Main Project Aesthetics: Plans and Alternatives

For my project, I am planning on making a dynamic mechanical wooden puzzle that is made to look like a carousel. The aesthetic I am going for is whimsical steampunk. I hope to make a design that captures the industrial-ness of steampunk through the gears and whimsical through the stylized elements. To make it whimsical I want to make very detailed and ornate curves on a lot of the pieces. I feel as though this makes it look like it is coming straight out of a story book. The carousel design will also hopefully match this aesthetic well as it traditionally is already very whimsical.

I drew a concept for the aesthetic I want to go for above. I did not include many of the steampunk elements into this drawing as I have trouble drawing them and it will come more clearly in my CAD drawings.

When thinking of a very different aesthetic for this design, the first one I came up with was Brutalist. This aesthetic focuses on hard cut lines and concrete. It also is more minimalistic in its artistic elements in comparison to whimsy and steampunk.

Drawing this design, I wanted to focus on the hard cut edges, making it look like if the CU Boulder Engineering building were a carousel.

The next aesthetic that I chose to make a drawing of as an alternative was mid-century modern. I chose this design as an alternative because it is closer to something that I could actually manufacture in a similar fashion to the laser cut design I am planning on going with my design. Part way through making this drawing, I thought about the mid-century modern aesthetics that are present in Walt Disney World rides such as Space Mountain. Similar to my design, it focuses more on curved lines and minimalist exterior elements. I love how mid-century modern art also includes defined shapes and contrasts so I tried to include that in the centerpiece.

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Hi Sierra!
    I think this exercise definitely helped when trying to figure out how I wanted to join everything together. The brutalist idea gives a more straight forward design that would probably be easier to construct as a puzzle, however I think this helped me visualize my design as well.

  • Jace Aschbrenner
    March 11, 2024 9:24 am

    Hi Sophia!
    This looks like a great idea! I like how the different aesthetics can make vastly different looking puzzles that would have had the same inner workings and mechanisms. Have you thought about the strategy of constructing the puzzle, or what the goal is? I love these kinds of puzzles, so I am excited to hear more!

    • Hi Jace! My plan for constructing the puzzles is to create the piece in a CAD environment and build each piece as I go. I have done somewhat similar projects before and using CAD can help it be more intuitive.

  • Sierra Greeley
    March 9, 2024 5:26 pm

    Hello Sophia,
    I love your idea of making a wooden puzzle look like a carousel, rather than the typical box or ball. I think comparing the brutalist aesthetic to the engineering building was a great way to help picture what you were drawing in real life. I also like your comparison to the Disney parks. I really like your ideas, do you think that doing this exercise gave you any new ideas for your project that you hadn’t previously planned?


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