Duncan Laird Project Portfolio

Throughout the Aesthetics of Design course I have learned so much about the design process and about different types of aesthetics. Most importantly, I have learned how to implement those aesthetics to products and create an aesthetically pleasing experience for the user or viewer. The two main projects where I could build my skills of aesthetic design were the Upcycle Project and the Final Project. In both of these projects I was challenged with creating an aesthetically pleasing product and working my way through the design process.

The first project of the semester was the Upcycle Project. For this project I was challenged with creating an artifact out of purely upcycled materials. I decided to make an artifact in the aesthetic of the Vintage American Patriotism that followed that moon landing. In order to capture this aesthetic, I used red, white, and blue colored bottle caps and created an astronaut holding an American flag, aiming to portray the image of the American astronauts setting the American flag during the first moon landing.

[1] Initial concept sketch; [2] Final design front view; [3] Final design back view looking off into the Idea Forge;

I am very happy with how the final artifact turned out in the project. I was able to use all upcycled materials, which included bottle caps, old Legos, and a scrap metal piece of shaft. The final product closely resembled my initial concept sketches and vision for the artifact. It is an interesting decorative piece that resembles the aesthetic of Vintage American Patriotism, and displays the amazing human accomplishment that was the moon landing.

The following links are from my posts concerning the Upcycle Project:

Upcycle Aesthetic: Retro Patriotism

Upcycle Progress: Bottle Cap Art

Opposite Upcycle Aesthetic: Peace and Antigovernment in the 70s

American Bottlecap Astronaut

The second and larger project this semester was the final project for aesthetics of design. For this project I was challenged with creating an artifact that portrayed my own personal aesthetic and included a dynamic component. The personal aesthetic I chose was Retro Skiing. The aesthetic emerged in the 80s with the start of freestyle skiing and the retro neon ski outfits that characterized that era of skiing.

For my final project I decided to create a bench made out of vintage skis in the aesthetic of Retro Skiing. I used square steel tubing to construct a frame and fastened on six pairs of vintage skis. For the dynamic component, I used ski bindings as cupholders, that still function and have the ability to clip in whatever cup is put in the cupholder.

[4] Ski bench concept sketch; [5] Ski bench CAD assembly;

The images above document my design process. This project and its documentation throughout was a cool way to track my design process. From initial quick sketches on paper, to the CAD, to the final product, it was interesting to see the project at each stage, and compare these stages after the fact.

[6] Retro ski bench final product; [7] Ski bench cupholder up close view;

The final artifact I created serves it function, is comfortable, is dynamic, and beautifully displays the aesthetic of Retro Skiing. Sitting on the bench is interesting, and you are able to feel the history of the skis you are sitting on. I thoroughly enjoyed this project because I got to combine my personal aesthetic with an interesting design process where I could visibly see the progression of my product.

The following links are from my posts concerning the Final Project:

Main Project Plans and Inspiration: Retro Skiing

Main Project Aesthetic Plans and Alternatives: Retro Ski Bench

Design Preview: Retro Ski Bench

Retro Ski Bench: Top 5 Specifications, Top Five Constraints

Retro Ski Bench: Progress

Retro Ski Bench Final Report Part 1

Retro Ski Bench Final Report Part 2

I have really enjoyed my experience in this class, especially getting to work through these projects. These two projects have increased my understanding of creating an aesthetically pleasing design, and helped me practice the engineering design process. I look forward to using my knowledge from this class on creating aesthetically pleasing engineering projects in the future.

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