, but a person who keeps the concept of design to live. Kenya Hara.


Questions left in project one:

First, WHY?

Second, How?

Thirdly, What?

What makes my project innovative and interesting?

where should design sit in the contemporary background? In the past 100 years, social changes will not be as big as they are now. Now 50 years of changes have been earth-shaking. The development of human civilization is accelerating, and the design industry has played a big role in it. The driving effect also has an impact on people’s psychology. In the past, few people had psychological problems such as depression. The broadening of modern cognition has led to an upgrade of people’s way of thinking and changed people’s attitudes towards life.
Keeping pets is an adaptive behaviour of animals in the process of modern socialization. In the same way, planting is also the adaptability of plants to changes in the environment. The difference between humans and animals and plants is that we have always Change the environment while adapting to it. So, in the future, how will we get along with this world?

As those questions I left for myself in the first project, I started thinking about my own life. I believe a designer should understand themselves first, then we can start designing. Based on the previous action which monitors some daily routines of my moving track, I would like to continue to keep an eye on my personal behaviours.

mimicking animal postures

In the first week, I am experiencing a very bad emotional period, the efficiency of working time has dramatically dropped, I refused to do works, resist to talk and communicate unless it is necessary. My emotions are easily affected and remain unstable at the time, so I am trying to observe those postures animals normally do to see if the movement of different postures would help alleviate the bad emotions.

Thinking in different perspectives will affect the way how we live and view. By coping the postures of my dog and my friend’s cat, it inspired me to follow the perspectives how they are looking at the environment we are sharing.

Other ways to help me live in the moment would be lighting. The moment while I was concentrating at the time and reflecting on myself would called a slow living lifestyle. To me, it is lighting at this point.

What is slow design?

To me, it is about ritual and tight up with the moment of being ourselves.

  • Longer design processes with more time for research, contemplation, real life impact tests, and fine tuning.
  • Design for manufacturing with local or regional materials and technologies or design that supports local industries, workshops, and craftspeople.
  • Design that takes into account local or regional culture both as a source of inspiration and as an important consideration for the design outcome.
  • Design that studies the concept of natural time cycles and incorporates them into design and manufacturing processes.
  • Design that looks at longer cycles of human behaviour and sustainability.
  • Design that takes into account deeper well being and the findings of positive psychology

As I was staring at the flames, I found myself have the moment highly concentrated, the body isn’t moving, however, the mind starts travelling. Then I started collecting those elements where lights came from. Most of the artificial light sources are quite limited, but the natural light source isn’t. Starting from here, my targets shift from the inside environment to the outside.

I am also curious about how other people think about the slow living lifestyle and how they normally do a ritual to live in the moment. 55.55% of people would say they feel distracted or anxious from around 8 pm to midnight and 33.33% of them found it hard to sleep during that time. 33.33% of them feel anxious in the morning. In order to take a slow step and reflect on themselves, most of them would prefer a quiet space and stay alone. This is the context I was trying to find, and limit my research to a more specific time period. Time at night, especially before bed would be the most “creative” boost. I highly resonate with this idea, I found that the time lied down on the bed, my brain starts telling me some design ideas and many tips for the next day. I am a contradictory person, I always found it hard to decide if I should get up and write them down or just falling into sleep.

As I grow up, I have more and more roles adding to my personality, I am a student at ECU, a daughter of my parents, a girlfriend of my partner, an instructor at work, a friend of my friends, etc. There are so many faces I have to adjust to based on different occasions. However, I found the part of myself shrinks through time, I got less time to be on my own, and less opportunity to be alone and get my life organized.

Stepping into nature actually helps me calms down and try to concentrate at the moment which released all of the burdens I have, at this time, I am representing myself. Everyone has to play diverse roles in their lives. Some may be a mom but also a daughter, they may have several jobs and have different masks on different occasions.

One day, I took a trip to the white rock beach, and I started picking up the rocks on the beach. I felt the time froze on the beach. Time flys when I was concentrating on the stone picking process. The action of picking up stones is the ritual for this day. Each stone has its uniqueness, it records the time and materials of how it was formed in different ways.

The action of collection is building a bridge between the real personality and the nature of itself. Each stones has their own representations, either with its special patterns or with its colors and shapes.

When you concentrates, the five sense of human will be magnified. At this moment, I want to combine the sources I collected to visualize the process in design prototypes.

Based on the special colours and patterns they have on the stone, I would like to incorporate light into this process. This is a disk note collector specially designed for a collective experience. It has two main parts which top is a transparent container for the stones to be collected; the bottom area would be a lighting system with scrolled notes wrapped around a container. People can use stones as a diary of each day, and write some hints and collect it in the bottom container, when the jar is full, it can be replaced with other containers and the action of matching the notes and the stones would be an interesting experience to look back and reflect on it.

I understand a master degree isn’t about redesign something out, it is about addding values based on specific designer’s background, and take that as the new research.

Through this action, I have narrowed from the broad idea of home design to a more ritual-based slow design and slow living concept. The purpose would be how can I give temperature to home design and how the 5 senses are incorporate in this situation. Also using slow design principles as a method to design towards a slow lifestyle. In the next action, I would keep it more specific, and try to get the idea described in a more solid way.

Week 1 + 2 Revisit Research Plan

Topic ends last fall:

Design Slo-mo: Experience the spirit of Chinese aesthetics in modern homes.

Through the exploration in the last semester, I would like to talk about how traditional Chinese aesthetics co-exist with modern home design in a slow-lifestyle, by here I mean a low desire consciousness. Also, implement Taoism in people’s lifestyles in order to a balanced and stable sense of emotions while being in the environment.

Moving forward to this semester, I have extract 4 key words from what I got last semester: material life, consciousness, oriental ideology, and home care.

What are the key studio inquiries that feel most energizing to spend more time
investigating in the studio?

The key inquiries that I would like to continue work on is home, material , consciousness.

I believe all of those inquiries are embeded in the context of care, either about home care, personal care, environmental care, etc. The oriental impact of ideology is the link to all these inquiries. There’s another aspect that I would like to add in is nature. I would like to discuss how nature is going to fit into modern home since everything is tend to become smart and technological, I would like to hold that “green” space available under this kind of time background.

About Home, material and consciousness, I think those words are giving a framework to have a limitation on my large scope of thinking, it could be a way that I visualize my research goals.

I got a little bit limit at the time to the consumption culture and furniture design area which shouldn’t limit myself in a such narrow space. Laura and the cohort has given me many suggestions and recources on that.

Making without thinking and making with a purpose.

I cannot think all the time without my hands moving. I am recently working on an environmental design project with my student, the initial concept of this project is trying to show the beauty of how nature can incorporate within architectural design. Also, showing the inevitable relations among the universe. My teaching experience has somehow enriched ideas adding into my design research topics, the young blood has also showing me different perspective of views.

I did cut myself while making
511 project 1

Sometimes at the moment, I confused myself, at the same time as the studio class, we are doing an activity of observing the habit on ourselves in Bonne’s class. This activity has shown me an opportunity of how covid-19 has an impact on our physical and psychological health. Because of the Covid pandemic, I have been locked at home for most of the days. Since the semester starts, I rarely go out, so I started to record the places I travel in the room and start to think about the time period I spend in each area and how my body gestures have changed. I monitored the routine for a week and a half, besides some of the on-purpose change, I found I spend most of the time in a day sitting, in an unhealthy gesture: in Chinese we call it “Ge you slouch” which is a very bad sitting position for our spins. I found that recently my spin hurts more frequently than before, I just cannot sit straightly even in a working chair – I do a lot of weird postures. At this moment, I start to doubt myself if I would like to shift to the health design area. But the answer is no, after several days of struggling, I started remapping and talk to my supervisors.

My supervisors have shown me the way how a master degree research and study. They have provided me some examples of exploring and some ways to settle ideas down to the paper.

First, I should understand WHY?

Why I want to choose home as the space background of my research?

Why nature and modern home?

Why does physical world affects spirital world?

Second, How?

How natural elements fits into modern homes?

How important it is to have an area “natural” at home?

How’s my design research going to support/affect consciousness?

How oriental ideology plays the link role in this research?

Thirdly, What?

What makes my project innovative and interesting?

This is the “outcome” with my research in the next few semester.

Week 11 What’s next?

Me and my dog both experiencing physical unwellness recently, she got her spay surgery and I got gastroenteritis happening with a headache which dramatically decreased my efficiency of making things done. Well, life continues, and time never stops, things have to be done. Looking back to what I have done this semester, the first evidence I want to recall is my photo album.

year of 2020

In my album, 70% of images are my dog, 20% of the time I was with my friends, 10% other pictures(dishes, projects, references, etc.) This year, my dog got a chance to play in the snow for the first time in her life. I finished a furniture project for my undergrad. My students have been accepted to UBC and OCAD. My dog became 1 year old. I received several offers of master degree. I made dozens of vlogs through the summer. I visited the Vancouver Aquarium for the last time before it permanently closed. My friends got married in the pandemic. I got registered common law with my boyfriend. My best friend got a cat. My brain has begun to reoperate because of this program. I am very grateful for the ordinary life, I am always envious of others who have many shocking experiences, some may have several master’s degrees, some might finish their life goal, but real happiness is living in the moment and being ordinary.

Crayon Shinchan: ” Mom, ordinary people are the happiest, sickness, accident, bankruptcy, divorce, we do not know when these things will happen, if you can spend your life in an ordinary way, of course it is a gratifying thing.”

In the next stage of practice, I hope to maintain a stable mood and discover more beautiful things in ordinary life (Pablo’s photography has gave me a lot of great insights for seeing great scene).

Mickey remains calm to the appearance, he actually studies so hard that he is experiencing a dramatic hair loss

The brain stops functioning is a terrible thing. I think that being idle for a long time will slow down the operation of the brain. The human brain is like a motherboard. If it does not operate for a long time, it will burn the motherboard once there is a demand. I have to let my brain remain operating through this lockdown situation, these courses have successfully activated my system.

501 visualizations

The 501 visualizations clearly show where I’m at right now. I really want to discover more possibilities with the surroundings around me. Also, incorporating the traditional Chinese ideology into my design methodology. This year has a great start point for me to think about what I want to do, what I like, what I wish to achieve, so I have the opportunity to think about myself without any other restrictions. For this last action, I want to leave some space for myself in 2021 to explore other ways of knowing and explanations to respond to this.

Starting with a circle, and I want to end with a circle. Also, through this last action, I want to tell myself. Imperfections has it’s own beauty, sometimes thinking in the opposite way would provide different perspectives.

I was taking the traditional chinese ideology class during the summer, and I stopped learning this lesson when this semester starts, I would like to catch up with the class through this winter, and try to understand it in depth to support my future research.

One last comment for today (2020 Dec, 4): Every task requires an infusion of emotion and attention. A good dish cannot be achieved by worrying about a lot of other things. I wish I can hold this passion for explorations through these two years of study.

The circle symbolizes the circulatory system of nature, and circling is also a way of communication with nature, starting with the planet in the first action and ending with a golden sphere for my last action. ✨ peace out.

Several questions left for my future self:

Any consider to incorporate dog care in your design practices?

Are you changing your mind on what you have decided this semester?

Are you sure you understand what you actually want?

Week 10 Back to Home

The relationship between people and things will always exist, and the way how we live in the past is different from how we view it now. The way how people living in has changed through different eras.

Just like in the past, without such advanced technology and science, natural resources in the past would not emphasize the importance of protection and the concept of sustainable development as in modern times. Then in the future, how will the relationship between people and things change?

2020 pandemic has brought us a lot of changes. Due to the decrease in the frequency of going out, the communication relationship with social distancing outside has changed. In this change, we have become alienated from some things. At the same time, we spend more time at home. Surroundings close to us have been paid more attention. What kind of new lifestyle will the changes bring to the world by covid19 during this time? how do we appreciate the ‘things’ around us? What lifestyle will be in the near future because of this change?

To start with, I have done an open virtual workshop with my friends and see how their opinions are towards future surroundings.

Some answers: autonomous car, lightspeed plane, superfast delivery, 3D printed houses, smart assistant, etc. They were quite interested in smart and technology development. In order to drag the topic back to ‘home’, I was giving 3 options to them, the first one with the high-tech interior appliances, no.2 with a more natural sense of feeling, no.3 is more back to the cave style. Most of them picked the second one which has better lighting quality and a minimal style. Some of my friends stated that technology involved home is great but not the main design of the environment, it should assist people when needed, and hide under the surface when not needed.

Reflecting to my 501 class, I was trying to figuring out my research method through the explorations I have made this semester. Starting with the spiritual research period, exploring through nature and sustainability, finally landing in home design area

Thinking through the relationships between me and my home, I wish to record my action track and see how frequent I am interacting with space and how my emotions go with different area. So I hand-drawn a floorplan of my apartment.

I used pins to mark the areas and two colours of thread to record two days of trajectory. Since it’s almost reaching the end of the year, there are a lot of work for me to finish, so I spent a long time in the study room recently. At the same time, my dog has occupied a large amount of time in a day.

I was using colored block to mark the area.

Based on the color I’ve chosed for each section, I have created a set of color practices to record the emotional experience through time.

normal status
12 units represents 2020

every 9 blocks composed a unit, and from top left to bottom left represents from January to April when I was still worrying about my undergrad project and try to finish the physical production before the pandemic. The middle part was representing the time before this semester starts, and there’s this red block where changes my trajectory of the year when I received my offer of admission from ECU. The last four represent how this semester goes, most of them are following the normal status, and I’m appreciate for getting back to school.

365 days of ideal expectations
color choices changed with emotional values

I can not stop making these lamps, the third one has been created through this action. It is specially customized for my best friend, the pearls represent she is like a precious pearl to me. Even though she left school but our friendship still here. Each beam will be sent to different users’ personalities, and I’ll see how it goes for next year.

Week 9: Double-sided

Design is conditional. Under different contexts (time, space, culture, religion, user, etc.) it shows different roles. It’s hard to say whether the design is good or bad, but being dialectical while looking at these topics would help construct our thinking before we start designing. Most human activities were made by hand, including design. Seeing from different points of view shows dramatic changes. Gillian said we are designing for situations, and having the blueprint of the whole picture and potential harms is important for designers. People ‘living’ on the back of the hand never see the palm bleeding.

There are so many sustainable projects happening nowadays, but only fewer people actually know the truth. For instance, there was a piece of news I saw 2 or 3 years ago, people living in a developed or some developing country normally donates their old clothes once in a while, but where do those clothes actually go? Some people are taking huge advantage of this, and reselling these ‘free’ clothes to Africa in order to get more profit. Cutting a hundred years old tree from South America and made that into a piece of furniture is not showing real sustainability, there is a lot more information hidden behind the scene.

A hand only has two side, the world is much complicated than two side. A cube has six sides, and human society works as clusters which I was trying to represents in this small project. The color red is very conspicuous, and it usually shows as a warning sign. I would like to use that as a set of study and see the ‘dangerous’ way of those daily products.

List of potential harms in daily ‘red’ products: domestic violence, cyber violence, physical violence, campus violence, cancer generator, cosmetic poision, food safety, financial pressure, moral kidnapping, fast fashion, social fear, etc.

Red hand practice

Life is like a mirror, we never know how the world in the mirror actually works.

Week 8: Space-ship

It’s the precious maple time

Architecture project by Chris

I was helping my student finishing with his architecture design project at the same time this week, and the concept of his idea was to create this space for people to chill and have a calming meditation moment with the tea ceremony. It was quite satisfying in the dialogue while we were discussing the spiritual values of his design. He has merged many natural elements into his creation, for example, he has a cherry tree in the reading corner and having a waterfall system by collecting rains from the roof. Discussing with others always occurs with some interesting ideas rather than thinking by myself. This gives me an insight into using natural materials and try other ways to look at them.

I started to grab some fallen leaves home and dries them in books. I actually repeating the same procedure every year when autumn arrives, and those maple leaves are a gift from the earth, there are so many ways to explore with it. 5 years ago, I was painting the galaxy on it, but now, the way how I think has changed. In the past, I was trying to customize the leaves and get them ‘live’ as long as possible. Now, I shifted to the leaves itself rather than the extra values I added to it, so how I treat those leaves becomes different.

I was trying to reprint the patterns on the leaves, but the outcome doesn’t come so clear as I expected, so I moved on to the spatial communication light could transform.

At the time, I want to explore how other materials shows with the light. First, I dried the tree skin, and peeled it in slices. It was hard to peel dry tree skin because the skin gets curvy and fragile to touch.

By holding the new form of the skin, the shadow and the physical objects represent different ways of knowing. In the physical world, tree skin is a natural material, however, it’s shadow looks like the epitome of the city. Who knows how many human activities this tree has witnessed through time.

With the leaves I was creating this surrounding feel, not only observing how the ligh shows on the patterns of the leave, but also seeing the shape it projects.

The way how it shows doesn’t limit how we think beyond that.

Week 7 Spirit

 I will investigate critical thinking, open result

 through the action/s of transforming natual sense into design practice.

As an extension of action 6, I hope to turn my attention from the ocean to the land. Canada, as a country that attaches great importance to natural environmental protection, has narrowed the distance between us and the natural environment. Whenever my emotion fluctuates, I will hike in the woods until my mood stabilizes, and the feeling that nature brings to me is what I always wanted to reflect in my design.

Considering the principles and purpose of design, I am confused. When designing a product, user experience, egronomics, and product functionality are the priority aspects. Faced with these limitations, I hope that through this action, I can explore practices that are not designed by ordinary thinking

Inspiring by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, at the beginning of the 20th century, because the industrial revolution just ended in that era, people at that time only cared about mechanized production, ignoring the importance of handicraft and fine arts. Therefore, most of the products at that time were simple in appearance and lacked aesthetics. So artists initiated the Art and crafts movement, hoped to bring a new artistic style under the context. In this context, the 35-year-old Mackintosh designed the Hill House Chair, which perfectly interprets the Mackintosh’s design concept. While emphasizing the natural and simple craftsmanship, the chair shape is very simple, without extra decoration, neat and symmetrical, and expresses the rebellious spirit that the Art and crafts movement wants to express.

In order to get some inspiration, I took a walk at Burnaby Regional Park. It is already late autumn, the feeling of the whole journey was bitingly cold. But the numerous ducks, birds, and the golden natural environment made me have to divert my attention from the coldness to this beautiful scene. As it was just in time for the sunset, the entire waterside was covered with a layer of gold by the sun. How do I transfer this experience in my design practice? I asked myself. Based on what I saw during sunset, I would like to investigate light on this action and capture this sense of fairy of nature.

First, I started grab something home and try to get some inspirations from it.

What is the purpose of designing and why am I designing. Is there a right or wrong way of design. Try to be critical with design purpose.

I was struggling in this circle of spiritual and physical world, and entangled with how to get people in a low desire environment/situation. However, always trying to find a way to solve the problem may be the problem. At this moment, stop thinking and start making.

I started use symbols to record the beings I saw and get the experience down to the paper. The visualization process can easier show the experience of the trip.

Start with one of the small element I took home, I started my iterations by simply repeating the shape, I found the experience of continuous repeating provides a space to concentrate and expanding ideas. The eventual reslt is to create a light transforming natural fairy sense to a design.

Inspired by the color of sunset, I found the color of LED light can mimic that color, then I asked my boyfriend to get me a branch and cut it into smaller operatable pieces.

The term Zen is derived from the Japanese pronunciation of the Middle Chinese word which traces its roots to the Indian practice of Zen emphasis rigorous self-control meditation practice, insight into Buddha-nature, and the personal expression of this insight in daily life, especially for the benefit of others. As such, it de-emphasizes mere knowledge.

I was trying to make the second one, but there’s some gravity issues has failed the secon version. The process of making actually satisfied me within this action.

This book is divided into two parts. The first part reveals the new discoveries of our origin. The second part shows how to embed these discoveries into our lives. This book is based on Darwin’s theory of evolution and tries to use scientific discoveries to guide everyone to rethink our relationship with the world. This book shows what we can accomplish when we cross the traditional borders of science and spirituality and combine our ancestors’ wisdom with biology, genetics, and world science to show us more possibilities in life. Very interesting to read.

BBC seven worlds one planet

About 200 million years ago, Pangea split up. When Pangea was still one piece, the evolution of the earth’s organisms was almost static, because there was no pressure brought by environmental changes to force organisms to evolve. Because the continents split to adapt to a different environment, biological evolution began to accelerate, and each continent evolved its own unique species. We are experiencing a non-major extinction, the worst since the extinction of the dinosaurs, and all this is caused by human activities. In fact, the Pangu continent is not the only one complete continent. Every three to five hundred million years, there will be a supercontinent. Now the continents are already approaching each other: Oceania approaches Southeast Asia at a speed of 7 cm every year.

The extinction of species is nothing to the earth. Only human beings really care about this. There is absolutely no recurrence in the matter of extinction. Human beings are naturally arrogant, and they shout every day the slogan of saving the earth and saving nature when doing things that destroy the earth, and the earth, which has existed for 4.6 billion years, does not need to be saved by humans.

The asteroid 65 million years ago extinct the dinosaurs. The earth is fine and it gave birth to human civilization. The destruction of the ecosystem is a disaster for all living things, including humans, but it can be restored to the earth in a flash. There is a saying that mankind is the cancer of the earth, but it is not, human beings are the cancer of mankind. The one who should really say sorry should be to other creatures that were bred by the earth with us. Humans grabbed more than needed, plundered far more than we gave, we destroyed far more than we can repair, the earth does not need our salvation, we need to save ourselves.

This piece was made later than the one above, during the creation of action 9, the process while working with this theme is very satisfying. I am so pleased to create these works, they will be sent out to my friends after this semester ends, and the user experience will be sent to me in return for my future research studies.

Week 6: Emotional explorations


 I will investigate spirituality, sustainable & critical thinking 

 through the action/s of artistic explanations.

I would like to explore these keywords through the rest actions in order to figure out where I position myself and understand who I am. Everyone has a lot of titles, which may be occupations, degrees, family relationships, or social status, but which one is the real self. No matter what role we are in, how do we understand ourselves and what is the essence of the consciousness that resides in this body? I often observe the actions on what I have done and try to analyze my behaviours as a practice of understanding myself. At this stage of my life, I really want to explore the connections between humans and the earth, how do I incorporate natural symbols within my design practices and convey the traditional Chinese “balanced – 中庸” idea to others (myself). To start with that, at a micro level, I need to understand myself first.

In the mindmap, there are four keywords helping support my personal research: connections, emotion, consciousness, senses. The whole mindmap is divided into upper and lower parts, the upper part is about nature, and the lower part is humane.

In the lower part, I would like to explore about the physical world → human activities→ design → technology → material culture → market driven → product values → consumerism → customer decisions → continuous of keep purchasing → impetuous society → meditation → roots in individual’s consciousness (human instinct, desire)

In the higher part, in order to get the idea of “balanced” and keep the emotion steady, there are several ways of using sense(hear, look, feel, taste) to find the position where we situated on the earth.

In this action, I would like to focus on how colours affect emotions. I found emotions are hard to control for myself. I noticed that my emotions are easily affected by things around me, and that is showing a lack of experience and poor self-control. People get grown up with the experience they have met so that they get better control of their emotions. In either mystery, we hardly see god easily get mad with some sound or environment. I have listed several aspects that might affect our emotions:

Science has revealed that the essence of everything in the universe is energy. Everything depends on the transformation of energy to operate. Everything that exists has a certain level of consciousness and energy.

David Hawkins chart

Powerful patterns are associated with health, weak patterns are associated with sickness. Every thought, emotion, word & action has one pattern or the other. Every moment of our day we are either moving towards health or sickness. — David Hawkins

Human temperature change with their emotions

Colours are easier to visualize the emotional change through time. I recorded 3 days of how my emotional changes, those were normal days with some volatility. My emotions are very easily affected. Line 1 has the mildest change, the emotions are not changing dramatically with a little up and down with desire satisfaction and time changes. Line two has a dynamic chance in the afternoon/evening time in a down mood direction. I got really emotional recently, and there are more conflicts happens between my boyfriend and me, which I can not get well control with those situations. Line 3 is the emotion change when I am working, I really enjoy the teaching time with my students and see the improvements they have done. I am really sensitive, even a joke can suddenly change my mood, I understand that is not a good thing, and under this occasion, I can mostly control my facial expressions and hide my emotions.

Emotional research
color convey emotions – retrieved fro coschedule

The Soviet astronomer Kardashev proposed in 1964 the idea of 7 cosmic civilization levels: Level 0 civilization, the lowest level of civilization, those can use natural resources on the planet, such as trees, coal mines, and natural gas to obtain energy. The salient feature of this type of civilization is that chemical fuels propel most of its power. Among the universe’s civilization levels, level 0 civilization is still in the infant stage, but humans are currently in level 0 civilization. As civilization’s level goes up, the control of physical and energy conditions gets less effect on the conscious. Blue actually gives me a sense of higher levels of beings, but green is landing to the environment we are experiencing right now. Aside from the stereotype of the “water polo,” I want to explore new colour combinations from what we see.

colour wheel painting
Action 6

showing the scene when human not participating in this era, how the ocean is like