SuperLounge Interactive Musical Chair: The WHY and WHAT NEXT?

I will post about: Why and What Next?

Reflect on the semester.
When I first came in to the Aesthetics of Design class, I thought it would just be about making an art project in a semi-collaborative setting. For an engineer with a taste for art, that’s enough to get me excited. But there was so much more that I learned in class. We focused on actual aesthetics throughout history, categorizing them into time periods and styles. At first, I just thought there was “aesthetically pleasing” and “not aesthetically pleasing” but now I understand there are aesthetics like Bauhaus, Victorian, Grunge, Arts&Crafts. Even aesthetics can be purposely unappealing! They all have somewhat of a purpose, to communicate on a visceral level what you’re supposed to do and feel with the object with a given aesthetic.

This level of thinking really got me to go back to the drawing board and reconsider my original plan. I came into class with a deep desire to make an interactive musical chair. There was no framework for what I wanted it to look like or sound like. My first project for this class got me to consider how I want to build my final project. We focused on “upcycling” or re-purposing used materials. Originally I had an idea for building my final project as a custom miniature valley that someone could sit in, like one would find in a miniature train show but more comfortable and durable. This would be a major time sink, and would require a very high budget. Thus, after reflecting on my upcycle project, I simply chose to give new life to an old neglected chair I had sitting in storage.

I chose to take the ugly stained upholstery in the original chair and replace it with some classy-looking textured faux leather. After stewing on the updated look of the chair, the leather didn’t quite match the original wood color, so with the help of my mom (who is a master chair painter), we ended up getting the chair sanded and re-stained. One morning I woke up having had a vision for the texture of the chair, almost a glittery pearlescent feel with the wood texture still visible. I thought this would really make the chair look subtly unusual, but still normal to the untrained eye. I began researching and found inspiration at the ATLAS expo where some students made a project involving rheoscopic fluid. They did this using mica powder. Upon further research, I met Rebecca DiDomenico, a professional artist and arguably Boulder’s expert on using mica as a medium. She agreed that mica powder was the way to go.

What did I learn from my project, and from the class?

What will I do next with the project?

What do I wish I had done differently?


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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Alexis Nibbelink
    May 6, 2019 10:16 pm

    It’s interesting how you already had a project in mind when coming into this class. I’m glad you were able to fulfill your goal. Great discussion on what you’ve learned and how you’ve applied it.

  • Abdulaziz Alrashed
    May 6, 2019 2:41 am

    This is a really cool project. I am excited to come by at Expo and see it working. I was wondering what was the most challenging part of this project for you?


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