I think my personal aesthetic is something maybe related to timeless design. My mom’s side of the family is from Italy, and as such, the places there have influenced me significantly. Furthermore, being born in London has also influenced me in many other ways. I am also a massive fan of Ferrari’s Formula One team and the company as a whole. I believe that Ferrari is able to combine art and engineering unlike most other companies today. There are a few others, like Pagani Automobili, Apple, and IKEA more from a purely design perspective. However, none of those companies have the racing pedigree or command the same amount of passion that Ferrari does. One of their cars that comes to mind for me is the Ferrari P4, which was an endurance race car that competed in the late 1960s.

The Ferrari P4. Taken from https://www.hagerty.com/media/news/get-lost-in-magnificent-sound-of-ferrari-p4-v-12/.

Another major aspect of my life that has influence over the aesthetic is that from the music world. I’ve been playing the cello for over 10 years, and because of that I’ve spent a lot of time in symphony rehearsals and with my own instrument specifically. I’ve always loved how it looks, and while it’s hard to describe in text, the comfort I get from playing mine is sort of like hugging a really close friend. It feels familiar, and to me, the cello as an instrument still looks good, hundreds of years after its design.

Stradivari cello from Museo di Violino in Verona, Italy. Taken from https://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/komplete/cinematic/stradivari-cello/.

I have also been heavily inspired by nature, specifically growing up in the Pacific Northwest in Portland, Oregon. One of my favorite places to visit there are the Portland Japanese Gardens, which are widely considered to be the most accurate Japanese gardens in the world outside of Japan. The gardens themselves are part of a 400-acre park in Portland that overlooks the city and is reserved for people hiking, biking, and otherwise enjoying Portland. No development is allowed on it by law, which is something I’ve always appreciated. Even though I have been going to the gardens for over a decade, they have always evoked a sense of peace and connectedness inside of me. It’s pretty impressive when I think about it; the design of the gardens hasn’t fundamentally changed since its construction, but it still looks amazing no matter the weather and still makes me feel something very few other places can.

Portland Japanese Garden. Taken from https://japanesegarden.org/spring-2021/.
Entrance to the Portland Japanese Garden. Taken from https://architizer.com/blog/practice/materials/portland-japanese-garden-kengo-kuma/.

One thing I have always appreciated about the Portland Japanese Garden is how the entrance and existing architecture blends in so seamlessly with the nature surrounding it. I absolutely love the design of the handrails. They appear to be one long, connected piece of steel that is joined by glass plates. And the concrete footpaths make you feel grounded as you walk up them. It’s very hard to explain over text, but it does make you feel as though you are floating in a forest.

As far as what my main project plan is, I’m honestly still a bit unsure. I was thinking about making a coaster for my mugs, since I still don’t have one for my desk, but want one that is able to fit multiple diameters of cup within one coaster. It might be an interesting exercise in creating something that is functional, timeless in design, but also minimalist. How much could I actually take away from a coaster and still have it be a coaster? Is adding something that is necessary even a good idea? Starting with something simple like a coaster might be a good exercise in minimalism design from the ground up. It’s something I’ve never done before and might lead to something interesting 🙂

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5 Comments. Leave new

  • Jason Allshouse
    March 3, 2024 8:29 am

    Hi Josh,
    I think that making a coaster for your project is a good idea and there is multiple ways you could do so. One idea that comes to mind is making a complex CAD model with many different artistic patterns/aesthetics like the Ferrari aesthetic, then having the ability to 3D print the design. Do you have any ideas yet on how you can make the coaster functional for multiple diameter cups?

    • Josh Gregory
      March 3, 2024 6:46 pm

      Hey Jason,
      I was thinking of inspiration from a step drill bit (something like this), but since it would be a coaster, it would be really spread out and flat if that makes sense.

  • Hi Josh! I really enjoyed reading about your life influences and what has inspired your personal aesthetic. I thought it was very interesting how you have influences from cars, music, and nature that have shaped your perspective in a number of ways. Do you feel like those things are related in any way? I am looking forward to seeing what you come up with for your final project.

    • Josh Gregory
      March 3, 2024 6:48 pm

      Hey Ian,

      Thanks! I’ve never really thought about how they’re related, it’s always been different aspects of me that I enjoy. But I do think everything is connected in that it comes back from really liking nature. The cars that I like the most are formed with aerodynamics in mind (that’s why Ferrari is better than Lamborghini), and I really do think the cello/violin silhouette looks like the curvy figure of a person. So nature/the natural world is what ties everything together I think. Hope that makes some sort of sense lol



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