Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Integrated dropped ceiling

I take a Product Design course at Harvard GSD taught by Marco Steinberg.
The first assignment consisted of a free-form research on Chip Board. I worked on it with Alexandra Ginsberg (Daisy) and Sharon Kim. We decided to laser cut the Chip board into many thin slices and create different molds with rubber, resine and clear plastic; we mixed wet and also dry chip board slices to the materials.

A documentary on our design process of the chip board transformation ...

The following picture shows the chip board dried with resine

For our second assignment, Marco asked us to research on dropped ceilings.
We documented dropped ceiling and done intensive online search.

The following slideshow presents our on-site documentation on existing drop ceilings

We came up with a process of categorisation: economy, aesthetics, sustainability, and function. We looked at the advantages, negatives and opportunity of each category and defined cross over between category to design our 'ideal' dropped ceiling. We then investigated a dropped ceiling with integrated functionality.

Our aim is to combine luminaire with dropped ceiling functionality (could be described as concealing HVAC) whilst considering other potential uses such as ventilation/lighting control

How can a ceiling system be an essential element of the conception and design of a space, not just an added suface?

Our design process

EMBODIMENT general considerations

  • Heat/Responsive Solutions
    Functionality could include heat/responsive technologies (does it open up into
    a louvered system, could we integrate ventialtion, and replace an additional HVAC system ?)
    Layering with sunlighting strategy above the dropped ceiing
    – ie. the louvres rotate and allow natural ventilation ?

  • Pixelation
    Do the smaller individual parts of the ciling contribute to a greater overall visual aesthetic – cf. the chipboard exercise where the scale of the material lends itself to another set of readings when considered at a larger scale. Can we control this feature ?

  • Ceiling as luminaire/multi-functionality
    Is there a limit to the functionality?
    Do multiple configurations make the system too complex, or could this system enable truly multi-functional space with a large variety of available lighting strategies?

  • Daylighting vs. Artificial lighting + referential scenario
    Can the system be used with both daylighting and/or natural lighting systems, or could its appeal be as a referential system that tracks outdoor weather/lighting conditions and replicates through the ceiling system to improve user conditions.

  • Material: Our requirements
    - transparent surface
    - opaque surface
    - reflective surface
    - material for upper panels
    - framing material
    - sustainable choices ?

    We researched on the properties of glass and past related projects

    Processes: laminated, painted, fretting, dichroic glass
    Soda-Lime Glass, Borosilicate Glass, Silica Glass, Glass Ceramic
    Recycle potential is high
    Corrosion resistant
    Wear resistant

    We also researched on other material options
    - Plywood (Used as solid, perforated, thin veneer)
    - Plastics
    - Films/Laminating/Coating

    Function Shaping
    Our Initial Concept is a pixilated ceiling that can be programmed as a referential/interactive installation.

    Function Motion with Actuators
    We have chosen the Tork-Mate 890 for
    - its low friction
    - extended life
    - up to 15 million cycles
    - ideal for the operation of 90 degree turn devices
    - can be coupled with other electronic components etc...
    It works by redirected air pressure: the pistons linear movement is converted to
    rotary motion (gear).

    Function Joining and the value of working on joints
    - economy of assembly
    - ease of assembly
    - most appropriate process
    - performance of the joint
    - must resolve the problem with weight of glass (joint solution is very important)

    Function Surfacing
    Our final material choice is glass but we made our first prototype in chip board.

    The following is a picture of the Reflective side (glue laminated on chip board)

    Other side (scratched chip board)

    During this process we were inspired by James Turrell light installation

    Our final model is composed of

    APPEAL Background
    - industrial standards keep within fixed constraints.
    - how can smart materials/technologies improve the dropped ceiling?
    - hospital : how can existing research into improved user interface/consideration of users inform design process?
    - integration of function as sustainable/intelligent solution.

    APPEAL Application
    - A general purpose solution that could be used in hospitals, homes, offices, public buildings, museums
    - Variable lighting functionality and possible multiple application possibilites are key.
    - Could this be part of an integrated HVAC solution (ventilation) ?

    APPEAL Benefits
    - Sustainable design
    - Improved lighting conditions
    - Variety of lighting solutions available, even simultaneously.
    - Aesthetic benefits

    I completed this last assignment with Young Joong Chang, Alexandra Ginsberg, Sharon Kim and Irwin Sentilles.

  • Ashby, M. and Johnson.K Materials and Design : The Art and Science of Material Selection in Product Design, Elsevier, 2002
  • Mori, T. (Ed.) Immaterial | Ultramaterial : Architecture Design and Materials Harvard Design School, 2002
  • Addington, M. and Schodek, D. Smart Materials and Technologies for the Architecture and Design Professions, Architectural Press Elsevier, 2005

  • By Cati in Product Design Research

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